Mudras on R/W cards


Some of the persons depicted on the R/W cards hold their fingers in Mudra-like positions.

Does anyone know more about Mudras?


Catlin, I don't know what "Mudras" are. My dictionary didn't help, so, could you give a definition-description, please!


A Mudra is a specific hand position used in, for example, Yoga.

The Mudra-like positions on the Magician's left hand (pointing finger), the Hierophant's right hand (annular and little finger folded), the Devil's 'hoof' opening on its right hand, and the, again, folding of the annular and little finger on the 6 of Coins are classical western gestures.

The apparent inner fold of the Charioteer's left hand, though definitely appearing Mudra-like, is probably unintentional.

The folded annular and little finger is used for blessing. The pointed index finger for directional energy, and the 'hoof'-hand as a symbol of inverse blessing. These are found on many Tarot decks, and are not Mudras in origin.

Because these are 'common', I had to look for what cards you may have been referring to, and, as a result, noticed for the first time that the Charioteer's hand could be taken as a Mudra... But as mentioned, I think it is ambiguous and, though possibly important, also intentional.


I don't think a day goes by that I don't learn something new on this forum. This is so great, all this info. being shared.....


Hi jmd,

Thanks for the great job you did! What about the 10 of swords? Can this also be counted as a Mudra or not?


I hadn't noticed the ten of swords...

It is quite interesting, for the finger position is ambiguous: where is the annular?

The thumb over the little finger is a Mudra, so it could (un?)intentionally be... on the other hand, could it be a blessing position (like on the Hierophant), but somehow twisted in the pains of the depicted death...

I'll review it later and get back to you...


jmd, hi!!!
I'd love to know where you learned all this "mudra" info. If from a book - please share the title. Thanks!


With regards to the Mudras, I do some yoga (sometimes!). I also have, on occasions, been to Indian Dancing performances, at which some hand positions are explained.

The Western meanings of the hand positions are probably acquired over numerous years.

I have two friends who happen to be priests. One a ('high church') Anglican, the other a Liberal Catholic (Leadbeater/Wedgwood fame). Together with my various interests and discussions with numerous people, some eventually becomes part of one's background 'knowledge'.

I respond to posts without reference to books. I figure that if I need to check what someone else says (unless it is to quote them), I may as well not reply, and allow someone else to... That's just me, and I certainly don't expect it of others.

I personally do not know of any books which deal directly with this subject, but numerous ones have snippets... Let me know if you come across one!



I've held off saying anything about your question so people with serious thoughts could respond. I once started a thread about archetypes, and 97 people told me how silly I was. Well, yeah, I'm not the most serious person around.

But, the other day I was in a store and saw a tiny child being pushed in a stroller by her mother. The mother had paused at a shelf and it obviously had something the little girl wanted. You could see it in her anxious expression.

And, I noticed that this baby's fingers were crossed. That is, her middle finger was tightly crossed over the index finger.

How'd a little baby learn this? I mean, did someone teach her that? Have you ever made a wish, and crossed your fingers?

Do you know what "King's X" means? You cross your fingers in the middle of a frantic childhood game, hold 'em up, and cry, "King's X!" Sort of a time out.

Look me straight in the eye and say, "What I tell you is true." But, behind your back, you're crossing your fingers. Should I believe you?

Tell you what. You all pay the expenses and I'll go to whatever you all consider the most remote corner of the earth. And, when I get there, I'll greet the inhabitants by making a fist with an extended, rigid middle finger. What do you think the reaction will be?

Talisman slyly attempts to lay his finger alongside his nose and -- WHOOPS! -- pokes himself in the eye.

I'm not gonna attempt to make a case for archetypes, but, if I meet you, and we don't share a common language, and I hold my hands out, palm facing and fingers extended, you should know one of two things:

Either that I am unarmed, or that I am an easy target. Hey, maybe both. Are we still talking Mudras here?



What you're talking about is the universal body language, which is probably the basis for mudras (most Eastern teachings take their cues from what occurs naturally, then expand on it in some way, i.e., breath and energy work). The formalized mudras such as mentioned above might not be recognized anywhere else, but posture, facial expression, and vocal tone are. That's why non-verbal or written communication is often the most effective - no language barriers. Also probably why the Tarot is a set of pictures, not books.