The Origin Story

The twin inspirations for The Garden Journey are the tradition of the tarot and the language of flowers.  Each of these symbolic systems has centuries-old roots from across many cultures, representing ways to convey ideas with images rather than with words.

Tarot as Foundation

When we developed The Garden Journey, we started with the foundation of Tarot.  The oldest existing Tarot decks originated in the Italian Renaissance, themselves an evolution of cards that arrived from the Middle East in the 1300s.  With time, people began to add layers of meaning to the decks - iconography from Roman mythology, Kabbalalistic principles, and other belief systems.  The Tarot is organized into the Major Arcana (22 cards without suits) and Minor Arcana (56 cards divided into 4 suits of 14 cards each).  

As an oracle deck, representing a subset of the full Tarot, The Garden Journey comprises the 22 cards of the Major Arcana, which begin with 0, The Fool and end with 21, The World.  

Translating into Flowers

Our next step was to match each oracle card with a plant or flower, drawing upon the language of flowers.

Much like the symbolism of tarot, the language of flowers is rooted in ancient traditions.  Flowers appear in so many of our rituals - not only as ornaments, but also as symbols of what we hope for the future or wish to commemorate from the past.  These meanings often stem from what the flower looks like, or how it grows.  

In India, the lotus is one of the earliest symbols of the Buddha - representing spiritual redemption as a flower which emerges from the mud with pristine, luminous petals.  In France, lily of the valley is a traditional symbol of May Day, given to commemorate the moment of winter’s cold safely passing away.  Children blow the puffy clouds of dandelions to make a wish - and aptly, the dandelion’s meaning is “A wish comes true”.

Card Meanings

The Major Arcana from which The Garden Journey’s cards stem can be read as a form of a hero’s journey.  

We all begin life as novices (The Fool) and grow through exploration, setbacks, and growth, finally achieving harmony with our surroundings (The World) 

Name
Significance in Tarot
Flower
Flower Meaning

0

The Fool

The luck of a beginner who doesn’t know what to expect - trusting in the universe and their own powers of improvisation.

Crocus

The message of the crocus can be thought to be: “I hope, but I’m afraid”, due to its short flowering period.  

Youthful gladness and joy, the early stages of fervor.  

1

The Magician

To tap into one's full potential rather than holding back, especially when there is a need to transform something.

Fern

The fern symbolizes the fascination - it is a plant that creates shade, plays with light, representing that which is the most hidden and secret.  

2

The High Priestess

To retreat and reflect upon the situation.  To trust your inner instincts to guide you through it.

Pomegranate

3

The Empress

The germination of an idea before it is ready to be fully born, and the need to be receptive to change.

Dried beans

Dried beans signify exhaustion.

4

The Emperor

The arrival at a point where you are in charge of your life, now setting up your own rules and boundaries.

Bay wreath

The bay wreath has been used to designate a reward of merit, representing immortality acquired through victory.

5

The Hierophant

A teacher or counsellor who will help in learning and development.

Iris

Iris was the name of a Greek messenger to the goddess Hera - a bearer of “good news”, symbolizing authority and belief.  

6

The Lovers

A decision about a partnership, whether a temptation of the heart, or a choice of potential partners.

Linden tree

The linden represents conjugal love.

7

The Chariot

A symbol of decision making, focus and determination to conquer adversity.

Gentian

This alpine plant signifies determination and the message - “I shall be strongest”.

8

Strength

Total control of earthly situations.

Pink rose

Roses of different colors are taken to hold different meanings.  The pink rose represents grace, and perfect happiness.

9

The Hermit

He holds a patriarch's staff to help him navigate narrow paths as he seeks enlightenment

Heath

Solitude.

10

Wheel of Fortune

Introduces an element of change, whether in station, position or fortune.

Cherry Blossom

Impermanent beauty; a reminder that life is fleeting and time is precious.

11

Justice

A balanced decision.

Black-Eyed Susan

Justice.

12

The Hanged Man

Self-sacrifice; enlightenment

Water Lily

Death conjoined with rebirth - the connection between life on earth and the world under the ground.

13

Death

To renounce all that is superficial and concentrate on what is fundamental and truly important.

Chrysanthemum

This flower of autumn represents faithful longevity.

14

Temperance

Balance, patience and moderation in your life.

Azalea

Temperance; womanhood.

15

The Devil

Being seduced by the pleasures of the material world.

Quince

Temptation

16

The Tower

Unanticipated danger or crisis.

Japanese anemone

Desertion; betrayal.

17

The Star

A renewal of faith and a sense that you are truly blessed by the universe at this time.

Passionflower

The “flowering apostle” representing faith despite suffering, and a yearning for paradise.

18

The Moon

The stillness and peace of calm waters.  

Lunaria

19

The Sun

Happiness, vitality, self-confidence.

Lily of the valley

Their appearance heralds the return of happiness, renewal, purity, and joy.

20

Judgement

A time of resurrection and awakening, when dynamic new beginnings first appear.

Dogwood

“Love undiminished by adversity”

21

The World

Totality and completeness of union with the universe.

Branch of Currants

You please everyone.