Marriage in the Tarot?

I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage lately. Not surprisingly since I get married later this year. Making such a massive commitment and taking this step to begin to spend my life with someone else is a big deal. It’s probably one of the biggest deals there is. I’m excited and scared, happy and apprehensive all at the same time. It’s a mixture of emotions, thoughts and feelings to embark on this new step.

In keeping with my recent preoccupation, that of marriage and what it means I’ve been reading Stephanie Coontz marvellous book “Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage”(2006), which looks at marriage through sociological and historical lenses to show how marriage has evolved throughout human history. I’ve also read Elizabeth Gilbert’s, “Committed: A Love Story”(2011), which is a considered reflection and research on marriage, what it means to and for her as well as contextualises marriages in different cultures around the world. All very fascinating and really helped me understand how I could both fit within it whilst making it my own.

This brought me to think about and brainstorm over which Tarot cards symbolise marriage. As with the Tarot it isn’t always just one card that symbolises a particular event but often a combination of one or two cards that can give a sense that marriage is on the cards (Ok, I couldn’t resist saying that: P). For me there are two types of “marriage cards”, ones that signify the wedding ceremony and related matters and/or other cards that speak about the bond inherent in marriage.

In the suit of Wands what strikes me as “marriage’ card is the Four of Wands. Look at it’s image in the Rider Waite deck possibly symbolising a (wedding) party under the canopy made by the four wands in the image. Definitely the card for a celebration, a party and for the expression and joy of a family function.

In the suit of Cups, the Three of Cups from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot deck always strikes me as the “let me get my girlfriends and party “ card. How very appropriate for those pre-wedding shenanigans. Bachelorette party or Indian sangeet anyone? This is a card for me about friendship about having fun and letting our hair down with those we care about. Perfect for that wedding party.The Two of Cups on the other hand is more about the bond, chemistry, attraction and meeting of minds and hearts. It is what one hopes marriage contains at it’s deepest level.

In the suit of Pentacles the Ten of Pentacles also makes me think of marriage. Traditionally associated with wealth, familial ties and sensing magic in daily life. Why should this card show up in reading when marriage is being discussed?  For me the idea of seeing images of both the old and young in this card as well as the connection with family, wealth and prosperity on earth makes me think of marriage and wedding ceremonies.

In the Major Arcana the Hierophant is the numero uno marriage card for me. The Hierophant represents tradition, authority, religious and cultural rituals as well as knowledge and belonging. Often especially in the days of yore wedding ceremonies were solemnised by priests, the Hierophant being a priest can symbolise wedding rituals.

The Rider-Waite Tarot. Copyright 1971, U.S Games Systems Inc.
The Rider-Waite Tarot. Copyright 1971, U.S Games Systems Inc.

How about Justice and the Lovers? I’m a bit on the fence about these. Like the Hierophant which can symbolise the religious ceremonies that can form part of a wedding , the legal part (one generally has to register the wedding) could be implied by Justice if there are supporting cards such as the Two of Cups or the Four of Wands. The Lovers on the other hand is a complex card that could signify love but also and more importantly for me signifies choices, communication and balance. The Lovers doesn’t enter my top marriage cards list but perhaps is a bit on the periphery indicating love, choices and communication, requisite components of the marital relationship.

The Rider-Waite Tarot, Copyright 1971, U.S Games Systems Inc.
The Rider-Waite Tarot, Copyright 1971, U.S Games Systems Inc.

I’m excited to hear from others. What are your favourite or not so favourite “marriage”cards? Does your list look similar or different from mine? I would love to hear from you in the comments below or if your shyer email me on ava@thegirlwithcards.com to comment. Would love to hear from you lovely people out there.