This page contains a theory on relationships to Tarot Cards. All contents within are the interpretation and ideas of a player, not official lore. Almost all information specific to Tarot cards came from Biddytarot.com and wikipedia.org
Tarot cards and Bloodborne
This page is not about the Bloodborne Card Game, it's not about Bloodborne Tarot Cards.
This is about Bloodborne's themes and characters, and how they were inspired by real world Tarot cards.
Tarot Card Basics
A Tarot deck consists of a total of 78 cards with the most importants ones being the 22 Major Arcana.
Each card has a certain personality and carries a message if drawn. A Tarot card is connected to one of the four elements, as well as a zodiac sign or heavenly body.
All Tarot cards may be drawn "Reversed", meaning upside down, this tends to draw out their negative qualities. "Reversed" is the opposite of "Upright".
The MagicianThe TowerThe EmperorThe ChariotWorldThe LoversThe HierophantThe High PriestessMoonThe Hanged ManWheel of FortuneThe HermitThe DevilJudgementDeathThe EmpressSunThe FoolTemperanceThe Suit of SwordsThe Suit of PentaclesThe Suit of CupsThe Suit of WandsStar (lore unknown)Strength (probationary lore)Justice (lore unknown)
These cards supply ample amounts of background lore but aren't integral to the Bloodborne plot.
The Magician is connected the Caryll Rune Clawmark.
The line he makes with his arms matches the slanted line of Clawmark. The vertical lines of Clawmark fit the vertical lines on his robe.
The Magician is a card of ability and power. Upright it forecasts a spurt of creativity and success.
Reversed, The Magician portents the misuse of power. He then symbolizes greed, manipulation and other sociopathic traits.
The Magician is the card of new beginnings and receiving help from sources outside yourself.
The card is likely tied to Gilbert, as The Magician is tied to both beginnings and a call for help.
Gilbert is one of the first NPCs you meet, His beastform drops Clawmark, and helps you by giving you the Flamesprayer.
According to The Golden Dawn, The Magician is governed by Mercury. He's connected to the air element.
The Tower is connected to The One Reborn.
The flames around the tower represent the pyromancing Chime Maidens.
The lightning bolt could be a reference to the Bolt arts studied in Yahar'gul.
The sinners jumping out of the tower are sinners punished by The One Reborn.
As they are falling they're screaming in terror, just like the petrified citizens of Yahar'gul .
The boss battle itself much resembles the Demons' Souls boss battle against Tower Knight.
In both fights, the boss is supported by ranged enemies on ramparts, which the player can reach by using one of two symmetrical staircases.
The Tower is a card of destruction and is in that sense similar to the Death card.
Destruction isn't necessarily bad. It can mean the end of one stage of history and the beginning of another.
The things destroyed can also be negative things and the world may be better off with them gone.
"Then, out of the blue, something ‘shocking’ happens that completely destroys your picture of peace and harmony."
The kind of change The Tower represents is one including shock and awe.
Very fundamental things will come crashing down and people will feel fear, loss and a sense of being lost.
This is what happened to the School of Mensis in Yahar'gul.
They had worshipped the Great Ones in the hope of being rewarded but they were punished instead and their faith came crashing down.
According to The Golden Dawn, The Tower is governed by Mars. It is connected to fire.
The Emperor is connected to Martyr Logarius. Logarius could also be represented by The Magician.
Like The Emperor, Logarius is encountered occupying a throne.
Like The Emperor, Logarius is endowed with a staff and a crown.
The Emperor has "Ankh " embedded on his staff, as does Logarius
They both have long beards and both are connected to the color red.
The Emperor is an authority figure. He's stern, strict and a stereotype patriarch.
Beneath his robe, he's clad in armor, symbolizing that he's not afraid of war.
He complements The Empress and is a symbol of protection.
By contrast the reversed Emperor is a symbol of stubbornness and he can be guilty of misuse or overuse of power.
The Emperor is governed by the star sign Aries. He's connected to fire.
The Chariot is connected to Master Willem.
The box he sits in represents Willem's wheelchair.
The sphinxes at his feet are demons of riddles and illusions.
The Sphinxes represent the twin serpents of the caduceus .
The serpents are thought to be opposites, Moon and Sun.
The caduceus is a symbol of Mercury, and Formless Oedon.
If not serpents, the sphinxes could also symbolize Rom.
The Chariot's tunic is adorned with alchemic symbols which represent the spiritual transformation of man.
For a crown he wears a laurel adorned with stars representing the highest spiritual attainment of man.
The laurel could also symbolize Laurence, his crowning achievement.
Behind the man is a city, symbolizing that The Chariot has turned his back on the material.
Likewise you can find Willem with his back turned to Yharnam, his attention is turned toward the stars and the lake.
The box he is in represents the earth element. When you kill him he drops the pentacle rune Eye. Pentacles represent earth.
The Chariot is governed by the star sign Cancer. His element is water.
"Provost Willem sought the Cord in order to elevate his being and thoughts to those of a Great One,
by lining his brain with eyes. The only choice, he knew, if man were to ever match Their greatness."
The World is the other half of The Hanged Man who represents The Hunter.
The card represents a journey as well as success and accomplishment.
In the corners you can find the star signs Aquarius, Taurus, Leo and Scorpio (in the form of a bird).
The significance of these star signs is still being investigated.
According to The Golden Dawn, World is tied to earth.
It is governed by Saturn (Chronos).
These Tarot cards are tied to Bloodborne's central themes and characters.
The Lovers are watched over by Raphael, angel of air and slayer of demons.
The arms and wings of Raphael form the curve of Impurity. The top circle is formed by either Raphael's head or the Sun above him.
Behind the female dangles The Serpent of Eden. Correspondingly, Viper Pits can be found just past Valtr.
Three circles on each side of Impurity could each represent one of The Lovers.
It is also possible that the circles on the left represent the forbidden fruit of The Tree of Wisdom.
The circles on the the right would then correspond with the "flames of passion" behind the male Lover.
The Lovers card is opposed to The Devil card which represents carnal passions and evil desires.
The love of The Lovers card is love of the higher sort: warmth, trust, generosity and also "brotherhood".
The Lovers confront one with choice. One must establish one's own personal beliefs and choose between right and wrong.
According to Biddytarot, those that are confronted with The Lovers have first been "indoctrinated" by The Hierophant.
The Hierophant is none other than Oedon himself and it's possible that The Hunter has been lied to or has assumed things Oedon's way.
The Lovers card is governed by Gemini. Their element is air.
Gemini is interesting, because the Forbidden Woods are tied to the Madaras Twins.
"Denizens of the Forbidden Woods, the twins grew up alongside a poisonous snake, and developed a silent, inhuman kinship." - Madaras Whistle
Both the twins became hunters, and brought back and dissected their beast prey, in order to support the villagers in their forbidden research" - Butcher Gloves
Raised on a healthy diet of beast entrails, the poisonous snake grew uncontrollably" - Madaras Whistle
"Eventually they learned human ways, and became hunters.
When they discovered Vermin in their beloved snake, the younger brother is said to have murdered the older.
The Butcher Mask that relates this information is found on the NPC hiding atop Valtr's hut. He's almost certainly the surviving twin.
This makes sense, Valtr despises Vermin, no doubt the younger Madaras Twin does too.
The younger twin may have become Valtr's helper for this very reason.
The Hierophant is connected to Formless Oedon. He is Oedon in his truest and most elusive form.
The Hierophant forms the curve of Formless Oedon with his arms. The three circles are formed by his head, and the crests of the pillars
The pillars corresponding with the circles may mean that Oedon is embedded in the environment, as is his mind (head).
The number 3 reappears on his crown which has 3 layers. His staff has 3 crossing lines. He is wearing 3 layers of clothing.
There are also 3 people in the picture.
The three vertical lines are formed by either his throne and the two pillars, or his white sleeves and the white ribbon.
The Hierophant is the symbol of subtle and unseen power.
He can represent the influence of culture, natural or social laws as well as the influence of secret agents or fate.
He is by his nature very orthodox and conventional. This would make Oedon a "villain" of a very archetypical sort.
He is very old and real. What he represents cannot be denied, but originality and innovation are not his cup of tea.
Oedon will likely always be and always want the same thing. His dark will is very strong and courses through many agents.
The Hierophant is governed by Taurus. He is connected to earth.
The Hierophant's Staff
The triple cross, also known as the papal cross, makes an appearance in DS3, be it with the arms inverted.
The Man-Grub Staff - as it is called - is the highest reward the Rosaria's Fingers Covenant has to offer. The staff head is also the emblem of this covenant.
Rosaria's Fingers is DS3's red invader covenant. It is therefore the successor of The Brotherhood of Blood and Kaathe's Darkwraiths.
This suggests that Oedon and The Dark are related. It's possible that they are the same thing.
The three crossbars represent the ecclesiastical rank of Pope, whereas two crossbars designate an archbischop.
To unlock the Dark Lord ending you must undertake a ritual where you receive 3 Dark Sigils. These match the 3 circles of Formless Oedon.
The High Priestess
The High Priestess is connected to Communion . Communion is associated with The Moon Presence and Mergo's Wet Nurse.
The High Priestess appears on these two bosses in the form of four circles formed by her crown and three pomegranates on the tapestry behind her.
The Moon Presence has one large opening in its skull (representing the crown) and three smaller ones above the main one .
This same pattern of one large circle with three smaller ones above it is found on the amulet that The Wet Nurse wears .
The crescent at her feet indicates that The High Priestess is connected to the Moon.
The High Priestess is described as the guardian of "The Great Mystery"
She sits between the light and the dark, between Boaz and Jachin, the entrance of Solomon's Temple.
Solomon's Temple is The First Temple of Jeruzalem, which is stated to have housed the Ark of the Covenant.
The High Priestess is the female counterpart of The Hierophant, together they were originally called the Pope and Popess.
Her blue robes symbolize wisdom, illumination and divine knowledge.
Like The Priestess, The Moon Presence defends some great secret that will allow The Hunter to ascend or change his fate.
Through The High Priestess, The Moon Presence is connected to the Hierophant, who represents Formless Oedon.
The Moon Presence is also often thought to be Oedon, which is supported by this connection.
The High Priestess and The Hierophant have contradicting sexes
The Moon Presence has an androgynous appearance with no clearly defined sex.
It may bea hermaphroditic amalgam of Priestess and Hierophant, or just The Priestess.
In Dark Souls lore the great dark beast Manus, Father of the Abyss fathered 4 daughters that appeared in Dark Souls 2.
These daughters are known as Nashandra, Alsanna, Nadalia and Elana. They were reincarnations of The Dark Soul of Manus and part of him.
While part of Manus' originally male soul, they were true females all the same.
The High Priestess wears the crown of The Triple Goddess.
The Triple Goddess is an archetype and encompasses any female deity that appears in the form Maiden, Mother and Crone.
This could to fit The Moon Presence quite well who is a mother figure, a hideous hag and a maiden of dark.
The High Priestess is governed by the Moon. She is connected to water.
The High Priestess is associated with the following deities:
-Persephone, the Greek goddess of the underworld
-The Corn Maiden, a symbol of harvest
-Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt.
-Isis, an Egyptian fertility goddess
These goddesses bring together the concepts: "underworld", "harvest", "hunt" and "fertility".
Persephone is also known as the raped goddess, as she was originally kidnapped by Hades.
Hades tricked her into eating special fruit, which kept her bound to him. She's also the goddess of flowers
Artemis is described as something of a tomboy, and the goddess of virginity.
Artemis is also goddess of the Moon and a patron of childbirth.
Isis is a mother figure and protector of children and the dead.
She's also the mother of Horus, and the wife of Osiris.
The Moon is tied to The Moon Presence.
The Moon is a symbol of dreams, nightmares and all kinds of frightening things that emerge from our subconscious.
The Nightmare is also watery by design. It is constantly subject to change, "it swirls and churns unending" as is stated by Micolash.
The creator of The Nightmare of Mensis is Mergo whose name means "to submerge" or "to drown" in Latin.
In Demons' Souls there was a thing called "Deep Fog".
The Fog brought with it demons, or demons brought with them Fog, Deep Fog threatened to absorb the entire world.
Fog was what sealed off boss arenas, a feature that lingered on in later Souls games, and became Nightmare Fog is Bloodborne.
The Moon Presence is a creator of clouds and a summoner of blood .
The effect these clouds produce, is identical to that of the colourless "Numbing Mist ".
In concept art, The Moon Presence is illustrated as a creature materializing from mist .
The Moon is a card of illusion and deceit and is said to represent our shadow selves.
The Moon confronts you with your fears yet implores you to resolve what haunts you.
Our shadow selves can become visible in what we project upon others.
These projections often say more about our own fears than about reality.
(wild theory follows)
Perhaps when you're a Great One, what you project upon others can become a nightmarish world that imprisons you and engulfs others.
The Moon is governed by Pisces and is connected to water.
The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man is connected to the rune Hunter. The above are variations found in the Pthumerian Labyrinth.
The Hanged Man is a symbol of self-sacrifice, cavalier behavior and surrendering yourself to something bigger than yourself.
His yellow shoes are said to represent his high ideals, the red pants his passion and the blue shirt represents his knowledge.
The card is a Pittura infamante, or "defaming portrait". It depicts a traitor being punished for his crime. At times, the traitor is Judas.
At other times he's Odin, the Norse god who speared himself to Yggdrasil in order to gain knowledge.
He could also depict the process of going blood-drunk, by the blood accumulating in his head.
Reversed The Hanged Man portents indecision and delay. The Hunter may not know what path to take, or may be unwilling to accept his fate
If left in indecision for long enough The Hunter may become a wraithlike beast and wander the world eternally.
The last labyrinth grave is actually a mirrored version of The Hanged Man. This mirroring likely refers to The Nightmare and water.
The world of Bloodborne is abound with corpses hanging upside down .
It has been suggested that they were hung like that to drain them of blood.
It's not certain if this was done for ritualistic purposes or for personal bloodlust.
The Hanged Man is governed by Neptune, and is connected to water.
Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel of Fortune is tied to Logarius' Wheel
The Wheel is a symbol of the fickleness of fate.
The empty Wheel is supposedly controlled by Fortuna, sometimes called "The Empress Of The World".
Originally, The Wheel represented the celestial spheres, from whose movements astrologers tried to predict the future.
Through its relation to the celestial spheres, The Wheel is also "that which moves the heavens".
That Wheel and destiny are linked, is stated on the the Wheel Hunter Badge.
"Martyr Logarius led a band of Executioners, and this badge was crafted at their dedicated workshop. The Wheel symbolizes righteous destiny.
As Logarius' Wheel was used to punish The Vilebloods, it may also symbolize what goes around comes around.
In DS1 the player was given two options, to choose to renew the world of Fire or begin a new world of Dark.
In DS2, Scholar of The First Sin "Aldia" repeats these choices, and offers a mysterious third choice.
"Young Hollow, there are but two paths. Inherit the order of this world, or destroy it.
But only a true monarch can make such a choice.
Very few, indeed, have come even this far.
And yet, your journey is far from over."
"Once, the Lord of Light banished Dark, and all that stemmed from humanity.
And men assumed a fleeting form.
Men are props on the stage of life, and no matter how tender, how exquisite...
A lie will remain a lie.
Young Hollow, knowing this, do you still desire peace?"
"What do you want, truly?
Light? Dark? Or something else entirely...''
"There is no path.
Beyond the scope of light, beyond the reach of Dark...
...what could possibly await us?
And yet, we seek it, insatiably...
Such is our fate."
My theory is that Clockwise Metamorphosis is connected to the symbol of The Heirs of the Sun .
And that Anti-Clockwise Metamorphosis is connected to the symbol of The Pilgrims of Dark .
These symbols represent opposed covenants.
They have opposed colors and their arms point in opposite directions.
As it happens, the arms of Clockwise Metamorphosis point the same way as the flames of the Sun.
Clockwise Metamorphosis increases health, which matches the theme of Dark Souls' Sun, because the Sun is connected to vitality and healing Miracles.
Clockwise Metamorphosis also matches the theme Sun in the sense that "clockwise" is considered to be the "correct" movement.
In turn, the arms of the Pilgrims' dark disc match the arms of Anti-Clockwise Metamorphosis.
Dark Souls is a story about cycles and the opposed directions that the world may take.
Metamorphosis means "change", so the runes symbolize opposite developments.
The theme of The Wheel is that destiny is whimsical, and in DS1 it is the player who frivolously chooses between a turn for Fire or a turn for Dark.
I therefore believe that the Fire and Dark paths were twisted into these runes. I also believe that both paths serve a "Wheel of Fortune".
"Philosophers say that Fortune is insane and blind and stupid,
and they teach that she stands on a rolling, spherical rock:
they affirm that, wherever chance pushes that rock, Fortuna falls in that direction.
They repeat that she is blind for this reason: that she does not see where she's heading;
they say she's insane, because she is cruel, flaky and unstable;
stupid, because she can't distinguish between the worthy and the unworthy."
Pacuvius, Scaenicae Romanorum Poesis Fragmenta. Vol. 1, ed. O. Ribbeck, 1897
The Other Characters Surrounding The Wheel of Fortune
Aquarius depicted as an angel in the top left corner.
Taurus in the bottom left corner
Leo in the bottom right corner
Scorpio is the form of a bird in the top right corner (source Biddytarot)
The snake on the left is an evil Greek titan named Typhon who was also known in Egypt.
The Anubis on the right actually represents Hermes, messenger of the Greek gods.
The sphinx on top of the wheel represents riddles.
The Wheel is governed by Jupiter. Its element is fire.
The Hermit isn't connected to just one character.
Qualifying are Church Doctor, Slime Scholar, Garden of Eyes, Micolash, The Blood Minister, The Witch of Hemwick and Iosefka.
The Pthumerian Labyrinth adds Chime Maiden, Labyrinth Watcher, Merciless Watcher, Pthumerian Elder and The Pilgrim.
The Hermit is about seeking enlightenment, by secluding one's thoughts and abandoning the material day-to-day concerns of the real world.
The Hermit wants to teach others his wisdom, but as his wisdom is a product of detachment, his ideas are susceptible to madness.
Particularly when reversed The Hermit warns of the dangers of developing ideas beyond the scope of personal and social concerns.
Being overly rational can blind you to the horrors that follow from your logic.
Withdrawing from others can leave one vulnerable to the irrationality of the personal mind.
The Hermit is governed by the star sign Virgo. His element is earth.
The Devil is connected to the rune Corruption
The Devil is opposed to The Lovers Card, which is linked to Impurity.
The three arcs of Corruption are:
The chains binding the couple
The thighs of The Devil
The wings of The Devil
The devil himself weaves through the arches of Corruption like a pair of snakes.
The Devil is half goat which symbolizes his unclean nature but also his role as a scapegoat.
By believers and non-believers alike, Satan is often treated as a metaphor for the evil and unclean side of humanity.
In this sense, The Devil is scapegoat, condemned for the misconduct of human beings.
In Bloodborne there is something called "Vermin".
"Now, there is one thing you must know.
By the oath of the League, those who bear its rune will see vermin.
Vermin writhe deep within all filth, and are the root of man's impurity.
All vermin are to be crushed. The League exist to expunge all vermin,
ridding us of any trace of human corruption." - Valtr
This Vermin of Valtr sounds like a living pathogen. Evil is often referred to as such.
It is called a pollutant, a disorder, a poison, a plague, infectious and a malady of the mind,...
Evil of this nature is a parasite, a defect, something that impedes men's truer, better nature.
But this philosophy also turns evil into a scapegoat, taking the blame for human actions.
Such evil is the antithesis of good - perfect evil - malignant through and through.
This active evil poison sounds a lot like The Devil himself.
This malady, this independent evil, can only be seen by those who wish to see it.
To see "Impurity" requires seeing "fault" againt the background of a "flawless state".
Those who don't see Impurity, do not see fault, and see everything as part of reality.
It isn't known if Valtr speaks truthfully.
Is Vermin the evil that sickens man, or only a scapegoat?
Is it possible to rid man of evil by crushing all Vermin?
What is known, is that Vermin is present in every "evil" boss.
Vermin looks like centipedes, and centipedes have appeared before in other Souls games.
In Demon's Souls, Man Centipedes infested the Tower of Latria.
In DS1, a Centipede Demon clung to the walls of Izalith's Demon Ruins.
Centipedes in themselves don't constitute a theme, but bugs and insects do.
Lost Izalith is crawling with a variety of insects, the related Blighttown is no different.
A number of them are parasitic.
The infamous Sunlight Maggot is a mind-controlling parasite, though a dead one may be worn as a headpiece .
The Chaos Bug is a parasitic entity at the heart of The Bed of Chaos , which presumably is the former Witch of Izalith.
The Chaos Bug returns in DS2, where it vanishes into the eye socket of The Lost Sinner and commences the boss fight.
The DS1 Vile Maggot , is precursor of the Hateful Maggot . It afflicts the human body, turning it into an incubator .
Vile Maggots originate from the arachnid "Daughters of Chaos", Quelaag and Quelaan .
Bloodborne's Vile Maggot, the Hateful Maggot, is once again a parasite and burrows inside Silverbeasts .
Other Souls parasites include the Parasitic Wall Hugger and Giant Leech , both found in Blighttown.
"Leeches" trace back to Demon's Souls, to the Leechmonger of the Valley of Defilement.
The Valley of Defilement is the prototypical "Great Swamp" and also introduced Giant Mosquitos and "blood babies ".
Not all insects are parasites, other insectoid abomination include Burrowing Rockworms and Cragspiders .
Quelaag and Quelaan have insect traits, as does their brother, the giant Ceaseless Discharge .
In DS1, these insectoids are connected to the Flame of Chaos.
This connection between fire, chaos and insects is rooted in Demons' Souls .
"Bearbugs", magma powered insects, protected a lava themed dungeon, along with Rock Worms .
In later Souls games insects moved away from their connection to chaos and fire.
Gnaw - DS3 - "Dark miracle taught in the Cathedral of the Deep.
Summons insect swarm to feast on foes.
These insects which lurk in the Deep have tiny jaws lined with fangs.
They tear open the skin and burrow into the flesh in the blink of an eye, causing intense bleeding."
"The Deep" of DS3 is said to be infested with insects. The Deep itself is associated with The Abyss of DS1.
The Abyss is a bottomless darkness and is associated with Kaathe and The Darkwraiths.
Gnaw, which inflicts Dark damage, connects insects to Dark, rather than Chaos, which is connected to Fire damage.
Man-grubs are humanoid larvae which are associated with The Dark, but use Miracles .
Man-grubs infest the Cathedral of the Deep, and are the servants of Rosaria, the Darkwraith covenant leader.
The Carthus Sandworm is a gigantic burrower who emerges in a "chaos" area, but breathes Lightning .
In DS2, Brightstone Cove Tseldora was infested by the offspring of The Duke's Dear Freja.
Dear Freja is massive mineral spider who breathes Sorcery, her offspring can operate human corpses.
In DS1, there was a non-chaos insectoid, a Sorcery user called The Moonlight Butterfly. It possesed a remarkable horn .
The entwining pattern is a recurring symbol in Souls. Called a caduceus , it's a symbol of the god Mercury.
The caduceus configuration is seen in Corruption , it's seen in Izalith , and in several witches' staffs .
The Caduceus Round Shield is a recurring shield that depicts twin serpents in the form of Omega .
The Caduceus Kite Shield is a DS1 shield worn by the Crystal Soldiers of The Duke's Archives.
An authentic caduceus displays two serpents intertwining, and a pair of wings.
Though caduceus shields are named "caduceus", they don't display the wings, nor the intertwining pattern.
A Souls caduceus is fundamentally about twin serpents, with all other traits being redundant.
Later Souls shields displayed similar twin serpent arrangements, though they did not carry the caduceus name.
The Watchdragon Parma displays what are clearly Primordial Serpents, though it describes them as dragons.
"A shield decorated by intertwined dragons.
The black and white contrast depicts the ebb and flow of the fate of all things living,
and the serpentine dragons that watch over the march of time.
The bearer of this shield will be blessed by great fortune in battle." - Watchdragon Parma
It's not alone in this, The Slumbering Dragon Shield displays what is clearly a serpent, but describes it as a "slumbering dragon".
"Shield of the Archdrake sect of Lindelt. Represents a slumbering dragon, and is intended for use in covert rituals." - Slumbering Dragon Shield
The Twin Dragon Greatshield show a twin scene similar to a Souls caduceus, but depicts and described the twins as dragons.
However, on the DS3 version of Twin Dragon Greatshield "twin dragons" was changed to "a two-headed dragon".
" The lightest of all greatshields, made from wood and decorated with a two-headed dragon." - Twin Dragon Greatshield - DS3
"Two-headedness" is displayed by the serpent of the Caduceus Round Shield , and is a trait often ascribed to Frampt and Kaathe.
"Standard round wooden shield. It is decorated with twin snakes, an ancient symbol of the Great Swamp." - Caduceus Round Shield - DS3
Seeing as Souls seems to use the terms serpent and dragon interchangeable, all these "twin" creatures may represent the same entity.
"Round wooden shield crafted in Lordran.
Decorated by an ancient blue Caduceus.
The giant trees in Lordran are distant
offspring of the great stone archtrees.
This shield inherits their properties,
and the wood greatly reduces magic damage."
Caduceus Round Shield - DS1
The above description suggests that the Caduceus Round Shield has a connection to the stone Archtrees.
The stone Archtrees are part of the primordial world, the world of grey crags and Eternal Dragons.
As a consequence, the shield greatly reduces magic damage, suggesting that Archtrees are connected to magic.
One popular theory is that the primordial world of Dark Souls is rooted in the grey world of Demons' Souls.
Central to Demons' Souls' plot is"The Old One " a soul-devouring demon that is reffered to as an irrevocable poison.
"On the first day, man was granted a soul And with it clarity
on the second day, upon Earth was planted an irrevocable poison. A soul-devouring demon"
Demons' Souls Intro Cinematic
The Old One is the bringer of the "Colourless Deep Fog", which in turns brings forth Demons.
Deep Fog is essentially grey, The Old one is like a primordial tree, and a dragon is essentially a demon.
Dragons are surrounded by a lot of popular conventions, but they were originally just chimerical monsters.
Dragons don't have to be big, or beautiful, or even lizardlike.
A poison spitting, chicked sized amalgam of animal traits, qualifies as "dragon" if it is called that.
The primordial world of Dark Souls could therefore be a world where The Old One has won.
The Old One could have covered the world in grey fog, formed the Archtrees and the demons called "Eternal Dragons".
The Old One is the Demons' Souls root of all magic, referred to ingame as "The Soul Arts".
In the intro cinematic, he's depicted as part astral void . This void could be analogous to the cosmos of Bloodborne.
The caduceus I originally connected to Corruption and Chaos, but it could rather be a symbol of primordial magic, a symbol of The Old One.
The Caduceus by origin a wand, and it would explain why it appears on The Moonlight Butterfly, which is a creation of the primordial dragon Seath.
Primordial magic could also be what corrupted the Witch of Izalith, and what is symbolized by Corruption.
A personal theory of mine is that The Old One releases magic potential by destablizing the laws of physics.
The Old Ones does this by replacing natural order with fundamental chaos, thus creating unlimited possibility.
This relationship with chaos could explain the connection between the caduceus and the Chaos of Izalith.
In fact, Greek cosmogony equates chaos with the primordial void, further supporting the connection.
The Old One is an inherently passive monstrosity. It sires Demons, who do the work for him.
A being like that predates even Demon's Souls, in Souls' principal source of inspiration, the Berserk manga .
The Idea of Evil, also called "The God of The Abyss" is a gigantic evil heart that can manipulate time.
The Idea itself does almost nothing. It wields destiny and creates Dark Angels.
Dark Angels create Apostles, and Apostles bring ruin and slaughter to the world.
The Symbol of God, the symbol of The Idea of Evil, is the caduceus .
It "merged blood" to create the lineage that would produce Griffith.
Griffith is a fair, white haired person, not unlike a Pthumerian.
The caduceus that extends from the god himself, resembles the Umbilical Cord remarkably.
On Earth, the Symbol of God manifests itself in a myriad of ways .
It's been seen in connection with the Moon and human sacrifice .
It shapes itself around the phallus of Goat Head , Berserk's Baphomet incarnation.
The Symbol can be formed from crucified birds , but the following form is standard .
I posit that The God of The Abyss and The Old One are entangled entities.
The caduceus of the Souls universe is a reference to Berserk's God of The Abyss.
The God's counterpart in the Souls universe is The Old One, thus the caduceus refers to him as well.
The Old One distorts reality to generate magic, which is why the caduceus is affiliated with the Witch of Izalith and Seath the Scaleless.
The Old One is one with The Abyss, a voracious emptiness with a neverending craving for souls.
The Abyss brings forth twin serpents, Frampt and Kaath. Together, these serpents form the caduceus.
The twin serpents are represented by the caduceus seen within Corruption, and by proxy represent The Devil.
The caduceus is the wand of Mercury. The Romans likened Mercury to the Norse god "Odin".
Odin - or Oedon - is said to have an essence like quicksilver, like mercury.
Oedon, and his twin serpents, are none other than The Old One, The Devil of Souls.
The insects of Bloodborne not only stem from chaos, they stem from evil itself.
This evil in turn is something parasitic, poisonous and rotten, propagated by Vermin.
"I am Annalise, Queen of Castle Cainhurst. Ruler of the Vilebloods, and sworn enemy of the church.
I prithee partake of my rotted blood. Drink deep of Our blood. Feel the spreading corruption burn.
Now, thou’rt too a Vileblood. Let this reward be thine. Indulge thyself in Our tainted blood."
Castle Cainhurst is crawling with insectoid Bloodsucking Beasts, and the vicious Hateful Maggots.
Hateful Maggots stem from the DS1 Vile Maggots, which in turn stem from chaos and insectoid women.
Chaos is another name for Evil and Evil brings forth corruption.
Annalise claims her blood is rotten, and Queen Yharnam confirms this by inflicting Rapid Poisoning with her blood.
The insectoid Bloodsucking Beasts are found only in Cainhurst and the Pthumerian Labyrinth.
Corrupting Hateful Maggots infest Silverbeasts, silver is in turn associated with Cainhurst and the Pthumerian line.
Gigantic Hateful Maggots burrow inside Bloodletting Beasts , and they inflict Rapid Poisoning by dispatching flying larvae .
"Vermin" in medieval thought is connected to "that which crawls".
"That which crawls" encompasses the lowest forms of life, and the lowest animal of all, is the snake.
Frampt, the Primordial Serpent of Fire, is described as a foul smelling host. The snake has a fancy for Dung Pie.
The Cainhurst Bloodsucking Beast may be based on the "gaki ", a lowly spirit that eats human waste. (credit to Jerk Sans Frontieres)
A gaki, or preta is someone is the ghost of someone who exhibited greed, jealously and deceitfulness in his/her former life.
They're cursed with eternal hunger, which is why they have bloated bellies. They're often bound to crave something foul like cadavers or feces.
Bloodsucking Beasts likewise have the same bloated bellies , and look like they're starving .
Amygdala is another insectoid and may be related to Gerðr, a jötunn who was cursed to drink only the piss of goats.
Amygdala's also related to the Tonsil Stone, related to the putrid smelling tonsillolith. This is all discussed under Amygdala Lore.
Like Vermin, the snakes of the Forbidden Woods display parasitic behavior, and infest humans .
The original concept art of Viper Pits unites them with diseases and filth, like Vermin.
Besides woodsmen, snakes also infest The Shadows of Yharnam, which are likely attendants of Queen Yharnam.
Shadows of Yharnam only appear in two places: in front of Byrgenwerth and at the top of Mergo's Loft.
The only thing linking those two places is that Queen Yharnam's ghost only appears at Byrgenwerth and atop Mergo's Loft.
The mob variants of the Shadow of Yharnam do not sprout serpents, but that doesn't mean they're not there.
The sprouting of serpents represents a phase 2, with an expanded moveset and greater lethality.
The lack of serpents could therefore be indicative of balance tweeks, or decisions to keep the story mysterious.
In conclusion, I believe that the parasitic serpents are equivalent to Vermin, and that they're both related to the Pthumerian line.
The pentacle - or pentagram - is a symbol of The Devil and magic.
In Bloodborne, pentacles are linked to "Eye".
Bloodborne is also infested with what I call "False Eyes"
These malicious looking things are found in the environment, and on almost every enemy and NPC.
Berserk's Idea of Evil is covered in eyes . Seeing as he's an omniscient god, False Eyes could be a part of him.
The eye is also a sensory organ and can therefore represent "the senses", which is Satan's field of expertise.
Pentacles are a symbol of wealth, and the Caryll Rune Eye increases the discovery of items.
In Dark Souls, item discovery is raised by the Covetous Golden Serpent Ring, said to be a symbol of glutony and avarice.
In Dark Souls 3, the stat Luck also boosts item discovery, Luck is associated with The Dark and Bleeding.
According to the Lesser Key of Solomon, an infamous demonology book, the ability to find hidden (extra) items is a typical demon power.
The Idea of Evil is a manipulator of destiny, a giant, blood pumping heart, and the progenitor of dark serpents.
The Devil is governed by Capricorn. He's connected to earth.
Judgement is connected to The Messengers.
The archangel in the sky is none other Gabriel, the main herald of God.
Beneath him the pale and naked dead are rising from their graves. They seem happy to meet their judgement.
Likewise The Messengers are pale, naked and just like Gabriel they are messengers.
The scene depicted is the Last Judgement.
In the Book of Revelation, seven angels sounds seven trumpets. and each trumpet unleashes a different calamity.
In the background of Judgement, a huge tidal wave is coming is coming to wash away the world.
The dead rise from their graves, and praise God's judgement.
This card is governed by Pluto, ruler of the underworld. Its element is Fire
Death is a very important card though it is not clear who he is connected to.
There are clues of course and I will put forth my preliminary theory.
The Death card forecasts change, the end of something in favor of something new.
What he offers is the purity of rebirth that will return everything to something new and pure.
Death epitomizes impartiality, no beast or king can avoid Death and he is fundamentally invincible.
Possible candidates for the part of Death are:
The Messengers: they're pale - undead looking things which do appear to fit the theme of death.
On the operating table, Messengers show up to claim The Hunter, which could involve a process of death.
Messengers can't be killed, though some enemies do seem able to absorb them .
Messengers accompany the process of becoming a Hunter, so they do have a connection to change.
There are some straightforward skeletons in Bloodborne, namely Paarl and the identical Loran Darkbeast.
Though skeletons, their beastly attributes seem opposed to the nature of the Death card.
They also in no way represents change or renewal. Them living past decomposition rather seems to oppose change.
Then there's The One Reborn, the gigantic mass of corpses that some have associated with Gravelord Nito.
However, The One Reborn may just be a creation of Eldritch magic, and not a timeless principle.
He's also hardly invincible.
Gehrman could be Death, as he's a thin pale man who offers to kill you at the end of the game.
He also wields a scythe and is surrounded on all sides by graves.
That being said, Gehrman has no visible connection to change.
Don't Fear The Doll
The Doll is helpful and polite yet always cold and sterile. She appears herself confused about her absentee emotions. Is she even alive?
If anything can be said of The Doll is that she is impartial. No matter how many times you attack her, she is indifferent.
No matter how many times she falls, she always comes back. Her very purpose is to offer change, evolution, in exchange for echoes.
Death carries a banner, displaying a white rose on a black background. It's said to symbolize beauty and purity in a state of total darkness.
The Romans - who also linked Mercury to Odin - thought the rose a symbol of death and rebirth and placed them on graves.
The Plain Doll has dead roses woven into her hat . Perhaps she is the symbol of beauty and purity, against the backdrop of the story's utter blackness
The Doll has a dead like nature, she's an animated dead body, she's made of paint, clay and rubber.
Beneath her hairline ,and along her cheeks , The Doll is cracked, like porcelain or fractured bone.
Her hands with severed joints , are more like skeleton hands than flesh and bone.
Her eyes are not real eyes at all, they are egglike Beheliths .
Berserk's Beheliths are spectral stones containing dislocated eyes and mouths.
Beheliths may cry tears of blood, summon Dark Angels, and control human destiny .
They've also been seen resonating with the screams of humans, which makes them smile .
By regarding the eyes as foreign bodies, and omitting them from her true design, The Doll mirrors Death even closer.
Death is a skeleton - and a skeleton is fundamentally a puppet - a doll - held together by unholy magic - moved by unseen strings.
In Western culture, white is the color of purity, in Japan however, white is the color of corpses, the color of death.
The Doll, not only endowed with white skin and white hair, bleeds blood that is purely white.
The Hunter's Dream is structured like a cemetery. Graves are everywhere, adorned with fair white flowers.
The tombstones let one awake "above ground". Are you beneath the ground? Have you been entombed?
In the DLC, it is revealed that The Doll was in fact modelled after a person who's deceased, Lady Maria.
These are anagrams of Plain Doll
Plain Olld and Dino Palll (terrifying friend)
Death could very well be a friend of hunters, for hunters rid the world of immortal fiends that escape death.
When Death appears something big is about to happen. Death does not appear when all is well.
When confronted with Death you will need to transform yourself to cope with the change that is coming. That is what The Doll offers.
Death is governed by Scorpio. His element is water.
The Empress is connected to Annalise, Queen of the Vilebloods and also her predecessor Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen.
She's a primal mother figure and embodies fertility, beauty and luxury.
The Empress is connected to nature as well as the senses and all material possessions.
When reversed The Empress symbolizes an obession with material and personal needs.
The Empress is also the card of all matters concerning pregnancy and birth.
The Reversed Empress pertains to unwanted pregnancy, miscarriage, infertility and perilous labor.
Annalise is the rightful ruler of Cainhurst Castle and a symbol of high status and luxury.
She is a mother figure to the Vilebloods who she "created" by endowing them with her "rotted" blood.
According to Blood Rapture she is also a sex symbol and all Vilebloods hope to drink of her blood a second time.
The reason the Vilebloods seek out blood is to give it to their queen. She in turn hopes to eventually give birth to a "Child of Blood".
The Child of Blood is the Vileblood messiah though his/her exact nature is not yet known.
The Empress is governed by Venus. Her element is earth.
The Sun is a very important Tarot card, it may be connected to Mergo and The Child of Blood.
The child of The Sun is the child of life, and a symbol of hope for the future.
The red flag he holds represents the blood of renewal.
The Sun is also a symbol of having attained enlightenment.
It could therefore represent the third ending "Childhood's Beginning".
The Sun has played an important role in Souls lore since Dark Souls 1.
It is a symbol of Fire, Lightning, Faith and Miracles.
Characters associated with the Sun are Gwyn, Solaire, Gwyn's son and Gwynevere.
It's also connected to Sunlight Maggots, The Heirs of the Sun covenant and clergy.
The Sun of Bloodborne is quite a peculiar one.
It is fully formed in Central Yharnam and Hemwick .
In Cathedral Ward, it has a shadow .
The Sun isn't the Sun, it is an impostor, most likely the Moon.
This is not without consequences.
There are no depictions of the Sun in art, which there where in Dark Souls.
There is no Sun covenant and clerics no longer use Lightning attacks.
Lightning itself has changed to Bolt, and is found on Darkbeasts.
The Moon is prominent everywhere, but the Sun is not even acknowleged.
Only Gehrman speaks of the Sun, and only when he moves to kill you.
Interestingly enough, sunflowers are seen in the background of The Sun card.
Sunflowers appear in several key locations in Bloodborne. They are called Lumenflowers and appear to be of some great significance.
Lumenflowers can be found in the Upper Cathedral Ward where they are defended by The Celestial Emissary. These flowers are closed.
They can also be found in the swamp of The Nightmare Frontier , where they radiate a weak light and appear to be wilting.
In front of The Astral Clocktower, The Living Failures defend a blooming Lumenflower garden , containing a gigantic Lumenflower cluster .
Lumenflowers can also be found inside The Astral Clocktower and a Lumenflower lies beside a grave in Fishing Hamlet .
Lumenflowers also appear in various examples of Bloodborne art .
The Plain Doll is adorned with many kinds of flowers including roses and five petalled flowers.
In her neck , there exist strange, heart-shaped patterns that look like the cores of sunflowers.
Sometimes, The Doll prays to someone called "Flora", whose name comes from the Roman goddess of flowers.
"O Flora, of the moon, of the dream. O little ones, O fleeting will of the ancients... Let the hunter be safe, let him (or her) find comfort. And let this dream, his (or her) captor... foretell a pleasant awakening... be, one day, a fond, distant memory..." - The Plain Doll
The Sun Tarot Card is governed by the Sun. It's element is fire.
The Fool is linked to Ebrietas, and the Lovecraftian character Robert Blake.
The Fool is a card of unlimited potential, but also of carelessness.
In the Tarot de Marseille, The Fool is called "the madman".
He may be depicted as an unkempt man in tattered clothing.
The first piece of evidence that Ebrietas is The Fool, is that her name is Latin for "drunkenness".
In Tarot the environment is often important. In The Fool's case he stands in a rocky area, surrounded by water with a sun shining high.
Ebrietas resides in a rocky cave and is surrounded at all sides by water . Above her, special light shines through a single opening .
The Reversed Fool symbolizes the total disregard for the consequences of one's actions.
Ebrietas can be linked to a number of psychopathic monsters, Cthulhu, the Whisperer in Darkness, Azathoth and Seath the Scaleless.
Carelessness-innocence is a core trait of Lovecraft's Azathoth, a creator god who is completely oblivious to his creation's existence.
In this sense "the drunkard" could be someone who's psychopathic, someone who's drunk on his sense of self, or blood.
For more information on Ebrietas and her connection to Seath the Scaleless and Lovecraftian monsters, see Ebrietas Lore.
Of the Fool is said that he represents the willingness to take the plunge, go on an adventure, seize his freedom.
Cthulhu is a god trapped beneath the surface, he yearns to be free and wreak horrors upon the world.
The Fool may also represent Lovecraft's Robert Blake, who foolishly releases the beast in The Haunter of the Dark.
He would have died more or less where Ebrietas resides. Another possibility is that The Fool is Ludwig.
The Harrowed Hunter describes the old captain as a careless brute, which is consistent with the Reversed Fool.
He's also a lunatic, which is again consistent with the Reversed Fool, and he may be connected to Ebrietas.
The Fool matches the mirror image of the rune Guidance. The curl of Guidance is formed by the rocks at his feet.
The head and arms of The Fool form the upper "tendrils", the upper speckle matches the Sun behind The Fool.
Ludwig is the character that drops the Guidance Rune, when he discovered Guidance, he discovered the Holy Moonlight Sword.
Not only does Guidance seem related to The Fool, and thus Ebrietas, the Holy Moonlight Sword may stem from her as well.
Ebrietas could have given these boons to Ludwig because the madman was fighting her fight.
To see this matter discussed in greater details, see Ebrietas Lore.
The Fool is governed by Uranus, and connected to air.
Temperance may be connected to the rune Radiance and also to the Triangular Blood Gems.
Through Radiance it may be connected to The Executioners. The Gold Ardeo is itself a pyramid of which each side is a triangle.
What follows are theories of mine concerning the importance of triangles in Bloodborne, and the importance of the triangular Hunter Hat.
I must concede that the design of the Hunter hat seems to be heavily inspired by the film "Brotherhood of the Wolf"
As such, my additional theories on the subject could be entirely redundant. Yet I hope they will be concidered interesting at the least.
In ancient Greece, the triangle was considered a symbol of cosmic harmony, along with other perfect geometric shapes.
Like with other Tarot cards, Temperance can be Upright or Reversed. The first symbolizing temperance, the latter symbolizing its opposite
Excess, drunkenness, debauchery and madness are the opposites of Temperance.
Assuming that triangles symbolize Temperance (Upright or Reversed) then it's worth nothing that Hunters wear triangular hats.
This could mean that these hats symbolize Temperance and consequently, the duality within Hunters, restraint and madness.
A strong bit of evidence in that direction, is that the astral sign of Temperance is the constellation Sagittarius - "The Hunter".
Upright, the triangle symbolizes the composed, gentlemanlike nature of hunters. If reversed, the triangle symbolizes insanity, beasthood and bloodthirst.
Every hunter will end up infected by the Scourge of Beasts at some point in time.
Each faces an internal struggle between one's human nature and the encroaching madness and beasthood. Heroes have faced such struggles since Dark Souls.
Hunters not only face a struggle of man versus beast, but face a profoundly human struggle as well.
The Hunter may lose sight of his duty, he can become overwhelmed by hate - bloodthirst - and lose all sense of proportion.
Such a man may no longer tell friend from foe or reason from madness. He's at risk of becoming a demon to the world he sought to protect.
Another problem hunters face is that they can be manipulated. Ludwig was a noble man but ended up being used by The Choir, as such he became a monster. Blinded by a false sense of purpose he slaughtered the enemies of those controlling him. In the end he was utterly cursed and bound for hell.
On a lighter note, the Radiance rune may refer to the Freemason cult.
The triangle with the eye in it is an old symbol of Christianity, it symbolizes the all-seeing nature of God.
The Freemasons were once the central subject of a conspiracy theory which suggested that the cult was secretly in control of the world.
Such cults, vying for world domination, take a central role in much of Lovecraft's writing.
Because the Freemasons are also associated with the "pyramid hat" or "cone hat" it is not unlikely that these symbols are meant as a reference to them.
Temperance is governed by Sagittarius, the hunter. It's element is fire.
The Suits form the Minor Arcana Tarot cards.
They are formed like the suits of regular cards, 10 number cards 1-10 and face cards.
The Tarot Suits have 4 face cards instead of the regular 3. These are The King, The Queen, The Knight and The Page (a kind of jack).
None of them are yet perfectly understood.
Swords are connected to the element of air and represents power, rationality and the intellect.
It also a suit of violence and conflict and is considered the most dangerous suit. It corresponds with Spades.
Raphael is the archangel of air. He appears in The Lovers card which is tied to The League of Valtr.
Hunters are also linked to the speed, sky burial and levitation (see Gehrman and Maria). They also fit the violence and rationality that the suit represents.
The Suit originally represented nobility, the military class.
Pentacles are connected to the element of earth. They represent the material and all physical possessions.
Pentacles are linked to The Devil card and autumn. It can represent greed and pleasure seeking but also prosperity and stability.
The Suit of Pentacles corresponds with The Suit of Diamonds. The deck originally represented the feudal class of traders.
The Suit of Cups is linked to water. The cards represents creativity, fantasy and imagination.
The Suit of Cups corresponds with Hearts and is linked to the whiles of the heart.
Negative aspects of Cups are irrationality, being overwhelmed by emotion and unrealistic expectations.
A person that suffers from the negative side of cups can become bitter, withdrawn and melancholic.
Water can be linked to both blood, The Nightmare and "formlessness".
The Nightmare has a watery nature, as discussed under "The Moon".
Both the High Priestess and The Moon are connected to water.
The Moon Presence is connected to both blood and The Nightmare.
The Moon is governed star sign Pisces and is linked to all manner of scary things emerging from our subconscious.
Cups may be linked to Chalices, and their watery nature to blood rituals, or formless layrinths.
The above card is the Seven of Cups and depicts a number of things that can be found ingame.
They include a head , a cloaked figure , a snake , a tower, treasure , a laurel that can represent Laurence, and a dragon that symbolizes paranormal forces.
The suit originally represented the clergy.
The meaning of these cards is not yet known or they have not yet been used by the designteam.
Star is governed by Aquarius. Her element is air
Aquarius is depicted as a woman pouring water but the original Aquarius was a boy named Ganymede.
Ganymede was picked up by the gods to serve as their cupbearer, he was rewarded with godhood in the form of a constellation.
Strength is a card of charisma, determination and courage.
The woman taming the lion represents victory over wild, destructive energy.
It symbolizes the strength of peaceful protest, the strength to carry great burdens and the disarming strength of tenderness.
Strength resonates strongly with the Maiden in Black of Demons' Souls.
The Maiden is a provider of strength and is able lull the primordial demon, The Old One, back to its eternal slumber.
Her Bloodborne incarnation is the Plain Doll, who's voice is by the same actress, Evetta Muradasilova.
"Soul of the lost, withdrawn from its vessel.
Let strength be granted so the world might be mended.
Soul of the lost, withdrawn from its vessel.
Let strength be granted so the world might be mended."
- Maiden in Black
The Doll is likewise a provider of strength, and a symbol of disarming gentleness.
Annalise is a candidate because of her ability to recruit more Vilebloods, without the need for violence.
She relies entirely on her charms, and the false impression that she's powerless, and harmless.
Cainhurst also harbors statues that remind of Strength's character.
There's a naked, but hard looking woman wearing a crown of roses .
There's also a flirtatious maiden with curly hair, who wears a garment similar to that of Strength .
Iosefka is candidate because she "tames beasthood" by turning patients into Kin.
She's also quite adept at manipulating hunters into providing her with patients.
Her weapon is the Threaded Cane, which can transform into a whip, "to tame beasts".