A considerably more original and historically significant option is the selection of a specific tarot card for your tattoo. Speculated to be the root of the modern pack of playing cards, tarot cards include the traditional four suits, 10 numbers and 12 face cards prescribed to the standard 52 playing cards. Once again, select which card most attracts you and conduct research into the specific meaning of that card (this will often correspond to the meaning of its modern playing card equivalent).
Tarot card designs are generally much more intricate than other card designs and may require multiple sessions and a higher budget in order to create a finished tattoo. As tarot cards are also larger than modern playing cards, more consideration has to be given to the placement of the tattoo on the body: the height and complexity of the card making it more appropriate for a back or shoulder placement than on the arms.
As symbols with no small amount of fascination for body art enthusiasts, the images of the tarot have found their way under our epidermis for quite some time and in many variations. Although not quite in the same category as the ever popular religious tattoo or the many ways in which astrology symbols are used, the incredibly rich images of the tarot have nevertheless been used in whole or in part in countless tattoos. If you have a tarot tattoo that you’d like to share, you can upload it here.
Tarot cards have been used for the purposes of divination since about the 14th century, most likely originating in Italy. Not unlike a regular deck of playing cards, there are two major subsets: the Major and Minor Arcana. The cards of the Minor Arcana have four suits (cups, pentacles, wands, and swords) with fourteen cards each (ace through ten plus a page, a knight, a queen, and a king). The cards of the Major Arcana number 0 through 21 (The Fool through The World).
Although the images of the Major Arcana are undoubtedly the more well known, the cards of the Minor Arcana have certainly been used in tattoo artwork as well. And that’s because each of the cards, no matter their suit, rank, or title has its own unique meaning.
When used for divination purposes, generally in answering a question put forth before the cards are shuffled, a set number of cards are dealt into a pre-arranged pattern – the Celtic Cross pattern is a favorite amongst Tarot readers. As the card is laid face up in the pattern (called a spread), it may end up being right-side up or up-side down. The orientation of the card, depending on the Tarot reader, may put a different spin on the meaning of the card. In addition, each position in the spread has its own meaning as well.
For example, the last card dealt in the Celtic Cross spread falls in the tenth position. This card, whatever it turns out to be, will signify the future or the final result for whatever question was originally posed before the cards were shuffled. If that card turns out to be, say, the Ace of Pentacles (which symbolizes perfect contentment), then you can expect a nice outcome.
As you review the tarot cards (from the Rider Waite deck, on which most tarot decks are based) in this section of the web site and think about how you’d like your tarot tattoo to look, be aware that many different decks, with different themes, styles, pictures, and slightly different interpretations, are available (the Thoth deck by Aleister Crowley, for example). Also remember that the orientation (up-side down is called a reversal in tarot) of your tattoo may effect its meaning.