On the new moon, I started a journey in my art journal to deepen self-love. Every time the moon changes phase, I create a new page in my journal to further explore this theme. Here is a list of symbols I found in my tarot cards to enhance the self-love magic. You might want to include these images in your art journal pages about self-love too.
I am not an expert on tarot but I absolutely LOVE adding imagery from my tarot and oracle cards into my journal pages when I’m art journaling with the moon. I feel like adding imagery from my cards carries the energy and magic of the artists and writers who created them and, especially when using symbols from older tarot cards, from ancient witches and mystics.
A lot of the symbols used in tarot cards have old roots. You can find the same symbol, like pomegranate for instance, over and over again in western spiritual imagery. It boggles my mind to think of the artists that stretch across all time that have used symbols to represent similar spiritual ideas. The older roots of tarot help to weave the ancient magic of these symbols into my art rituals.
Here are four tarot cards I used as inspiration for symbols and imagery to deepen the self-love magic.
The High Priestess
The High Priestess’ element is water and her planet is the moon. Water and the moon relate to intuition, the feminine cycles, emotions and the rhythms of nature. I see The High Priestess relating to self-love in that she reminds me to look inward, deepen my relationship with my higher self and trust my intuition.
Some of the symbols that have been included in her card imagery include the pomegranate veil.
You can draw, collage the image of a pomegranate or cut the fruit in half and make a stamp of it in your moon art rituals when you want to represent immortality, the life and death cycle, the dark forces of the subconscious, the Great Goddess and the myth of Persephone.
The pomegranate speaks to me of self-love in that its symbolism brings to mind the magic of my giving nature and my spiritual gifts. In the pre-hellenic myth of Demeter and Persephone as described by Charlene Spretnak, Persephone isn’t taken to the underworld against her will.
As she gathers fruit and flowers with her mother, Persephone sees the dead hovering around their earthly homes. They seem confused to her, as if they don’t know where to go now that they are no longer living. She tells her mother that the dead need someone to help them and she will be the one to do it. Demeter agrees because she knows Persephone is loving and giving and must do what she feels is right. Persephone leaves, becomes Queen of the Underworld and initiates the newly dead to their new world.
To me, a part of experiencing self-love is acknowledging my gifts and abilities even when others might not value or believe in the same things I do. Persephone symbolizes this for me so when I add the symbol or imagery of the pomegranate into my art rituals, I bring with it this meaning.
The High Priestess also contains the symbolism of the veil. You can draw or collage the image of a veil as a symbol for the otherworld or the world of spirit guides and angels or the realm beyond the material world. For me, I can use the veil as a symbol of self-love for similar reasons that I can use the pomegranate; it represents my connection to the spiritual world and when I love and appreciate myself, I feel grateful for my ability to play in these realms.
The Empress, as a mother, represents the gateway to new life. One of her gifts is emotional support. If there is one thing I learned on the journey of self-love is how important emotional support is. I can’t truly love myself when I ignore, dismiss or reject my emotional needs.
In my patriarchal, western culture, emotional needs are seen as weak or frivolous but had my emotional needs been made a priority as a child, I would have developed a stronger sense of myself and a better self-esteem. I would have known I am important and my feelings matter. The Empress is like Divine Mother or the Great Mother or Mother Earth. She reassures me that my needs matter and there is a constant source of unconditional love available to me to help me meet those needs.
Some of the symbols that have been included in her card imagery are the pomegranate, roses, the crown and the scepter.
The crown and scepter are symbols I would use in my art rituals when I want to trust my boundaries, grow my sense of agency, feel secure in my own authority and remember I am the ruler of my own majestic self. They are also symbols I would use with consideration to their historical relationship to power.
Symbols linked to royalty are often marred by a history of a destructive relationship with power. It can bring to mind power over others and abuse of that power for personal gain. Considering I live in a colonized country, I think this is important to remember when using symbols associated to royalty. Kings and Queens have commanded atrocious acts to cultures they deemed inferior so personally, I wouldn’t depict a scepter in someone’s hands unless it was pointed to their own solar plexus or third eye for instance. When using the imagery of a scepter or a crown in my moon art rituals, I want to show how they symbolize power over my own shadows and gifts versus power over another.
Queen of Cups
The Queen of Cups carries similar energy as the Empress. She is another mother archetype who brings love and kindness. She emphasizes the gifts of compassion and high emotional intelligence. She is also connected to artists and healers. She is a sensitive and gifted empath. She is unafraid of intimacy because she knows how to set boundaries.
To me, she relates to self-love because I see her as someone who doesn’t feel ashamed of her sensitive nature. Instead she embraces it and cares for herself accordingly. She doesn’t apologize for having more needs than someone else. She doesn’t feel guilty for needing what she needs and she speaks up for what she needs and ensures the people around her understand her sensitive nature and respect the needs that naturally come with being an empath and having a highly sensitive nervous system.
Oh how I wish the Queen of Cups could have taught me how to live with my sensitive nature when I was a child! My body would be so much healthier and happier now.
One of the symbols that is often included in the Queen of Cups imagery is the crown.
As I mentioned earlier, the crown has a history with the abuse of power but it can also symbolize the magnificence of our divine nature which points to our worth. You are worthy for no other reason than you exist. You are good enough to be adored. Using the imagery of a crown speaks to be of owning my worth even when there are things I have done or mistakes I have made that I am ashamed of.
Strength is another card in the tarot that reminds me to turn to my higher self for guidance. It also encourages me to be assertive and firm. It teaches me I can be kind and compassionate but I also don’t need to be a pushover. I am entitled to be the leader in my own life.
The Strength card also reminds me I have the power to break bad habits and make choices that move my life in the direction I want to go. I’m stronger than I know, I can do hard things and I have the ability to face whatever challenges greet me in this life.
The symbols often included in this card are the infinity symbol and the lion.
The lion is a symbol of power, courage, majesty and leadership, enlightenment and turning your problems into opportunities. As a symbol of self-love it reminds me that these qualities exist within me.
The infinity symbol speaks of patience and eternity. As a symbol of self-love, it reminds me of my eternal nature. When I’m unhappy with myself or my inner critic is loud and unrelenting, I imagine all the other lives I’ve lived and all the other experiences my eternal divine higher self must have experienced and I remember I am far more magnificent than my inner critic perceives me as.
If you receive my Creative Moon Cycle Guides and started the self-love journey with me that began at the last new moon, I hope these cards inspired you with symbols you can add to your own art journal pages. Or, if these cards don’t speak to you of self-love, why not try pulling a few cards from your tarot deck that resonate with you more and weaving the imagery you find on them into your art rituals.
If you want to join me on these spiritual adventures using your art journal, sign up to my email list and every new moon, I’ll send you a Creative Moon Cycle Guide. Each guide enters around an emotional or spiritual theme and includes art journal prompts for every phase of the moon cycle, color inspiration, tips for what plant, animal or astrological magic to include in your art and notes that explain the important points about the new moon and the full moon in that particular moon cycle.
The Ultimate Guide to Tarot by Liz Dean
Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths by Charlene Spretnak
The Light Seer’s Tarot by Chris-Anne
The Beginner’s Guide to Tarot by Juliet Sharman-Burke
The Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans