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Spiritual Meaning of A Deck of Cards

Tarot cards have many different meanings and interpretations. And while they are used primarily for fun, they are also effective ways of insight and guidance. Although Tarot Card Reading is quite an old art form, it is now becoming really popular.

Churchgist will give you all you ask on spiritual meaning of a deck of cards, and so more much.

The card game spanned the globe and made fortunes for some of its fans. In Western society, it is mostly associated with gambling, but in Eastern societies the game is played to promote friendship. The deck consists of four suits — Hearts, Spades, Diamonds and Clubs — which are represented by Swords, Sticks, Bamboo and Coins. The aim of the game is to be the first player to get rid of your cards. With a history spanning centuries and cultures, it is no wonder that there have been attempts to interpret its meaning.

The spiritual meaning of a deck of cards is that it represents the path to enlightenment.

Each card has its own meaning, which can be interpreted by the reader.

There are four suits: clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. These are said to represent the four elements: earth (clubs), wind (diamonds), fire (hearts), and water (spades).

The “Ace” card is considered to be the highest card in each suit; it represents the energy of creation.

The “King,” “Queen,” “Jack,” and “Ten” cards are also considered significant; they represent our ego’s relationship with each other and with ourselves.

The spiritual meaning of a deck of cards varies depending on the culture in which it is used.

In most cultures, the deck of cards represents life itself: the four suits represent different stages of life, and each card holds its own unique meaning for that stage. The Joker represents unexpected events in your life and/or changing your plans.

In some cultures, the deck represents fate or destiny. Aces represent birth, while kings, queens, jacks and tens represent different stages of life. In this view, each card has a specific meaning in relation to its position in the deck. For example, an ace of hearts might mean that you were born into wealth but ended up poor later on in life because you spent all your money too quickly. A ten of clubs could represent someone who was born poor but is now wealthy because they worked hard at school or college to get good grades so they could get a good job later on in life (which ultimately led them to become wealthy).

Spiritual Meaning of A Deck of Cards

In 1893, a peaceable druggist living in Grand Rapids, Michigan came out of the metaphysical closet. For decades, Olney H. Richmond had quietly studied esoteric practices from the ancient Chaldean and Egyptian mystery schools. He pursued “ear-whispered” knowledge; unwritten and passed from teacher to student by direct instruction. As the “Grand Mage” of the Ancient Order of the Magi, he authored the order’s premise; “we are students of a scientific religion that accepts nothing as fact until proven.”

After publishing the results of his work in his treatise “The Mystic Test Book,” Richmond became a reluctant object of curiosity. In an interview with the local Grand Rapids Daily Democrat, he described a system based on the laws of “astral magnetism” related to the symbols on ordinary playing cards.

Richmond explained that an individual’s entire life path, or “destiny,” could be revealed by examining the card associated with their birth date, as well as a “life spread” of additional cards. He said that this method, based on mathematical laws and methods from “Egyptian, Chaldaic, and Arabian Magi” was a combination of science and magic. The card system also incorporated astrology, astronomy, and numerology; Richmond believed the system originated in Atlantis and Lemuria.

Called the “Cards of Destiny,” this system was not a method of divination in the tarot card genre; each of the 52 cards had an associated, predetermined life spread indicating periods of prosperity and austerity, growth and stasis, and one’s location on the ferries wheel of fortune.

birthdaychart 1

Chart courtesy of The Cards of Life.

Richmond also referred to the system as “The Book of Seven Thunders,” referencing the then known seven planets of the solar system. The “book” was the 52-card deck. Since then, the system has also been called “The Cards of Destiny,” and “The Book of Life.”

The Cards of Destiny had a quiet following for several decades, but was reintroduced by Florence Campbell and Edith Randall in 1947 with a privately published, spiral-bound text titled “Sacred Symbols of the Ancients.”  Based on Richmond’s work, the text became the defining classic for the Cards of Destiny system now popularized by Robert Lee Camp’s publishing company, books, software, and website,, and Gina Jones’ books and The Cards of Life website; both offer resources for birth card meanings, life scripts, etc.

Card Symbolism

The two colors of the suits represent masculine, yang (red) and feminine, yin (black). The kings, queens, and jacks, totalling 12, represent the 12 months. Thirteen cards in each suit correspond to the 12 signs of the zodiac plus the “sun behind the sun,” a reference to the creator or source. The 52 cards correspond to 52 weeks in a year.

According to Sacred Symbols of the Ancients, the deck’s “special” numbers are seven and nine. Seven is considered the “center” of each suit, and corresponds to the “original seven planets known to the ancients.” Seven also represents the sacred number of the soul of man.

Nine is the last single digit number, and is considered the universal number representing the complete cycle of human experience.

The Joker, associated with the Dec. 31 birthday, is in a class of its own. Corresponding to the fool card in the tarot, the Joker has all the characteristics of the other cards, and paradoxically none of them. According to Sacred Symbols of the Ancients:

The initiate/teachers of old deliberately concealed much of their wisdom from the ‘profane’ by words or pictures which conveyed opposite, or distorted meanings to all but the serious students who, by meditation and visual impression, could see behind the veil and discover the truth.

“The fool of the tarot is the pictorial statement of the One Force, the NO THING (0) yet everything to all men — eternal energy, boundless, measureless and infinite. It is all seasons, all forms, and all activities.”

The Four Suits

Like tarot, the standard card deck is made up of four suits representing the four elements; earth, air, fire, and water. The suit and ranking of each card is indicated by “pips,” or symbols printed on a card. These are cursory definitions; much more detail is available online, or in texts listed in the resource section below.  

Associated with the Fire element, the Hearts relate to love, emotions, children and childhood, and springtime. Hearts are ruled by Venus and Neptune.

The Clubs represent the Air element, and correspond to the intellect, education, curiosity, intuition, and the written word, i.e. literature. The related season is summer. Clubs are ruled by Mercury and Mars.

Corresponding to Water, Diamonds have to do with values, livelihood, security, responsibility, and entertainment. The Diamond season is autumn. Diamonds are ruled by Jupiter.

Related to winter, Spades rule old age, wisdom, health, and transformation. Their element is earth. Spades are ruled by Saturn and Uranus.


Below are numerical meanings in the broadest terms. For more information, see the resources section at the end of this article. All are taken from Randall and Campbell’s “Sacred Symbols of the Ancients.

One, or Ace: Individualization, leadership, progress; can also indicate selfishness, dictatorship, and disregard for the needs of other.

Two: Cooperation, diplomacy; also indifference or dishonesty.

Three: Happiness, optimism and sociability; also jealousy, worry, or intolerance.

Four: Organization, self-discipline and service; also carelessness, restriction, or destruction.

Five: Adaptability, versatility, and change; also aloofness, superficiality, and restlessness.

Six: Responsibility, love, and harmony; also meddling, criticism, and anxiety.

Seven: Spirituality, mental agility, peace, and silence; also melancholy, cynicism, and coldness.

Eight: Power, material freedom, and philanthropy; also materialism, manipulation, and bullying.

Nine: Humanitarianism and universal love; also selfishness, emotionality, and wastefulness.

Ten: Universal ideals and progress and the divine spark within all; also exploitation, ambition, and self-promotion.

Jacks, queens and kings, also known as the court cards, also have general meanings.

Jacks: Inspiration and ideas; also laziness and immaturity.

Queens: Power and receptivity; also selfishness or martyrdom.

Kings: Principles and values; also fixation.

The system is far more complex than the scope of this article; below are resources for those who wish to learn more about the Cards of Life.

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