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What's with the lizards?

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 02 May 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Jenny-Li  02 May 2002 
Hi all!

Have been spending " quality time" with my new Robin Wood deck, and it got me thinking about something that it has in common with the Rider Waite - the lizard theme in the Wand-suit. I think it's in the court cards only, but I haven't really been a good girl and made any real reseach regarding this, I just thought I'd throw out the question... I bet I'm the only one who haven't figured it out yet...!

Light and love,
Jenny :) 

Liliana  02 May 2002 
They are Salamanders, Salamanders are Fire Elementals, at least when calling a circle thats what I use, Wands are fire cards, hence Salamandars on the cards :)


lunalafey  02 May 2002 
The King of Wands in the Wait deck has all salamanders 'eating' their tails, while the knight and page does not.
This is part of the symbology of the cards. The salamanders with thier tails in thier mouths, is like coming full circle, completeness. The knight's salmanders are about taking astion towards it's completness and for the page it's about the wholeness of self. 

Jenny-Li  04 May 2002 
Salamanders not lizards - sorry...! :) And thanks for your answers, they were great!

Most books I've seen (as I've mentioned in other posts the variety of Tarot literature in this country is rather narrow, I'll have to order it on-line... and then I usually go with what I know...!) deal with one deck and the general card "meanings" - do you know any good books that deal with the symbolism on the detail-level, like salamanders with tails in their mouths and such...? Or is that the kind of info you get by listening to experienced people like you guys...? ;)

Lotsa light and love,
Jenny :) 

VGimlet  04 May 2002 
Tarot Companion by Tracy Porter has a small symbolism dictionary included. I also remember hearing from hmmm (Taliesan? Thirteen? someone else?????) Dictionary of Symbols by Cirlot is really good.
It's out of print, and the copy at my library is reference. Someone correct me if I'm wrong about the Cirlot book. I'd be glad of some suggestions too. I'm looking for a copy of the Cirlot book, but it would be nice to find something in print, too. 

Mojo  04 May 2002 
Cirlot's Dictionary of Symbols is excellent and a must-have in my opinion. Yes, it's out of print, but you can generally find used copies very easily. Start with Amazon or - I'd be surprised if you couldn't find a copy pretty easily. 

Jenny-Li  04 May 2002 

Thanks for the tip - will be tricky to find from here probably, but I will give it a go! No easy-to-find, generally heard of Tarot-books that deal with these things?? Are all the books that they give out based on giving card meanings only? Amazing...

Jenny :) 

VGimlet  06 May 2002 
You were right Mojo, I found a copy through Powells. Very decent price, too. (I love Powells, and no, I am not an employee or paid to advertise for them, LOL. However - I would like to live in the store for a year or so. :D)
I agree with you Jenny, it would be great to find a book in print that focused on symbolism just for Tarot. Heart of the Tarot by Sandra Thomson also refers to some of the symbolism, and the back of Mastering the Tarot by Eden Gray (which is *very* dated, but still in print) has a very simple little glossery. 

Butterfly  06 May 2002 
78 Degrees of Wisdom usually has details to this degree. But not always. 

isthmus nekoi  07 May 2002 
would the salamander eating its tail be related to the symbol of the snake eating its tail/ouroborous? 

Jerusalem  07 May 2002 
Salamanders are fire elementals. I believe the folklore has it that salamanders were a creature that would burn yet never be consumed by the fire. As opposed to the pheonix which was consumed but then rose from the ashes. Perhaps it eats its tail to show that its immortality in this regard. Because it will not be consumed it takes its place among those things which are eternal. Also perhaps its an indication that although most things of a firey nature are transitory, the energies of the figures which bear this tail-eating salamander do not dissipate or expend themselves.

Just a thought. 

Jenny-Li  10 May 2002 
Originally posted by Mojo
Cirlot's Dictionary of Symbols is excellent and a must-have in my opinion. Yes, it's out of print, but you can generally find used copies very easily. Start with Amazon or - I'd be surprised if you couldn't find a copy pretty easily.

Did anyone else but me think of trying to get hold of this fine "must-have"-dictionary? And don't really like to buy used books? Well fear no more, dry your tears, b'cause it seems this baby is being re-printed and re-released in July! Just for your information, to alien-Jenny it won't be much easier getting hold of it this way, but at least I'll have a fresh copy! ;)

ISBN number: 0486425231 and I found this at

Whaddaya know...
Jenny :) 

MeeWah  10 May 2002 
Isthmus Nekoi: Yes, it does. Refers to the endless circle of life. 

The What's with the lizards? thread was originally posted on 02 May 2002 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the active threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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