The Tarot has a structure in many ways. Knowing the Tarot Symbolism “Angels” for cards and spreads makes it easier to read the cards for any type of question.
The Major and Minor Arcanas help us to see what the life lessons and our daily challenges are. The Minors have the elements; swords, wands, cups, and pentacles. All the elements have numbered cards and court cards. Knowing about the elements, numbers and symbols is enough to give a basic reading without much effort.
However, the Tarot cards are rich with symbolism. Each card has colors and symbolism on it that enrich readings when you use them. This blog focuses on the angels on Tarot cards and what they add to the meaning of the cards.
Angels in the cards
There are cards that have angels predominantly on them and others have them almost hidden away in decorative elements. The Major Arcana cards VI The Lovers, XIV Temperance, and XX Judgement are the cards that show angels prominently. In the Queen of Swords, the VII Chariot, X The Wheel of Fortune and XV The Devil angels are shown in a more subtle way. In this post, I focus on the obvious angels in the Major Arcana cards.
Let’s have a look at The Lovers first (Yes, I know they are not supposed to wear flowers but the site gets blocked in social media because of the image, I did stick with the garden of Eden theme though). The general meaning of this card for me is about connecting, and love. And more often than not about making the right choice. You can see Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden with the snake enticing them to make wrong choices. Above them, you see a huge sun and Archangel Raphael.
Archangel Raphael is depicted with red wings and wild hair. His hands outstretched as in blessing the couple. When looking back at the general meaning of the card, then the red in the wings show that passion is running high and this can cause people not to think straight and make the wrong decisions. The hair with orange-red streaks and green parts shows the choices between lust and the reality that we can’t always do what we want but what we should.
Angelic Healing through Tarot
The archangel is known for his healing qualities and in particular for healing the third eye and healing for addictions. Your third eye helps you make the right choices because when it is open, you see the truth and spiritual truth. This helps you understand the outcomes and consequences of your choices. When you draw this card archangel Raphael is blessing you with his healing. Urging you to accept this healing to open your third eye or to heal the need for certain substances. In the angelic realm, there are only 2 options. Choosing out of love or choosing from fear. When you choose out or love, you further your soul’s purpose and nurture yourself but choosing from fear will have you act on lust, addictions and is destructive in nature.
The Devil in all of us
This brings me to the card of The Devil. According to the scriptures the devil – also known as Satan – is called a serpent who fell from heaven with his angels, who then became demons. Now look back at the serpent in The Lovers card, he is already there in the symbolism. This indicates that making the wrong choices will bring you to the situation in The Devil card. Bound by lust and addiction you are stuck and not moving forward. The Devil card has the same couple and instead of the archangel hovering over them you see this creature. Personally, I do not believe in a devil or fallen angels because we as people create our own hell. This whole card looks similar to The Lovers card but is a caricature of it. Important to note is that the chains around the necks of this couple are very loose. That tells us that this situation can easily be solved by making the right choices and by doing what you know to be right. This way you can take the chains away and free yourself.
A little side note
I always feel that making the right choice – through The Chariot(VII) – will bring you from The Lovers(VI) to the strength(VIII) card where the lovely lady is clearly in control in a relaxed zen-full way.
The next card is XIV Temperance. In this card you see Archangel Michael holding two cups and the water flows between them. He has one foot in the water and one foot on the earth. This shows how there is a balance between the emotional element of water and the grounding material side of life with the earth element. He is wearing a white robe which indicates purity. On his forehead, you see the circle with a dot in the middle, this is the sun sign, Archangel Michael is associated with the element fire and his read wings also point to the element of fire. You see a symbol of a triangle pointing up on his chest. This symbol stands for the ascent to heaven and spiritual growth. In the background you see the sun rising just above the two mountains. From the water leads a path to those mountains.
When I first realized that Archangel Michael is the one representing Temperance, I had to meditate on that for a while. Temperance can mean a lot and in this case, I realized that I always ask the angels to help me keep a balance between the food that I like and what I should eat. It had not occurred to me that it is Archangel Michael who responds to this request. But after some thought, I see how this works. Archangel Michael is known as the warrior angel who battles the evil forces of the dark led by Satan.
Since I do not believe in Satan (the devil) I think that we have that dark side inside us. We are our own devil at times, and this is when we ignore what we know is the right thing to do and we just chose to follow unhealthy desires and addictions. That is what Archangel Michael battles and he is there to help us when we need to make the right choices. From the angelic perspective, there are only two choices we have. We either chose from a place of love or fear. Choosing from love we connect to that up-pointing triangle on the archangel’s chest and our energy ascends a bit more. When we chose from a place of fear we give in to the lower energies and our energy descends. If we manage to choose only from love all the time, we will be Ascended Masters. I know that I still have a ways to go before I get there.
The archangel in this card is Gabriel, commonly known as the messenger. This archangel normally has a trumpet with him. I know angels aren’t male or female but have a certain energy or task that may give you a masculine or feminine impression. I perceive archangel Gabriel as masculine, that is why I call the archangel him. It is best you invite archangel Gabriel and feel the energy to determine if you want to go with him or her so to speak. From my experience in working with the angels, which I have done since 2000… long story for another post someday, Archangel Gabriel is associated with birth in any way shape and form and also brings messages that help you ascend to a higher level. In the card, you see the archangel blow on the trumpet to raise the dead (yes those flowers again, sorry for that). These people are reborn on a higher level. So for me, this card is all about a spiritual growth spurt.
The red equal-armed cross on a white flag indicates passion and purity and the cross itself is seen as a reference to the 4 elements in nature. Which of course coincides with the four elements in Tarot. Basically, it means that all aspects of a person’s life are reborn. It is like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
That’s all for now folks
This is my take on knowing Angels on cards in the Tarot to help you give a insightful reading. Regular angels are found in other cards throughout the Tarot in the decorative aspects and I will write about them in a different post. If you are really interested in the Angels you can find online training in Dutch about Angels at Engelencursus.
Images used come from:
Illustrations from the Radiant Rider-Waite, art by by Pamela Colman Colman Smith, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. ©2017 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Green Witch Tarot by author Ann Moura and art by Kiri Leonard, 2014© Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125. All rights reserved, used by permission.