Take a Tarot Test! (1) Water

Water is an important symbol in tarot. The suit of Cups corresponds with the element of water, but water runs all through the deck. No pun intended! Generally, water, like the suit of Cups, symbolizes the emotional, spiritual and subconscious realms, though there are many common idioms that also bring light to the cards’ meanings. We describe the need to ride the waves, or move full steam ahead, and we talk about what lies beneath the surface, water under the bridge, and our desire to move from rough to smooth waters.

Without looking through your deck, can you make a list of all the cards that have water? I’m talking about oceans, lakes, streams, rivers, waterfalls, puddles and rain. (Have I given too many hints?!)

If you are just learning the tarot, you might want to pull the cards with water from your deck for examination. Any exercise that gets you really looking at the images and thinking about the symbols will be helpful.

Click “Read the rest” to see which cards in the Rider-Waite deck have water.

The High Priestess
The Empress
The Emperor
The Chariot
The Star
The Moon

Ace of Cups
Five of Cups
Eight of Cups
Ten of Cups
Page of Cups
Knight of Cups
Queen of Cups
King of Cups

Ace of Wands
Two of Wands
Three of Wands
Eight of Wands

Two of Swords
Three of Swords
Five of Swords
Six of Swords
Eight of Swords

Two of Pentacles
Queen of Pentacles

Have I missed any? Any surprises?

I suppose it’s no surprise that The High Priestess—who reigns over the subconscious—has a vast, deep body of water behind her, and that The Empress, who can be gushy, has a waterfall. Perhaps it’s a little unexpected that The Emperor who is ruled by rationality has any water at all near him, though that thin stream seems more appropriate than other possibilities. What surprised me was that wide river in The Chariot! I had never noticed it before. It does look like a rushing river, which makes sense for the charioteer who has great drive. His emotions might also be a bit turbulent as he struggles to choose a direction.

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