Category Archives: Learning Centre

Do cards have universal meanings or should each deck have its own?


Each tarot deck is unique because of its imagery and meaning descriptions given in the companion books. It might be frustrating to have many decks and study each of them separately spending months or years on just one of them. But should we?

We can spend some time on studying cards we are connected to or we can find that we like the card in one deck and don’t like the same card from another one. We can feel that a particular card from one deck means for us something that we don’t see on the same card from a different deck. There might be special symbols drawn here and absent there. So many choices!

However, tarot is a universal system. If we accept this concept, we broaden our perception of tarot cards meanings in general, universally, and on an energetic level.

Below is Eight of Wands from Sola Busca Tarot and Rider-Waite tarot decks. On the Sola Busca Tarot Eight of Wands card, eight wands are inserted into the urn, and their ends form some walking legs. There is no any person depicted. On the Rider-Waite Tarot card, eight wands pointing down fly through an open country. Again, no figure is shown. In the LWB we read, “The card represents motion through immovable. Activity in the undertaking, the path of such activity, swiftness, as that of an express messenger; great haste, great hope, speed towards an end which promises assured felicity; that which is on the move, also the arrows of love.”

eight of wands

Imagery is different. But what about meaning? Let’s see it in a situation. While scrolling down FB newsfeed, I stopped on the video featuring a mum working from home. I watched the video without sound and didn’t read the description at first. I just watched the woman talking something with her child holding a magazine. What’s in this video for me? I pulled out Eight of Wands (Venetian Carnival Tarot) and tried to connect the video and the card. Again, I didn’t know that this woman is a mum working from home and advertised her book because the sound was off and didn’t read the words around.


8 of wands, Venetian Carnival Tarot by Roxana Paul

So, how this video and eight of wands from my Venetian Carnival Tarot are connected?

Venetian Carnival Tarot by Roxana Paul

 A description in the companion book to Venetian Carnival Tarot:

“Arise from your knees; victory is yours. The price was high, but we paid it. Together we can move mountains. Who cares of obstacles? Our glory goes at the front of us. Hooray! We said it, and we’ve done it.”

 Upright Divinatory Meaning:

Having an ability to start up new enterprises, pushing oneself to the limits, caring for others and helping them.

 If I knew what that video was about I would say “Yes, it is” – mum is carrying a child and starts a new enterprise to earn from home. But without this knowledge, it’s like to read for a person you met for the first time, and many details are hidden. Let’s try.

 Sign #1:

A closed door behind the woman and a door behind a person in the mask on the card.

Sign #2:

An open magazine in child’s hands and eight wands on the cards, in both cases forming “V”.

Sign #3:

Light on the woman’s forehead and the Sun brooch on mask’s forehead.

Sign #4:

The woman holds her child close to her heart, and the masked figure touches his heart.

A quick analysing of these signs would reveal the woman is doing something being isolated from the outside world (closed doors, Sign #1), she is doing something  that excites her (light, Sign #3) and brings her satisfaction and rewards (V-sign #2), and she cares about others (child, heart, Sign #4). On this stage, we can already say that she is working from home.

Could we reveal this fact looking at eight of wands from other decks? Absolutely!

Eight of wands from Sola Busca Tarot:

Eight wands are inserted into an urn symbolise an isolation from the outside world in the same way as close doors. Walking wands’ ends symbolise an activity beyond limits, doing something extraordinary – work from home here. The urn is richly decorated symbolises rewards as result of the activity. This imagery we can relate to working from home activity.

 Eight of wands from Rider-Waite Tarot:

Eight wands cover the view of the country in the background reminding window shutters. The river separates the viewer from the country in the background. These signs might symbolise isolation from the outside world. Flying wands might symbolise that some activity is undertaken. Activity in isolation relates to work from home.

The purpose of this article was to show that the cards do have a universal meaning and that looking at cards from different decks might enrich your understanding of this universal meaning.

Venetian Carnival Tarot by Roxana Paul

The Wandering Fool, Death and the 13th Constellation

Fool tarot cards meaning

What is common between a tarot card without a number (The Fool), a tarot card without a name (Death) and a constellation without a place on the Zodiac ‘plate’ (Ophiuchus)?

 In older decks you can find that The Fool had had not number. Later, Zero number had been assigned to this card. However, where to place this card, in the beginning of the Major arcana or in the end, is still a question for some tarot scholars who doubt an idea of Fool’s Journey introduced by Eden Gray in the XX century. The next ‘suspicious’ card is Death numbered the thirteenth what makes the situation even worse because of its ‘unlucky’ label. At first glance, there is nothing common between these two cards. Though, they have a connection. Don’t worry. The Fool will not fall off the cliff to meet Death. In this article we are going to discuss how these two cards are related to the 13th Zodiac constellation Ophiuchus (Serpentarius).

Let’s start form the thirteenth Zodiac constellation’ nature. The ‘normal’ year of the Bible-Prophecy Calendar was 360 days (12 months x 30). Yet, as we know, the year consists of 365.24 days. So, the above system has required some adjustment. Thus, a leap month has been added at regular intervals, making a year having 390 days (13 months x 30). There is a complicated system of inserting and removing the 13th month to the calendar for a period of 4000 years in total to adjust the 360-day year to the true 365.2422 day-year. What a wandering month they had, sometimes it brought them extra time; sometimes it left them short of time. This additional month, in fact, is the thirteenth constellation, and it has a name, Ophiuchus, unjustly omitted by tarot-astrology-Hebrew-alphabet commentators. . It has a correlation with the the 13th Hebrew letter Mem which has a numerical value 40. Curious minds will easily find  that 40 and 13 correlate. It is not a coincidence that an insertion of the 13th month to the Bible-Prophecy Calendar had been based on 40-year pattern – 40-year based cycle when the 13th month is inserted six times every 6th year and then the seventh time in the fourth year (6×6 + 4×1 = 40). This pattern is repeated 100 times, making the whole period of 4000 years, then in the last the 4000th year the leap month is removed, the leap year is made ‘normal’. The final judgement!

“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone…” (Psalm 118:22). To understand how the number 13 works in the Tarot system we put first thirteen Major Arcana cards (numbering adopted in the Marseilles Tarot) in the Tree of Life, and then we put the rest of trumps in the Tree of Knowledge as it shown below. Not a surprise, why death has such a strange place in the tree of life, and the fool in the tree of knowledge, a joke from medieval tarot creators.

Roxana Paul

How these two trees were built you can find in THE BIBLE AND TAROT and The Secret Code of Tarot.

The thirteenth card, Death, is hidden in the center of the Tree of Life, in the “wilderness, 40, Mem,” out of the Zodiac circle. From the very beginning of the Tarot history, the card No 13 was assigned to the definitions of destruction and rebirth. In the cosmic sense, it is a position of the thirteenth constellation of Ophiuchus, also known as Serpentarius. In Greek mythology, Ophiuchus was identified with the healer Asclepius who was able to bring the dead back to life. It is a symbolic “death” that means physical or spiritual transformation or transition from one natural state to another, giving new life. It is like a seed which dies in the ground, creating a new plant. The thirteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the letter Mem (ם) has the meanings of primordial water (the oldest pictogram of this letter looks like waves) or flood, as well as a mother with the implied sense of fertility, as well as a core of life.

 In the Tree of Knowledge, the zero card, the Fool, is hidden in the center of the tree. Taw (ת) is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet with complicated meanings including “mark” (it is the mark of the turning point to move inside the Zodiac circle). This letter also has definitions of “cross” (the image of the Fool is a caricature image of Jesus, carrying his cross). A couple of extra meanings include “seal” (the circular way of “experience-to-knowledge” is sealed for the Fool), and “pain” and “vehicle of sacrifice” (gave rise to the New Testament story of Christ’s sufferings).

 We can see now why the Fool is the card without number, Death is the card without a name (in former times), and Serpentarius has no own permanent place. It is all about the number 13 in which is nothing ominous but an abyss of hidden meanings.

The Secret Code of Tarot

Babylonian Zodiac and Hebrew Alphabet in Tarot

Do you know that astrology, including twelve constellations of the Zodiac, originated in Babylon, and the Hebrew language had Babylonian roots?  Religion in that period was not divorced from everyday life. On the contrary, in Babylon, the rational and the irrational were forming the whole pattern of the Universe, and faith in gods was embodied in social life. The cosmic order ruled by gods and goddesses was a great pattern for earthly life. Priests applied patterns of god’s behavior after which planets and constellations were named to recommend political decisions to Kings. In those times divination helped to rule states and every person’s life.

Astrology, tarot, Zodiac

Carl Jung, an author of the synchronicity theory, the scientific foundation of divination, once discovered that mythologies and sacred scriptures of different nations embrace the same core meaning: descriptions of the cosmic order ‘as above, so below.’ We will unveil ancient wisdom embodied in the Tarot system, universal laws that are in force both in the cosmos and in our earthly life. For many years Tarot followers have been looking for a Tarot secret code, and now you will find it in ‘The Secret Code of Tarot’ – visit Amazon

Do you know that the Hebrew alphabet had a profound inner sense of the cosmic order? Sure, but what does this have to do with Tarot? Oh, there are strong connections:
• Each Hebrew letter corresponds to one Major Arcana card.
• Hebrew letters have numerical values, determining the cosmic order.
• Each Major Arcana card has a deep meaning within the cosmic order’s model (see article ‘The Bible and Tarot’
• Hebrew letters and cards together drive meaningful metaphorical stories in the Bible.

The Old Testament of the Bible contains Babylonian astronomical knowledge that was the primary source for twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and Zodiac signs are also associated with Hebrew letters. There is one more important association: every letter of Hebrew alphabet matches the appropriate number. The correspondence of 22 letters and figures in the Hebrew alphabet is shown below in sequence: serial number – numerical value – lettering in Hebrew – designation of the letter in English.


Letters of the Hebrew alphabet correlate with the Zodiac signs. As we see in two examples below, there is a similarity even in glyphs, representing letters and Zodiac signs. The first letter Aleph is an image of an ox head with the meaning of “primordial air” and it is translated as a bull. The letter Gimel is an analog of the Greek letter Gamma, Zodiac sign Aries, and number 3.

Aleph Hebrew

Gamma Hebrew Alphabet

There are three Hebrew letters, representing primordial elements – Aleph for Air, Mem for Water and Shin for Fire. We can put Major Arcana cards together with their corresponding Hebrew letters into the elemental representations of the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge (see ‘The Bible and Tarot) to show the process of energy transmutation within the Major Arcana.

Hebrew Letters and four elements

The Tree of Life symbolizes a harmony of the Universe “as above, so below.” In the model of the Tree of Life, thirteen constellations of Zodiac (including Serpentarius) and the first thirteen Hebrew letters with their numerical values are placed. The Old Testament described the period when Vernal Equinox was in Taurus, and Autumnal Equinox was in Eagle (Scorpio). The Sun’s zigzag descending starts from the letter one (ALEPH, 1), which means a bull (Taurus) and follows the letter twelve (LAMEDH, 30), which has a meaning of a rod to urge a bull to move forward.

In spite of the end of the sun’s path when it reaches the twelfth point, the Autumnal Equinox, there is an additional thirteenth way to the constellation of Serpentarius. This position is indicated with the Hebrew letter MEM, with the meaning of primordial water, chaos, or flood. MEM is located in the “wilderness,” out of the circle. Once, the Tarot card Death was the card without a name, as well as the Serpentarius is the sign without a place. Symbolically, it is the Global Flood out of the MEM position, washing out humanity sins and entering into a new stage: a circular movement along the tree of knowledge. The Hebrew letter MEM with numerical value 40 drive a couple of metaphorical stories in the Bible: 40 years in the wilderness when Moses lead his people out of Egyptian captivity, and 40 days of Jesus in the desert when he struggled with Satan.

The Hebrew letter NUN is the first letter of many words that relate to water – flood (nachal), river (nahar), Noah. Its numerical value is 50. According to the Bible, Noah’s ark was fifty cubits wide. In the Leviticus book of the Bible, we can find information about a sacred fiftieth year as a time of freedom and celebration: slaves would be freed, and debts would be forgiven, marking the beginning of new life. “Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan… In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property” (Leviticus 25:10-13). The letter NUN signifies the beginning of new circle after the flood and a symbolic liberation of the sun from slavery.

We continue reconstructing Biblical symbolism with Tarot as a key to expand your understanding of Tarot. Beyond the pictographic elements of cards’ images, you will see a universal formula, which is rich with connotations and deep meanings. (by Victor Paul, PhD)

The Secret Code of Tarot

The Sacred Mysteries of Babylon Tarot by Roxana Paul

The Bible and Tarot

Once upon a time there were two trees in the Garden of Eden – the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. Later the Tree of Knowledge has been unjustly forgotten, and the Fool started his quest for knowledge … along the Tree of Life. Why so?

Roxana Paul

“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”

C.G. Jung

Let’s start from the beginning. While some believe Tarot cards were originally invented to play games and can be used ‘for entertainment only,’ others try to connect Tarot with Hermetic wisdom, Kabbalah, Hebrew alphabet, ancient Egyptian astrology, or even the Holy Bible. The latter is interesting primarily because it contains the story about the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. For starters, to find the connection we have to look at elementals and its symbols (as Aristotle and Empedocles depicted it) in Fig. 1.

tarot publisher

 Then we will make a simple two-step geometrical transformation.

Step 1: Form two ‘Star of David’ out of opposite elementals (see Fig. 2).

 tarot publisher

Step 2: Place one ‘Star of David’ over another (see Fig. 3).

 tarot publisher

Now we have a simple model of the world with 12 points as the 12 months, or Hebrew tribes, or … any other associations. Oh, don’t forget to put a dot in the middle of the model – it’s important because “The stone the builder rejected become the cornerstone.” (Psalm 118: 22). What is so important about this model? It is eternal. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again: there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

How we know about the great civilizations of the past? Only some stories about the Great Flood, Atlantis, and continent Mu that had gone without any trace. What does the Hermes Trismegistus’s phrase ‘as above so below’ mean? Oh, it has a deep meaning: the ancients supposed the Sun as the primary source of light for human life. They have relied heavily on the position of the sun in the sky for practical and occult purposes, and they discovered the equinoxes. Within each year there are two equinox points (spring and autumn) and two solstice points (summer and winter). Their axes form the cross within the Zodiac circle. Two points in the Earth’s annual orbit around the Sun, at which the length of the day and the night are equally called the Vernal Equinox and the Autumnal Equinox (see Fig. 4).

 tarot bublisher

Nowadays within Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes the Earth is in Pisces and Virgo respectively, but it was not so always. Yet Babylonian astronomers had found that the equinoxes were not stable, but moved westward in the opposite direction to the motion of the Sun along the ecliptic. It was an optical illusion because this phenomenon called today the axial precession is a result of gravity forces’ influence on the Earth axis rotation. The Earth’s axis traces out a pair of circles in outer space during 25,920 years; this period called a Great or Platonic Year. Over this period the constellations appear to slowly rotate around the earth, and a new sign come out on the horizon each 2,160 years as if the Zodiac visually rotates on 30° (360°: 12). Now it is no problem to calculate that due to the precession the Earth has entered Taurus in the period 4,320 – 2,160 BC, at the time when historical events described in the Old Testament books took place. The four biblical beasts (Bull, Man, Lion and Eagle) represented the Zodiacal correspondence with equinoxes and solstices at that time.

For our ancestors, the sun has always connected the constellation through which it passed at the Vernal Equinox. During Taurus Age in Egypt the sacred bull was worshiped as Osiris, in Mesopotamia as Marduk, and in India as Shiva. The Bible narrated of the idol of the Golden Calf, the Sacred Bull that was destroyed by Moses. Symbolically, this story meant the shift into Aries sign from Taurus in 4,320 BC. In that period, Egyptian priests became aware that Taurus was slowly drifting away from the rising Sun in spring. The priests proclaimed that the Age of Taurus was over, and Age of Aries (the Ram) had begun. So, they started worshipping Amun-Ra (the Ram).

With this ‘ancient wisdom’ handy, let’s draw a zigzag line from the top or Vernal Equinox till the bottom point or Autumnal Equinox, representing ‘as above so below’ phrase. Now, number them from 1 to 12, and finish in the middle or in the ‘wilderness’ with the number 13 (see Fig. 5).

 tarot publisher

Put your trumps from the Magician to Death on these points, and you receive the Three of Life. It is not the end because there was also the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had eaten some fruit from this tree to be knowledgeable like God. The second tree represents the divine wisdom about the Great Year. Put trumps with numbers from 14 to 21 around the circle, skipping equinoxes and solstices – these fruits had been eaten long ago (see Fig. 6).

 tarot publisher

Now, place the Fool card in the middle. Congratulations! You’ve just reconstructed the Tree of Knowledge. And here you are, Fig 7.

Roxana Paul

Is it the end of the story? Not at all, follow our articles to find out what happened with the ‘eaten fruits,’ and how the Fool becomes the King, as well as many other examples, proofing this theory of the connection of Tarot and the Bible. A bigger secret waits for you. Join our mailing list and we’ll be in touch.

 Victor Paul, PhD

Based on the book ‘Sanctum Arcana Regnum’

Venetian Carnival Tarot on Kickstarter now