Tarot of the Old Path makes use of Flower Language to add further meaning to the cards. In general, each card contains one flower or herb whose meaning either expands or clarifies the traditional meaning of the card. For example, the card for the King of Pentacles contains a foxglove, which means someone successful in their business, an apt characterization of this man.
According to Microsoft Encarta, the Language of Flowers was first created by the Greeks, and was called florigraphy
. It has remained in use until present time, and can be found in many literary works throughout the ages. William Shakespeare makes use of Flower Language in many of his plays, for example.
One website states that John Parkinson, a French gardener and physician, can be credited with assigning meanings to flower bouquets in the 1600s. From there, the use of flower meanings spread, and eventually found a great deal of popularity with Victorians.
From what I’ve been able to gather, from looking around the internet, some flowers have more then one mean. This is not to be unexpected I suppose, since meanings of items tend to change and evolve over time. Of course, this can cause confusion when it comes to studying this deck. The artist may have decided to use one meaning while we can only find another when search the internet. Thankfully, I cheated and bought the accompanying book, which will help us in deciphering the Language of Flowers of this deck. I think it might be interesting to examine other meanings for the flowers as well, in cards where a less common meaning is used by the artist.
Below are some interesting websites with some listings of flower meanings. Many sites seem to be mostly concerned with flowers in regards to weddings, so I’ve searched for some sites with more general meanings, and borrowed a link or two from Two of Wand’s post.
Rodway, Howard. Tarot of the Old Path
. Neuhausen, Germany: Urania Verlags AG, 1997. (book)
[May 4, 2003]
“Flower Symbolism.” Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2002
. [CD-ROM] Redmond, WA: Microsoft, 2001.