When receiving a tarot card reading, have you ever noticed the illustrations on the cards presented to you? The vivacity and colors with which they are designed? Much like the card itself and the illustration on that card, the colors printed on the card also have much symbolism and contribute to the meaning of your reading.
The colors used in each card’s illustration hold meaning and are representative of a different idea or theme. These colors can be used to highlight issues you might be facing, things that might need your focus or any upcoming events in your life. They bring further depth into your reading.
In this article, we will be focusing on color symbolism within tarot reading for free and the meaning they bring into readings. (The following interpretations are based on the Rider-Waite tarot deck)
Traditionally, white symbolizes purity and innocence; it is often seen as white clothes within the tarot card deck, such as the Strength and High Priestess card within the Major Arcana. Another form of the color white is seen in white flowers, such as in the Six of Cups card (Minor Arcana – Suit of Cups).
Characters dressed in white symbolize purity and virginity, something that has been untouched. The color white may also represent the source of all life as white light contains every color.
- White and Black – A combination of white and black is seen as the integration of two opposite energies. For example, twin black and white pillars are found in the High Priestess card, symbolizing the merging of the feminine/passive (white) and masculine/active (black).
- White and Red – This combination is often used when the concept of duality is present. This is seen in the Two of Wands card (Minor Arcana – Suit of Wands), where the magician wears a red robe over a white one and is surrounded by red and white lilies, showing his ability to make use of opposite energies and make them come together.
Black, on its own, symbolizes the unknown, the dark and mysterious side. Black is not typically used prominently within cards; the only ones that do so are the Death and the Devil cards (Major Arcana). When depicted as a black starry sky, the color becomes symbolic of the universe.
Grey is a color not much used in tarot, but when it is, it is representative of gloom, sadness, and stormy weather. An interesting example is the Four of Pentacles card (Minor Arcana – Suit of Pentacles), the man in the card is set in a grey atmosphere, but outside the protective walls he resides in, it is filled with color and is lively.
Red, Yellow, Blue, and Green
Being the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) represent the beginning as they were the first to originate from the white light – they are a representation of the origin of the universe.
Alongside green, these colors are representative of the four elements; red symbolizes fire, yellow symbolizes air, blue symbolizes water, and green symbolizes earth. The elements of fire and air are representations of masculine energy; hence, so are the colors red and yellow. The elements of water and earth are representations of feminine energy; hence, so are the colors blue and green. These four colors are the ones mainly used in the Rider-Waite deck.
- Red – Being the color of fire, red symbolizes passion, action, and inspiration. Red may also represent anger and lust. A unique interpretation of the color red is seen in the Empress card (Major Arcana); the empress sits on a red pillow, a symbol of fertility.
- Yellow – Being the color of air, yellow is also related to the sun. The Rider-Waite deck mostly includes yellow skies over blue skies, symbolizing the continuous presence of the highest level of consciousness.
- Blue – Being the color of water, blue also represents the subconscious mind (related to how our subconsciousness is deep within our mind). Any characters found wearing blue within the deck are said to have gained subconsciousness and are intuitive, such as the King of Cups (Minor Arcana – Suit of Cups)
- Green – Represents nature, life, and growth.
Purple is seen as the color of royalty; it represents opulence and luxury. This is seen in the Emperor card (Major Arcana). Besides this, the color purple is not commonly seen in the Rider-Waite deck. Purple is more often used in modern decks.
The Emperor card is set in the background of orange mountains; hence, the color orange symbolizes great challenges and difficult paths one must follow. Besides this, orange can be used to symbolize power and fire.
Much like purple, pink is also rarely used within the Rider-Waite deck; however, it is seen in the Page of Cups card (Minor Arcana – Suit of Cups). Most of the time, pink transitions into purple; hence, it is representative of the same things the color purple is.
Rainbow or Multi-Colored
Multiple colors present at once represent abundance and happiness. It could also represent multiple sources you should take up in order to solve problems and achieve solutions – seen in the Nine of Wands card (Minor Arcana – Suit of Wands).
Cards with multiple colors can also symbolize integration and celebrate differences – seen in The Sun card (Major Arcana)
The above color interpretations are based on the Rider-Waite deck; color interpretations will depend on the type of deck you are looking at. Knowing the interpretation of each color will help you to understand your tarot reading further, giving you greater access to the depth of the reading.