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Columns on the Tarot Cards

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In the quest to understand how to read deeper meanings out of the cards, my attention was drawn to the columns that have predominant placements on a few of the cards.

One of the interesting things about columns is that pretty much everyone has seen some type of architecture with columns in it. In almost every case, the building is larger than life, grandiose, picturesque or durable. These building tend to stand the test of time. They tend to make people look small. They adorn great halls, meeting places, courthouses, libraries, churches and the like. There is usually a regal sense that they convey and they can be found in just about every culture.

Years ago, I traveled to the Mexican Yucatan and visited the Chichen Itza pyramids where I got to climb the large pyramid which looks out over the Temple of the Warriors. The top of the temple is long gone, but most all the columns remain. Looking down on them they really do appear to be soldiers standing in wait perfectly aligned. Later, when I got a chance to walk through them, they towered overhead. I couldn’t help but wonder what the building was actually built for and how it was originally used. The amount of work that went into this temple was clearly visible and non-trivial.

All around the world there are temples, churches and architectural monuments that demonstrate a larger organized and coordinated effort to put something together that can represent something much greater than man. Structures that contain columns are generally massive, glorious and awe inspiring.

So, how does this relate to the cards?

Well, there are a couple cards in the deck that want to convey this sense of awe and they do it through the use of columns!

The Hierophant

The first card that comes to mind is The Hierophant. This card represents the collective spiritual knowledge of those that have come before us. It is the Guru that reads from the spiritual text so as to teach the philosophies of the sacred teachers. This card is about learning from those that have come before us so that you can reach new spiritual height or understanding. It suggests to us that others have spent lifetimes pondering the concepts that you might be wondering about so why not reference the archives to see what they concluded. Yet, there is no air of authority or presence of permanence.

By placing the columns on the card what was seen as an old man reading a book to the observer now turns into the priest sitting on the most sacred throne within the age-old temple seemingly built by the gods that has weathered the test of time. These columns elevate the card to the status of an institution where the most-high words are preserved for all future generations. It is as if the institution holds the words of God. This card is to convey words that inspire, words to send chills down your spine or knowledge that will be life altering. The column brings up the experience of having walked through the temple and marveled at its creation.

The High Priestess

Classically, you will find columns on this card too. If you look deeper at the meaning of the card, the columns make sense.

The High Priestess represents the sacred temple which is the house of The Seer. The Seer is you in your ever-living state of Being. It is what comes and goes throughout lifetimes observing what YOU do in human form. The Seer can not touch, taste, smell, hear or see, yet grows through perception through the senses. It feels everything that you do. On the flip side, emotions, words, actions all come from The Seer so as to allow participation in the experience of life.

By placing columns on this card, it designates this card as a temple or elevates this card so that it can be recognized as awe inspiring. If man builds temples with columns to glorify and draw attention to something, God has built your body as a temple for your spirit. This is an accomplishment that no man can make and thus it is accentuated with the columns to denote the sacred awe that should be bestowed to it.


Looking over the deck, you may or may not find any more columns. If you review my deck, you’ll see that there are wooden columns on the Justice card.

The Justice card is the first of the moral/ethical card. It embodies the idea that we should act fairly and impose no undue burdens on anyone. This implies that we should keep our word and honor what is know (deep down inside) to be the truth. Defending and upholding the truth is the foundation upon which relationships are built. It is the foundation upon which civilizations are built. Fundamentally, the act of upholding this principle is what the justice system is all about and built upon.

Adding the columns indicates that this is no trivial matter. The columns build the sense of importance that this house was built with purpose. This house was built to withstand the sands of time. Adherence to this concept is what keeps the temple standing. Defense of this principle is what keeps a society ordered and structured.

When I look over the cards, it really does make sense that we find columns on these three cards. The elevation of status seems appropriate and conveys the idea that there is something larger than us at work here.

Does this make sense to you?

There also seems to be a sense of Jupiter in each of these cards, but I’ll leave that open for discussion.

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