A History of the Sky, and Skies in Tarot

November 25th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The video below by Ken Murphy shows the sky above San Francisco’s Exploratorium every 10 seconds for an entire year.

It’s called A History of the Sky and is made up of 365 little movies. They’re all synchronized by time of day, starting in the early morning.

It’s pretty amazing. You’re able to see a year’s worth of sky in just six minutes.

And despite San Francisco’s famous fog, most of the skies are pretty blue. There is a lot of gray though, and when the clouds are there, they move fast.

As most things do, the video got me thinking about Tarot, specifically the skies in the Rider Waite Smith deck.

I started looking through the cards to see which ones had clouds, and which had blue skies.

Ace of Pentacles from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot

Ace of Pentacles

There are cloud puffs in all the Aces, in the four and seven of cups, and where angels or magical creatures appear in the Majors.

There are also clouds in the Tower, but I can’t tell if they’re from the fire or the weather.

Queen of Pentacles from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot

Queen of Pentacles

There are a lot of blue skies in the suit of Cups, and in the Wands, but the Pentacles are mostly gray. Their Court Cards though, are all bright yellow.

It’s the Sword suit that has all the weather clouds in it. And how interesting that the suit representing the mind has the stormiest skies.

3 of Swords from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot

3 of Swords

For all their rationality, they’re not so calm. Winds blow this way and that, shifting perspectives and stirring up emotions.

The skies above the Knight of Swords, and in the Five and the Ten, seem especially ominous, but it actually rains in the Three. It’s clear that some thoughts can cause pain.

Knight of Swords from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot

Knight of Swords

Skies aren’t just coloured backgrounds in the Tarot. They’re part of the story, and giant clues to the message in the cards.

9 of Cups from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot

9 of Cups

For instance, a yellow sky might mean happiness, strength, and/or clarity. What’s hidden is likely to be revealed.

And if it’s dark, it could be the opposite. There might be fear and/or powerlessness, and the need to feel around rather than directly confront a situation.

#14 Temperance from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot


Blue skies are calm, clear, and typically nice to be under. While gray skies can go either way. They might hearken storms, or they might just be still, like the mind and heart in perfect balance.

There’s only one orange sky in the deck, and it belongs to the Emperor. Whether he uses it to heal or to harm, his passion fills the atmosphere around him and could burn anyone who gets too close.

Next time you play with your cards, don’t forget to look at the skies. They’ve got lots to add to the story, after all it’s under them that all the action in the world takes place.

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