Each card will develop its own meaning for each person, but by seeing the hidden messages through symbolism, one will have a clearer understanding of the card.
Card images vary between different tarot decks, but you will notice that the decks based on the Rider Waite deck carry many similarities.
There are too many points to cover in one article.
Focusing on one card, 14, The Temperance, you can get an idea of how much symbolism can help during your interpretation of a reading.
The angel symbolizes a person’s interaction with the spirit world. It is said we have at least one guardian angel watching over us, guiding us along our path in the physical world.
Cups are associated with one’s emotions. It is important to notice the surround elements and the positions of the cups in the card. In the Temperance, the cups are neither full nor empty. One flows into the other, creating a balancing of emotions.
Irises are a sign of peace and protection.
A path represents one’s progress into spirituality, a journey toward discovery and awareness of one’s self.
Water represents one’s subconscious mind and his/her emotional state. As a source of life, it symbolizes living energy and a spiritual source of truth and healing. Note the condition of the water on the card, which will give clues to one’s state of mind. If the waters are turbulent, one may be experiencing emotional problems at that point. If the waters are calm, as is the case in the Temperance, one is most likely in a peaceful state of mind.
Your study could go even deeper into the card. Stones, grass, and the symbol on the angel’s clothing are among a few. Notice the circle on the angel’s forehead. The important thing when looking at the symbolism of the cards is to pay attention to what draws your attention. In a reading, a symbol appearing in multiple cards is a good sign that its quality may be important to the overall reading.
Also see: Numerology, Elemental Aspects