What Does the Spade Symbol Stand For?

The spade represents intelligence, acceptance, and labour. It also signifies the earth in terms of the four elements and is a life-representing leaf from the cosmic tree. The spade, when coupled with clubs, depicts autumn, winter, and the power of the dark. Spades, in the context of the tarot, signify death, motion, air, and intelligence.

During World War II, the spade was worn as a symbol of good luck by personnel of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 101st American Airborne Division. The spade marking also assisted in identifying these regiments within the airborne division, with dashes or dots at various points aiding in the identification of the battalions within the regiments.

During the Vietnam War, the spade was worn as a psychological weapon against the Viet Cong as a symbol of death and misfortune. The objective was to repel the soldiers without engaging them in combat. Soldiers were known to leave an ace of spades card on the body of a killed Viet Cong soldier and to scatter the cards throughout the battlefield to frighten the enemy. Due to the frequency of the practise, the United States Playing Card Company made only spade aces for export.


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