Talking Tarot

On Obscure Occult in Phantasmagoria and Gabriel Knight

When I was a young lady, aged 12-ish, my father gave me a book on fortune telling. It dealt with astrology, runes, pendulums, I-Ching, palmistry, numerology, Nostradamus and dream analysis.
Not much later I decided to bust them all, a war on anything spiritual that involves fooling people with falsehoods and draining their money in the process.
The first victim of my crusade was Kabbalah. It is intrically linked to numerology, something that anyone can crunch in five minutes.
Palmistry was another easy target. For example, in some cultures, the amount of lines on the side of your hand, between your pink and your love line (the top thick one) says how many children you'll have. In other cultures it says how many relationships you'll have. Still others will tell you the lower half of your thumb is actually what tells you how many times you'll be with a special someone. There are tons of conflicting opinions in that.
Another target of mine was graphology, which was another research into how many different explanations there are for various handwriting traits.
The most effort I put in astrology. I collected thousands of celebrity birthdays for this. It was delightfully pointless.
Tarot didn't come until later. I always had some remote form of respect for tarot, as it was initially a card-playing game. But eventually I sat down for it. It involved making a full set of 78 tarot cards, something I regretted within minutes of starting. With sticky plastic on either side, it was definitely messy - and my cartoony drawing style definitely didn't procure the beautiful results Tarot cards are known for. However I soon became an expert in drawing Horus eyes and cobra coins.
This short essay attempts two unrelated goals. First of all, it is my second article on occult disprovement, the first being an essay on astrology that is now lost. (Remember kids, stuff you write is often a lot more useful than you think: don't throw it away!). Secondly it is linked to both Phantasmagoria and The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery. Both these games were played, enjoyed and companionified by yours truly, and I find it interesting to see how Tarot is used in them. As such, this article is also a small analysis on short sections of these games, and therefore part of their respective companions.

So let's get started:

Tarot, its development, its claims.

As I stated previously, tarot cards are believed to have originated in Mediterranian countries, notably Italy, although Egypt and the islamic world of the 14th century are also possible sources. Tarot cards have been around since the Middle Ages. Out of the 78 cards, the 52 cards with 4 suits developed. Even today people in Italy still play games with full Tarot sets.
The use of cards for fortune telling did not start until 1750, and the first to treat it as science, was the French Court de Gebelin. In spite of this, many tarot books still claim that tarot reading is over 2000 years old and created in Ancient Egypt.
In reading Tarot books, I find it fascinating that a lot of times the meaning of the cards is based on what is depicted on the card. Any book I've read this far that take tarot seriously, will pick his favourite card design and base the alleged card meaning on the design. In only a few occasions, the card is relatively universal in its meaning. But in most cases, the cards have such an enormous amount of loose meanings attached to it, that reading a tarot prediction is more of a Rorschach test.

The Cards And Their Claims

A full tarot set can be divided in 2: the Major Arcana (great truth) of 21 + 1 cards, and the Minor Arcana (small truth) of 56 cards. Some sources will claim that the position in which you draw them (normal or upside-down) can change the card's meaning.
For this I used a number of sources: Wikipedia and Tarotpedia, the book that started it all for me (Uw Toekomst), another book called De Egyptische Tarot and Tarot from A to Z.
Uw Toekomst (UT) by Peter Diderich and Frans Stavers; Only shows a basic introduction. It deals only with the Major Arcana, and strongly bases its symbolic explanations on the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. Only shows the Celtic Cross. Refers not to sources at all and uses unnamed "scholars" as only source.
Tarot from A to Z (2001, Dutch translation 2002) by well-known tarot expert Hajo Banzaf, based on the Rider-Waiteset. Mentions a handful references and correctly places the start of reading tarot cards in time.
TAROT A small computer Tarot spread by Anthony Nguyen, written for charity. It only lays the Celtic Cross, and will only lay either Major or Minor Arcana, never mixing the two. It separates meaning of right-way-up and reversed. TAROT endorses no belief in the occult and is only intended for entertainment. For a copy of the programme you can mail me.
The Egyptian Tarot (EGYPT) by Giordano Berti and Tiberio Gonard bases itself on the Pitois deck. It gives every card one main title, a lengthy symbolic treatise, and a list of things the card could stand for.
Major Arcana
0 The Fool: Banzhaf has him symbolizing the chaos of which everything is born. It stands for cheer and no worries, joy and openness.
(UT) Symbolises the start of a new chapter in life.
(TAROT) blind luck. Reverse: unwise action.
(EGYPT) Penalty, no material worries, excesses, follies, ununderstandable actions, confusion, travel, rest for body and mind, undecipherable actions or words, creating tension, incertainty, doubt, lack of initiative, flight from reality, breaking all connections to the world, impulsiveness, blind instinct, irresponsibility, stupidity, unsensitivity, slavery.

1 The Magician: Banzhaf believes he is about taking initiative, wisdom, strength and skill.
(UT) Confidence, realism, learning, sudden energy burst, new possibilities.
(TAROT) willpower, competence, recovery, health. Reverse: uneasiness, confusion, deceit.
(EGYPT) Willpower. Linked to initiative, cleverness, cunningness, diplomacy, dexterity, independance, rejection of prejudices, start of sentimental/professional/economical activities, careerist, cheat, profiteer, liar, charlatan, the will serving the evil.
2 The High Priestess: Banzhaf links her to intuition and sensitivity
(UT) Subconscious, world of dreams, possible test of the individual, warning against enthusiam or recklessness.
(TAROT) Exploration of one's own desires. Sometimes warning against too much caution. Reverse: passion, recklessness
(EGYPT) The Science, study, strong sense of justice, wisdom, intuition, the woman, the mother, the air, the secrets of knowing, the Occult Science, platonic love, tendency to avoid commitment.
3 The Empress: Banzhaf links her to creativity and growth.
(UT) Persistence, every day duties, caution, discipline, education. motherhood.
(TAROT) success, fortune, happy family, marriage, creativity. Reverse: inaction, infertility.
(EGYPT) The Deed, intelligence, understanding, good influence, deed, initiative, divine nature, fertility, gentle authority, problem solving, abundance, success, stupidity, error, doubt, lack of clarity, vanity, shallowness, wasting, infertility, inability to create concrete things.
4 The Emperor: Banzhaf feels he is about realism and leadership
(UT) Authority, father figure, spiritual maturity, vanity, selfishness, pride.
(TAROT) ambition, leadership. Reverse: obstruction, immaturity, loss of control.
(EGYPT) realization, power, balance, earthly power, authority, validity, moral integrity, indestructable will, powerful and generous protector, solving material problems, tyranny, arrogance, immaturity, weakness, doubt, incapability, legal or feduciary problems, resignation, loss of property.
5 The Hierophant: Banzhaf links him to nobleness and faith in god.
(UT) Master of fate, religious desire and need for insight in own character, philosophical or religious questions.
(TAROT) good alliance,helpful advice. Reverse: new ideas.
(EGYPT) Inspiration, modesty, pity, forgiveness, mercy, spiritual guide, the wise one can turn to, faith, family, tradition, inspiration, attraction, too much generosity, badly rewarded goodness, loss of trust in self and others, loss of own moral, vulgar and material actions, remorse, intolerance, animosity.
6 The Lovers: Banzhaf stresses the meaning of the Great Love and puts the decision aspect on a sideline
(UT) "The Decision", sometimes erroneously called "The Lovers", symbolises a principial decision.
(TAROT) attraction, love, beauty. Reverse: blurring emotions.
(EGYPT) Trial, test, attempt, important choice in love/professional/commercial/other areas, need to decide, marriage, promise, pact, meanness, temptation, guilty love, bad test results, unfaithfulness, divorce, unrequited love, idle promises, doubt.
7 The Chariot: According to Banzhaf: Strength, a fresh start about to come
(UT) Conflicts that will lead to a stronger personality. Warning for self-overestimation.
(TAROT) success, triumph, travel, progress. Reverse: bad news, struggle.
(EGYPT) triumph, success, spiritual or material growth accomplished by intelligence, honour, acknowledgement of services, ambition, direction, leadership, loss, failure, defeat, incapability, problems due to own error, unexpected loss, bad leadership.
8 Justice: Banzhaf links Justice to justice, honesty and balance
(UT) Necessity of impartial decisions.
(TAROT) Justice will be served. Reverse: injustice, inequality.
(EGYPT) Balance, law, logic, justice, harmony, destiny, submission to the logic of action and consequence, respect for hierarchy and the natural order, order of the world, prejudice, subversivity, incorrectness, abuse of power, cheat, injustice, false allegations, loss of property, any problem arisen from own behaviour, arrest.
9 The Hermit: earnesty and reservedness in Banzhaf's opinion
(UT)Simpleness and modesty, period of reflection, caution and tact
(TAROT) spiritual journey, times of quietness. Reverse: bureaucracy, indecision
(EGYPT) Vigilance, wisdom, cautiousness, loneliness, looking for spirituality, quietness, reservedness, sternness, celibacy, person who can give precious advice, clear up mysteries, doctor, healer, alchemist, expert in any field, sadness, misanthropy, victimship, carelessness, stubbornness, stall by abundant caution, failure by fear, infertility, deceit, prisonship.
10 Wheel Of Fortune: Banzhaf: fate, destiny, time has come
(UT) Sudden change, can be positive or negative
(TAROT) good fortune, success. Reverse: setback, bad luck.
(EGYPT) Destiny, undeserved success, coincidental advantages, unexpected events, opportunities, measurable time, natural cycles, unexpected negative change, instability, passing wealth, end of a good cycle, unsturdiness, reincarnation.
11 Strength: with Banzhaf: energy and lust
(UT) Conquest of the feminhood, predicts a situation in which the asker is confronted with his own pride and anger
(TAROT) courage, inner strength. Reverse: lack of force.
(EGYPT) strength, courage, energy, intelligence triumphing over brutal strength, self-control, work, activity, deed, moral strength, defending the good, beating evil, weakness, laziness, cowardliness, cruelty, anger, tyranny, disease, danger, stupid recklessness, impulsive reactions, strong and dangerous enemy.
12 Hanged Man: in Banzhaf: powerlessness, crisis
(UT) Different viewpoint, need to bring sacrifices
(TAROT) guard against sacrifice and setback, different point of view. Reverse: avoid selfishness and following blindly.
(EGYPT) Penance, action without own gain, altruism, regret, inner quest, idealism, utopia, art, distance of matter, transition, punishment, mystic revelation, induction, illumination, egotism, disappointment, forced sacrifice, illusion, unreal wishes, futile attempts, lack of willpower, pain, serious illness, incapability to act, force, unrealizable projects.
13 Death: Banzhaf: A dead end, good or bad
(UT) A major change in life
(TAROT) end brings new beginning. Reverse: stagnation, inactivity.
(EGYPT) unexpected changes, radical turnover, end, frontier, destiny, desillusion, spiritism, necromancy, induction death, understanding of purpose of meaning, germination, standstill, rejection of changes, stagnation, disappointment, serious illness, physical death, bad deeds, negative influences from a place/item/situation, depression, old age, decomposition.
14 Temperance: Banzhaf: peace and harmony
(UT) Future changed, good policy, wise suggestions, strong relationships
(TAROT) harmony, good management. Reverse: disagreement, bad management.
(EGYPT) initiative, temperance, harmony, quietness, ability to adjust, change for the better, vacacion, rest, healthy entertainment, miraculous vitrue, positive attraction, healing, transmission of a vital power, abundance, anxiety, impationce, wrong choices, inability to adjust, tension, frustration, strong antipathy, counteraction, confusion.
15 Devil: Banzhaf links him to abuse of power and decadence
(UT) Tests on sexual or financial matters, surface of secret wishes and desire
(TAROT) evil influence, depression, bad dreams. Reverse: freedom from bondage.
(EGYPT) Destiny, sexual attraction, enchantment, suggestion, originality, diversity, person with strong attraction, unbalance, dislocations, disastrous actions, inner confusion, immorality, meanness, violence, hatred, perversion, lust, obstacles, black magic, actions that serve evil.
16 Tower: Banzhaf sees the tower as a breakthrough point, a revolution, and in the long run it's always a good one.
(UT) Strike of bad destiny, often combined with arguments and fights.
(TAROT) shock, disillusionment. Reverse: goal reached at great cost.
(EGYPT) Destruction, arrogance, pride, cockiness, problems that were warned against, collapse of wrong convictions, danger, exile, fall, deserved punishment, destruction of the goods won by injust means, opposition, disaster, failure, desorganisation, chaor, financial and professional problems, loss of external or internal defense.
17 Star: Banzhaf has her down as a symbol of new hope and a great future
(UT)Hope, love, trust and friendship come up.
(TAROT) recovery, success, attainment. Reverse: enjoy simple pleasures.
(EGYPT) Hope, faith, inspired grace, good omen, good presentiment, good results, encouraging results, luminous idea, efficient advice, aid, beauty, harmony, poetry, purity of mind, chastity, resignation, fatalism, bad omens, wrong time, all sorts of trouble, loss of clarity, indiscrete curiosity, lack of diplomacy.
18 Moon: fear and incertainty, but that leads to good experiences or even the end goal
(UT) Risk and adventure
(TAROT) hidden enemies, danger. Reverse: take no risks.
(EGYPT) visions, excesses, illusions, errors by fantasy, journey over water, long and difficult study, strange meetings, attraction to the unknown, occultism, adventure, lies, danger, ambushes, flattery, unjust relations, diseases related to water, temperament, germination, virus.
19 Sun: Banzhaf: optimism and reconciliation
(UT) Luck, success, certainty
(TAROT) happiness, success, attainment. Reverse: enjoy simple pleasures.
(EGYPT) Luck, harmony, friendship, calmness, honest feelings, love, happiness, satisfaction, positive period, solution to problems, artistic inspiration, faithful colleagues, glory, honour, fame, vanity, hypocrisy, shallowness, egotism, irritability, oversensitivity, misunderstanding, accident, unbeatable difficulties, injust stubbornness, lack of friends, delayed success.
20 Judgement: salvation, relief according to Banzhaf
(UT) "Resurrection": a time of reflection that can lead to a confrontation with your own shortcomings or a solution to a problem.
(TAROT) "Last Judgment": settlement to a problem. Reverse: need for clear thinking.
(EGYPT) Renewal, change of position, birth, moral innovation, awakening, question of consciousness, transition to a better situation, healing, recovering of physical and mental energy, fame, publicity, second death, introduction into the mysteries of life, disappointment, failure, deserved punishment, remorse, regret, unjust doubt, disease, delay, bad moment.
21 World: The goal has been reached.
(UT) Success, rest, safety
(TAROT) success, reward, triumph. Reverse: goal is near, take chances.
(EGYPT) Penalty, fertile environment, good circumstances, great happiness, perfection, complete success, crown on an action, reward, recovery of mind, knowledge, ecstasy, cosmic cycle, imperfection, failure, disappointment, unovercomeable obstacles, bad luck, failure, negative environment, persons who resist fanatically, revolution, unquietness, disobeyance.

Minor Arcana
Ace: Banzhaf: opportunity, happiness
(TAROT) gift, wealth. Reverse: warns of greed.
(EGYPT) right moment, profit, increase in wealth, success, opportunity, intelligence serving evil, illegal profit
2: Banzhaf: flexibility and humour
(TAROT) harmony, joy. Reverse: need for forced gaiety.
(EGYPT) difficulties are being solved, process of healing, return to order, injustice, bad news, financial insecurity, instability
3: Banzhaf: qualification, initiation
(TAROT) reward for hard work. Reverse: beware for neglecting your professional life.
(EGYPT) commercial dexterity, beneficial contracts, fame, meeting high-placed people, mediocricy, poverty, professional incapability, weakness
4: Banzhaf: too much caution
(TAROT) beware of misering, legacy, inheritance. Reverse: beware of spendthrift
(EGYPT) paying bills, dividing goods, investments, development of ew activities, small gift, profit is lower than expected, dissatisfaction
5: Banzhaf: poverty, having to do without
(TAROT) possible loss of wealth. Reverse: wealth regain after struggle.
(EGYPT) unrealizable wishes, obstacles, senseless expenses, financial worry, disorder, decadence, disagreements, unexpected taxes, tickets or contributions
6: Banzhaf: generosity and support
(TAROT) rewards and success for many. Reverse: jealousy, envy.
(EGYPT) help given or received, collaboration, presents, rewards, gratifications, repayments, jealousy, envy, illusions, fake generosity
7: Banzhaf: patience leads the way, impatience can be damaging
(TAROT) waiting, pause. Reverse: anxiety from money.
(EGYPT) repair, own efforts are rewarded, exchange, start of business, impatience, worry, fear, lack of funds, financial trouble
8: Banzhaf: hopeful new start
(TAROT) learning new skill. Reverse: warns for vanity and false ambition.
(EGYPT) stability, recognition, proficiency in practical and commercial fields, vanity, desire, abuse, attempt at quick profit
9: Banzhaf: good fortune
(TAROT) luxury, wealth. Reverse: financial loss through deceit.
(EGYPT) possibility to use sources, care in expenses and choosing trustees, secret projects, destruction, failed or postponed project, wrong estimations
10: Banzhaf: wealth, stability
(TAROT) money, success assured. Reverse: danger for loss of money.
(EGYPT) profit coming from family, inheritance, gambling, disaster, loss, theft.
Page (Jack): Banzhaf: concrete opportunity
(TAROT) bears good news or money. Girl with black hair and dark eyes. Reverse: dissipation, excess.
(EGYPT) youth with new and brilliant ideas, study, reflection, news brought by a young boy, game, lust, waste, bad friendship
Knight: Banzhaf: stability
(TAROT) service, utility, trustworthiness, boy with black hair and dark eyes. Reverse: man who's lazy, dull, timid.
(EGYPT) businessman, financial advisor, counsellor, useful person, neglect, laziness, stalling situation
Queen: Banzhaf: industriousness, authenticity
(TAROT) opulence, trust, security, woman with black hair and dark eyes. Reverse: warns for cowardliness, mistrust.
(EGYPT) stern but generous woman, presents from a wealthy family member, marriage of convenience, animosity, assumption, fear, distrust, misery, fornication, lust for power
King: Banzhaf: realism, responsibility, persistence
(TAROT) financial success, intelligence, aptitude. Man with black hair and dark eyes. Reverse: warns against waste of talent.
(EGYPT) trader or rich landowner who is friendly to the querent. Intelligence, skills, weakness towards a rich and greedy man, corruption, strong and dangerous enemy.

Ace: Opportunity to get enthusiastic (Banzhaf)
(TAROT) Good news. Reversed: false start.
(EGYPT)spirit full of initiative, creativity, ingenuity, start of a project, fertile power, fall, collapse, dark joy, problems
2: in Banzhaf: neutral position, crossroads
(TAROT) Power at emotional expense. Reverse: an unexpected event will astound you.
(EGYPT) aid, good chance of success, worries, unexpected counteractions, incertainty
3: Banzhaf: good prospects, optimism
(TAROT) A professial or person with experience comes to your aid. Reverse: end of troubles, but beware of arrogance.
(EGYPT)careful preparation, fertile meeting, fertility, birth, start of success
4: Banzhaf: openness, security
(TAROT) Rest, celebration, marriage. Reversed: well-earned rest.
(EGYPT) intuition, illumination, realization of a project on short term, unexpected opportunity, minor setback, material and intellectual confusion.
5: Banzhaf: challenge, need of courage
(TAROT) Ordinary struggles. Reverse: generosity, settle of disputes, good relations
(EGYPT) division, agreed separation, breaking marriage, serious duty, strong competition, confrontation with enemies, treason, opposition, different opinions, aggressive actions
6: Banzhaf: success
(TAROT) success through industry, good news, victory. Reverse: beware of treachery
(EGYPT) realization of dreams, public decoration, winning obstacles, rebirth, treason, unfaithfulness, servants losing faith in their superiors
7: Banzhaf: someone is about to attack you
(TAROT) valor, success against opposition. Reverse: embarrassment. Act now.
(EGYPT) discussions, connections, projects for collaboration, confrontation with enemies, exchange of ideas, colliding opinions, danger for financial loss, weakness, submission.
8: Banzhaf: positive surprise
(TAROT) too much haste, need for communication. progress hindered by jealousy.
(EGYPT) creativetention, lively actions, movability, ambition, cockiness, reconsiderations, arguments, self-analysis, internal conflict
9: Banzhaf: uncommunicativeness, distrustful
(TAROT) there's a pause in struggle, recovery, strength, courage. Reverse: warns of obstacles
(EGYPT) pause in avtivities that have already started, intuition for danger, coordination needed, obstacles, opposition, disaster, reconsideration, internal conflicts, sorrow, nostalgia.
10: Banzhaf: overloaded, lack of perspective
(TAROT) too much responsibility, take care. Reverse: loss or separation.
(EGYPT) uncertain victory, temporary or imaginary success, opression, over-exhaustion, incertainty, oppositions, difficulties, intrigues
Page (Jack): Banzhaf: motivation, getting carried away
(TAROT) Enthusiasm, desire for power, girl with blonde or red hair and blue or hazel eyes. Reverse: person who breaks your heart
(EGYPT) young man looking for a fiancee, messenger, friend, unexpected news, gossip, bad news, instability, doubt
Knight: Banzhaf: impatience, tension
(TAROT) sudden departure, change of residence, boy with blonde or red hair and blue eyes. Reverse: disputes, frustration.
(EGYPT) break, divorce, argument, fleeing, banishment
Queen: Banzhaf: spontaneity, confidence
(TAROT) business and family success, generosity, kindness, woman with blonde/red hair and blue eyes. Reverse: troubles at home
(EGYPT) opposition, jealousy, loss of friendship, unhappy marriage, frustrating union.
King: Banzhaf: activity, will power
(TAROT) good marriage, honesty, friendliness, man with blonde/red hair and blue eyes. Reverse: beware of prejudice and intolerance, being too severe or critical.
(EGYPT) good relation with an elderly man who is authoritative but friendly, father or manager.

Ace: Banzhaf: fulfillment, harmony, love, peace
(TAROT) beginning of great joy, birth of a girl. Reverse: false heart, bad change.
(EGYPT) great joy, abundance, birth of a love or a child, family parties, mundane joy, bad change, instability, decline, scarce results, small problems
2: Banzhaf: connection, attraction
(TAROT) strong union between you and someone else. Reverse: misunderstandings, disunity.
(EGYPT) love, idyllic relation, true friendship, artistic affinity, unity, unmodest wishes, unhappy love, unovercomable contradictions
3: Banzhaf: gratitude. It is accomplished. Party time.
(TAROT) Great joy, celebration. Reverse: a situation comes to an end, not bad. Warns for too much pleasure.
(EGYPT) growth, good career, toast on success, relief, healing, good result of an activity, moving house, excesses, small arguments that can last long.
4: Banzhaf: pessimism
(TAROT) stationary period. Reverse: new goals and relationships.
(EGYPT)tricky relations, new but bad meetings, change of luck, uncertainty in area of love, just doubts, unrest, presumptions.
5: Banzhaf: sadness, pain
(TAROT) some disappointment. Reverse: renewed enjoyment.
(EGYPT) occult protection, useful reconsiderations, cycle of seasons, natural order, transition period, difficulty, predictable problems
6: Banzhaf: pleasant memory
(TAROT) new friendship and love. Reverse: don't cling to the past.
(EGYPT) pleasant memories, useful reconsiderations, being relieved of simple people or business.
7: Banzhaf: illusions
(TAROT) delusion, false hopes. Reverse: determination, resolution.
(EGYPT) sobriety, premonition, lasting union, great joy, celebration, shyness, sexual taboos, dissatisfaction.
8: Banzhaf: goodbye, leaving something behind
(TAROT) Dissatisfaction, new start. Reverse: active social life, new love, gaiety.
(EGYPT) illusions, extravagant visions, making up things, unrealistic projects, meaningless wishes, futile ambitions, disappointments
9: Banzhaf: joy, good times
(TAROT) well-being in all respects. Reverse: prevention of gaining the desired, guard your health.
(EGYPT) content, physical well-being, solutions to problems, rest, healing, mistakes, imperfections, small problems, need for a guide.
10: Banzhaf: shared happiness
(TAROT) friendship, lasting success, peace, love. Reverse: loss of friendship, betrayal.
(EGYPT) happy union, harmony in family, friends or society, good reputation, bad rewards, distrust, indignancy, violence.
Page (Jack): Banzhaf: loving gesture
(TAROT) a youth will help you. Arts, meditaion, girl with light brown hair and hazel eyes. Reverse: unfaithful lover, deception.
(EGYPT) young man who studies eagerly, meaning, good omen, meditation, inner quest, dependancy, too much affection
Knight: Banzhaf: peace, love, romance
(TAROT) message of love, boy with light brown hair and hazel eyes. Reverse: swindler, cheat.
(EGYPT) intimate frient, lover, acquaintance who brings good gifts or suggestions, seduction, fakeness, impurity, cheat
Queen: Banzhaf: deep feelings, empathy, inspiration
(TAROT) happy home and success, woman with lightbrown hair and hazel eyes. Reverse: immortality and dishonour.
(EGYPT) honest friend, wife or faithful fiancee, omen, sensitivity, wisdom, woman with ambiguous character, bad habit, indecency
King: Banzhaf: intuition, caring, sensitivity
(TAROT) creativeness, generosity, man with lightbrown hair and hazel eyes. Reverse: beware of being robbed of money or dignity.
(EGYPT) medicin man, scientist, man who helps the querent, conflict with a powerful man, loss of dignity, scandal.

Ace: Banzhaf: new perspective, clarity
(TAROT) Bad news, birth of a boy. Reverse: warns against a fight.
(EGYPT) dynamics, bitter battle, unison of powers, fertilization, seduction, break with society, divorce, sudden end of all activities, legal actions
2: Banzhaf: doubt, contradiction
(TAROT) dilemma. Reverse: disloyalty, duplicity.
(EGYPT) tenderness, friendship, balance, positive environment, influential protection, hypocrisy, unfaithfulness, cheating, balanced conflict.
3: Banzhaf: disappointment
(TAROT) stormy relationship, parting. Reverse: confusion, distraction, alienation.
(EGYPT) removal, absence, delay, divorce, uncertain development, disappearance, confusion, lost hope, broken heart
4: Banzhaf: forced rest
(TAROT) need for meditation. Reverse: need for wise administration and circumspection.
(EGYPT) alertness, unrest, sense if isolation, captivity, withdrawal, loneliness, saving, over-the-top precautions, testament
5: Banzhaf: defeat, humiliation
(TAROT) Danger. There is a way out, but not without a struggle. Reverse: a loss that must be dealt with.
(EGYPT) attachment to material things, misery, disastrous but unbreakable union, serious loss, lost hope, destruction, indignity
6: Banzhaf: hesitant change
(TAROT) rest after ordeal, new home, travel. Reverse: possible accident.
(EGYPT) sudden departure, adventurous expedition, introspection, quest for the self, paying debts, dramatic journey
7: Banzhaf: injustice, cheating, cunning
(TAROT) theft, cheating, spying. Reverse: sudden good.
(EGYPT) warning, good advice, instructions, mysterious protection, project has stranded, infertile negotiations, mistrust, loss
8: Banzhaf: restraint
(TAROT) restraints, limitations. Take care and avoid agreements. Reverse: freedom from prior bondages.
(EGYPT) bad news, inner crisis, censorship, obstruction, danger for health, unpleasantness, disaster, treason, accident, difficulties
9: Banzhaf: fear, worry, remorse
(TAROT) despair, pain, suffering. Reverse: recovery from sorrow or illness.
(EGYPT) bad premonitions, returning nightmares, feelings of fear, presumptions, disappearance, delay, premature end, embarrassment, accusations
10: Banzhaf: end of the line, dark but perhaps liberating
(TAROT) sorrow, disillusionment. Reverse: temporary success.
(EGYPT) incapability to act, pains that come and go, sadness, exhaustion, favours, not lasting advantages
Page (Jack): Banzhaf:criticism
(TAROT) plots, somebody spying, girl with brown hair and brown eyes. Reverse: gossip, bad surprise, illness.
(EGYPT) lawyer/spy/cop at work, surprising news, coded messages, secrecy, alertness, being unprepared, unpredictability, cheater, occult enemy, black magic
Knight: Banzhaf: conflict
(TAROT) coming and going out of trouble, boy with brown hair and brown eyes. Reverse: arrogance, destruction, blaming others for your own mistakes.
(EGYPT) hireling, help at a cost, youthful energy, cougare, firy temperament, ander, cautionlessness, impulsive words and actions, incapability, battle against a merciless enemy
Queen: Banzhaf: intellect, independance
(TAROT) privation, absence, sadness, woman with brown hair and brown eyes. Reverse: bigotry, malice, hostility to new ideas.
(EGYPT) single woman or a widow with a difficult character, divorce, melancholy, infertility, need for revenge, evilness, hypocricy, woman with bad intentions, horrible revenge
King: Banzhaf: sharpness, independance, skill
(TAROT) power, strength, authority, man with brown hair and brown eyes. Reverse: bad intentions.
(EGYPT) magistrate, politician using his authority, legal actions, ideological battle, difficulty with a powerful man, caution needed, loss of a case.

Card placing methods

There is a large variety in which a fortune teller might place his cards. I've listed many of the ones I could find, but occultists tend to make their own obscurer methods, and I left out those (and the ones that are WAY too complicated to illustrate in mere words) for reasons of space.


Harriet lets Adrienne pick 8 cards. She lays one in the middle that represents the self, and the other 7 around it. In the middle comes the Fool. Around it go Lovers, Strength, Justice, Hanged Man, Tower, Devil and Death.
The middle card is the Fool, that's Adrienne. The Lovers show that the Fool needs to make a choice in the area of love. Strength and Justice, two of the cards around it, can help the Fool with rational solutions, a balanced mind, strength, courage and determination. The other four are "the worst cards in the deck": The Hanged Man indicates a sacrifice. The tower indicates a breakdown of the current situation. The Devil brings evil. Death signals a painful transformation.
Noteworthy is how Harriet stresses that the key lies in interpretation. She doesn't make clear what the Fool stands for. Her interpretations of Hanged Man, Death, Lovers, Strength and Justice follow more or less the definitions they are usually given, but the Devil and Tower seem off.

The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery and Tarot

Mrs Smith reads the tarot of both Gabriel and Grace. She seems to embrace the idea some people have that only the psychic is allowed to touch her cards. She picks the cards by letting her concentrate thoughts.
Interestingly, a Minor Arcana card shows up between the Major Arcana cards. The two are not always mixed in readings. If they are, Mrs Smith would have been holding 78 cards, which is not likely.
Mrs Smith does a small reading for Grace: only 4 cards. The first card represents the soul of the subject of the draw. The second, placed horizontally on the first, represents the subject in this lifetime. The third, placed below the first, represents the other. The fourth, placed above the first, represents the current situation.
Grace draws the Empress as soul, a strong card that represents leadership, strength and intelligence. She draws the Chariot, which is self-discipline and control. In combination with the Empress, Smith interprets it as a sign that Grace is exploring her masculine side. She will achieve her goal but at a price. The Other, Gabriel, is the Magician, who's powerful, dextrous, cunning, mischievous and manipulating. He is strong with magical and occult powers, and is spiritual and intuitive. The current situation Strength or Lust. It is a Trial card which indicates two conflicting energies need to be integrated: bonding without judgment.
What's noticable about the Grace reading is that the Magician is stressed as Major Arcana, while 8 of the 9 cards drawn are also Major Arcana. She also gives Lust as alternate name for Strength. Aside from the Lust aspect of Strength, none of the cards have much of the meaning-list above.

Gabriel's reading is more extended with 5 cards. For his soul, Mrs Smith draws the Magician, the spiritual energy. The Lifetime is Lovers, which signals the duality in Gabe's reality: good versus evil, physical pleasure versus spiritual growth etc. The Other is the High Priestess, which signifies psychic mystery and deep wisdom. It's a spiritual guide card. The "High Priestess" in the game is alluded to be the Madonna, who watches over Gabriel. The Current Situation is Death, which signals a transformation. It will be painful, but not necessarily bad. Mrs Smith draws another card without signaling what its meaning is: 2 Of Wands, which signals two different paths. Gabriel is heading for a spiritual battle, and the High Priestess is trying to guide him.
The Death and 2 Of Wands can be more or less parallelled to the Card Meaning List above. The others pose still different interpretations of the card symbolism.

The Value Of Tarot

There is a tale about two children. They decide to work chores in order to make some money. Eventually they arrive at the house of an old lady. The two work very hard for her, pulling weeds in a neglected garden, scraping the dirt of wooden tables, removing inches of sticky dust from furniture, doing piles of washing up... After much hard work, they're rewarded with: an old candle.
Naturally the kids are very disappointed. The old lady tells them it is really a magic candle: whenever you have a problem, just light the candle and the correct solution will pop into your head!
The children are sceptic at first, but when they come home and find their father is struggling in the basement where the lamp is failing, they use the candle to give him extra light. Immediately Dad finds that the lamp is burnt through, and he repairs it quickly!
The children are convinced and the wax item becomes a valuable assett. It assists at homework, giftshopping, television quarrels, yes, at any one of those little struggles we all face every day. When they realize how fast the candle burns, they decide to put it in a safe place. When they need it a few days later, disaster! The cupboard where they put it, turns out to get very hot in the afternoon sun, and the candle has melted!
The kids run to the old lady to see if they could get a replacement for their magic item. The lady tells them magic has nothing to do with it.
The secret of the candle is that too little people take time to think of their problems. While they light the candle and pause to wait for an idea, they actually think and find their solution! Any solution hides in all of us. We just need to occasionally wait a few seconds for it to grow out of our minds.
Like the magic candle, tarot often deals with the direct answer on a question. Often, Dear Abby could answer it. Mother could give advice. Anyone could give you useful tips on how to deal with it. It just takes time, and ability to take a step back to overlook the actual issue, before you can come up with a way out. Tarot can help in this way, as it is so strongly open to interpretation you can virtually see anything in your draw you'd like, or what you could use.
Fortunately, except for strong causal relations, the future will always be a mystery. My dislike for any occult practice is that they often claim to, and make money out of, people's belief in things that don't exist.


It says something that I haven't been able to find a proper link to tell us more about tarot cards in fortune telling. Any site I've found, exclusively uses the symbols on the card set to explain, or worse, offends virtually any reader. Wikipedia, too, only summarises symbolism above without listing any possible meaning of the card.
In checking out any of these pages, the reader needs to keep his wits about them to be able to "understand" the meaning while still keeping a distance. In other words, trying to stay on the "scientific" part is tough.

Tarot Card Meanings of Aeclectic
Tarot Card Meanings of
Tarot Card Meanings of The Mystic Eye
For many more of these, just google.
Wikipedia on Tarot.

This collection of tarot information was brought to you by hours of work, typing and translating the occasionally absurd texts found in 4 different books. It was even more loborious than drawing all those 78 tarot cards and cutting them out and wrapping them in plastic, which says something. PLEASE DO NOT copy any of the information in the Card Meaning List on your site, any other site, any forum... just link people here.

The BBP Gabriel Knight Companion Circuit

Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Fathers Companion
The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery Companion
Der Fluch des Engelhart and Richard Wagner
Talking Tantalizing Tarot in The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery and Phantasmagoria
Gabriel Knight 3: Blood Of The Sacred, Blood Of The Damned Companion
Gabriel Knight 3 Gallery #1
Gabriel Knight 3 Gallery #2
Gabriel Knight 3 Wayback Treasures
Gabriel Knight 3 Secret Documents