Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tarot: 'Hidden Mickeys' in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The universe's gift to me was a used RWS tarot deck from a Blue Cross charity shop. I know there is a strong tradition that magical tools should be 'virgin' but my own opinion is that the universe will give me what I need at the right time and the tool may even include the vibrations of what it's been through before. In this case it had magical gift written all over it - the cards were in a box I picked up and although I didn't want the box I bought the whole thing and gave them back the box to sell again, as 'payment'. They are the standard UK RWS tarot cards, definitely used but not in bad nick. I feel that they belonged to a woman, a nice person. I am unsure why she gave them away, and I sense a certain disconnection - perhaps she just didn't click with them. Anyway, they immediately leapt into life in my hands and when I asked what they have to teach me, I drew The Star. Hope - what a lovely lesson.
It has revived my interest in the 'hidden Mickeys' in that deck, so here is a non-exhaustive list of them. I am not attempting to interpret them, just point out some things not apparent.
O The Fool - the symbols on his belt represent the seven planets to some. There is an eagle depicted on his bag.
I The Magician - the top of the leg of his table may hold the word 'din' (there isn't even agreement on what alphabet it's in), which in Hebrew means law or judgement, or the squiggles are sometimes seen as alchemical or elemental symbols. His belt is in the shape of an ourobouros.
II The High Priestess - the pomegranates on the hanging behind her are in shape of the kabbalistic Tree of Life. Attempts to see words in the folds of her garment are sadly unconvincing, in my opinion. The water which can be glimpsed behind the veil is said to be the source of every other body of water in the tarot.
V The Hierophant - some people see acorns and oak leaves at the top of the pillars.
VII The Chariot - the charioteer's clothing is covered in astrological signs and his belt with geomantic symbols used for divination in the Golden Dawn.
VIII Strength - some people see bees flying around me maiden's head.
X Wheel of Fortune - the alchemical glyphs from the top clockwise are mercury (conscious/ego), sulphur (passion/will), water (dissolution) and salt (inertia).
XI Justice - there is a tradition connected with the Marseilles tarot that the rope round the figure's neck is the rope which hangs the Hanged Man.
XIII Death - there is a tiny entry to a cave in the background of the card, which is sometimes connected to Plato's Allegory of the Cave.
XIV Temperance - just under the neckline of the angel's garment is the biblical name for God in Hebrew letters.
XX Judgement - the figures' arm postures may spell out the Latin word LUX - light.
7 of Cups - the shading on the cup containing a laurel wreath forms the shape of a skull.
4 of Swords - the Latin word 'pax', which means peace, appears at the top left of the stained glass window.
8 of Swords - the number of coils of rope are the same as are used in a masonic ritual (sorry, didn't note its name) and so signify being reborn.
10 of Swords - the man's fingers form the Japanese kichijo-in mudra, indicating good fortune or joy. In Chinese mudras this one is called the sword mudra and indicates cutting through perpetual difficulties.
9 of Pentacles - some people on t'internet are adamant they can see an indication there is another person in this scene - either a hand or an eye. I have never been able to myself, but do wonder whether Pixie intended the background to be suggestive.
Queen of Pentacles - there is a rabbit in the foreground of the card.
7 of Wands - the figure has odd shoes on.
Sources include many internet forums and quite a few from Sandra Thomson's Pictures from the Heart.


  1. What a find! I'm with you on the whole "the universe will give me what I need at the right time" thing - Virgins be damned! A bit of experience is good. One can learn from experience (as long as one isn't swayed by it).

    1. And of course there's many a 'virgin' who refuses to learn from experience!


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