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.
Every Tarot card is connected to one of the four elements, as well as a zodiac sign or other astronomical entity.
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 normal state of the card, which proclaims more positive messages.
The MagicianThe TowerThe EmperorThe ChariotThe WorldThe LoversThe HierophantThe High PriestessThe MoonThe Hanged ManWheel of FortuneThe HermitThe DevilJudgementDeathThe EmpressThe SunThe FoolTemperanceThe Suit of SwordsThe Suit of PentaclesThe Suit of CupsThe Suit of WandsThe Star (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. Gilbert's beast form drops Clawmark.
Gilbert assists you by providing the magical weapon Flamesprayer.
The Magician is governed by Mercury. His element is Air.
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 invented in Yahar'gul.
The sinners jumping out of the tower could be the people punished by The One Reborn.
As they are falling they're screaming in terror, just like the terrified 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.
The player can reach these enemies using 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.
Hoping for a reward, they had worshipped the Great Ones, but were punished instead.
The Tower is governed by Mars. Its element is 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. His element is Fire.
The Chariot is connected to Master Willem.
The Chariot's tunic is adorned with alchemic symbols which represent the spiritual transformation of man.
For a crown, he wears a laurel wreath adorned with stars representing the highest spiritual attainment of man.
"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 laurel wreath 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 turned toward the stars and the lake.
The box he occupies is paired with Willem's rocking chair.
The sphinxes at his feet are demons of riddles and illusions.
They may represent the twin serpents of the caduceus or Rom.
The caduceus symbolizes Mercury and Formless Oedon.
The entwined serpents are thought to be opposites, Moon and Sun.
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, The 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, known for being a healer of the blind.
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 woman 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 fruits of The Tree of Knowledge.
The circles on the right would then correspond with the "flames of passion" behind the male.
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 Oedon himself and it's possible that The Hunter has been lied to, or assumed things Oedon's way.
The Lovers card is governed by Gemini. Their element is Air.
"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."
- Butcher Gloves
"Raised on a healthy diet of beast entrails, the poisonous snake grew uncontrollably"
- Madaras Whistle
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, the rune and the character. He is Oedon in his truest and most elusive form.
The Hierophant forms the curve of Formless Oedon with his arms. The three dots are formed by his head and the pillar emblems.
The pillars corresponding with the circles may indicate that Oedon is embedded in the environment, as is his mind (head).
The number three reappears on his crown which has three layers. His staff has three crossing lines.
He is wearing three layers of clothing. There are three people in the picture.
Three vertical lines are formed by either his throne and the two pillars, or his white sleeves and 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. The evil he represents cannot be denied, but originality and innovation are not his cup of tea.
Oedon will likely always want the same thing. His dark will is very strong and courses through countless agents.
The Hierophant is governed by Taurus. His element is Earth.
The Hierophant's triple cross, or papal cross, makes an appearance in DS3, be it with the arms inverted.
Called The Man-Grub's Staff , it serves as the highest reward The Rosaria's Fingers Covenant has to offer.
The triple cross is also the emblem of The Rosaria's Fingers Covenant .
The Fingers are DS3's "red phantom covenant", and for this reason the successors of The Brotherhood of Blood (DS2)
Consequently, they're also the successors of Kaathe's Darkwraiths (DS1), and arguably Bloodborne's Vilebloods.
This suggests that Oedon is related to the Dark Souls' "Dark". It's even possible that there's no distinction between them.
The three crossbars represent the ecclesiastical rank of "pope", while two crossbars signify an archbishop.
DS3's Dark Lord ending requires you undertake "The Rite Of Avowal" where you receive 3 Dark Sigils.
These three leaking sigils might match the three leaking holes of the Formless Oedon rune .
The High Priestess
The High Priestess is connected to Communion . Communion is associated with The Moon Presence and Mergo's Wet Nurse.
She appears on them in the form of four circles formed by her crown and the 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 once served as the chief temple of Jerusalem and is stated to have housed the Ark of the Covenant.
The High Priestess is the female counterpart of The Hierophant. They were originally called the Pope and Popess.
Her blue robes symbolize wisdom, illumination and divine knowledge.
Like The High 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 be a hermaphroditic amalgam of Priestess and Hierophant, or just The Priestess.
In Dark Souls lore, the great dark beast "Manus, Father of the Abyss" fathered four daughters that appeared in Dark Souls 2.
These daughters are known as Nashandra, Alsanna, Nadalia, and Elana. They were reincarnations of Manus' Dark Soul.
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 fit The Moon Presence quite well who is a mother figure, a hideous hag and a maiden of Dark.
-The Corn Maiden/Mother, a symbol of harvest
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.
"O Flora, of the moon, of the dream. O little ones, O fleeting will of the ancients... Let the hunter be safe." - Plain Doll
The Nightmare is also watery by design, subject to change, "it swirls and churns unending" as stated by Micolash.
Mergo is the creator of The Nightmare of Mensis. "Mergo" means "to submerge" - "to drown" in Latin.
In Demons' Souls, there existed a substance called "Deep Fog".
The Fog brought with it Demons, or Demons brought with them Fog. Deep Fog threatened to absorb the entire world.
Fog sealed off boss arenas , a feature that was kept in later Soul titles , and became Nightmare Fog in Bloodborne .
The Moon Presence is a creator of clouds and a summoner of blood .
These clouds produce an anti-regeneration effect identical to that of "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.
Perhaps when you're a Great One, what you project upon others becomes a nightmare, imprisoning you and engulfing others.
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 image is a pittura infamante, or "defaming portrait". It shows a traitor being punished for his crime, and at times, Judas.
At other times it's believed to depict Odin, the Norse deity who speared himself to Yggdrasil in order to gain knowledge.
The Hanged Man could also depict the process of going blood-drunk, a reaction to the blood accumulating in his head.
Reversed The Hanged Man portents indecision and delay. The Hunter may not know what path to take or what fate to accept.
If left in indecision for long enough, The Hunter may become a wraithlike beast, left to 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 teeming with corpses hanging upside down .
It's 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. His element is Water.
The Wheel is a symbol of the capriciousness of Fate.
The hollow Wheel is supposedly controlled by Fortuna, sometimes called "Imperatrix Mundi", or "Empress of The World".
The Wheel originally symbolized the celestial spheres, from whose movements astrologers tried to predict the future.
Through its affiliation with the celestial spheres, The Wheel is also "that which moves the heavens".
That Logarius' Wheel is linked to destiny, is explicitly stated on 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 also may symbolize penance.
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."
These symbols represent opposed covenants.
They have opposed colors and their arms point in opposed directions.
As it happens, the arms of Clockwise Metamorphosis point the same way as the flames of the symbol of The Heirs of the Sun.
Clockwise Metamorphosis increases health, which matches DS Fire, which is connected to Vitality and healing Miracles.
Clockwise Metamorphosis also matches the Sun theme in the sense that "clockwise" is considered to be the "correct" movement.
The arms of Anti-Clockwise Metamorphosis, in turn, match up with the arms of the symbol of The Pilgrims of Dark.
Dark Souls is a story about cycles and the opposed paths that the world may take.
Metamorphosis means "change", so the runes symbolize opposite developments.
The theme of The Wheel is that fate is whimsical, which may be tied to the DS1 player, who frivolously chooses the world's fate.
A world of Fire and a world of Dark may, therefore, be regarded as the frivolous outcomes of an aloof god, the player.
Whatever the choice of the player is, the crux is that he/she "changes" the world, that he/she "metamorphoses" the world.
And this is why I recognize in the Metamorphosis Runes the opposed courses of The Wheel of Fate.
The Hermit isn't connected to just one character.
Qualifying are Iosefka, Slime Scholar, Garden of Eyes, Micolash, The Blood Minister, The Witch of Hemwick, and Church Doctor.
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 day-to-day concerns of the world.
The Hermit wants to teach others his wisdom, but as his wisdom is a product of detachment, it is also susceptible to madness.
Particularly when reversed The Hermit warns of the dangers of developing ideas beyond the scope of the here and now.
Being overly rational can blind one to the horrors that follow from detached logic.
Withdrawing from others can leave one vulnerable to the irrationality of the private 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 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, The Devil is often treated as a metaphor for the evil and unclean side of humanity.
In this sense, The Devil is a scapegoat, blamed for the misconduct of human beings.
"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 exists 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" against 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 had overrun the Tower of Latria.
In DS1, a Centipede Demon clung to the walls of Izalith's Demon Ruins.
The infamous Sunlight Maggot was a mind-controlling parasite. The corpse of which could be worn as a luminescent hat.
The Chaos Insect is a parasitic entity at the heart of The Bed of Chaos , which presumably is the former Witch of Izalith.
The Chaos Insect returns in DS2, where it vanishes into the eye socket of The Lost Sinner and commences the boss fight.
The DS1 Vile Maggot , is the precursor of the Hateful Maggot . They infest humans, turning them into incubators .
Vile Maggots most likely originated from the arachnid "Daughters of Chaos", Quelaag and Quelaan .
Bloodborne's Vile Maggot: the Hateful Maggot is likewise parasitic and burrows inside Silverbeasts .
Other Souls parasites include The Parasitic Wall Hugger and The 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 Children ".
Not all insects are parasites, other insectoid abominations include Burrowing Rockworms and Cragspiders .
Quelaag and Quelaan have insect traits, as does their brother, the fire 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 .
Joined by Rock Worms , magma "powered Bearbugs" protected the fire-themed Stonefang Tunnel.
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 shares characteristics with DS1's Abyss.
The Abyss is a bottomless darkness and is associated with Kaathe and The Darkwraiths.
Gnaw, which inflicts Dark damage, connects insects to The Dark, rather than to the fiery Chaos.
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 fire-themed area but breathes Lightning .
In DS2, Brightstone Cove Tseldora was infested by the offspring of The Duke's Dear Freja.
Dear Freja is a massive mineral spider who breathes Sorcery, her parasitic offspring can operate human corpses.
In DS1, there was a non-chaos insectoid, a Sorcery user called The Moonlight Butterfly. It possessed a remarkable horn .
The entwining pattern is a recurring symbol in the Souls universe. 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.
The Caduceus Shields are named "caduceus", but they don't display the wings, nor the intertwining pattern.
This led me to conclude that a "Souls caduceus" is fundamentally about twin serpents, with all other traits being redundant.
Other Souls shields have displayed similar twin serpent arrangements without actually carrying 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 clearly depicts 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 The 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
The serpent on The Caduceus Round Shield displays "two-headedness", a trait popularly ascribed to Frampt & 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" beings may be 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 Everlasting 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 fog covered world of Demon's Souls.
Central to the Demon's 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 turn, 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, fog covered world of Dark Souls could 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 "Everlasting Dragons".
The Old One is Demons' Souls' root of all magic, referred to in-game 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, which I originally tied to Corruption and Chaos, may rather be a symbol of The Old One and its magic.
The caduceus is by origin a wand, explaining why it appears on The Moonlight Butterfly, a creation of the dragon Seath.
Primordial magic may 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 destabilizing 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 cosmology relates "chaos" to evil, and the primordial void, further supporting the idea.
The Old One is an inherently passive monstrosity. All it does is create Demons, who do the work for him.
A parallel entity appears in one of Souls' principal sources 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 bloodshed 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 remarkably resembles the Umbilical Cord.
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 may be formed from crucified birds , but the following form is standard .
It's my hypothesis that The God of The Abyss and The Old One are entangled entities.
The usage of the caduceus in Souls is, I believe, a reference to Berserk's God of The Abyss.
The Souls counterpart of The God of The Abyss is The Old One, meaning the caduceus refers to him as well.
The Old One is the source behind "The Soul Arts", behind "the magic" of Demon's Souls.
This could explain why the caduceus is seen in connection to the Witch of Izalith and Seath the Scaleless .
I believe that The Old One is one with The Abyss , like a voracious emptiness with a neverending craving for Souls.
The Abyss brings forth twin serpents, Frampt and Kaathe. 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 connected 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.
"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."
- Annalise, Queen of the Vilebloods
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 launching flying larvae .
"Vermin" in medieval thinking 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 JSF)
A gaki - or preta - is the ghost of someone who exhibited greed, jealousy, and deceitfulness in his/her former life.
They're cursed with eternal hunger, explaining their bloated bellies. They always crave foul things, 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 - for more see 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 phase 2, with an expanded moveset and greater lethality.
The lack of serpents could, therefore, be indicative of balance tweaks, 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.
In Bloodborne, eyes are considered to be of great importance. They are harvested and regarded as tokens of godhood.
"Eyes on the Inside" are thought together with Great Ones and may be indicative of Insight.
Bloodborne is also swarming 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 . False Eyes could be a reference to this omniscient god.
Eye are sensory organs and may, therefore, represent "the senses", which is Satan's field of expertise.
Pentacles are symbols of wealth, which is interesting because the Caryll Rune "Eye" increases the discovery of items.
In Dark Souls, item discovery is raised by the Covetous Golden Serpent Rings, said to be symbols of gluttony and avarice.
In Dark Souls 3, item discovery is boosted by a stat called Luck. This stat is associated with The Dark and Bleeding.
The Lesser Key of Solomon (demonology) describes the ability to find hidden (extra) items as a typical demon power.
The Idea of Evil is a manipulator of destiny, a gigantic blood pumping heart, and the nucleus of Umbilical Cord like veins.
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 than Gabriel, the main herald of God.
Beneath him, the pale and naked dead are rising from their graves. They appear happy to meet their judgement.
Likewise, The Messengers are pale and naked. They are also messengers, like Gabriel.
The scene depicted is the Last Judgement.
In the Book of Revelation, seven angels sound seven trumpets, and each trumpet unleashes a different calamity.
In the background of Judgement, a huge tidal wave is coming to wash away the world.
"When all is melted in blood, all is reborn." - Ritual Blood
The dead rise from their graves , and praise the judgement of God.
Judgement is governed by Pluto, ruler of the underworld. Its element is Fire.
Death is an important card.
That being said, the card doesn't fit just one Bloodborne character.
There are multiple candidates, and I will put forth my personal favorite.
The Death Card is an augur of change, it predicts the end of something in favor of something new.
Death offers the purity of rebirth, he's needed to destroy the old, to make room for what's coming.
Death also epitomizes impartiality, no beast or king can avoid Death and he is fundamentally invincible.
Possible candidates for the part of Death are:
The Messengers: which are pale, undead looking things that conform to the general theme of "death".
On the operating table, Messengers show up to claim The Hunter, which could entail a process of dying.
Messengers are unkillable. That being said, some enemies appear able to absorb them .
Messengers accompany the process of becoming a Hunter and are therefore connected to transformation.
There are some straightforward skeletons in Bloodborne, like Darkbeast Paarl and the identical Loran Darkbeast.
But besides being 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 identified 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 lacks a straightforward connection to change.
Don't Fear The Doll
The Doll is courteous, yet always cold and sterile, appearing 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 purpose is to offer change, evolution, in exchange for echoes.
Death carries a banner, displaying a white rose on a black background, stated to signify beauty and purity in a time of darkness.
The Romans - who also linked Mercury to Odin - thought the rose a symbol of death and rebirth and placed them on graves.
The Doll has dead roses woven into her hat . Perhaps she's the rose, against the backdrop of the Bloodborne's blackness.
The Plain Doll has a dead like nature, she's an animated dead body, apparently made out of paint, clay, and rubber.
Beneath her hairline , and along her cheeks , The Plain 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 Behelits .
Behelits in Berserk are spectral stones containing dislocated eyes and mouths.
Behelits may cry tears of blood, summon "Great Ones ", and control human destiny .
They've also been observed 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, but in many East Asian cultures, white is 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 modeled 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, because hunters rid the world of immortal fiends that escape death.
When Death appears something is about to happen. Death does not assume tangible form when all is well.
When confronted with Death a transformation is need to cope with the coming change. 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 obsession 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 Dregs is to give them to their queen, who hopes in turn to 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 and may be connected to Mergo and/or The Child of Blood.
The child of The Sun is the child of life and a symbol of hope for the future.
The child is holding a red flag, which represents the blood of renewal.
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 clerics.
The Sun of Bloodborne is quite a peculiar one.
It's fully formed in Central Yharnam and Hemwick .
In Cathedral Ward, it has a shadow .
The Sun isn't the Sun, it's an impostor, most likely the Moon.
There are no depictions of The Sun in Bloodborne art, which there were in Dark Souls.
There is no Bloodborne 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 acknowledged.
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, called "Lumenflowers" and appear to be of some great significance.
Lumenflowers are found Upper Cathedral Ward where they are defended by The Celestial Emissary. These flowers are closed.
They are also 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 protect a massive Lumenfower 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 may derive from the Roman goddess of flowers.
It may also refer to Berserk's "Flora", the inhabitant of a spirit tree, who eventually passes away as a flaming avatar .
"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 Fool is a card of unlimited potential, but also of carelessness.
In the Tarot de Marseille, The Fool is called "the madman".
The Fool may be depicted as an unkempt man in tattered clothing.
Ebrietas is Latin, meaning "drunkenness", which could mark her as The Fool.
In Tarot the environment is often important. The Fool is standing in a rocky area, encircled by water with the Sun shining high.
Ebrietas resides in a rocky cave , is surrounded at all sides by water , with a light shining through a singular 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, and Seath the Scaleless.
Carelessness-innocence is a core trait of Lovecraft's Azathoth, a creator god who's utterly ignorant of 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.
The Fool is characterized as representing 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. His element is 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.
These 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 appears to be heavily inspired by the film "Brotherhood of the Wolf".
As such, my additional thoughts on the subject could be redundant, but I hope they will be considered intriguing all the same.
In ancient Greece, the triangle was considered a symbol of cosmic harmony, along with perfect shapes like circles and squares.
Like with other Tarot cards, Temperance may be Upright or Reversed, either symbolizing temperance or its exact opposite.
Excess, drunkenness, debauchery and madness are the opposites of temperance.
Assuming that triangles symbolize Temperance (Upright or Reversed) then it's worth noting 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 the Hunter.
But 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, a recurring theme in Souls titles.
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.
Unable to tell reason from madness, The Hunter's at risk of becoming an enemy of the world he/she sought to protect.
Another problem Hunters face is manipulation. Ludwig was described as a noble man but ended up being used by The Choir.
Blinded by a false sense of purpose he slaughtered the enemies of those controlling him, yet he ended up cursed and sent to hell.
The Radiance rune could also refer to the all-seeing eye of God - "The Eye of Providence".
The Eye of Providence is an old symbol of Christianity, it symbolizes the all-seeing nature of God.
The Eye of Providence was at times conjoined with conspiracy theories, involving cults like The Freemasons.
Conspiring cults, striving for world domination, take a central role in much of Lovecraft's writing.
Triangles may also refer to "pyramidology", a group name for pseudoscientific theories concerning pyramids.
Temperance is governed by Sagittarius, the hunter. Its element is Fire.
The Suits form the Minor Arcana Tarot cards.
They are formed like the suits of regular cards, ten number cards of one to ten, and face cards.
The Tarot Suits have four face cards instead of the standard three, not counting The Joker.
These cards are The King, The Queen, The Knight, and The Page.
Swords are connected to the element of Air and represent power, rationality and the intellect.
It also a suit of violence and conflict and is considered the most dangerous suit. It corresponds with Spades.
Air connects to the archangel Raphael. He appears in The Lovers card, which is tied to The League of Valtr.
Swords may be linked to Hunters, as they're associated with death, speed, sky burial, and levitation (see Gehrman and Maria).
The suit originally represented the aristocracy, the military class, which also points to the gentlemanlike Hunters.
Pentacles are connected to the element of Earth. The Suit of Pentacles may also be called The Suit of Coins.
Pentacles are linked to The Devil and autumn. It may represent greed and overindulgence, 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 represent creativity, fantasy, and imagination.
The Suit of Cups corresponds with The Suit of Hearts and is linked to the whiles of the heart.
Its negative aspects 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".
The High Priestess and The Moon are both connected to Water.
The Moon Presence is connected to both blood and The Nightmare.
Cups may be linked to Chalices, and their watery nature to blood rituals, or formless labyrinths (root chalices).
The card shown above is the Seven of Cups and depicts a number of things that can be found in-game.
These include a head , a cloaked figure , a snake , a tower as well as treasure .
It also shows a laurel wreath, which could represent Laurence, and a dragon symbolizing evil power.
The meaning of these cards is not yet known or they have not yet been used by the designteam.
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 a victory over wild, destructive energy.
It symbolizes 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 voiced 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."
- The Maiden in Black
The Doll is likewise a provider of strength, and a symbol of disarming gentleness.
Annalise is a candidate due to her skill for recruiting more Vilebloods, without the need for violence.
She relies entirely on her charms, which includes the false impression that she's powerless, and harmless.
Lions are symbolic of Cainhurst . The Castle also harbors statues that remind of Strength's character.
Copious statues depicts a naked, but hard looking woman wearing a crown of roses, like Strength.
Other statues shows a flirtatious maiden with curly hair, and a garment similar to that of Strength .
Iosefka qualifies because she "tames beasthood" by turning patients into Kin.
She's also quite good at manipulating hunters into providing her with additional patients.
Her weapon is the Threaded Cane, which can transform into a whip, as "to tame beasts".