Here is Belladonna, The Lady of the Rocks, The lady of situations. Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel, And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card, Which is blank, is something he carries on his back, Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
The Tarot (usually pronounced 'TArroh') is a very popular motif in the Urban Fantasy, Ontological Mystery and Horror genres. It can be used by references or as an item in the setting itself. And, of course, it can be merchandised for fun and profit.
The Tarot is a deck of cards which evolved in parallel with the Card Games during the Renaissance (although expect its source to be much more ancient in any setting that likes Ancient Conspiracy and old mythological references). They're made of 22 Major Arcana and 4 suits of 14 Minor Arcana.
The cards are named after the games they were (and still are) used to play, i.e. "French Tarot" and "Tarocchini" among others, wherein the cards of the so called "Major Arcana" were used as trump cards of different ranks (until the 1700s they were just called trump cards). Any and all mysticism surrounding the cards seems to have originated in the English-speaking world during the 18th century. This probably had a lot to do with the rise of Spiritualism. The original games are mostly trick-taking games in the same vein as bridge and whist, and are still played in France, Italy, central Europe, and occasionally Canada. (Tarot decks used for divining, however, are seldom suitable for gaming purposes, being rather hard to read when fanned out in a hand rather than spread on the table.)
In pop culture, tarot decks are almost always exclusively built of Major Arcana, when they even bother with details like actually sticking to cards one can find in actual tarot decks. Viewers Are Morons, after all, and drawing Death is far more dramatic than stopping to explain what, exactly, the Ten of Swords actually means (death and burial, if you were wondering).
There's a variety of older decks with different forms, but the most anciently fixed Tarot is the Tarot de Marseille with the 4 suits and 22 major arcana. The Rider-Waite Tarot, from the 19th century, was the first to put pictures on the Minor Arcana and is also an influential model for all Anglo-Saxon Tarots. The most influential modern Tarot is probably Aleister Crowley's Thoth deck (1943), which keeps the Waite format but tweaks the symbolism and changes several names; Justice (XI) becomes Adjustment (VIII), switching with Strength (VIII), which becomes Lust (XI), for example, while the familiar Waite court cards are replaced by Princes, Princesses, Knights, and Queens.
As any magician worth their salt will make up a personalized tarot out of whatever symbols they prefer, there's a lot of other tarots recently made that do not fit to those patterns (from slight alteration to wild differences; this is an online example of one such). It's not rare in fictional work to use the Tarot as a Motif while not sticking much to the traditional structure of Tarot. The quote by Eliot above is an example of a entirely made up Tarot cards mixed with actual ones. Diana Wynne Jones observed, in The Tough Guide To Fantasy Land, that High Fantasy Tarot decks have up to ten suits, plus wild cards and trumps, and appear to have only aces and court cards. This is not limited to High Fantasy.
The Tarot borrows a lot of symbolism from most of the Western hermeticism and mythology (decks prior to Rider-Waite were even typically based on Roman Catholic themes and symbolism), so expect crossover imagery.
See also Themed Tarot Deck for Real Life tarot decks modified, often with characters from fiction shoehorned into the different roles.
Swords/Air, ancestor of the suit of Spades. The suit often has a sinister or violent bend to it as well as relating to the intellectual and to cleverness.
Cups/Water, ancestor of the suit of Hearts. It deals with emotional matters, like relationships and romance. The Female symbol.
Coins (or Pentacles, or Discs)/Earth, ancestor of the suit of Diamonds. It deals with the physical, with wealth, health, and growth.
Staves (or Rods, or Wands)/Fire, ancestor of the suit of Clubs. It deals with will, passion, and power. The Male symbol.
The suits are numbered from one/Ace to ten (expect a Numerological Motif if they appear as such), the remaining four cards being the King, Queen, Knight and Page/Jack (although variety of tarots will give those cards new names). The King tends to represent a mature masculine approach to the suit's qualities, the Queen a mature feminine approach, the Knight an immature and extreme-prone approach, and the Page/Jack a beginner's approach; they can also represent people who take these approaches, and are perhaps underutilised in tarot motifs.
The Major Arcana
The 22 Major Arcana are numbered from 1 to 21, usually in Roman numerical, with the first/last card The Fool being unnumbered (it's sometimes referred as the 0, 22, or Infinity):
For those of you wondering: The Fool, in the trick-taking card games the Tarot deck was derived from, is a special card; it always loses, but it's also always a legal play if you're not lead. In other words, worth nothing tactically (always loses), but invaluable if used strategically (you can save your better cards for later).
I - The Magician (Le Bateleur): shows a young man with the symbol for infinity as his hat. He holds tools of his trades, which are small symbols of the four suits and of luck in his hands. The Tarot de Marseille traditions tends to view him more as The Trickster and sometimes a bumbling one (and is sometimes instead named Juggler), whereas for the Rider Waite version he's more of a powerful and assertive magician. In divination, it's often attributed to the consultant, so it can more often represent the protagonist. Key words are action, initiative, self-confidence, manipulation, and power.
II - The High Priestess (La Papesse): an old woman with a closed book, a symbol of hidden knowledge, wisdom, female mystery, and magic. The card may often double up with Triptic Goddess imagery. She often is a Threshold Guardian, and associated with water and the Moon.
IV - The Emperor (L'Empereur): a crowned and often bearded man, sat on a throne with his crossed legs in the shape of a 4, and holding a scepter. This card is a symbol of power, action, leadership, stability, and decisiveness. Can be associated with The Government.
V - The Hierophant (Le Pape): an old man with a tiara, blessing two monks. A symbol of education, authority, conservatism, obedience to rules, and relationship with the divine. This card is most often associated with The Church, which could mean the Corrupt Church*
VI - The Lovers (L'Amoureux): in the Tarot de Marseille imagery, it's a man having to choose between two women, who represent two paths his life could lead to, and thus a symbol of standing at a crossroad and needing tomake adecision. In the Rider Waite version, they are Adam and Eve, a more traditional symbol of love and romantic relationships, but also the danger of temptation and desire.
VII - The Chariot (Le Chariot): a king leading a chariot made up of two differently colored horses (in some cases mythical creatures). A symbol of victory, conquest, self-assertion, control, war, and command. The image of mastering, controlling, and leadingtwo opposite forces to run the same carriage is a strong image of this one.
X - The Wheel of Fortune (La Roue de la Fortune): a six or eight-spoked wheel decorated with elemental symbols and surrounded by different animals wearing wealthy and beggarly clothes. A symbol of fate and varying luck, fortunes, and opportunities, and the cycle of life. What goes up will go down, what goes down will go up. Easy Come, Easy Go.
XI - Strength (La Force): a young girl taming a terrifying beast (often a lion). Beyond the Beast and Beauty imagery, there's a moral about the stronger power of self-control, gentleness, courage, and virtue over brute force. On the other hand, you may as well call it the card of Waif-Fu. (Also, certain decks will list Strength as card VIII and Justice as card XI).
XII - The Hanged Man (Le Pendu): a man up-side-down, hanging from one leg. His other leg crosses it forming a 4, while his arms are typically bound behind him, forming a 3. You may as well call this the Crucified Hero Shot card. It's associated with self-sacrifice for the sake of enlightenment, bindings that make you free, paradoxes, and hanging between heaven and earth. Apart from Jesus, it can be associated with such gods as Odin (hanging from a Yggdrasil to learn the runes), Osiris (getting killed and resurrected since way before the C.E.), Prometheus (forever stuck on a mountain getting his liver devoured by an eagle for giving fire to men), or Dionysus (not called "the twice-born" for nothing). If a character is associated to this, it's a good bet he's a Messianic Archetype. On the other hand, the card is not always positive; it can also be associated with traps, self-entrapment, passivity, and giving up. In Renaissance Italy, the image of the Hanged Man was used mainly to indict business rivals as dishonest - the "pittura infamante" - it was such a graffiti problem, and gave such a bad impression of Florence (as a place of sharp business practice), that it was not permissible to depict rivals in this way for a while.
XIII - Death (L'Arcane Sans Nom):The Grim Reaper, not even named in the Tarot de Marseille version (where its title is "arcana without a name"), and represented in the Rider Waite deck as the Great Plague. It is often used for a cheap effect of doomyforeshadowing, and even more frequently parodied as such. More accurately in Tarot, a symbolism of metamorphosis and deep change, regeneration and cycles. Often, a show will do just enough research to know that the Death card isn't a portent of doom, but a symbol of change, but their research tends to stop there. When drawn, most often, the reader will explain that the card does not actually mean literal physical death, and the story will go on to demonstrate that, in fact, it totally does. (Either that, or the person receiving the reading will not listen, panic, and faint out of sheer fright.)
XIV - Temperance (La Temperance): a woman with angel wings (sometimes interpreted as the healer Raphael) pouring water between two cups, one blue, the other red. A symbol of synthesis, prudence, harmony, and the merging of opposites.
XVI - The Tower (La Maison-Dieu): a tower stricken by lightning, from which two people fall to their deaths. A straight Tower of Babel allegory about pride preceding a fall. Often associated to overly arrogant, prejudiced, and authoritarian organizations (including The Government) which walk to their own ironicdemise. Also more generically used as an omen of doom and disaster, at least by those who know better than to use Death for that or who think that Death alone isn't ominous enough.
XIX - The Sun (Le Soleil): children frolic beneath a blazing sun. A symbol of happiness, joy, energy, optimism, and accomplishment. Can be associated with the hero's reward, or to an initial state of happiness. Sometimes associated with the myth of the Androgynes and Soul Mates (although in Rider Waite influenced tarots, it's more likely to find the latter in the Lovers card).
XXI - The World (Le Monde): a naked woman (or hermaphrodite, depending on deck), dancing, surrounded by figures of an angel, a bull, an eagle, and a lion (which represent the four elementsin transcended forms). A representation of the world, the totality of it, symbol of fulfillment, wholeness, harmony. Often what the hero fights for and tries to save. Sometimes his reward. Called "The Universe" in some decks.
The four animals might also represent the four gospels of the New Testament. Each gospel writer is traditionally represented with some form of animal: Matthew (human), Mark (lion), Luke (ox), and John (eagle).
It is important to note, that Tarot cards can come in two positions. The straight, normal position, with the name of the card in the bottom, and the reversed position, with the card upside down. Every card has a whole new set of different meaning when it's reversed. Usually the meaning of a reversed card is the opposite of the normal card, although some reversed card have some specific meanings, and there are exceptions. It's also important to note that reversed cards are neither good nor bad. They just add new sets of meanings.
The Fool, for example, means "A start, uncertainty, unknown". A reversed Fool, depending on its place in the reading, will represent a figure of stability, someone with a clear focus. A reversed Death, on the other hand, does not mean life, but rather avoidance, skill, maturity. A reversed World is usually catastrophic, no matter what the reading is about, and so on.
Finally, note that in an actual Tarot reading, the placement of a card in a reading will solidly define its meaning; it's important to remember that a single card alone is like a single word: it does not usually constitute a clear message.
The Minor Arcana
The Minor Arcana (or Lesser Arcana) are the 56 suit cards of the 78-card deck of tarot playing cards. The Minor Arcana comprise four suits with 14 cards each. Although there are variations, the Minor Arcana commonly employ the Italo-Spanish suits: Wands (alternatively, batons, clubs, or staves), cups, swords, and pentacles (alternatively, coins, disks, or rings). In contrast, the French suits are spades (♠), hearts (♥), diamonds (♦) and clubs (♣). Each Minor Arcana card in a suit is numbered one (ace) to ten, except for the court cards (or courts)—page, knight, queen, and king—which are comparable to face cards. In one variation, princess and prince cards replace the page and knight cards. Some Italian decks add two more court cards: the maid and the mounted lady. Since contemporary decks of French playing cards replace both the knight and the page with the jack or knave, such decks only have 52 cards. The remaining 22 cards in a tarot deck are the Major Arcana.
The Aces (Is):
Ace Of Wands: Keywords for Ace of Wands include invention, creation, creativity, birth and transformation, intuition, delays, spiritual blocks, misunderstandings, disappointments, fantasy failed to translate into reality.
Upright: Fiery and creativity, the Ace of Wands speaks of energy and ambition. Ideas are not enough. It takes hard work and perseverance to take something from a though to reality. With the Ace of Wands, heady optimism mixed with ambition can make any dream come true.
Reversed: At this time, the urge to change and develop is present but circumstances are delaying progress. In creative and intuitive matters, blocks and delays lead to impatience. Sexual and emotion relationships can also be subject to misunderstandings and dysfunction.
Ace Of Coins: Keywords for Ace Of Coins include increase, new sources of money, prosperity, contentment, windfalls, lottery wins, new business, confidence and security with money, greed, fear of scarcity, hoarding, disappointments in new jobs, balancing the desire for money and personal satisfaction.
Upright: The beginning of prosperity, the Ace of Coins suggests transformation in all financial matters. New jobs, raises, the start of a new business, windfalls, inheritance: anything connected to new financial circumstances is brought by the Ace of Coins. Expressive and powerful, the new energy of the Ace of Coins signifies a lasting change for the better after a challenging period. It also indicates that security and contentment are not connected to finances alone; they are also a state of mind.
Reversed: When reversed, the Ace of Coins can suggest troubles or issues with money. Sometimes, these are emotion problems related to greed or hoarding; it relates to a general belief in scarcity no matter the circumstances. It can also indicate that a new source of income can provide you with more money but not necessarily happiness.
Ace Of Swords: Key words include power, transformative energy, new thoughts and ideas, new possibilities, karma, balance, sudden changes, imbalanced mind, quarrels and arguments, irritability.
Upright: Powerful and airy, the Ace of Swords is like the winds of change, bringing energy and vitality to new enterprises. Adding clarity to the mind and power to issues of justice, this card has often been connected to karma. In eastern beliefs, the concept of karma is what balances the universe: we reap what we sow. The energy of the Ace of Swords is transformative, ending what has been outgrown and creating possibility for newness.
Reversed: Imbalanced and troubled, when the Ace of Swords is reversed, changes can seem too sudden or delayed (and not in your benefit). It speaks of a time where it is difficult to find agreement and others (or yourself) may seem argumentative or quarrelsome.
Ace Of Cups: Keywords include creative and emotional growth, love, passion, growth in relationships, birth of new ideas or children, intuition, fruitfulness, emotionally drained, chaos, need to withdraw, one-sided relationships, imbalance in relationships, need for replenishment, emotional exhaustion.
Upright: A card that heralds the start of a new period of blossoming love, friendship and creativity. The Ace of Cups brims over with ideas, feelings and lovely new possibilities. Creative and intuitive periods are filled with imagination, artistic impulses and the birth of new ideas (or even a child). Nurturing and essential for development, the Ace of Cups creates a perfect environment for mutual passion and loving relationships.
Reversed: When the Ace of Cups is reversed, it represents a time of emotional drain and chaos. It may refer to one-sided or draining relationships that demand more emotional effort than they return. Creative ideas and artistic projects seem to have dried up and a general feeling of being uninspired is present. Emotion demands seem constant, leaving you feeling drained and needing to withdraw.
The Twos (IIs):
Two Of Wands: Meanings include balanced partnerships, productive relationships, work friendships, employment mentors, successful real estate deals, profitable contracts, hollow success, end of partnerships, delays, unexpected expenses, stubbornness and pride.
Upright: Power and success in career matters is often indicated by the Two of Wands. Productive partnerships may form at this point in time, and many positive relationships may develop at work. Two of Wands can also indicate a successful business man or woman who will act as a guide or mentor, working with you towards greater career achievements. Agreements in business or real estate will make you more money than you expect, and contracts can be easily negotiated.
Reversed: Partnerships filled with friction and misunderstands can occur when the Two of Wands is reversed. Delays and miscommunication in legal matters are par for the course. Sometimes it is because partners are seeking difference outcomes from their venture; one may want money while the other is searching for creative freedom. Being inflexible can lead to further misunderstandings.
Two Of Coins: Meanings include financial balance, extra work, new skills, business development, entrepreneur, assistance, balance energies and resources, duality, lack of focus, growing debts, inconsistent action, need for purpose.
Upright: When the Two of Coins appears, you are being given the opportunity to develop new skills. Even though you may have to perform extra work to get something you want, it's important to see help when it arrives. You may develop additional skills to open your own business or some overtime for extra cash. The Two of Coins can also refer an imbalance in your work life. One day you may be running off your feet, and then next twiddling your thumbs. Likewise, you may be experiencing financial fluctuations where one month you are scrambling for spare change while the next you have more money than you can count.
Reversed: If the Two of Coins is reversed, everything seems out of balance. Money seems to go out faster than it comes in and trying to sort out looming debts can seem impossible. At first, it is easy to blame your fluctuating moods on your job and money chaos. Really though, it is important to realize that the common denominator is you. Once you stop acting aimless, everything else will gain direction and purpose.
Two Of Swords: Keywords include uneasy truce, balance, justice, calm after the storm, uneasy peace, caution, take care, think carefully before acting, lies and deceit, stalemate, slow change.
Upright: Calm after the storm is signified with the Two of Swords but it is an uneasy peace laced with tension. A problem has reached a stalemate and while there is balance, it is also clear that there isn't resolution yet. Relief is in sight so be aware that you won't need to worry much longer. The Two of Swords can also refer to someone who is willing to maintain peace at any price. Not liking fights or disagreements, you may hide your own feelings or pretend like everything is okay to keep the peace. Emotions need to be vented so allow yourself to acknowledge what you're feeling to relieve pressure.
Reversed: Think twice or even three or four times when the Two of Swords is reversed. Your advisers, intuition and knowledge are clouded and you are not in the best position to make any final decisions. Any changes will occur slowly, and honestly, right now that's for the best. There is an air of deceit the surrounds you and it will be hard find agreements that work to your advantage. While you'll feel like being impulsive to move things forward, you'll regret anything you agree to now.
Two Of Cups: Keywords include love, harmony, romantic attachments, working partnerships, fun friendships, social butterfly, emotional battles, misunderstandings, separations, need for a break, dissolution, acting rashly, look for common ground.
Upright: When the Two of Cups appears, partnerships of every kind will benefit. If it is a matter of love, established relationships will become even more loving. For those who are looking for love, a new important love affair will start. When a career question is indicated, a strong working relationship or business partnership will started; from the emotional and mental bonds, great things will be produced. When a friendship is indicated, it will be a strong relationship filled with warmth and fun. With the perfect balance the Two of Cups provides, every type of relationship will benefit and prosper.
Reversed: Emotional hardships and imbalance are suggested with the Two of Cups reversed. It is a time when it seems hard, if not impossible, to understand where others are coming from. Arguments go around in circle and it may feel like the current situation will never get resolved. Often, the best thing you can do is to just take a break; give yourself and other time to calm down and then reassess the situation. It's important to take things slowly and not do anything too rash. While it may seem hopeless, all is not lost. There is no need to think of abandoning a relationship completely. All you need is a little time and understanding.
The Threes (IIIs): Three is a number of creative success and positive energy. When you combine the starting energy of One and the balancing energy of Two, you arrive with the happy conclusion of Three. Long regarded in many religions as a holy number, Three contains a vital force and direction all its own.
Three Of Wands: Keywords include success, manifesting dreams into reality, old contacts, working with the present to create the future, visionary, hard work, need for practical planning, unrealistic expectations, wanting a free ride.
Upright: Opportunities are quickly approaching, particularly in the areas of creativity and career. These may be connected to relationships nurtured previously, and are likely ideas you've been pursuing for some time. Further growth of your ideas will occur, while some previously developed will start to bear fruit.
Reversed: Dreams are the starting point for any new venture. In order to become a reality, they need a combination of hard work and practical planning. When success fails at this point, it's usually because of unrealistic expectations and a lack of focussed hard work. You may have another chance to live this dream later but next time be better prepared with the resources you currently have.
Three Of Coins: Keywords include apprenticeship, on the path to mastery, learning a new skill, being mentored, working towards self-improvement, gaining skills that will lead to prosperity long term, decorating or renovating a home, stick-in-the-mud, unwilling to invest the time needed, holding yourself back, not getting external recognition. *** Upright: The Three of Coins is all about putting in time and effort to gain reward. For those people that have invested in learning a new skill and becoming a master of a field of work, especially the arts or crafts (including woodwork and construction), they are just about to be rewarded. Having spent time to reach the height of a profession, you are now regarded with respect.
Reversed: The Three of Coins in a reversed position often speaks of delays in success; the cause is usually the self. Either fear of failure or unwillingness to commit to the path of learning are the usual culprits. It's necessary to remember why and if gaining these skills are important to you and to realize that most good things require discipline and hard work.
Three Of Swords: Keywords include love triangles, betrayal, breakdown in relationships, reassessment, deception, healing, adultery, emotional stress, anxiety, a desire to go back in time, emotional pain, healing, a new start.
Upright: Heartache and confusion are present when the Three of Swords appears. These relationships were once pleasant and passionate-it may be discovered that there was no depth to sustain them. Usually, there is some form of betrayal involved. What was beautiful and romantic under the light of the moon is exposed as empty and possibly deceitful in the light of day.
Reversed: Emotional stress and anxiety go hand in hand with the Three Of Swords reversed. Relationships are confusing, communication breaks down and it seems that there is only a great deal of emotional pain left to experience. When this card appears, the relationship has usually ended and healing has begun, even if it seems like the wounds are still raw. Every ending brings a new beginning.
Three Of Cups: Keywords include celebration, parties, social events, weddings, babies, family gatherings, over-indulgence, over-spending, getting wrapped up in a social whirl, lack of sleep, socialite lifestyle, forgetting about responsibilities, need for rest and quiet relaxation.
Upright: Celebrations and happy events are all part of the Three of Cups. Weddings, house-warmings, anniversaries, birthdays, promotions, births - they are all part of the joy that comes with this card. Suddenly, there will be many reasons to enjoy family and friends, having good food and wonderful conversation. Sometimes this social whirlwind may seem a little much but it's best to relax and smile, enjoying yourself. It's not often there is so much to celebrate.
Reversed: Over-the-top indulgence is the key phrase for the Three of Cups. It's one thing to enjoy yourself, but you're having a hard time doing anything else. This can also speak of financial over-spending, allowing your joy to blind you to the balance in your bank account. Take a break from the social scene to regroup and get some much needed sleep.
The Fours (IVs): Four is a stable number that represents structure and rules. At first, its earthy nature seems a little boring. After all, how many people get excited about rules? What makes Four interesting is how you can use these rules to help make your dreams a reality. Four is the number that reminds you of the practical parts of life, and helps you restructure want you want so you can have it. Four teaches us to learn the rules so we can understand when to work with them and when to break them. Self-discipline and structure can be boring or strengthening - the answer lies in your perspective
Four Of Wands: Keywords include success, manifesting dreams into reality, old contacts, working with the present to create the future, visionary, hard work, need for practical planning, unrealistic expectations, wanting a free ride.
Upright: Creating a country home, complete with a bountiful harvest is the perfect visual for the Four of Wands. This card focuses on the stability a home provides and the importance of having this. When a home is signified by this card, it has been long awaited and will be a nurturing environment filled with love and hope. The Four of Wands is about building a strong foundation for years of future successes and growth.
Reversed: Your dreams, especially in terms of having a home, may be put aside for a little while. It doesn't mean that this dream must be abandoned but rather that there is still some more work for this to be achieved. When this card appears reversed, you may be in such a hurry to wrap things up, you don't realize how many loose ends you're leaving. The Four of Wands reversed is offering you a brief rest and time to collect yourself before you move forward. While the impatient part of you is annoyed by this, enjoy it while it lasts.
Four Of Coins: Keywords include financial stability, healthy income, modest gains, responsible, savings and investments, social climber, greed, miserly behaviour, financial worries, immersed in the material world.
Upright: If you've been through a period where every dollar had to be stretched 5 ways, things will be getting easier. The Four of Coins doesn't represent extreme riches but it is about financial stability. When you see the Four Of Coins, you will have more money coming in than going out and with some planning, will even have some money leftover. It's the time to look into savings and how to use money wisely rather than just spending it on stuff. Take care of your money and it will take care of you. Be careful that you haven't fallen into the trap of judging people by what they have rather than who they are.
Reversed: When the Four of Coins is reversed, your mind is consumed by thoughts of money. Whether financially worried, strapped for cash, or guilty of hoarding, greed or being miserly, you can't think beyond moolah. It may be that you're the responsible one in your household and while others are spending up a storm, you're worrying about the bills. Never allow financial trappings to trap you.
Four Of Swords: Keywords include rest, relaxation, withdrawing mentally, need for peace and quiet, time for reassessment, small vacation, take it easy, enforced rest, physical issues, mental instability, limited pleasures, feeling isolated, nervous exhaustion.
Upright: The Four of Swords often appears after a time of illness or anxiety and reminds you that we all need time to rest and recuperate. Sometimes this break is needed for you to accurately see all that you have accomplished; there is nothing like a little distance to gain perspective. The Four of Swords is a message that you need to take a break; if you refuse to listen, your health may suffer for it. It can also suggest that a retreat or a withdrawal from modern appliances and their demands (turn off your cell phones everyone) is just what you need.
Reversed: When the need for rest indicated by the Four of Swords is ignored, you arrive at the reversed position. This is the time when illness or anxiety will result in health issues needing a long period for healing. There is no longer the option to choose to rest - the choice has been made for you. Rather than worry about how this will affect you, accept that it is necessary and let your body, mind and spirit heal. The Four of Swords reversed can also refer to a time of social isolation where old friends have lost contact; however this is not permanent and new friends will arrive soon.
Four Of Cups: Keywords include emotional boredom, stuck in a rut, depression, need for new interests, short holiday, fear of love, emotional scars, fear of being alone, new challenges, training for a new career, new hobby.
Upright: The Four of Cups speaks of emotional reassessment and dissatisfaction. Things and people that pleased you before don't anymore and you're uncertain what to do about it. Troubled by boredom, you're in need of a change - you just don't feel like doing it right now. Think of small things you can do to shake things up - how about a small vacation - and be open to new interests and friends. Just because you were disappointed in the past, doesn't mean that love has to hurt. What is life without risk?
Reversed: The Four of Cups reversed often represents someone who cannot be alone. Needing the reassurance of people around them, they create a frantic social schedule that allows no time for pleasure, only distraction. Sometimes this card appears when you are needing change at this point in your career. It could be that a project that once gave you much pride and pleasure leaves you feeling empty.
The Fives (Vs): Five is the number of rebellion and change. Where Four gave us the rules, Five is where we decide to break them regardless of consequences. These are the battles that are fought to break old habits and create new changes. Five will shake us up and force us to strive for progress. The four main elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water are complemented by the fifth, Spirit. While Five isn't comfortable, the hard times will be overcome and positive changes eventually welcomed.
Five Of Wands: Keywords include arguments, conflicts, testing circumstances, forging new ideas, creating new products, power struggles, mastering yourself, sharing viewpoints, litigation, court battles, negotiation, inner conflict, anger, possible resolution.
Upright: Competitive challenges are part of the Five of Wands. There are struggles and tests which may seem like a game at times and a fiery battle at others. The end result is a better product or idea. These battles are just part of the process of challenging the old to create the new. Peaceful sharing of ideas? No way! Arguments will be common and it may be hard to hold your temper in check. Just remember that the Five of Wands has a purpose behind the words.
Reversed: When the Five of Wands is reversed, legal issues or disputes are likely looming on the horizon. Any resolution to the legal problems will be the result of a lot of negotiation and understanding. Internal conflicts will frustrate and it seems there is no easy solution to these problems. While these trials can seem insurmountable, conclusion may be close at hand.
Five Of Coins: Keywords include despair, financial hardships, lack of faith, troublesome times, internal struggles, poverty, lack of optimism, hard work leading to strong results, reversing trends, growing faith, increased confidence and self-worth, eventual success.
Upright: A challenging card, the Five of Coins can signal financial, emotional or spiritual hardship. It is quite simply a time in life where you are going to feel tested. If your finances are affected, you'll experience a significant lack of money. That fact that it may be related to previous over-spending won't make you feel any better. Lack of confidence and a low sense of self worth are also indicated. There is no easy solution but it is crucial to have faith that your circumstances will change.
Reversed: Challenging situations are also present when the Five of Coins is reversed but in this case, you realize that only hard work and plenty of it will change your life. As soon as you start this process, other forms of help appear - maybe in the form of a grant or gift. While you won't forget the troubles you experienced, you realized that they have helped you become a stronger person.
Five Of Swords: Keywords include limitations, power struggles, failure, loss, damage, sense of unfairness, creation of something new, underhandedness, releasing pride, defeat, acceptance of defeat, learning to abandon self-pity, moving towards a fresh start.
Upright: A strong sense of disappointment and failure is inherent in the Five of Swords. It may be that in a quest for power, underhanded tactics were employed - lies, gossip and envy undermine everyone, including yourself. It may be that disappointment was necessary to force a more realistic plan of action. When following a path where nothing seems to work, this might not be your best course. The only thing affected if you change your mind will be your pride.
Reversed: When the Five of Swords is reversed, it is time to cut your losses. Sometimes, wanting to prove we were in the right becomes more important than being right. At this point, you have already lost this fight, no matter what else you say or do. Jealousy, pride and self-righteousness may be keeping you in battle but it is time to embrace defeat and walk away. Accept what has happened, learn from it and start anew.
Five Of Cups: Keywords include loss, destruction of ideals, broken dreams, old wounds, unaware why things went wrong, emotional loneliness, restrained hope, new chances, rebuilding old relationship, emotional wisdom.
Upright: When the Five of Cups appears in a reading it is a sign that we're looking at what we don't have rather than what we do. One of our deepest held beliefs was shattered and we were mourning its loss. Now is the time to get over it. We need to look at what remains and decide what role it can play in our lives. Often appearing when a relationship is challenged, it is important to use the Five of Cups to reassess what is left. Perhaps a vow has been broken or our partner has been emotionally distant - can we work with what remains to heal? In order to decide, it is time to move beyond sadness into contemplation.
Reversed: The Five of Cups reversed often signals that an emotional reunion is on the horizon. A old friend or lover may suddenly reappear, giving you the chance to possibly rebuilt your relationship. With the new knowledge and experiences you have, it could become even stronger the second time. The emotional hurt leaves you cautious and better able to decide whether a second chance is worth the risk.
The Sixes (VIs): Six eases the sting of Five and rules peace, harmony, love and beauty. When Six appears, it is usually a signal of the beginning of success. There is another side to the pleasant Six, of course. The Six only hints at the hard work, tension and effort that happens behind the scenes to make all that peace possible. With Six, the rewards are great but so is the effort. Love and choice are a necessary part of Six.
Six Of Wands: Key words include victory, hard won battles at work and in creative endeavours, legal triumphs, good news, success, troubles caused by others, arguements at work, lack of reward, unable to move ahead, failure to receive promotion.
Upright: If you've been waiting for good news, the Six of Wands is a sign you'll soon hear it. A positive card filled with successful energy, the Six of Wands usually relates to business and career matters. What you achieve now has required a lot of effort but is well worth it. Negotiations requiring tact and compromise may have occurred to secure this success.
Reversed: When the Six of Wands is reversed, don't expect to forge ahead in office affairs. Trouble working with others, miscommunication in group projects, and small failures will cause tension for you at work. Whether with co-workers or managers, tempers will flare. The best you can hope for is to keep on until the energies change in your favour.
Six Of Coins: Keywords include gifts and help given and received, practical help, philanthropy, charity, cash prizes, using influence or success to help others, easy come easy go, losing money through absent mindedness, theft, gambling losses, resolution of wills or divorce decrees.
Upright: A card signifying bounty and gifts, the Six Of Coins represents generosity which you will give or receive. On the one hand, you may receive a donation or grant which will help you forge ahead in school or business. Remembering the help you received, you may be the source of a legacy or donation to benefit others. If you are currently struggling, expect that help is on its way. When you are in a better position, make sure to pay it forward so a circle of generosity is established.
Reversed: Financial settlements and loss often occur when the Six of Coins is reversed. As a caution to take care, remember to treat your money with respect and use it wisely. A fool and their money are soon parted. If a settlement is indicated, it is usually a final division of money or property, like from a will or a divorce.
Six Of Swords: Keywords include leaving strife behind, pleasant times, relief, alleviating stress, renewed hope, physical travel, relieved spirit, tenacity, struggle, grit, temporary truce, delayed victory, hanging on by the skin of your teeth.
Upright: When the Six of Swords appears, your troubles are moving behind you. Part of this change will be from you releasing your attachment to worrying about this issue. All areas of life will improve with the Six of Swords: relationships, money and career. It will be a relief to move ahead to a happier place. Physical travel can also be a focus and any travels will have you returning feeling more relaxed and optimistic towards the future.
Reversed: The Six of Swords reversed can sometimes feel like the eye in the centre of a hurricane. All around, chaos and struggle loom on the horizon but only grit and determination will see you through. Tenacity and the willingness to go on are required when this card is present. The only solutions available are temporary; now is the time to catch your breath and wait rather than hope to resolve things.
Six Of Cups: Keywords include happy memories, nostalgia, old relationships, returning to the past to understand the future, rewards for past efforts, return of past lovers and friends, stuck in the past, refusal to move, fear of future, self-doubt, blame of past, requiring a fresh start.
Upright: Nostalgic memories play a strong role with the Six of Cups. Your emotional past, old connections, ex lovers, old friends - all of these may be resurfacing to influence your future. In some cases, the return may be to carry on where they left off; reconnecting with a lover, for instance. Other times, you might revisit your past to understand yourself better and learn what you need for the future.
Reversed: Living in the past is no way to enjoy the present or embrace the future. When the Six of Cups is reversed, you hold your past up to block your future. Remember that our memories of what happened are selective. Usually only the prettiest thoughts of the past remain. We can also use our past to prove our lack of worth. Perhaps our family or lover was non supportive - in this case, these memories and the doubts they create belong firmly behind us. A fresh start begins with realizing who we currently are.
The Sevens (VIIs): Seven is the number of inward journeys, intuition and connecting with what is hidden. When Seven is present, you will understand more about what you secretly want but also be urged to work hard to get it. It is a number of progress and change but with these changes it is important to make certain what we want. There is the danger that without the necessary effort, the reward of Seven will not last.
Seven Of Wands: Keywords include standing up for yourself, tenacity, struggle, you against the world, faith in future success, fear of failure, insecurity, risk, embracing your talents, encouragement needed.
Upright: When the Seven of wands appears, you are in a time where you are trying to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Everything may seem like a major challenge and external energy is working against you. You may be at a point where it feels like no one is helping you and it is hard to persevere. The positive news is that you are nearly the end of your struggle and victory may soon be at hand. The bad new is that you need to muster up your courage and keep fighting the good fight until you win.
Reversed: Courage has fled and fear controls you when the Seven of Wands is reversed. You have tremendous talents and abilities but aren't using them - you're afraid to let yourself shine. There may not have been a lot of encouragement to take risks but this is the time for you to support yourself. If you reach and strive now, there is no limit to what you can achieve.
Seven Of Coins: Keywords include future investment, growth of business, slow return on money, self doubt, satisfying work, groundless fears, unpaid work, mental exhaustion, disappointment, no reward, improving self worth, reassessment, new direction, fresh start.
Upright: Sometimes with money, there is a lot of labour before you start to see the reward. That's how it is with the Seven of Coins. You may find yourself almost exhausted from the amount of work you're doing but still worried about the outcome. You may have sleepless nights where you worry about whether you did the right thing or whether you are wasting your time but these fears are pretty groundless. What is being built is an enterprise that is satisfying to your soul and will eventually fill your pockets.
Reversed: Mental and physical exhaustion is indicated when the Seven of Coins is reversed. Again, you've been working hard for little reward but in this case, there is no joy and you can't continue. This is a time to take a break and reassess the situation. You'll find that your attitude becomes more positive and you'll be able to move in a different, more productive direction soon. Right now, you're just exhausted.
Seven Of Swords: Keywords include sporadic effort, huge volume of ideas, inability to do just one thing, projects left unfinished, mental stimulation, idea theft, hype, false promises, manipulation, schemes, tricks, indecision.
Upright: Restless energy and a burning desire for new ideas come with the Seven of Swords. This may be a time where new thoughts and directions are arriving faster than you can process them. You may also work quickly, shifting your time rapidly between multiple projects, not finishing anything. This is a time for mental stimulation and you need many things going on at once to feel satisfied. Be careful who you share your ideas with - there is the possibility that someone else will steal them and complete what you haven't.
Reversed: Indecision is fueled by over-active thoughts at this time. When the Seven of Swords is reversed, there needs to be more authenticity in your life. You, or the people around you, are like used car salesman. There seems to be a slick message being used which is more a version of the truth than the truth itself. Plain-speaking and a hard look at reality are needed now. You are in danger of believing your own hype.
Seven Of Cups: Keywords include choices, illusions, opportunity, fairy gold, wait and see, emotional choices, deceptions, seeing only what you want to see, losing touch with reality, drugs, alcohol, self-creating fantasies.
Upright: When the Seven of Cups appears, it seems like you have many wonderful possibilities in your life. Now is not the time to act or try to pin them down. You are seeing beautiful illusions that need time and effort to become more concrete (or merely disappear). Sometimes, the excitement of these choices can divide your energy and commitment - after all, why choose one when you can try to have them all. Without that commitment and choice, it's hard for anything to pan out. Whether for relationship or career choices, look at all the options carefully and wait a little longer before committing.
Reversed: A dreamy and hazy fantasy world exists within the Seven of Cups reversed. Reality is something you don't want to connect with - living in your dreams or clouding your thoughts with drugs or alcohol is much nicer. You may be deceiving yourself with your relationships and need to search for reality rather than deluding yourself. Sometimes what is real is not as pleasant as your fantasies, but reality is what grounds you.
The Eights (VIIIs): With Eight, we begin to understand the fine balance needed for power and growth. Eight connects to the idea of karma, that whatever we reap, we sow. If we have been spending our time positively, we can expect wonderful rewards. If we have been destructive, we also have to accept the consequences of this. With Eight, we are progressing and not just randomly changing things. Eight brings our destiny now that we are strong enough to work with it.
Eight of Wands: Keywords include expanding horizons, travel, far-off places, news, invitations, education, change in career, increase in social life, freedom, extra energy, hurrying creates mistakes, less speed, delays, miscommunication, cancelled travel plans, strikes, reassess choices.
Upright: When the Eight of Wands appears, news and opportunities may be arriving faster than you can see. Whether travel, education or change in career, the Eight of Wands brings expansion and change quickly. New horizons that expand your mind are highlighted. Energy that felt controlled or stilted is now flowing freely along with exciting opportunities.
Reversed: Delays, miscommunication and abandoning the need for speed are all part of the Eight of Wands reversed. It doesn't seem no matter now how well things have been planned, they can and will go awry. Now is the time to reassess your choices and think twice before committing to anything. The delays are beyond your control so remember to stay calm or reschedule to avoid headaches.
Eight Of Coins: Keywords include new skills, apprenticeship, building on previous experience, education, expansion, small savings, financial management, limitations at work, lack of growth, no new potential, dishonesty in business, questionable ethics, moonlighting.
Upright: New skills and expanding career horizons are all indicated by the Eight of Coins. This is a time where you have the opportunity to learn new things, apply previous knowledge and take some extra courses to add another feather to your cap. This doesn't really indicate starting something new but rather building upon previous skills. In terms of money, small savings and gifts should be carefully invested to increase your worth.
Reversed: Hard work without pleasure comes when the Eight of Coins is reversed. You may have outgrown your job or feel limited at work. There seems to be nothing new to learn and no where to grow. Try to reconnect to your real talents and consider starting your own business or exploring another line of work. Staying where you are is cheating no-one but yourself.
Eight of Swords: Keywords include bondage, restriction, closed state of mind, need for fresh thoughts, outside assistance, problems seem impossible to solve, release, freedom, thoughtlessness, hard luck, fresh start, positive state of mind.
Upright: With the Eight of Swords, you are stuck. Part of this bondage lies in that you can no longer see anything new in your situation. Your thoughts may run around in circles and no matter how you try, you can't find a way out. Fresh thinking and some outside assistance are what you need to break free. Face your problems head on and accept the helping hand that is offered you. Expect the unexpected to move beyond this.
Reversed: A new state of mind brimming with movement comes with the Eight of Swords reversed. You've realized that the first step in changing your life starts with changing your thoughts. You've gained confidence and strength from the problems you solved. Be wary of people around you being thoughtless - stand up for yourself and make sure you receive the respect you're due.
Eight Of Cups: Keywords include abandoning relationships, moving away emotionally, travel, lack of substance, futile success, rejection, search for meaning, unsettled, depression, emotional confusion, exhaustion, lack of energy, perfectionism.
Upright: With the Eight of Cups, there is the sense of abandoning an emotional relationship. It may be that this relationship has not brought you the happiness you thought it would. It can also indicate a relationship that has a great deal of emotional pain connected to it - you may have tried to resolve things in other ways but now your best option is to leave. This leaves you questioning yourself and searching for greater meaning. While this may take place with a physical journey, you'll likely discover what you need inside yourself.
Reversed: When the Eight of Cups is reversed, you have entered a depressing period of emotional confusion where fantasy and reality have blurred. Desperate from emotional wounds, you have shut yourself off from the people around you and are suffering from emotional exhaustion. At the core of this is your need for perfection, in yourself and in others. Reach out for help to move beyond this point.
The Nines (IXs): When the Nine appears, it is not the time to focus on what you've already achieved. There is still some more work to be completed to attract what you need. The Nine indicates that you are nearing the end of a cycle but that you still need to reach beyond yourself to grab success. Constant reassessment and drive are an essential part of Nine; it will grant happiness and prosperity to those who work hard. Nine is often associated with spirituality and indicates that what you achieve now will satisfy you on a deeper level.
Nine Of Wands: Keywords include strength, persistence, inner reserves, prudence, one last challenge, success is in sight, insecurities, doubting your own strength, loss of will, tiredness, metal exhaustion, stress, meditation, delays, overwork.
Upright: When the Nine of Wands appears, it is asking you to reach down deep inside yourself and find the energy you need to keep going. You may have overcome obstacles, including illness, to reach where you are - but you're not quite where you want to be. One last push and you'll be on the peak of that mountain. Remember too that you need success to emanate from within you to reflect what is on the outside. Sometimes the Nine of Wands says that you don't fully accept or feel comfortable with your successes. Believe in yourself first, and others will too.
Reversed: Stress and the need to repair are part of the the Nine of Wands reversed. This card will appear during times of overwork, when you are feeling like you can't continue. Constant stress has burdened your body and mind and you need to take a break. You might feel driven right now to finish what you started but if you press on, your health will suffer.
Nine Of Coins: Keywords include prosperity, money flows, enjoying fine things, treating yourself, pleasure, enjoying your success, lack of funds, bad investments, strapped for cash, unable to expand a business, temporary loss, altering one's lifestyle.
Upright: Pleasure and financial comfort resound with the Nine of Coins. Your hard work is rewarded and it is time for you to enjoy the finer things in life. Spending money on your home, clothing, and yourself is part of treating yourself well and isn't self indulgent. Money flows easily and is not a source of worry to you right now. Love of nature, spending time outdoors and nurturing a garden can also be indicated. Indulge in the things that give you pleasure - you deserve it.
Reversed: Money seems to be scarce when the Nine of Coins is reversed. It is time to examine the lifestyle you've maintained and be prepared to cut things back. Unexpected expenses drain your resources and you may have made bad or risky investments that are coming back to haunt you now.
Nine Of Swords: Keywords include oppression, anxiety, stress, worries, no way out, sleepless nights, trapped by fears, despair, problems faced directly, workable solutions, light, hope, new day, abandoning old attitudes, dark night of the soul, releasing mental fears.
Upright: The darkest hour is before dawn in the Nine of Swords. Worries and anxiety are overtaking your life, interrupting sleep and turning your fears into oppressive monsters. It's not as if what you worry about is all in your head. You have real problems in your life and you need to face them head on. You also need to allow others to help you regain some perspective. There are solutions but they will take time and effort to create change in your life.
Reversed: Brightness appears on the horizon when the Nine of Swords is reversed. Dawn is starting to break and the worst is over. You have seen your problems head on, faced your fears and are ready to make way for new things. Worry and stress will take time to fade and you'll still need to be gentle with yourself. When you allow your remaining fears and doubts to vanish, harmony will slowly start to reappear.
Nine Of Cups: Keywords include happiness, fulfillment, well-being, joy, emotional ease, creative bounty, harmonious relationships, lazy, careless, smug, taking things for granted, selfishness, ignoring work, no maintenance, loss.
Upright: Happy, happy, joy, joy! When you have the Nine of Cups, you are in a place of contentment, where love, ideas, creativity and friendship flow quickly and easily. There is a blissful quality to this card, where you know the value of all the work that went into arriving here; it helps you appreciate it all the more. All the emotional challenges that have irritated you so far, will suddenly resolve themselves. Relaxed and happy, you are open to all the new possibilities arriving now. Enjoy!
REVERSED: When the Nine of Cups is reversed, you are in danger of forgetting where you came from and taking your current happiness for granted. With established relationships, there is always work that needs to take place to make sure both parties are feeling happy and respected. With all matters, if you ignore the behind-the-scenes maintenance, you are at risk of losing everything that you've worked so hard to create.
The Tens (Xs): Powerful and energetic, Ten acts like an overview for all your accomplishments. It is a beacon for transformation and gathers together all the loose ends just so you can begin again. Fate or destiny can lend a hand when Ten appears. Groups of every kind show how organization and energy can achieve anything when combined with the power of Ten. There is movement on the horizon so seize the moment and revel in the joy of your successes.
Ten Of Wands: Keywords include ambition, burden, drive to win, hard work, realization of a dream, vitality, workaholic, overwork, neglecting other areas of life, welcome responsibilities, expansiveness, great work situation, promotion, raises.
UPRIGHT: With the Ten of Wands, you are on the brink of achieving a lifelong dream. Drive and ambition fuel your passion so all this hard work feels like less of a burden. Sometimes, all the energy you are pouring into this project may feel to be wasted; you doubt yourself and whether this means enough to you. Other times, your ambition may drive you to exclude areas of your life and make your work your sole focus. Learn to relax and leave work at work; you may feel like this is your calling, but you need a life too. *** REVERSED: The responsibilities you shoulder right now with the Ten of Wands reversed are just right. Instead of feeling burdened, these are welcome responsibilities that reinforce your worth and create strong feelings of drive. In an environment of strong workers, you are nurtured and working at your best. External forces support you and you feel like you are in sync with your job. Promotions or raises are a likely result of all your hard work.
Ten Of Coins: Keywords include money and family, gifts, inheritance, loans, financial prosperity, tax rebates, lump sums, material comfort, family support, burdensome family, heavy expectations, conservative beliefs, unexpected expenses, financial drains, disappointments.
UPRIGHT: Money and family are intertwined with the Ten of Coins. Sometimes this can be quite literal, in the case of family businesses, inheritance, loans, or other financial help. Perhaps extended family share a home and in this way the money is interconnected. With the Ten of Coins, it can also be important to show your family that you are successful and desire their approval for how you make money and live you life. The Ten of Coins offers prosperity and comfort, money invested and saved and allows you to look at the long term growth of your wealth.
REVERSED: When the Ten of Coins becomes reversed, the family that is so important to you can seem like a burden rather than a blessing. Perhaps you support relatives or are seeking support that isn't forthcoming. It may be that your family is vocal about how they think you should improve your life. Money matters are especially complicated and there are unexpected drains on your resources. Just when you thought you were getting ahead, that extra money seems to vanish.
Ten Of Swords: Keywords include betrayal, slander, gossip, revealed secrets, end of relationships, rock bottom, depression, negative thinking, troubled period, improvements that don't last, unconscious beliefs, pessimism, stop looking for trouble.
UPRIGHT: The Ten of Swords often indicates betrayal, especially through gossip, betraying confidences and destruction of trust. Words are the enemy here so be cautious about committing anything to paper. When the Ten of Swords appears, it is usually an indicator that something important is coming to an end: beliefs, convictions, career or a relationship. Confronting that your shared time is over can be painful but at this point, you can't hide from it anymore. Moving forward, there is nowhere to go but up.
REVERSED: With the Ten of Swords reversed, it is time to address how your own negative thinking and deeply held beliefs are affecting your life. You may not realize how pessimistic you've become but there is an element of self-fulfilling prophecy in your life. Start to explore how you can slowly change your mindset and embrace positive thought patterns. Stay open to improvements and they will start to enter your life.
Ten Of Cups: Keywords include abundant joy, lasting happiness, blossoming friendships, lasting love affairs, happy homes, success in every area of your life, dreams come true, quarrels, disagreements, fear of losing what you love, moving, loss of friendship, emotional distance.
UPRIGHT: The Ten of Cups is the pinnacle of happiness - it is the point where dreams can come true! Established relationships will only continue to grow and develop and new relationships are easy and filled with harmony. The self-love and respect you developed spreads outward, affecting all you love with your joy. It is the card where wishes are granted but this is not just about luck. There was work, developing a stronger bond with yourself, that has lead to this point. Congratulations!
REVERSED: When the Ten of Cups is reversed, you may feel that you are on the brink of losing what is most important to you. Homes might be sold, children and friends move away, lovers become distant. These emotional disruptions affect you even more right now because they hurt deeply, breaking your heart. All the more important to speak from your soul and express the deep feelings you may have been hiding. Leave petty quarrels and misunderstandings behind you and try to find common ground. True love knows no distance.
Fairy Tail plays it so straight it is obviously Mashima's intention from the start. The Cards Magic Cana uses is formed of tarot cards, and the cards, combined or alone, produce attacks relating to their intended meaning.
The Vision of Escaflowne used a lot of Tarot symbolism, including to name each episode. Rather than using the traditional Rider-Waite Tarot, Hitomi's deck uses the Merlin Tarot (a tarot deck released in the late 1980s based on Arthurian mythology). The difference, however, is that Hitomi's cards are titled in Gratuitous Italian, and the Minor Arcana cards have their titles changed to one of their associated keywords (for example, the "Warrior of Beasts" is renamed "[The] Ambition").
Sartorius in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX uses a Duel Monsters deck based on Tarot cards. Not only does he duel with them, he also uses them symbolically just like real ones, to represent the character traits of people he's facing.
Z-ONE from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds also has Tarot-based cards, albeit of a different type than Sartorius.
Sailor Moon had a filler arc about tree-born aliens who attacked by causing tarot cards to come to life.
At least two of the cards in Cardcaptor Sakura were taken directly from the Tarot - Strength and the Lovers. Generally speaking, cards as a tool for magical powers is obviously inspired by the Tarot, as CLAMP admitted in the Cardcaptor Sakura volume of CLAMP no Kiseki.
In fact the cards were explicitly used as a Tarot deck in the episode "Two Sakuras," when Kero guided Sakura in a reading to identify the Mirror card (and her target).
From the manga: "Water reflects things ... Shadow follows movements ... and Illusion isn't real... so you must be the Mirror card!" Sakura still didn't catch on until her doppelganger started mimicking her moves, though.
Miho, the Oracular Urchin in several episodes of Ranma 1/2, used a Tarot deck for her fortune-telling.
Likewise Chikage in Sister Princess, although any explicit symbolism in the cards was unintentionally subverted by turning the reading into Stock Footage that showed the same five cards, over and over again.
In the first season of the anime Kaleido Star, Fool, the Stage Spirit, can read the future using tarot cards.
The anime version of Death Note had a memorable allusion to The Tower in the couple of episodes that just went crazy with the symbolism all around - Persephone, Maundy Thursday, the internal symbolism of the bells, and probably more.
The front cover of every manga volume can easily be read as a tarot card:
Volume 1: The King of Swords
Volume 2: The King of Swords (unless it's the Page of Swords in a swanky chair)
Volume 3: The Devil
Volume 4: The Lovers
Volume 5: Justice (shippers might say the Two of Cups; Kira supporters might say The Chariot)
Volume 6: The Magician
Volume 7: The Page of Swords
Volume 8: The Knight of Swords
Volume 9: The Hermit
Volume 10: The Chariot
Volume 11: The Eight of Pentacles
Volume 12: Judgment
In Gundam00, Celestial Being uses Tarot-based codenames for various things. The main character's Gundam, Exia is also known as The 7 of Swords (which isn't all that symbolic, considering it actually carries seven swords: four beam, two vibrating a Swiss Army Weapon with a blade the size of a bus) for instance.
More straight example can be found in the side storiesGundam 00P and Gundam 00F feature prototype of Celestial Being's Gundams and each Gundam named after things associate with arcana. Gundam Astraea named after goddess Astraea of The Justice. Gundam Sadalsuud named after Sadalsuud of constellation Aquarius, associate with The Star. Gundam Abulhool named after sphinx in The Chariot. And finally, Gundam Plutone named after Pluto is either Death or Judgement.
While Gundam Wing doesn't explicitly use tarot imagery, an offical tarot deck was released for the show, featuring characters and mobile suits. You can see it here.
The third part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has a group of characters that all have astral-projection based superpowers called "Stands" themed and named after the major arcana. After using up the tarot, later series opted to use the same naming scheme for the character names - late 20th Century pop and rock music.
In the case of CLAMP's X/1999, the creators themselves released a tarot deck. The major arcana art was clearly created with this purpose in mind, but the minor arcana art is mostly recycled from art books. Still, a beautiful (and often pricey) piece of functional art.
The Ending Theme of D.N.Angel shows tarot cards slowly turning around—partially because Risa enjoys telling the future with them.
The Kindaichi Case Files has a serial killer leaving behind Tarot Cards at the crime scene, but Kindaichi very quickly realizes that the killer doesn't understand the cards because said killer leaves the Hanged Man card upside-down.
Kaori Yuki's Count Cain makes liberal use of Tarot cards: Maryweather is introduced as a Tarot-reading street urchin (who continues to read Tarot spreads throughout the series); and the organization Delilah refers to its members by their card names.
The first scene/page in both the anime and manga versions of Ayashi No Ceres feature Aya getting a tarot reading, and the reader freaking out about what she sees.
In Yami No Matsuei during the cruise ship arc, the murderer leaves Tarot cards on or near the bodies of his victims, which serve to reveal the corpse's secrets and explain why they deserved to die. Of course, we find out later, Muraki was the killer, and he was doing it mostly to mess with Princess Tsubaki's head.
One of the endings for Pani Poni Dash! has different characters as tarot cards each episode. Sometimes they fit, other times they're tangentially related at best.
Trinity Blood had its own tarot deck released with the DVD box sets, with illustrations by the same artist who worked on the novels.
Hyouka has the main cast discussing which cards represent them best after dealing with a fellow student with the nickname 'Empress'. Eventually they decide that Chitanda is The Fool, Satoshi is The Magiciian, Ibara is Justice and Oreki is Strength.
Rebuild of Evangelion had aswell it's own tarot set. Most notably, it had Rei as The Fool although this one was shared with Rei I and III, The Star and The World note In her Lilith form ; Kaworu was The Hierophant, The Moon and Death note In this case, he wielded two scythes ; Shinji was Justice and Asuka was The Empress note though for now she's only a princess
In Neil Gaiman's Books of Magic series, the main character visits the end of the universe and discovers that the last living entities are psychic after-echoes of people throughout history who have merged into the major arcana, with the explanation that the tarot cards were inspired by subconscious character archetypes that all people come from and eventually return to.
Earlier on in the series, he gets a reading from Madame Xanadu, and the four cards drawn correspond to the four members of the Trenchcoat Brigade that are acting as his guides.
This crosses into Hellblazer comic when a dead wizard sends him a message showing the the line of people who have held the position of the "Laughing Magician" that he's inherited he's hasn't it's his unborn twin brother who's the Laughing Magician who is using the power that comes with it to screw with John's life making him commit mental suicide allowing the twin to take over, it's that kind of comic. Amongst these are Lady Constantine, other figures from the Constantine family and a figure of Constantine in jester clothes who quotes from the conversation that the soul entity that Timothy confused with John (because he looked exactly like Constantine in jester clothing) in the Books of Magic suggesting they are the same person. Though the entity isn't named from the dress it's obvious it's meant to represent the Fool and it dosen't take much Wild Mass Guessing to suggest that the souls from Laughing Magician line join to become part of (or all of) the fool entity. Also notably John Constantine takes up the position of the fool in the Vertigo Tarot Deck.
Tarot cards tend to show up in Hellblazer from time to time. Constantine confronted his inner demon (in a figurative, yet slightly literal sense), in the form of different tarot cards, in one issue.
Unless it's the same demon, another issue has Constantine "exorcize" all his bad habits and send them down to hell. After being an unambiguously good guy for a while, he's told via expy tarot cards (I don't recall "Reynard the Fox" in any real tarot deck) that he needs the bad parts of himself and has to regain his magnificentlymanipulative abilities. It's implied the mysterious card reader is Jesus.
A minor X-Men villain named Tarot had the ability to bring Tarot illustrations to life and command them, as well as some obvious ability in reading them.
Her teammates, the Hellions, had an annoying habit of scoffing at her divination even though they were fully aware that magic exists in their world.
In Lucifer, a deck of tarot cards called the Basanos were made by an angel in imitation of Destiny's book and achieve their own sentience. They possess the ability not only to see the future, but also to manipulate probability until their victories are inevitable.
Tarot symbolism is a significant part of DC Comics' Trinity, with various villains stealing mystical swords, staves, pentacles and cups on behalf of the Big Bads, Egyptian tarot symbols appearing on Wonder Woman's shoulder, and a kidnapped tarot reader realising that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman can be represented by most of the Major Arcana. It culminated in a spell by the Big Bads to access the power of the archetypes the Trinity represent, and claim their positions.
Also in Trinity, there was a Justice League Arcana and its Evil Counterpart, each hero/villain representing one of the major arcana for their side.
There actually was a Marvel based Tarot deck, though it was only the major arcana. Likewise, DC licensed the Vertigo characters for a full tarot deck a few years back.
The Marvel Tarot deck was used in-universe as a plot device for a minor rival of Dr. Strange, sent on a mysterious quest to gather artifacts aligned with the 4 suits and 4 ancient gods in order to seal some ancient evil/preserve magic in the Marvel universe. The deck itself was in this guy's possession and when drawn from would depict villains or heroes on the cards (though not always the same person every time), symbolizing their fulfillment of that specific role within the Marvel Universe. For example, Dr. Strange would come up as the Magician 9 out of 10 times, but the other time, one of his rivals would appear on the card instead. Most of the time the Scarlet Witch would show up as the High Priestess, but sometimes it would be Storm (indicating her latent magic potential and her role in the Marvel universe).
A memorable issue of Alan Moore's Promethea used the Major Arcana of the Tarot to illustrate the history of the universe, from the Big Bang onward.
World of Flashpoint #2 has Traci Thirteen using Madame Xanadu's tarot deck to locate various people who can advise her or serve as an example, each of whom is the living archetype of a card. The characters she meets are: A Red Tornado android who can't leave the lab he was created in (The Hermit); a freedom-fighting cyborg Nat Irons (Justice); a near-feralBeast Boy (The Chariot ... somehow); a Buddhist pacifistGuy Gardner (Temperance); an imprisoned Circe (The High Priestess); and FatherJason Todd (The High Priest).
In The Secret History, tarot cards are tools of immense power based on the immortal Archons' superpowered runestones. The Archons and those in the know — referred to as "players" — call tarot cards "blades."
In Cerebus the Aardvark, the cover art for the issues in the Reads arc as well as the cover for the phonebook featured Tarot themes.
Fan made Tarots are occasionally created in fandoms.
In The Princess and the Frog, when Dr. Facilier reads Naveen and Lawrence's futures, no cards are named, but we clearly see The Fool, Three of Pentacles, and the Tower in Naveen's hand, while Lawrence is almost a replica of Ten of Wands - mirroring their situations in life perfectly. And it gets better. Naveen's hand also shows a card of himself between two lovely ladies, which resembles The Lovers. However, the number itself on the card is XV - the number of the Devil, symbolizing temptation and a need for self-control. Next the card flips into something with a IX on it, probably the Nine of Pentacles (physical independence from marrying a wealthy woman). It all works, and it's not a little delightful.
John Sandford's Kidd series of novels all feature tarot motifs in their titles.
Film — Live Action
One modern deck, often marketed as the Tarot of the Witches, was actually designed for the James Bond film Live and Let Die. Early versions even had the 007 logo on the back, like in the film.
The Star Wars movies feature tarot imagery. In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke is constantly in Hanged Man poses - hanging in the cave, floating in the bacta tank, upside down on Dagobah, swinging from the vane beneath Cloud City. The motif is appropriate to Luke's spiritual transition from brash kid to wise Jedi and the sacrifice, of both his hand and his innocence, that accompanies that transition.
Not to mention that Vader and Yoda are pretty clearly Death and Hermit archetypes. Yoda even waves one of Luke's penlights around in lieu of a lantern.
Leia as card VI; 'Get that walking carpet out of my face!'
What about sabacc in the EU? The names have been changed, such as "Moderation" instead of Temperance and the "Evil One" instead of the Devil. The Lando books even have him using his deck in this way.
The opening credits for the Disney film The Haunted Mansion feature three tarot cards representing the tale of Master Gracey and his lost love: The Lovers, Death, and the Three of Swords (which represents betrayal and heartbreak).
The Ninth Gate includes extensive Tarot imagery, both for actual characters and situations. For example, a minor character is killed and his body is found looking exactly like the Hanged Man, (also reflecting one of the illustrations in the book) while Balkan's death occurs in a Tower ravaged by flame after he becomes too proud, and numerous characters are analogs of various cards, including: Boris Balkan as the Magician, Baroness Kessler as the High Priestess, Mrs. Telfer as, depending on your interpretation, either the Empress or a new, younger High Priestess, Vargas as Death, (his entire family, estate, everything around him is physically dead, and it's when the main character examines his copy of the book that he starts going from just doing a job to being interested in what's really happening) and perhaps also the Hermit, while Corso is the story's Fool with Hidden Depths... really hidden depths in some interpretations. (Like the one that says that Corso is actually Satan and has undergone a Xanatos Roulette and Memory Gambit to return to heaven. The book is supposed to "raise the devil" and so it does, by showing him the way back home). (For a bonus, the knapsack Corso which one character remarks on and notes that he seems to take it everywhere even mirrors the one the Fool traditionally carries).
He used a lot of Tarot Motif in his Constellation cycle. There were space ships that took the forms of the four suits.
Tarot cards and their history are also the central theme of his early Tarot trilogy.
Harry Potter used Tarot symbolism a couple of times, most obviously in a the chapter called "The Lightning-Struck Tower" in which Dumbledore died and the Tarot divination seance done by Trelawney which Harry spied on. It's also arguable that Snape has been made intentionally in a Hanged Man figure with the image of his young self under the spell of Levicorpus - he certainly fits the meaning.
Parodied with the Discworld Caroc deck, which includes cards such as The Importance Of Washing The Hands instead of Temperance. In Mort Princess Keli takes Death out of the pack three times in a row... without putting it back. This is a bad sign.
One Wild Cards book features a variant with Rosa Loteria, an Ace whose powers depend on which card she draws out of a Mexican loteria deck.
In Emma Bull's book Bone Dance, Tarot itself plays a large role, and the chapters are set up like an actual Tarot reading.
At the end of The Gunslinger, the Man in Black tells Roland's future (and foreshadows the plots of the next two books) with a tarot deck.
Last Call by Tim Powers runs on this (combined with a poker motif). The central conflict of the book is a contest to either become or remain The King, and probably every named character represents a card.
The Chronicles of Amber series has a deck of magical cards called Tarot used for communication and to transport oneself from one world to another using the "Trumps" (another name for the Major Arcana). There's a few full fledged Tarot decks made as merchandising for the series or the Tabletop RPG. Some people believe that the most gorgeous of them was the classical Marseille deck by Florence Magnin.
Images from the Major Arcana would appear in the books as well. One scene had a man hanging upside down from a tree = The Hanged Man. Another image during a hellride through Shadow had a crown in the air with a sword vertical through it = Ace of Swords. There may well have been many more references scattered through the books. Descriptions, unfortunately, don't always bring the image of a specific Tarot card to mind.
In Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell, Childermass has a deck of Marseilles cards that predicts a number of events, which all become clear in retrospect - and some earlier.
Within the Gates of Ivory trilogy by Doris Egan, Theodora of Pyrene is hired by one of the aristocrats for her Tarot reading skill. It turns out that much of his business success is because his family possesses a magical deck which provides accurate (and immersive) predictions, but only works for one person at a time and it's chosen her.
In the Imperial Guard novel Cadian Blood, the regiment's sanctioned psyker, having read the cards, boldly asks to speak with the Space Marine librarian about "the Emperor's Tarot". This conversation leads to a general warning. The card imagery is allWarhammer 40000.
In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Blood Pact, Daur at one point plays with cards to pass time; some of the imagery is Warhammer 40000.
It would, incidentally, be difficult to get a deck that was consistent with all three novels without its being enormous.
In Christie Golden's Ravenloft novel Vampire of the Mists, Jander Sunstar has the cards read for him. Death appears — the reader tells him it doesn't necessarily mean death, but he thinks it does. The Tower appears and she likes that considerably less. Then the Sun and she thinks it good news and he does not like it at all. (You see, he's a vampire.)
In the first Circle Of Three book, the Three of Cups is integral to convincing Kate to stay friends with Annie and Cooper and pursue magical studies with them. The plot of the fourth novel revolves around Annie's new-found talent with the Tarot.
In The Eagle Has Landed, by Jack Higgins, the Nazi officers being sent to assassinate Winston Churchill are given a Tarot reading at one point. One draws death, and is told that it's possibly a good omen; when the commander's card is drawn, the psychic immediately puts it back in the deck without showing him and lies that it was strength (it was actually the hanged man). Guess which one of them lives.
In the Thieves' World setting, the Tarot-like deck is used by S'Danzo fortune-tellers and once in a while a complex reading becomes plot-relevant.
Samuel R. Delany's Nova is a science fiction novel that includes a running theme of Tarot readings and imagery amid the cyborgs and starships. One curious thing is that a Romany character states that his people consider the Tarot to be utter BS, and a scholar is astonished by this: how could anyone intelligent not believe in Tarot?
Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series uses tarot imagery with an interesting twist. The "Deck of Dragons" is organized into Houses based on a certain theme (Light, Death, Shadow ect.) with a smattering of Unaligned which correlate strongly to the Major Arcana with such concepts as chance, wisdom, and authority. The twist is that these cards often represent actual characters from the series and that who embodies each card is subject to change based on events in the books (for example when certain characters die they then take positions in the House of Death). So the Deck not only can be used to predict the future but to also describe the present state of supernatural politics.
In Dune Messiah, we're occasionally given details of a new tarot deck that was recently issued and uses symbolism based on Paul's reign as emperor. This actually turns out to be a plot point; the deck was issued by a conspiracy against Paul, since the sheer number of people attempting to read the future (albeit ineptly) creates a constant prescient static which causes Paul to ignore any signs of static he gets around the conspiracy (prescients have trouble seeing things around other prescients).
In the New Jedi Order, Droma, a member of the space-faring Ryn species that are hated and reviled for their Gypsy-like ways, successfully reads Han Solo's fortune using the sabacc deck. Its cards seem to be a combination of Tarot's Arcana with a few fey elements thrown in (the Queen of Air and Darkness, for example, the ruler of the Unseelie Court in Dungeons & Dragons), all of it given a Star Wars flavor.
Charles Williams wrote several modern fantasy novels, including The Greater Trumps, which is all about Tarot — specifically the One True Original Tarot Deck, the only one that can really tell fortunes (and control the elements), and the magical self-playing chess-like collection of images linked to the deck.
In Valerie Worth's novel Gypsy Gold, Bella reads Miranda's fortune using these cards.
Sarah Monette's The Doctrine of Labyrinths features the Sibylline. Though obviously analogous to the Tarot, the trumps include such cards as the Parliament of Bees, the Two-Handed Engine, the Hermaphrodite and the Heart of Light. Minor arcana are sometimes used in readings.
Ru Emerson's The Princess of Flames makes use of a fantasy version; the title is one of the cards.
Lani Diane Rich's The Fortune Quilt repeatedly uses the phrase "Towered" as a reference to having one's entire life trashed and having to start over again. (It also features a psychic quilt designer.)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: in "Restless", a tarot card which features hands is presented as Buffy's. Later it shows her friend. This fits with her being Manus in the "super slayer" spell
Taken Up to Eleven with a WMG that each episode of Season 5 is a Tarot Card... and works!
The first musical episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, "The Bitter Suite", used Tarot symbolism in sequences that took place in "the land of Illusia" - a sort of embodied form of Xena and Gabrielle's subconsciouses. Callisto appeared as the Fool (and spun the Wheel of Fortune), Joxer as the Hanged Man, Gabrielle was dressed up to look like the Empress, et cetera.
Carnivàle kicks off with the tarot imagery right from the opening credits, with a deck created especially for the show. It shows a deck of cards, then uses historical footage to make parallels: the Great Depression with The World; the Dust Bowl for the Ace of Swords; the KKK and Nazi Germany for Death; Babe Ruth and Jesse Owens as Temperance; the U.S. Capitol Building as The Tower; and FDR as Judgment. The cards themselves are all based on famous paintings. Too bad it's not a real deck and, according to Dan Knauf, HBO will never let them create or market the deck.
The character of Sofie is, at the beginning, the Carnivale's tarot-card reader and fortuneteller. She is frequently seen reading cards, and in the pilot, gives Ben a prophetic reading. The Moon in the "Past" position, with a flashback of Ben healing a dead kitten as a child; Death in the "Present" position, highlighting Ben's healing powers and his mother's condemnation of what he is; and The Magician reversed in the "Future" position, showing Ben's denial of his powers and ignorance of what that really means in the grand scheme of things. At the end, Sofie is concerned about Ben's reaction and asks what he's hiding, provoking a vision of Justin shouting "TELL ME!", which won't happen until the series finale, and not even to Ben, but to Sofie.
Another significant reading occurs in "Cheyenne, WY", in a flashback Iris has of Justin raping Apollonia, proving he is Sofie's father. Unfortunately, very little of the reading is visible, but the Temperance card is one highlighted aspect, showing the subtext of the scene (the merging of opposites, synthesis, bringing of harmony).
Kamen Rider Blade draws primarily from standard playing cards, but each of the four Kamen Riders is named for the Tarot suit that corresponds to their playing card suit: Blade = Spades/Swords, Garren = Diamonds/Coins*
Name derived from "Galleon"
, Chalice = Hearts/Cups, and Leangle = Clubs/Wands*
A liangle is a kind of staff
Father Ted, a British comedy series set in Ireland, used the ominous misinterpretations of death for laughs. Ted visits a fortune teller during a carnival and she draws Death. He gasps, then's told it's not actually bad. She draws Death again, then one more time. Then lampshades it with "There's only supposed to be one in each pack!"
Reaper included one escaped soul that acted as a fortune teller with card based powers. She tells Sam's future, then legs it after drawing three Devils in a row. Includes some very good foreshadowing when she brings up conflict with his father.
Episode 2.02 of Ashes To Ashes has a murder occurring among a gypsy community. Of course, the local Wise Woman has to read Alex's cards, telling her she's due to meet someone "tall, some would say handsome, some would call him the Devil made flesh". She then draws the Hanged Man for Gene - symbolizing self-sacrifice, paradoxes, and being caught between two worlds.
Becomes Fridge Brilliance and a Call Forward in Season Three when it's revealed that Alex is in Dead Copper Purgatory, created by Gene, the psychopomp guardian who helps lost souls cross over, and does meet a tall, handsome Devil made flesh in Jim Keats, who may possibly be Satan himself.
Bones has some Tarot imagery in it, most obviously in an episode that centers around a tarot reader. Overarching the entire show is a character named Temperance, and one of the central aspects of the show is her close professional relationship with someone who is very much her opposite.
Some time in the '80s or '90s, All My Children featured a storyline involving a Tarot reading in which the Tower appeared. The reader fudged the reading and told the recipient it meant something good, but another character (Opal?) later upbraided her for it, saying (rightly) "You and I know that is the worst card in that deck!*
Well, some might rank the Nine or Ten of Swords as worse than the Tower, but it's a fair assessment.
" Very refreshing to not see Death automatically (and incorrectly) used, for once.
Had the minor artifacts called Decks of Many Things, which are obviously tarot decks (though equivalent playing cards are also included). The deck can bring good things or bad, such as enough experience to gain a level, or a powerful enemy. Or large amounts of wealth. Or poverty. Or wishes. Or instant and (almost) irreversible death. If you come across such a deck and you're not mid-to-high level, your DM is insane and you'd best not touch it.
In the classic Castle Ravenloft adventure, the DM is supposed to make a tarot reading to decide elements of the adventure (including Strahd's motivation). This led to the Tarokka deck; the cards used by the Vistani in the wider Ravenloft setting.
The 2nd Edition supplement Encyclopedia Magica Volume 1 listed a complete set of instructions for magical effects based on all cards, upright and reversed, in the "Tarot Deck of Many Things". Usually, upright cards were good news and reversed cards were bad news, but with effects ranging from "You will soon have a castle of your very own" to "Die, burst into flames, and be reborn in 5d5 minutes as another race".
Generally, these decks are really best used when the campaign is getting boring and you feel like stirring things up.
The fact that humanity occasionally consults the Emperor's Tarot for advice in Warhammer 40000 says a lot about the setting. The fact that the readings are almost always some variation of "we're screwed" says even more.
There was a tarot for Mage The Ascension which features the four essences (Dynamism, Stasis, Entropy and Questing) as the suits of the minor arcana. The meaning of the major arcana was changed to suit the setting (The Moon, for instance, has two werewolves howling as the goddess Luna emerges from a pool of blood).
Mage The Awakening, the new-edition reboot, has the five separate mage paths each identified with a particular card: Acanthus (the Fool), Mastigos (the Devil), Moros (Death), Obrimos (Strength), and Thyrsus (the Moon). One of its sourcebooks, Keys to the Supernal Tarot, explores the Tarot, using its symbolism as inspiration for plot hooks and story ideas. Like Ascension, it has its own tarot deck.
Mages are also able to learn how to use the Tarot to enhance their powers, essentially drawing a card and determining if it indicates that the spell they want to cast is fated to succeed (or fail).
KULT has the Tarotica which is pretty much Tarot based on its cosmology. The minor arcana are changed to five suits. Skull (death), rose (passion), hourglass (time & space), eye (madness) and moon (dream).
In the Nephilim RPG, Major Arcana play an important role in the game's cosmology. All nephilim 'belong' to one particular Arcanum that defines the personality of that character.
Yu Gi Oh has the "Arcana Force" series of monsters, each one representing one of the Arcanas. Their gimmick is that you must toss a coin every time you summon one and, depending on the result, you either get game breaking effects or major nerfing. Noticeably, while quite a few of the numbers are absent, and two new ones were created (EX - The Light Ruler and EX - The Dark Ruler).
After the "Arcana Force" archetype, there is now the "Magical" series, also based on the major arcana.
The Villains And Vigilantes sourcebook Opponents Unlimited included the villain team the Tarot Masters, who were split into the Minor Arcana (non-powered underlings grouped into the four suits and issued special weapons resembling their suit), and the Major Arcana (which was made up of supervillains resembling one of the 22 trumps). They were even the villains of The Pentacle Plot, an adventure booklet outside of the sourcebook where they first appeared, almost unheard of for that game.
Due to a licensing problem regarding SPECTRE, the James Bond 007 RPG substituted the evil organization with TAROT. Which has a tarot card motif, naturally.
Call Of CthulhuThe Fungi from Yuggoth campaign, section "Castle Dark". The PCs can encounter a GypsyFortune Teller and her son. The woman attempts a reading using Tarot cards but it foretells only death and disaster for the PCs.
Cirque du Soleil's ZED is built around this, starting with the titular protagonist representing The Fool. Check out the character list at the official website.
The obscure Sega Saturn game Mansion Of Hidden Souls used Tarot cards as a compass, in the sense that each room would be associated with a tarot card and when you used the deck in the blank-slated main hall, the card revealed would guide you to which room you had to go next (if you remembered which room had which card associated to it, that is).
In Quest For Glory IV, you can visit a band of gypsies after you rescue one of them. The old woman will read your fortune periodically. The cards will vary depending on what point you are in the story as well as some minor tweaks based on which class you are. They added one card, the void - a pure black card that represents the Eldritch Abomination; it basically marks the end of reliable prediction and freaks the gypsy out severely that it keeps coming up.
There were six other cards besides, each representing a piece of the Eldritch Abomination: bones, blood, breath, senses, heart, and essence. These only show up in the very last reading, when you learn where to find the spell scrolls that allow you to summon the body parts of said Abomination.
The Curse Of Monkey Island has you encounter a gypsy woman who will read Guybrush's fortune five times. Each time the fortune consists of a single Death card. Guybrush asserts that the Death card is merely a representation of change, but the gypsy insists that in this case, it is not. You are going to die. Which is true, as you fake your death shortly after that. Several times, although maybe not five.
Guybrush: "I've got five Death cards. That can't be good."
Later, you use those five Death cards to cheat at poker.
Tarot cards are used as expository/recap devices in Tales of Monkey Island. They actually invented new ones (all modeled on the Major Arcana, of course), e.g. "The Plague" and "The Sacrifice."
Sa Ga Frontier had a whole Set of Spells based off the Tarot (Saber, Gold, Shield, Grail, Death, Fool, Magician, and Tower)
Almost every character in Magical Drop is based directly on one of the Major Arcana. Exactly how close they are to the actual card depends on the character — the Empress is nearly perfect, embodying the positive and negative maternal aspects of the card, with a Dominatrix Evil Overlord persona and a kind, nurturing, saintly one — the plot of the second game revolves around freeing her from being stuck permanently in the former persona. The Lovers, on the other hand, is a five-year-old girl who rides around on a pig — try figuring that one out. Notably, they actually corrected a mistake between games. In Magical Drop 2, Strength was a huge, villainous, and male bruiser... which is the exact opposite of everything the card represents, so for 3, his virtuous and courageous tomboy daughter ended up taking his place. And last but not least, we have The World, who is not only Ms. Fanservice, but, ironically enough, the ribbon that strategically covers her takes away from a more accurate representation.
All of the boss monsters in the House of the Dead series excluding those in Overkill are named after Major Arcana cards. As of the fourth game in the series, only the High Priestess, Moon, and Devil have been left unused.
The Magician, Emperor, Wheel of Fortune, and World are especially important, serving as the final bosses of the first four games. Respectively, they use fire, shapeshifting, electricity, and ice to attack the player, so in a sense, they symbolise the elements. Now all we need is a final boss that symbolizes Earth.
Also, some of the bosses are hilariously off-kilter from their appropriate interpretation. For instance, Temperance is the Incredible Hulk crossbred with a morbidly obese frog, the Empress is a dual-chainsaw-wielding monstrosity, and Hierophant is basically an undead Sahaguin. Others, like the Tower (big scary Hydra), Wheel of Fate ("I shall destroy everything... and resurrect everything."), Emperor (created to "destroy and hate mankind" (with that exact wording) and preserve the environment at ''all'' costs,) and Star (astrokinetic humanoid whose purpose is to test the heroes' strength) are more akin to their namesakes.
ThePersonaserieshas this in droves. Every persona you can create belongs to one of the Major Arcana. The Minor Arcana appear in 2 and 3, the former as mutatable Personas, and the latter as after-battle bonuses (Sword gives you a weapon, Cup heals you, Wand increases your EXP, and Coin gives you money). Much of the third and fourth games are dedicated to improving your proficiencies in major arcana through social interactions with humans that, through personalities and life situations, represent one of the major arcana. Also in 4, the main team summons their Personas by destroying their respective Tarot card.
In the third and fourth games, all of your Personas get a boost from the "Social Links" you develop over the course of the game. These Social Links are each tied to a major arcana, and in a case of Doing The Research, the stories in these links always tie into the real meaning behind the cards. Death is also used properly in both Persona 3 and Persona 4. It may not always be obvious that the stories properly reflect their arcana, but by the end you'll see it. This is jarring in Persona 4's Moon Arcana, who is a Rich Bitch nothing like her card's meaning, though it all ties into the created-facade of the Moon Arcana in the end, no worries.
Persona 3's major boss battles also correspond to the Arcana and are arranged by number (until Death), and the Social Links correspond to an Arcana-based metaphor for life, "The Fool's Journey," which also shows up in the protagonist's allies and enemies, as well as in the fourteen forms of the final boss. Also, each of the Arcana bosses represent each tarot in the reverse position.
In Persona 4, the party's Shadows, Mitsuo's Shadow (as The Hermit), and to some extent Namatame (as Justice) as Kunino Sagiri and Adachi (as The Fool) are representative of the reverse form of that Arcana.
Incidentally, the protagonist's associated arcana is The Fool, which is sometimes numbered zero, which can represent infinite potential, which is the protagonist's unique ability of the "Wild Card", as only he can use multiple personas.
It also represents the "Fool's Journey", as The Fool is often seen as being like the Protagonist of the tarot deck, with the other cards in the Major arcana representing his journey - so they literally gave him the card that represented the hero going on a quest of some kind. It also represents childish wisdom, the ability to tap into the kind of insight and enthusiasm that children often have - the protagonist seems to be like this, seeing as his responses to most of the social links are quite brief and to the point, yet they always make an impact when you pick the right thing to say.
The series also contains what may be a rare reference to the playing card aspect of the tarot, particularly in the way The Fool is used. Not only does it parallel its modern playing card descendant, the Joker, which is usually a wild card if used at all, 3 cleverly works the Fool's usage in the original card game into the story's conclusion. Specifically, in the original game, The Fool, its value being zero, always loses a trick. Its main purpose is to be sacrificed so the player can save more valuable cards for later. This parallels the inevitability of the protagonist's doom and his eventual Heroic Sacrifice.
A (very brief) rundown of the important Major Arcana Social Links for the female side of Persona 3: Magician: Junpei, your new best buddy who is immature but shows great promise and starts you off. Priestess: Fuuka, an intelligent girl trying to expand her knowledge; Empress: The commanding yet caring Mitsuru, your team leader and founder; Emperor: The overbearing student council member who takes his authority way too seriously; Hierophant: An old couple running a bookstore whose (late) son was a schoolteacher; Lovers: Yukari, a girl trying to figure out her path in life who is disgusted by how her mom throws herself at any man she sees; Chariot: Your best friend on the sports team who loves the sport perhaps a bit too much; Justice: Ken, a shy Kid Hero who is learning there's more to life than Black and White Morality; Hermit: A girl who puts everyone else before her but has become distanced because of it; Fortune: A flash-in-the-pan romance that has a nasty twist ending; Strength: An almost literal representation with a girl (you) and a dog, man's best friend; Hanged Man: A little girl upset at her divorcing parents who thinks it's all her fault they don't love each other and is prepared to run away to get them back together (self-sacrifice); Death: A Creepy Kid who keeps telling you that everything's going to change for the worse soon (and the day after you last see him, they do); Temperance: A French Japanophile (mixing of opposites); The Devil: A Corrupt Corporate Executive whose ads describe him as "the granter of you desires!"; Tower: A monk who's so disillusioned he said "screw it" and started smoking cigars and drinking heavily; Star: Akihiko, an intelligent athlete who fights for a better tomorrow; Moon: A rude tough-guy punk who is secretly a very caring man who loves cooking (illusion); Sun: A dying young man who impossibly finds something to be optimistic about; Judgement: Your team coming together to see things through to the end in the final battle.
In the first three Persona games, Persona and Persona 2 (Persona 2 was split into a duology), the Personas are manifested through cards symbolizing them. Most of them are from one of the major arcana, but a few are from the minor arcana. They don't take the tarot motif quite as far as Persona 3, though. Which is probably why you can take high-class Arcanas like Judgment and World like any other rather than being reserved as the highest of highest, and one of your characters (Elly/Eriko/Ellen) is the representative of Judgment.
Persona 4 takes out the Minor Arcana, removes Aeon (which is Judgment in another form) and replaces Universe with World, which is the exact same thing, just in a different deck. This time, however, you can have Personas from all of the Arcana. Aeon however returns in The Golden with Marie as well as the newly introduced Pierrot arcana with Tohru Adachi, which can potentially transform into the Lust Arcana at the end depending on whether or not you choose to help him cover up his crimes.
Tarot cards are used as magic spells in Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen.
Silent Hill contains this trope primarily in the third game, which also introduces a new Major Arcana card, the "Eye of Night". All of the Major Arcana, including the Eye of Night, are also used as page headers in the Book of Lost Memories.
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia has an equippable ring for each of the Major Arcana. Some of them just increased stats, while others had special effects: The Sun and Moon rings, for example, increased most stats only during the day or night, respectively, and The World cut your MP consumption in half. The most notable one is Death (found in the Clock Tower, which is appropriately where you fight the real Death), which ramps up your stats in exchange for making Shanoa a One Hit Point Wonder.
The Four Masks in Shadow Hearts are based on four Minor Arcana of tarot, and are of the appropriate element for their suit. They're little-developed, so it's hard to say if they have the right personalities, unfortunately. As they're also evil, it features crossover with Four is Death.
Also, Lucia in Shadow Hearts: Covenant can utilize tarot cards as a special attack. True to tarot form, the cards have a chance of being "reversed" and applying their effects in manners that don't favor the party, so it's a gamble to use her tarots in a serious battle.
The Fools Errand takes place in the land of Tarot, with characters and settings based on the Rider-Waite deck.
Primal uses the Tarot motif in its four worlds. It never explicitly states this (except in the concept art gallery, which is laid out in the form of a deck). however, it is fairly obvious which worlds are which. Solum-Snow-Disks, Aquis-Water-Cups, Aetha-swords and knives and blades everywhere-Swords, Volca-Fire-Wands.
The online text game Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands has a skill named Tarot which both Jesters and Occultists have. It allows them to inscribe blank cards with tarot symbols and actually use them as weapons; each card's use is based somewhat on the symbol inscribed. For example, Priestess restores health, Magician restores mana, Universe (a different translation of World) lets you move around the world quickly, Hanged Man lets you bind opponents with ropes, Hermit can return you to a room that no one is in, etc.
In Riviera: The Promised Land, the Tarot card item is available. Whichever card that is played is determined by the character and has some connection with it either in terms of appearance or background, so dark-clothed, bat-winged, and scythe-proficient Serene ends up playing The Devil.
While tarot cards aren't items in Yggdra Union, fan artist Akihito is working on a themed set of the Major Arcana. The set features Pamela as The Fool, Rosary as The Magician, Mistel as The High Priestess, Emelone as The Empress, Gulcasa as The Emperor, Baldus as The Hierophant, Russell and Flone as The Lovers, Durant as The Chariot, Emilia as Strength, Zilva as The Hermit, Luciana and Aegina as The Wheel of Fortune, Yggdra as Justice, Gordon as The Hanged Man, Roswell as Death, Nietzsche as Temperance, Leon as The Devil, Elena as The Tower, Kylier as The Star, Milanor as The Moon, Cruz as The Sun, Marietta as Judgement, and Nessiah as The World.
A few cards haven't been finished yet, but those that are complete can be found here.
In the Japanese version of Xenogears, the Gears used by Elly's squad are named after the suits of the Minor Arcana. Only Sword Knight and Wand Knight kept their names in the English version, with Shield Knight changed to Aegis Knight and Cup Knight changed to Claw Knight.
In Mana Khemia, Roxis fights using tarot-like cards, both as flung projectiles, stringing them together like a whip, and by channeling their power.
The Meta-Beings from Baroque are based on each arcana with The Chariot change to The Tank and The Strength changed to The Power. Only major aracana can be encounter for most of time, the minor arcana appear as boss and only by beaten them cause them to spawn in bonus dungeon.
Final Fantasy XI has the Cardians - magically animated soldiers used to defend Windurst, though a number of them have gone rogue. While the loyal Cardians use the standard suits from a deck of playing cards, rogue Cardians instead use the Minor Arcana suits. Also, considering that rogue Cardians may drop their namesake card when defeated, it is possible for a player to collect a full set of the Minor Arcana (though doing so is both time and inventory consuming, especially considering that the high rank cards are notorious monsters of frightening power.)
Several of the Major Arcana cards are represented by the Taruit cards used in a sidequest in Jeuno.
The 'Magic Pack' optional minor expansion in City of Heroes includes a special power allowing players to give other players a random, long-lasting Tarot themed buff. Not all of the Major Arcana are represented, but all of them use existing characters, objects and organisations in the game to represent the cards.
Dragon Quest IV has Meena, a fortune-teller who can use a deck of Tarot cards in-battle for various effects. The only negative one, though, is The Fool, which results in a Total Party Kill.
Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean had the major arcana appear as a usable magnus. One magnus, received as the reward for completing the star map, would cycle between all 22. It makes sense seeing as how cards were the impetus for all battling in the game, anyway.
Lunar Knights has several Major Arcana cards as consumable items.
In its predecessor, Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django, also featured them. There were also several Tarot cards needed to progress through the game.
In Valkyrie Profile, a particular dungeon's major puzzle is based around the various tarot cards.
Ge Ne Sis, a flash game, has tarot motifs as summonings.
In Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2, all but four of Luxord's twenty-four weapons are named after the Major Arcana. The two that are missing are "Judgement" and "Wheel of Fortune." The four non-Tarot cards are Fair Game (his weapon in Kingdom Hearts II), The Joker, Finest Fantasy 13 (Called Ultimate Illusion XIII in Japan), and High Roller's Secret.
In a popular mod for the fourth installation of the Civilization game series, Fall From Heaven II, there is a funny on-the-side minigame, Somnium, which is played with a deck of 54 cards; 3-7 in ten suits (Angels, Devils, Pentacles, Staves, Suns, Moons, Towers, Dragons, Swords and Cups) as well as three "Fool" cards and a "Death" card. The objective of the game is to gather cards so that your set of highest-of-each-suit sum beats that of your opponent, and you and your opponent each takes one turn at a time at drawing cards; You turn one card at a time and can "bank" the cards at any time, but if you hit the "Death" card or turn up two of the same suit, all drawn cards are discarded. The "Fool" cards allow you to steal a card from the opponent.
You can win a minor diplomacy bonus towards leaders by besting them in a tournament game, but will suffer a likewise relation penalty by losing such a game.
Ib features only one tarot card — the Hanged Man — but it's fairly important for the development of Garry's character, especially in the ending where he lives up to the card's meaning of self-sacrifice by giving up his rose (i.e. his life) to the resident psycho to save Ib and the Hanged Man painting in the gallery is replaced by a portrait of his dead/sleeping body in an evocation of the card's alternate meaning of entrapment.
Golden Sun Dark Dawn's main antagonists follow a tarot motif in their names; Blados (swords), Chalis (cups), and Arcanus (the Arcana).
Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai has a brief scene where most of the extended cast is assigned a specific tarot card. For example, Capt is assigned the Fool in relation to his free spirited protagonist like attitude. Kokoro is the Moon, emphasizing illusions and trickery. Everyone dreads getting the Death card, but the two characters who do draw it are largely unconcerned and the intended meaning for the pair is not elaborated on.
The Midnight Crew from Homestuck seem to be based off of the four minor suits, in name and actions.
Spades Slick relates to Swords, as the violent, cunning leader of the crew. He is frequently seen coordinating their actions and committing ghastly murders. His "real" counterpart Jack Noir is a Knife Nut.
Hearts Boxcars relates to Cups, which can be seen when he urges Tavros (as his exile) to kiss Vriska.
Diamonds Droog mostly relates to the wealth aspect of Coins - he considers himself the most well dressed and civilized of the crew, having several finely tailored suits and several backup hats.
Clubs Deuce relates to the staves suit. He wields a Bull Penis Cane, and is the demolitions expert of the crew. He also takes simple tasks very seriously, with intent to follow them through to completion.
The Trolls use playing card symbols for their various, complicated relationships, all of which are a form of romance: Hearts is "Matesprit" or romantic love (extreme pity from the troll's POV), diamonds is "Moirail" or friendship (one prevents the other from going over the Moral Event Horizon), clubs is "Auspistice" or mediator between two people, and spades is "Kismesis" or Foe Yay.
The Kids at various times also have a card deck theme: As children Dave and John wore heart and spade shirts, respectively (this caused Karkat to believe John was his fated nemesis); Rose wears a Gritty Reboot of the Squiddie logo that looks like The Punisher's shirt crossed with a club (club = wands, and Rose is a magic-user), and Jade recently alchemized a Felt/Midnight Crew gun with a diamond on it.
The webseries Broken Saints engages in a creepily effective round of foreshadowing when the main characters avail themselves of a free tarot reading given by a creepy albino shopkeeper.
Parodied in the Homestar Runner flash Jibblies 2, in a scene with Strong Sad and Pom Pom.
In the credits sequence of The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy's earlier seasons, although not named as such, we see the three main characters as what are clearly Tarot cards. Billy is The Fool (fittingly enough), Mandy is The Hierophant, and Grim is... well, I'll let you figure that one out.
Shows up in The Simpsons, one of the episodes about the future. The Simpsons go to a Renaissance fair, and Lisa gets a tarot reading. Even plays with the Death card, listed above.
Lisa: [gulp] The Death card?
Fortune Teller: No, that's good: it means "transition, change".
Lisa: [relieved] Oh. [the fortune teller draws "The Happy Squirrel" card] Oh, that's cute!
Fortune Teller: [gasps] THE HAPPY SQUIRREL!
An alarming number of real-world Tarot decks have begun including an optional Happy Squirrel card.
Also a Couch Gag showing Tarot card versions of Homer (King of Cups), Marge (Queen of Cups), Bart (The Fool), Lisa (The Princess) and Maggie (Death).