Follow TV Tropes


Tarot Motifs

Go To

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 (pronounced "TA-row" – rhymes with "sparrow") 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, e.g. "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, specifically the 1780s. This probably had to do with the publication of some very popular writings (pro and con) by Protestant clerics and Freemasons who had made extensive studies of the cards. A clergyman-Freemason scholar, Antoine de Gebelin, wrote about Tarot in 1781 in his book The Primitive World, a hugely influential study on supernatural belief. Eliphas Levi's 1850s textbooks on Ritual Magic first identified the cards as an esoteric key. 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, which is far more symbolic of actual literal death than Death (who is more a symbol of abrupt end and sudden change, which doesn't have to be bad).

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 (1910) 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 Tarot 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. note 


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). The quote by Eliot above is an example of 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.

For more details on the traditional meanings see Tarot Cards.

For actual Tarot readings, accurate or not, see Tarot Troubles. See also/compare Astrologer.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Seen in Assassination Classroom with Lovro's explanation of the Secret Killing Technique. The Chariot represents a powerful opponent, The Fool for the actual technique, and The Moon for an assassin.
  • Black★Rock Shooter has the characters Chariot (who rides a Spider Tank with Spiked Wheels and has wheels for feet herself) and Strength (a powerful little girl). While not as obvious, Black★Rock Shooter represents The Star, Dead Master represents Death, and Black★Gold Saw represents The Devil. Also, the plots of each episode can be represented by the Major Arcana going in order. The first episode is represented by the Fool, the Magician, the Emperor, the Empress, and the Hierophant. The last episode is represented by the Judgement and the World.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura:
    • At least two of the cards 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). Sakura still didn't catch on until her doppelganger started mimicking her moves, though.
      Sakura: Shadow moves like a body's twin, Water reflects, and Illusions aren't the real thing... That's it! Clow card, your name is Mirror!
  • The first scene/page in both the anime and manga versions of Ceres, Celestial Legend feature Aya getting a tarot reading and the reader freaking out about what she sees.
  • 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.
  • Sendou Daiki from Danball Senki tries to have this, but it appears that he never found out what any of the cards actually mean. For example, he tries to intimidate Ban with Death, but in reality the card means change instead of actual death.
  • 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: Death
      • 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 Descendants of Darkness 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.
  • The Ending Theme of D.N.Angel shows tarot cards slowly turning around—partially because Risa enjoys telling the future with them.
  • Durarara!! has one scene where Izaya is discussing his plans, using tarot cards as symbols of the characters. Mikado is The Tower, Anri is The Star Reversed, Kisane is The Moon, and Shizuo is Strength, though this last one is subverted because it doesn't actually mean physical strength but rather inner strength and calmness, two things Shizuo definitely doesn't have. In fact, his inability to control his temper combined with his inhuman strength is why he's so feared.
  • Fairy Tail plays it so straight it's 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.
  • 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 Magician, Ibara is Justice, and Oreki is Strength.
  • Il Sole penetra le illusioni is a tarot themed Magical Girl Warrior series. The main character is a Tarot-reading fortuneteller and the series has Shown Their Work as far as the Major Arcana are concerned (mostly, some small errors may still appear in the post-credit explanations). Note that it's also Darker and Edgier than the standard show of its genre.
  • The third part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Stardust Crusaders, has a group of characters that all have fighting spirits called "Stands" themed and named after the Major Arcana. Most of the Stands' users display personality traits indicative of the Tarot cards their Stands were named after. The main character's name, Jotaro, is even a play on the word "tarot" and their Family Theme Naming.
    • Jotaro's Stand is Star Platinum. The Star card has many positive connotations associated with heroism, such as hope, good omens, and peace before the storm. This tells the audience that, despite Jotaro's angry outward appearance, he is still the virtuous hero of the story, not to mention being the "Star" of Stardust Crusaders.
    • Joseph Joestar's Stand is Hermit Purple. The Hermit card represents wisdom and sharing knowledge with others, symbolizing Joseph's role as the Older and Wiser Supporting Leader of the group.
    • Muhammad Avdol possesses the Stand Magician's Red. Avdol displays many positive aspects of the Magician card — initiative, confidence, manipulation, and realizing one's potential. Avdol also represents the Magician being Tarot I, as he is the first person to properly use his Stand, the first person to start a fight in Stardust Crusaders, the first to meet DIO, and the first of the group to die.
    • Noriaki Kakyoin uses Hierophant Green. The Hierophant card represents intelligence, leadership, guidance, education, and tradition — which are all aspects present in Kakyoin's characterization. He's an honor student that respects rules and traditions, and presents multiple characteristics that belong to a leader despite not being one. The Hierophant also represents interpreting mysteries and uncovering obscure secrets, and this is exactly what Kakyoin does in his final moments, allowing his fellow Crusaders to figure out the secret of DIO's Stand.
    • Jean-Pierre Polnareff's Stand is the Silver Chariot. The Chariot card symbolizes that one is goal-driven and determined to achieve victory; Polnareff is driven by his determination to avenge his sister's murder, and this leads him to defeating many enemy Stands that he comes across by himself.
    • Iggy wields the Stand known as The Fool. The Fool card indicates a desire for a new beginning, as well as being enthusiastic, if a bit unrestrained and reckless. Iggy is introduced as a new party member once the Crusaders finally step foot into Egypt, which indicates a new chapter in their journey to defeat DIO. Iggy is known to be stubborn and self-sufficient, not needing anyone else's assistance for anything besides food. The traits of no restrain and recklessness are encapsulated in Iggy's tendency to chew people's hair and fart in their faces, and The Fool Stand itself is rather unhinged in how violent it can be, as well as being a literal sand construct. Interestingly, most art for The Fool card depicts a dog in the corner, and Iggy himself is a dog.
    • Starter Villain Gray Fly uses the Tower of Gray. The Tower card is associated with destruction, crisis, and sudden change. Gray Fly has a history of causing accidents and killing people for their valuables, and the appearance of Tower of Gray changes the Crusaders' journey into a more perilous one than before.
    • The impostor Captain Tennille uses the Dark Blue Moon. The Moon card symbolizes betrayal, lies, and trouble in water. The faux Captain Tennille is a sea captain who impersonates a trusted ally of the Joestars in order to get close to them and kill them.
    • The Stand known as Strength is used by an orangutan named Forever. The Strength card symbolizes primal nature, confidence, and hidden potential. As an ape, Forever is the first non-human Stand user to be shown in the series, and as such, nobody expected it out of him. Likewise, its Super Empowering ability also fits the "hidden potential" aspect. Reversed, the Strength card also represents hedonism and lack of self-control (both of which are represented by Forever's perverted lust toward human females), as well as a lack of courage; shown when he immediately surrenders after Jotaro headshots him with a button.
    • Devo the Cursed uses Ebony Devil. The Devil represents entrapment, which Devo figuratively does by letting himself get wounded by Polnareff to give his Stand the power to take revenge. Then his Stand literally entraps Polnareff by tying him to the underside of the bed and torture him. The Devil also tends to be a primal male figure, which Ebony Devil evokes by making multiple references to male genitalia.
    • Rubber Soul's Stand is Yellow Temperance. The Temperance card usually represents balance, open-mindedness, and the merging of different energies. But it can also represent inconsistency and an inability to commit. Yellow Temperance absorbs organic matter into itself, Rubber Soul himself flip-flops between submitting to Jotaro and trying to kill him, and his unpleasant personality prevents him from committing to his disguises for long.
    • Hol Horse has The Emperor as a Stand. The Emperor card, when facing upright, symbolizes being your own boss and making your own rules for others to obey. Hol Horse has a rigid policy about letting his partner take charge, as he believes taking charge himself puts him in danger. By sticking to this policy, he exhibits traits of the reversed Emperor; poor leadership and lack of energy.
    • J. Geil possess a few traits of the Hanged Man card for which his Stand is named. In a twisted sense, his teamwork with Hol Horse represents putting others first and waiting for a better opportunity, as he would wait for Hol Horse to set him up before attacking. When reversed, the Hanged Man can represent the inability to change, which is shown by how J. Geil is an unrepentant Serial Rapist and Serial Killer who gloats about his misdeeds to Polnareff, the older brother of one of Geil's past victims. Finally, the card depicts a man hanging upside-down by his leg, and he dies in a similar fashion when Polnareff finally catches up to him and sends the bastard off to Hell.
    • Nena's Stand is The Empress. The Empress is a symbol of beauty, nurturing and giving birth/parenthood. The Stand user's initial appearance is that of a beautiful young woman, and the Stand itself is, ironically, a parasite, which mocks Joseph by referring to him as its "father" since it came out of his body.
    • ZZ's Stand is the Wheel of Fortune. The Wheel of Fortune card symbolizes change and maneuvering through life. As a Stand, Wheel of Fortune is a Cool Car with the ability to shapeshift, repair itself, and traverse different kinds of terrain, even up mountain cliffs.
    • Enya Geil uses a Stand named after the card Justice, of which Enya has a very strong yet twisted sense, as shown in how much she believes in the "righteousness" of DIO's cause and how badly she wants to avenge her son. Justice also deals with seeking the truth, which her Stand conceals using a dense fog.
    • Steely Dan's Stand is Lovers. The Lovers card stands for making connections with someone or something. The Stand connects Steely Dan to his victims so they can feel the pain he inflicts on himself.
    • The Sun is a card that represents happiness and good times. The enemy with The Sun as a Stand is one of the few Stand Users to be defeated in a single episode rather than a two-parter, and most of the episode has a more light-hearted tone.
    • Mannish Boy's Stand is Death 13. The Death card deals with new beginnings, and Mannish Boy is only an infant. Additionally, the Death card can mean facing your fears, referring to the Crusaders being trapped in a nightmare world by the Stand, and seeing the truth in a situation, which is what Kakyoin is desperately trying to get the others to realize.
    • Cameo's Stand is known as Judgement. The Judgement card refers to the Last Judgement in Christianity and depicts a scene of people being resurrected from the dead, which the Stand user claims he has the power to do. Additionally, when reversed, the Judgement card can represent being unable to let go of the past, which is what Polnareff is feeling when he asks to resurrect his loved ones.
    • Midler's Stand is High Priestess. The High Priestess represents the subconscious and the unknown, and Midler's Stand can disguise itself amongst normal objects, being able to imitate anything made out of minerals. The fact that her face is never shown in the anime or manga is also illustrative of that.
    • Big Bad DIO's Stand is The World. In addition to being the highest-ranking card in the Major Arcana, representing that DIO is the biggest obstacle the Joestars face, it symbolizes fulfillment, completion, and achieving what we desire most. Dio is constantly striving for perfection and completion in everything he does. When the card is reversed, it can symbolize being incomplete (meaning that he has not yet reached the perfection he strives for), and isolation (symbolizing how Dio holes himself up in his mansion and lets his minions fight for him).
  • In the first season of the anime Kaleido Star, Fool, the Stage Spirit, can read the future using tarot cards.
  • 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.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, 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 stories Gundam 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 Mobile Suit Gundam Wing doesn't explicitly use tarot imagery, an official tarot deck was released for the show, featuring characters and mobile suits. You can see it here.
  • Nobunaga the Fool titles and themes every episode after tarot cards. Once per episode, Da Vinci has someone draw a card as a sort of divination and it is invariably the title card, sometimes reversed.
  • 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.
  • Miho, the Oracular Urchin in several episodes of Ranma ½, used a tarot deck for her fortunetelling.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion had its 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  Kaworu was The Hierophant, The Moon, and Death;note  Shinji was Justice and Asuka was The Empress.note 
  • Tokito from Samurai Deeper Kyo has a deck and often reveals a significant card to her interlocutors while they speak. This also extends to making a prediction to all the heroes as they're about to enter the Crimson King's Tower, though this time no specific card is shown.
  • Chikage in Sister Princess uses a tarot deck for fortunetelling, 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 Tarot Cafe tarot readings are the central motif of the series
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, hidden numbers are scattered within the artwork. These correspond to the Major Arcana, while certain characters are heavily associated with a certain card.
    • Kaneki Ken: The Hanged Man (XII), The Chariot (VII), Temperance (XIV), The Hermit (IX)
    • Juuzou Suzuya: The Fool (0), Death (XIII), The Hanged Man (XII)
    • Touka: The High Priestess (II)
    • Hide: The Magician (I)
    • Itori: The Lovers (VI)
    • Seidou Takizawa: The Devil (XV)
    • Arima: Justice (XI), Wheel of Fortune (X), Death (XIII)
    • CCG: The Hierophant (V)
    • Sasaki Haise: Strength (VIII)
    • "Torso": The Empress (III)
  • Trinity Blood had its own tarot deck released with the DVD box sets, with illustrations by Thores Shibamoto, who also worked on the novels.
  • DVD sets of Umineko: When They Cry contains tarot cards (Major Arcanas of course) of the characters. Good luck getting all of them.
  • 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 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").
  • 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.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In the first season of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Bakura's deck contains some tarot-themed cards. He uses "Lady of Faith" (The High Priestess) in his duel with Yugi and later uses his cards to tell Pegasus' fortune—of course, it's his death. Cue the ancient Egyptian laser beams!
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Saiou uses a Duel Monsters deck based on Tarot cards, called "Arcana Force". 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.
    • Several characters have specific cards that are associated with them in Saiou's predictions.
      • Judai is The Fool.
      • Edo is The Hierophant.
      • Manjoume is The Hanged Man.
      • Saiou himself is The Devil.
      • Kenzan is Strength.
      • Asuka is The Sun.
      • Prince Ojin is The Emperor.
      • Dr. Eisenstein is The Hermit.
  • Z-ONE from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's has a few cards with some obvious Tarot-based symbolism, such as "Empress's Staff" and "Magician's Adage".
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V introduces another archetype that uses the Tarot motif known as Prophecy. Used by Yuu Sakuragi, it is based on Spellcasters and have a supporting archetype based on Spellbooks.

    Comic Books 
  • In Neil Gaiman's The 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 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 doesn'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.
  • The Tarot spreads for The Books of Magic were done by Rachel Pollack, in whose Doom Patrol run, immediately after Grant Morrison's, Tarot imagery recurs frequently. She has published numerous books on Tarot, and collaborated with Gaiman and Dave McKean on 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 magnificently manipulative 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 (2008), 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-feral Beast Boy (The Chariot ... somehow); a Buddhist pacifist Guy Gardner (Temperance); an imprisoned Circe (The High Priestess); and Father Jason 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.
  • Trinity War has Madame Xanadu foresee those involved in the eponymous war via tarot cards. However they are not your typical cards. For example, Superman is The Hero, Shazam is The Boy, and Pandora is The Hostage.
  • Deathlok in ABC Warriors commonly reads the future in tarot cards, and his favourite weapon is a blade called the Ace of Swords.
  • Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose is boobs-deep in Tarot symbolism, the main character (who is named Tarot) embarking on a Vision Quest early in the series and meeting with Anthropomorphic Personifications of each of the Major Arcana.
  • Major characters and even some locations in The Incal correspond to Major Arcana cards. The main character is even named John Difool.

    Fan Works 
  • Fan made Tarots are occasionally created in fandoms.
  • In the Pony POV Series, the Major Arcana are used to represent the Alicorns — Celestia and Luna are, obviously, The Sun and The Moon, while Cadence, surprisingly, isn't The Lover (that's actually Venus) but Temperance (since she represents harmony, not love, in this interpretation). Their Mother and Father are The World and The Hierophant, respectfully, while their various siblings fill out the other titles. The Minor Arcana are apparently used for ponies that ascend, as Fluttershy's Alicorn form, Princess Gaia, is referred to as The Queen of Cups. The only exception to this is when Dark World!Twilight fuses with her potential Nightmare self and takes up the vacant spot of The Magician. Comically enough, apparently a Concept getting their fortune read with tarot cards will always end up with at least one of their respective tarot coming up, normally three. This includes Chrysalis, even though the fortune teller didn't have The Hunger in her deck period (the Hunger being a nonstandard card), and kept showing up even when removed. This naturally freaks the fortune teller out. A Temperance was also present, which was her original tarot when she was part of Cadenza.
  • In Horseshoes and Hand Grenades and many of its sidestories, tarot cards play a heavy part in the idea of fate and deciding fate. These include:
    • Who Decides? Ryusei is given a fortune regarding whether or not Jiro will be saved. The most notable card is the Nine of Rods, representing how he needs to keep at it to save Jiro, despite the obstacles (ie Gentaro) in his way. In the extra chapter, Why Decide this is reversed as it states that his need to help fix everything he's done is going to end in failure. Which is true seeing as he's now brainwashed and configured into a cyborg...
    • Month of Sundays: Yayoi Tokuda carries a special Four of Swords card on her representing her need to rest and heal. This is in regards to her failure to save Haruto from death and her relentless pursuit to save him.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction Jericho features a deck of unique cards mixed with traditional ones. The Oracle, a demoness who offers prophecies to a 15-year-old girl in exchange for essentially being allowed to rape the girl, offers to tell Jericho's future with them in exchange for him sparing her life.
    • There are seven in all, The Sorceress, The Gun, The High Priestess, The King, The Murderer, The Liar, and lastly The Hanged Stallion, the last one seemingly representing Jericho.
    • However, later on, the Blue-Eyed Mare notes that he is not the Hanged Stallion, despite calling him by that name earlier. Using only gestures and two tarot cards, she indicates that Jericho is, in fact, The Fool.
  • The final volume of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction Seven Days in Sunny June features a serial killer using the major arcana as his calling cards.
  • Persona EG has several characters and their Personas represented by a card.
    • Flash Sentry is The Fool. He has untapped potential and this is his journey the story is following. Hilariously, when he is told this, he thought Igor was calling him stupid until Igor explained the card's actual meaning in a tarot deck.
    • Twilight Sparkle is The Magician. She has an obsession with knowledge and studying.
    • Fluttershy is The High Priestess. She has a lot of hidden knowledge of what is truly going on. As Eris, she is the reversed High Priestess, signifying her hidden agenda against her "friends" and her refusal to listen to her own conscience.
    • Rarity is The Empress. She is very creative and prosperous as The Fashionista.
    • Shining Armor is The Emperor. He is a bit controlling and possessive of both Cadence and Twilight.
    • Vice-Principal Luna is The Hierophant. She is a symbol of education and authority, but yields to a higher power, Celestia.
    • Cadence is The Lovers. She is a total Shipper on Deck for several characters, and several boys at Canterlot High lust after her. She's also a sex addict and has cheated on Shining Armor several times, so she has a lot of lovers.
    • Rainbow Dash is The Chariot. She's obsessed with moving forward and winning at everything.
    • Principal Celestia is Justice. She keeps law and order in Canterlot High.
    • Coco Pommel is The Hermit. She is a Shrinking Violet and hardly interacts with others, at least until Flash and the others befriend her and boost her confidence.
    • Apple Bloom is The Wheel of Fortune. Her luck with her bullying and family problems is constantly changing.
    • Applejack is Strength. She needs a lot of courage and fortitude to deal with her family's problems.
    • Octavia Melody is The Hanged Man. She starts considering a relationship with Vinyl Scratch, a relationship that would require a lot of compensation and sacrifice because Vinyl is slowly going blind and Octavia's parents are conservative and don't approve of same sex relationships.
    • Sonata Dusk is Death. She's experienced a lot of changes in her life after a car accident killed her sisters and robbed her of her ability to speak.
    • Sweetie Belle is Temperance. She is a much more reserved version of Rarity.
    • Juan the Janitor is The Devil. While not necessarily evil, he's a very mysterious and shifty individual.
    • Chrysalis is The Tower. She's a disgraced CEO and her business suffered disasters.
    • Pinkie Pie is The Star. She is pretty much joy personified.
    • Trixie Lulamoon is The Moon. She knows magic tricks and illusions.
    • Vinyl Scratch is The Sun. She's ironically sensitive to bright light and slowly going blind, but she remains optimistic and resolves to live life to the fullest.
    • Flash and his friends are collectively Judgement. It is up to them to save everyone.
    • Flash Sentry's parents are The World. They spend almost all their time traveling.
    • Sunset Shimmer is the non-standard Jester. She has succumbed to the temptation to abuse her power within Zodiac.
  • In Through The Well Of Pirene, goblin civilization is heavily based on the tarot. With the exception of independent traders, goblins belong to one of four major factions; the Wands, the Cups, the Swords, or the Rings, each being a lesser Arcana of the Tarot deck. High ranking goblins are named for the court cards; the King, Queen, Knight, and Page. Each faction is also in the possession of four powerful magical artifacts in the form of its arcana — for instance, the Wand goblins have four Magic Wands that they can use to transform objects and people.
  • In No Limit In The Great Sky, the Thieves of the The Tarot Core are based around some of the cards in the Major Arcana, and their code names are the Cards that fit their personalities the most.
    • Aeros is The Hermit. A Shrinking Violet who likes to be alone. He enjoys learning and is always seeking a better answer.
    • Stratos is The Chariot. Likes seeing progress and hates failure. A major Workaholic.
    • Evelyn is The Magician. She is The Smart Girl and the most resourceful member of the Thieves.
    • Lana is The Hanged Man. She is the member of the group who is willing to sacrifice herself for a good cause.
  • As expected due to its source material, Persona: The Sougawa Files has these - the main character, Rina, represents the Fool Arcana, and the friends she makes each represent another one of the Major Arcana. This is taken a step further with each of the Freedom Fighters' Shadows representing the reversed forms of their Major Arcana.
  • Just like in its inspiration, the major characters of the Persona 5 Adult Confidant AU each represent a different card in the major arcana. While most of the characters retain the arcana they represented in canon, two characters, Sojiro and Sae, have had their arcana changed from the Hierophant and Judgement to the Fool and Justice, respectively.

    Film — Animated 
  • 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). The final card shows a man on a lily pad surrounded by small green rectangles, and its number is 0 (The Fool). It all works, and it's not a little delightful.

    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 VII, The Chariot; '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 loss and sorrow).
  • 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 Gambit 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).
  • The Holy Mountain: "The Tarot will teach you how to create a soul".
  • Now You See Me: The Eye first contacts the horsemen by giving them tarot cards — The Lovers (Daniel), The High Priestess (Henley), The Hermit (Merritt), and Death (Jack). This extends to Dylan, the "fifth horseman", who Thaddeus repeatedly calls "The Fool" — particularly right before the big reveal. His actual card is the King of Swords. This represents him being a man with an idea, and not being afraid to hurt his victims.
  • In Moulin Rouge!, each of the gorgeous prostitue-dancers employed by the titular nightclub has a different theme to their costume. One of them, Tarot, is appropriately wearing a dress covered in Tarot symbols.

  • Piers Anthony
    • He used a lot of Tarot Motif in his Cluster 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.
    • Arguably, the items of the Four Founders could be a reference to Minor Arcana: Hufflepuff's cup, Gryffindor's sword and Slytherins's locket. However, Ravenclaw's tiara does not correspond with the wand arcana (presumably because wands are nothing new in the series).
  • 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.
  • Used prominently, correctly and cleverly in Mercedes Lackey's Phoenix and Ashes as a training tool for the female protagonist, as she studies magic and wanders a dream world encountering special beings that masquerade as the tarot cards. Heavily implied to be something her mother arranged so that, if something happened, her daughter would still get the knowledge and experience she needed to control and use her fire magic.
  • 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 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 & 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 Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novels, tarot is an analogue to poker, with 40K imagery used for some of the major cards.
  • In the Astra Militarum 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 all Warhammer 40,000.
  • 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.
  • The Darksword Trilogy has a clear equivalent in the form of "Tarok" cards. Joram is represented by the King of Swords card; Simkin by the Fool.
  • 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 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.)
  • Several Stravaganza books involve one of the characters making a tarot reading, the meaning of which becomes clear by the end. Notably, the Talian decks have different suits: Serpents, Salamanders, Fishes and Birds.
  • In Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, Isobel uses the tarot to tell fortunes at the titular circus. The Magician card frequently turns up in relation to Marco and Celia, two powerful magic-users locked in a high-stakes competition with the circus as their stage, and Isobel actually removes the Temperance card from her deck and stores it in a safe place in an effort to keep their warring forces from getting out of control. When she removes the card's protection in a fit of anger after learning that Marco is in love with Celia and not her, bad things happen.
  • Greer Gilman's amazing Moonwise has Ariane and Sylvie doing Worldbuilding by laying out cards (handmade by Ariane, with woodcut illustrations) to create stories. In their worlds, the events we think of as fairytale or folklore actually happened, and the symbols on the cards reflect this. Elsewhere, the narrative mentions that Ariane is a packrat and that the huge pockets of her Badass Longcoat contain "packs of greasy tarot" among other things.
  • Another richly intricate fantasy novel, Little, Big: or, The Fairies' Parliament, has a deck that's been used by members of the Drinkwater family for generations. At one point August Drinkwater steals it and hands it over to the fairies in exchange for becoming sexually irresistable. He later regrets this, and demands to call off the deal and get the cards back. Upon their return, the cards work a little differently but are actually changed for the better.
  • A Certain Magical Index: This seems to be a common factor amongst Golden Style magicians as they use the symbols and suits of the tarot to shape their magic.
  • John Sandford's Kidd series of novels all feature tarot motifs in their titles.
  • Each chapter in William Lindsay Gresham's Nightmare Alley begins with the image and description of a different tarot card of the Major Arcana, there are 22 chapters just as there are 22 cards. Each card relates in some way to the events contained within the chapter, for instance the chapter when Zeena first starts teaching Stan her mentalist act is represented by 'The High Priestess' card, symbolizing 'hidden knowledge, wisdom, female mystery and magic'.
  • In Small Medium, Chase has an inherited Fortuna deck that is obviously a stylized Tarot deck, albeit customized to the setting, with "The Fool" instead being named "The Noob" and containing cards such as "The Elementalist" (signifying change, often traumatic) and "The Griefer" (senseless destruction) as well as slightly differenty minor arcana (the "Page of Warriors" appears early on, complete with a lampshading that they half expected the deck to be solely major arcana).
  • Theodora, of The Gate Of Ivory, is making her living at the beginning of the book doing tarot readings in the marketplace. Ran introduces her to the Ivoran version, which has very similar cards, and which she can use to not only read his future, but to project herself into events.

    Live Action TV 
  • 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/Coinsnote , Chalice = Hearts/Cups, and Leangle = Clubs/Wandsnote . Furthermore, it could also be said that each of these characters' respective Character Arcs correspond with their Minor Arcana. To wit:
    • Blade begins as something of an Idiot Hero. Over the course of the series, he learns to start thinking a little and making his own choices, rather than doing what he feels he has to.
    • Garren is Blade's (and later Leangle's) Big Brother Mentor for much of the series, but his mental (and later physical) health being manipulated by material means is the primary source of his early-series Face–Heel Turn. An emotional shock prompts him to Heel–Face Turn again, and he spends the rest of the show helping the other Riders attempt to maintain their own health while fighting to save humanity.
    • Chalice is the only one of the Riders to not actually be a human at all, instead being a shapeshifting primordial creature who is only able to assume human form because he defeated humanity's ancestor before the show began and assumes said ancestor's form. As such, learning to understand and reciprocate emotion is the major crux of his development.
    • Leangle was an Ordinary High-School Student until he was forced to become a Rider. The problem is that the monster he fuses with to assume his Rider form has a nasty habit of poisoning his mind to manipulate him into doing what it wants him to. Thus, he requires great spiritual strength to be able to break the monster's hold on him and break free of the Heel–Face Revolving Door he had been stuck in.
  • Father Ted used the ominous misinterpretation 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 (2008) 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!note " Very refreshing to not see Death automatically (and incorrectly) used, for once.
  • In the Castle episode "Famous Last Words", while investigating the murder of rock singer Hayley Blue, Castle and Beckett listen to a song that she wrote and recorded one week before her death. One of the lines was "The cards we're dealt will never disappear/Death she draws near." Alexis observes that Hayley was into Tarot, and Death in the Tarot doesn't mean actual death, but transformation and change. This clue turns out to be a key to uncovering the killer.
  • An episode of Inspector Rex featured a Serial Killer who would "use" a Tarot deck to choose how to kill his victims. "Use" since he would not use any of the cards' actual meaning and instead just interpret them in the most literal way possible: Three of Swords? Stab victim three times. The Tower? Toss the victim off a tall building. The Chariot? Run the victim over. And so on.
  • A Season 5 episode of Schitt's Creek has ditzy waitress Twyla doing a tarot reading for Alexis and predicting death and drowning, causing Alexis to flee. Later, Twyla sees Alexis and says that she thinks the deck is cursed because she predicted drownings for a number of people, but she also tells Alexis that she flipped the Ten of Cups and saw a ring of gold that meant properity for Alexis and her family.

  • The music video for the Church's "Almost With You."
  • The figure with the lantern on the cover of Led Zeppelin IV is The Hermit.
  • The Nativity in Black Black Sabbath tribute albums featured tarot cards based on the songs in the liner notes.
  • Every song on Steve Hackett's debut solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte, is named in reference to different Tarot cards. "Ace of Wands", the opening track, is the only one to reference the Minor Arcana, though; all the other song titles reference the Major Arcana.
  • Spanish Heavy Metal band Dark Moor has an album named Tarot, most of whose songs are named after Major Arcana -from example, "The Star", "Death", or "The Moon"-
  • The Replacements mention tarot cards in their song ‘Alex Chilton’
  • In The Mechanisms' Rock Opera High Noon Over Camelot, each of the spoken word tracks is titled after one of the Major Arcana thematic to its events. "The Hierophant" (representing religious or spiritual matters) is about Galahad getting a vision of the grail, "The Lovers" is about Lancelot, Arthur, and Guinevere setting out on the grail quest, etc.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • "I stayed up all night playing poker with tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died." - Steven Wright

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, the Raksha have their Graces modeled on the four suits instead of the typical Exalted stats: the Sword (Valor), the Stave (Conviction), the Cup (Compassion), and the Ring (Temperance).
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • 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 40,000 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.
  • In Golarion, the world of Pathfinder, the Harrow is a card deck used by the Varisian people for fortune telling, clearly inspired by the real-world Tarot. It has 54 cards, divided among six suits and nine alignments. The six suits correspond to the six ability scores present in the Pathfinder system— Hammers for Strength, Keys for Dexterity, Shields for Constitution, Books for Intelligence, Stars for Wisdom and Crowns for Charisma— while the alignments are the classic nine Character Alignment options. Each card also has a proper name relating to its significance, like The Rakshasa, The Midwife and The Cyclone. Pathfinder's creators, Paizo, actually produced physical Harrow decks, complete with guidelines for using them both for in-game fortune telling and for various gambling games. The Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path features the Harrow as a major element, with a ghostly Harrower named Zellara as one of the characters' first allies, who performs a reading for them at the start of each adventure, granting various bonuses depending on the cards drawn.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX introduces the "Arcana Force" series of monsters, each one representing one of the Major Arcana. 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 "Prophecy" archetype ("Magical" in Japanese), also based on the major arcana. Their Japanese names are based on the Swiss Troccas deck, and follow the journey of the Fool of Prophecy as he opens a spellbook that unleashes a dark power that transforms him into the Reaper of Prophecy. He's later purified by the Spellbook of Judgment and becomes The World of Prophecy.
  • The Villains & 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 Cthulhu The Fungi from Yuggoth campaign, section "Castle Dark". The PCs can encounter a Gypsy Fortune Teller and her son. The woman attempts a reading using Tarot cards but it foretells only death and disaster for the PCs.
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy uses the Tarot cards (just the Major Arcana, both the normal ("pure") and the reversed ("dark") ones) as summons. You must first make a contract with them, and you can summon them in their normal or reversed state (although making a contract with the reversed Arcana forbids you from doing it with it's counterpart and vice versa, and reversed ones are usually not very nice on what they want). They're described as being embodiments of the passions and spirits of the Man, changing their aspect depending of the ideas and beliefs of the summoner, follow the Rider-Waite interpretationnote  less in aspect and more in what they represent, and with the reversed ones have a darker significance. Due to their high cost, they can fall anywhere between Awesome, but Impractical at early levels or with summoners not specialized in Invocation to simply Awesome with medium-to-high level summoners.
  • Lace & Steel uses a Rider-Waite deck to spice up character creation with special bonuses, as well as to randomly generate potential adventure hooks.
  • In Mysterium, one of the clairvoyants, Jessalyn Smith, is able to communicate with spirits by reading tarot cards.
  • The "Royal Road" is the equivalent of the earthly Tarot in BlueRose and is not only used within the setting for divination, but also included is advice for the narrator (game master) for how to use the Royal Road to guide the narrative of the game.

  • Cirque du Soleil's ZED was built around these motifs, starting with the titular protagonist representing The Fool.
  • Charles Ludlam's experimental play The Grand Tarot is not only is peopled by characters from the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck (the High Priestess and the Magician are the main romantic couple, with the Beta Couple of the Emperor and Empress), but the play has a number of scenes that correspond to the cards in the deck, which in the first incarnations of the play would be shuffled to determine the order of the scenes.

    Video Games 
  • Tarot motifs abound among Bloodborne's Caryll Runes for those who recognize them. Most prominently there's The Hunter's Mark, a Caryl Rune depicting a human dangling upside down. This Rune represents the Hunters as well as Blood Echoes and the symbol itself is naturally a counterpart of The Hanging Man; The Hunters being a fellowship committed to the pursuit of enlightenment through Insight, and in no other Hunter is the significance of the Tarot Motif more notable than Gehrman, the First Hunter, who has committed himself to a Self-Sacrifice Scheme in order to save his fellow Hunters from the Dreams, Nightmares and the will of the Moon Presence. Within the ancient Chalice dungeons one may also find engravings of older iterations of the Mark with even stronger similarities to its Tarot origin.
  • Borderlands has occasional references to Tarot. The most shocking and abrupt of which is the death of T.K. Baha - arguably a representation of The Fool for most of the game, but tied up by the leg and dangling from his ceiling fan when killed by Psychos in the manner of The Hanging Man.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: Sidequest "Fool On Th Hill" tasks V and Johnny with finding graffiti strewn around Night City that represents all the major arcana. The places where you can find them usually tie them to a character or event from the main story that's nearby. The endings are also named after different major arcana.
  • Touhou Project:
    • In Embodiement of Scarlet Devil there's Sakuya Izayoi, ZUN's tribute to Dio Brando, who, as he does, has an attack called "The World", and some variants of it "Sakuya's World/Deflation World".
    • Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom also gave us Sagume Kishin, whose tarot motif is the reversed Wheel of Fortune (which is also the title of her theme). That's to say, external forces woking in one's opposition. Sagume's "power" is that the Universe itself will oppose everything she says.
  • 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. Later, you use those five Death cards to cheat at poker.
    Guybrush: "I've got five Death cards. That can't be good."
  • 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 school of magic based off the Tarot, called Arcane Magic. It had four basic spells based on the minor arcana (with Shields instead of Wands), and a handful of major arcana including The Tower as the most powerful direct damage spell in the game.
  • 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 Scarlet Dawn, only the Devil has been left unused. The Magician, Emperor, Wheel of Fortune, World, and Moon are especially important, serving as the final bosses. Respectively, they use fire, shapeshifting, electricity, ice, and wind to attack the player, so in a sense, they symbolize the elements. Now, all we need is a final boss that symbolizes earth. Also, some of the bosses are supposed to be the reverse arcana.
  • Persona: Every Demon, Shadow, and Persona belong to one of the 21-odd Major Arcana. Depending on the game, numerous characters belong to a Major Arcana as well.
    • One recurring theme is that every main character (after the first three games) is represented by the Fool Arcana, the start of a journey and infinite possibilities. This power, called the Wild Card, is why the main characters can use more than one Persona while every other Persona user has only one (again, not in the first two games, where every character can switch Personas, but only within select Arcana).
    • Persona 2: Features the minor arcana as well: Sword gives you a weapon, Cup heals you, Wand increases your EXP, and Coin gives you money.
    • Persona 3: The Sword, Cup, Wand and Coin bonus cards return. The Level-Up at Intimacy 5 "Social Link" system has you play Visual Novel vignettes with NPCs placed into one of the Major Arcana to boost the power of Personas from that Arcana, with the Protagonist as "The Fool". The Boss Battles correspond to the reverse form of the first 13 Arcana, "The Fool's Journey" that serves as a metaphor for the journey through life. The Final Boss has 13 forms connected to each leg of "The Fool's Journey." The game's central theme, "Momento Mori" / "Remember you are mortal, remember you will die" reflects the Death Arcana, also the arcana of your source for plot exposition, Pharos. Persona 3 FES adds the Aeon (the Thoth version of Judgment) Arcana, tied to existing character Aigis.
    • Persona 4: The "Social Link" system again splits major NPCs between the Major Arcana, with the Protagonist as "The Fool". Your party members summon their Personas by crushing a fiery copy of their respective Tarot card. Shadow Selves are also the reverse position of your party members' Arcana. The villains are representative of the reverse form of that Arcana as well: Mitsuo Kubo's Shadow (The Hermit), Taro Namatame (Justice), and Tohru Adachi (The Fool). The game's central theme, "Reach Out for the Truth," reflects the Star Arcana, also the arcana of your source for plot exposition, Teddie. Persona 4 Golden introduces a new character tied to the Aeon Arcana, and also adds a new link and Arcana — Jester (parallel of The Fool) and Hunger (Thoth version of Strength) Arcana — tied to another existing character.
    • Persona 5: The "Confidant" system splits major NPCs between the Major Arcana now, while the Minor Arcana are no longer present as a game mechanic, only briefly covered in a lecture. The game also uses the traditional French Tarot of Marseilles. The game's central theme, "Tricksters," reflects the Magician Arcana, also the arcana of your source for plot exposition, Morgana.
    • In Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth and Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, only Personas are classified by Arcana and the Shadows (which are generic Arcana Shadows) or other enemies are not given any Arcanas. Still, the characters there appear to display some sort of Tarot-based motifs, particularly of the reverse kind.
  • Tarot cards are used as magic spells in Ogre Battle. They return in Tactics Ogre as collectible items that can increase stats. There's a gameplay element called The Chariot, that allows you to undo turns and The World which allows you to play different parts of the story's timeline. The cards appear important to the game's world as destiny is referred to as "The Wheel".
  • 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 Fool's Errand takes place in the land of Tarot, with characters and settings based on the Rider-Waite deck.
  • Lisa Punchinello from Max Payne was considered to be a witch. The fortune on the table at one point in the "Angel of Death" stage where you storm the manor has The Tower, The Devil, and Death. Max reads it as such: "The first card was the Tower. Maybe that was supposed to be the manor. It got easy after that. The Devil was the master of the house, and Death was me, coming for him."
  • 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: Alchemists of Al-Revis, Roxis fights using tarot-like cards, both as flung projectiles, stringing them together like a whip, and by channeling their power.
  • The Meta-Beings in Baroque are based on and named after each Major Arcana (with the exception of Glue). While the main enemies are themed after the Major Arcana, the last four boss-level enemies are themed after the four Minor Arcana - Cups, Swords, Wands and Coins.
    • Each enemy has a chance to drop an Idea Sephirah (their core), which is named after their respective card. The fish type enemy, Moon, drops the Moon Idea Sephirah, while the Gliro, a red monkey-like enemy, drops the Devil Idea Sephirah, and so on. A full list can be found here
  • 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.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has the Astrologian job that uses a set of eight made-up arcana which originally gave different effects (buffs for the "major" arcana, and direct effects for the "minor"): The Bole (defense), the Arrow (cast speed), the Spire (TP regen), the Balance (damage), the Spear (critical hit rate), the Ewer (MP regen), the Lord of Crowns (deals damage to an enemy), and the Lady of Crowns (heals an ally's HP). Shadowbringers changed all of them to a damage up buff, but associated each card with both a role (Melee/Tank or Ranged/Healer) for whom the effect is greater and a seal (Sun, Moon, or Stars) used to empower a party-wide damage buff.
  • 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.
  • Hyper Light Drifter is a Nameless Narrative with only non-verbal communication, but the official names of several characters and bosses are drawn from Major Arcana, most importantly Judgment.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, 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.
  • The Binding of Isaac has the Major Arcana as minor usable items, each with a constant effect. For instance, the Fool teleports you back to the start of the floor, while the Tower generates a bunch of bombs.
  • Granblue Fantasy has the Arcarum events, which feature bosses based on the Major Arcana that can be recruited as summons.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn's main antagonists follow a tarot motif in their names; Blados (swords), Chalis (cups), and Arcanus (the Arcana).
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition has Major Arcana representing each one of your companions: Vivienne is the High Priestess, Cole is the Moon and so on. Each character gets a different card after you complete their personal quest and a third one if romanced.
  • In .hack//G.U., the status ailment items are named after Major Arcana cards. "The Death" inflicts Poison, "The Moon" inflicts Sleep, and so on.
  • Hand of Fate, while using primarily playing card motifs, does have a few tarot references.
    • Every three bosses, the Dealer will give you one of the Minor Aracana suits, which upgrades both the player and enemies.
    • The Hanged Man is an encounter card and the only one that is an exact representation of a Major Arcanum. Landing on it gives one blessing and one curse.
    • The Lovers represents the player helping a pair of young lovers elope; however, it has little to do with the tarot card of the same name. In fact, completing it leads to unlocking The Lonely Bard, in which in turns out that the lovers broke up soon after escaping. However, if the player lands on The Lonely Bard after previously landing on Wandering Minstrels and giving them sufficient gold or food, a new card, The Band, will be placed on the board. This one represents the bard and the minstrels joining up to form a band - two things coming together, which is what the tarot card The Lovers also represents.
    • The Devil is represented by Devil's Choice, Devil's Wager, and Devil's Blind Wager. All revolve around a devil laying a trap for the player and forcing them into a battle with certain contraints.
    • Wheel of the Gods strongly resembles Wheel of Fortune, and is one of the various cards revolving around chance.
    • The sequel plays the tarot motif much more directly. Each level in the main campaign is named after one of the Major Arcana cards. Most of them have some sort of thematic relationship to the card (The Fool is the easy tutorial level, Wheel of Fortune involves games of chance, The Hermit involves finding a hidden character, etc)
  • The Trails Series series uses this for a recurring villainous faction, an Ancient Conspiracy known as Ouroboros, which nicknames one set of its members based on the Major Arcana (in the format "Enforcer No. 1337: Bob, the Tropemaster"), each with a personality or powers based on that card. Known members that follow this pattern (highlight spoilers at your own risk) are the following:
  • The stories in Where The Water Tastes Like Wine are connected to specific Arcana, Major or Minor, depending on their tone.
  • Lore entries on the Orochi Group in The Secret World all feature references to the Tarot, with the main entry even studying the company via a deck of three-sided cards - with upright and reverse dealing positions each card represents a different facet of the Group, with one side of the cards representing the company's Villain with Good Publicity tendencies and the other representing the villainy they get up to behind the scenes. The company as a whole is represented by the Tower; CEO Samuel Chandra is the Devil; Chairwoman Lily Engel is the Priestess; the Lovers has been torn in half symbolizing the fact that Chandra and Engel are secretly at odds; the eight daughter corporations of the Group are symbolized by the Pentacles, from Ace through to Eight.
  • The indie dragon simulator Golden Treasure: The Great Green has achievements named after the Major Arcana. As dragons call the world and everything in it "The Oneness," the twenty-first of them bears that name instead of "the World."
  • Devil May Cry 2 has Dante and Lucia searching for four MacGuffin artifacts called the Arcana, which are named for the Italian names of the four minor tarot suits: Medaglia (coins/disks/medals), Spada (swords), Calice (cups), and Bastone (wands/staffs/batons).
  • In Murder House, The Easter Ripper leaves Easter Eggs with tarot cards attached to them as a calling card.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: The 22 Crests are based off the Major Arcana, and their owners reflect their tarot card meanings through their personalities or actions.
  • Two of the demons in Helltaker, Justice and Judgement, are named after major arcana cards. The number for the Judgement tarot card, XX (20 in Roman numerals), even appears on the back of Judgement's jacket and her arm band.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Arcana obviously involves the Tarot cards. The love interests all are associated with a Major Arcana, like the Magician, Hermit, or Devil.
  • Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! 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.
  • Heart of the Woods has Major Arcana assigned to each of the four main characters in their profiles. Madison is The Moon, Abigail is The Sun, Tara is The Fool, and Morgan is The Hanged Man.

    Web Animation 
  • An entire act of Broken Saints is centered around a tarot card reading of Raimi by the albino Fortune Teller, Cielle. Sure enough, everything she reads comes true. Surprise.
  • hololive: In the music video for Calliope's song "Red," the other four members of holomyth are depicted on tarot cards, based on how Calli sees them: Kiara is The Sun, Gura is The Fool, Amelia is The High Priestess and Ina is The Wheel Of Fortune.


    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the necromancer Razravkar encounters the witch Befana who reads his fortune from her tarot cards.
  • 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.
  • The short-lived webseries The Hanged Man featured a cult called the Dead Hand and its titular villain, who used a tarot motif to commit serial killings in the city of San Angeles.
  • Some of the chapter titles in Entirely Presenting You make references to the different cards.
  • The When Posting Goes Wrong episode about the Msscribe scandals titles all of its chapters after cards in the Major Arcana.

    Western Animation 
  • In the credits sequence of The Grim Adventures of Billy & 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.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Shows up in "Lisa's Wedding", one of the episodes about the future. The Simpsons go to a Renaissance fair, and Lisa gets a tarot reading. They even play with the Death card, listed above, and introduces a certain new card (that an alarming number of real-world Tarot decks have begun including an optional card).
      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!
    • The Couch Gag from "Boy Meets Curl" shows Tarot card versions of Homer (King of Cups), Marge (Queen of Cups), Bart (The Fool), Lisa (The High Priestess) and Maggie (Death).
  • The Vamps in the "Stakes" arc on Season Seven of Adventure Time are named after cards in the Major Arcana - The Fool, Empress, Hierophant and the Moon. The exception is the Vampire King, whose name is analogous to The Emperor, yet whose design and desire to escape the chains of fate and the endless cycle of fighting, death and rebirth that comes with being a vampire evokes The Devil as well.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: