Tarot Mysteries Hidden in Plain Sight by Allison Frank

by Allison Frank
Asheville Oracle

When I got my first tarot deck over 50 years ago, my only focus was to learn the meanings of each card as quickly as possible so I could perform an accurate reading. Although the images on my Rider Waite deck were jam-packed with magical symbolism of elements, fantasy creatures, medieval knights, foreign letters, colors and lush flowers – not to mention numerology – it didn’t occur to me to delve much deeper into the profundity of the designs until much later in my spiritual journey. Not focusing on the myriad nuances of the hundreds of symbols didn’t seem to hinder the quality of a spread’s outcome. The cards always told the truth.

As my skills developed, however, I was challenged to honor the entirety of the artistic representations – such as mountains in the background, lightning bolts shooting from the sky, the crimson importance of a rose – into how I would explain the cards’ meanings to my friends and clients. The incredibly brilliant creators of the Tarot system did not arbitrarily insert ANY image unintentionally.   Every aspect of every card contains a deep, iconic meaning that I’ve continued to study my entire life.

However, the one image that completely baffles me, that no amount of study or reading of academic articles has ever satisfied my insatiable curiosity, is this: why there are Hebrew letters strewn throughout the entire system? Unless, of course, the originators of this complex divination process were Kabbalistic scholars.

The main argument I’ve encountered for the ancient alphabet’s inclusion into the tarot’s intentional, yet mysterious creation is the very obvious fact that there are 22 Higher Arcana cards and, that the Hebrew alphabet also contains 22 letters. This couldn’t possibly be a coincidence, could it? And no, as a practicing psychic, I certainly don’t cotton to “coincidence,” especially one of this magnitude.

But here’s the rub. The Kabbalah is the mystical aspect of Judaism and was not available in the public domain until about 50 years ago. This highly prized, much protected Kabbalstic information was reserved ONLY to rabbis over the age of 40, NEVER to women and ONLY to those whose entire life’s work was to study the Torah.

How do I know that?

Several years ago, I studied with a Kabbalistic scholar and author – Gabriella Samuels – who wrote of the book Kabbalah Handbook: A Concise Encyclopedia of Terms and Concepts in Jewish Mysticism. Being able to take a class on this previously unavailable body of Jewish law was exciting because the much-hidden knowledge of the ancient practitioners was finally accessible for public consumption. But then it led me to this ultimate conundrum as to why the Hebrew letters are scattered throughout Tarot decks.

Because no one can pinpoint the exact origins of Tarot’s inception, its beginnings are shrouded in secrets. Some historians state the deck surfaced in France (Tarot de Marseilles) in the 1500s. Some claim the Egyptians came up with this form of divination.  Others (my favorite) believe the Knights of Templar discovered the tarot on their quest into the Middle East while trying to spread Christianity throughout the world. But truly? No one really knows.

Nevertheless, the historical timing blatantly begs the question: Who inserted these symbols into the structure of the cards?

Although the answer to this question might never surface, I find it fascinating to ponder yet another lovely aspect of the Tarot. I’m certain my fellow practitioners might beg to differ with my reasoning, and I welcome any and all discussion about our favorite form of fortune telling because the Tarot is a never-ending journey into the spiritual realm.


Allison Frank (Asheville Oracle) has dedicated her life to reading Tarot cards to help people solve problems by accessing the higher dimensions. She’s been a reader at Crystal Visions for the past 8 years and you can book an appointment with her through the store. You can Contact Allison at or at Asheville Oracle Tarot on Facebook.




Link to previous Blog Post: Trust Your Intuition by Cheryl Grace