We are used to seeing bikers heavily adorned with Iron Crosses, skulls, and the insignia of their motorcycle clubs. Indeed, these are the most popular symbols among the dashing mean machine riders. At the same time, every biker is looking for a chance to display their individuality, and the best way to show it is to introduce some kind of symbol that conveys their interests or worldviews. Riding a motorcycle is strongly associated with adrenaline. What else can be just as adrenalinous? Probably gambling. At least, many riders seek thrill in a casino and at the poker table. Therefore, it is not surprising to see various gambling symbols on biker ornaments, vests, or gears.
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Some of these symbols penetrate so deep into the biker culture that they become its integral part. Other symbols do not have a particular meaning among motorcyclists but they carry a certain significance in the world of gamblers. Finally, a particular gambling symbol can display a sentimental meaning for a particular biker or be his personal talisman.
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Ace of Spades
Like many other symbols common in the biker community (winged skulls, the Iron Cross, and even the Confederate flag), the Ace of Spades was seen here and there on the battlefields. During World War II, card suits were widely used by American soldiers. For instance, the helmets of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division carried the spades sign. Its mission was to bring good luck to whoever wears it, just like the Ace of Spades, the highest playing card in a deck, means good luck for a player. In general, all four suits were used in this division to facilitate the identification of regiments on the battlefield. A soldier belonging to one or another battalion of the regiment was indicated by the markings located around the suit clockwise. Also, the Ace of Spades was the emblem of the 53rd fighter squadron of the Luftwaffe.
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20 years later, the Vietnam War came into play, and American soldiers resorted to the Ace of Spades symbolism again. This time, it was sort of a psychological weapon. For some reason, soldiers believed that the Vietnamese were afraid of the Ace of Spades as a symbol of death. It is not known whether it is true or not but the US troops had a tradition of putting this card into the mouths of dead enemies. On top of that, they would scatter the Aces of spades around to demoralize the enemy, especially before bombardments.
The higher army ranks didn’t try to convince their fighters otherwise. On the contrary, they started buying boxes of card decks consisting solely of Aces of spades to raise morale. The delivery was carried out by the company called Bicycle, and the boxes with the cards were marked as "Bicycle Secret Weapon". Shortly after, the US industry started producing cards designed specifically for the army needs. These cards featured skull and bone images to reinforce the meaning of the Ace of Spades as the Death Card. American soldiers wore those cards on their helmets and after a battle, they "marked" the territory and the corpses of enemies. Over time, such 'rituals' began to instill terror in Vietnamese soldiers for real.
After the war was over, the first motorcycle clubs, which were established by the former American soldiers, adapted the symbolism of the Ace of Spades for their needs.
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Back then, vest patches were more than aesthetical means of self-expression. Their meaning was hidden from the eyes of ‘civil’ people but everyone who belonged to the biker community knew what the Ace of Spaces signified. Basically, bikers wearing such a patch as if said that they were willing to kill for their colors and fight for their MC till the end.
Unlike the Ace of Spades, the joker has no global significance for people on motorcycles. Someone might say that only members of the Gipsy Joker Motorcycle Club are allowed to wear jewelry featuring the joker since it is featured in their colors but this is not exactly correct. True, if you use the exact same joker depicted on the Gipsy Joker emblem, you will definitely earn yourself a lot of trouble. But the joker image per se isn’t a taboo for people who don’t belong to this motorcycle club. Therefore, you can freely flaunt joker jewelry if you like this symbol.
Interestingly, the word "joker" doesn’t really mean jokes. In fact, it is an incorrect spelling of the German word Juker, which means Euchre. It was in this game that the joker appeared for the first time at the end of the 19th century. The joker is the highest trump card in euchre.
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According to another version, the origin of the joker is associated with French Tarot cards. However, no one can claim that the Jester (Fool) from the Tarot is the prototype of the joker. The truth is that classic Tarot deck occurred in the Middle Ages while the joker symbol is less than 200 years old. Be that as it may, we can clearly see that Joker and Jester share a similar visual image.
The Jester is considered one of the most complex cards in the Tarot. Like the joker, it depicts a man dressed as a jester. It is worth noting that court jesters were pretty smart and comprehensively gifted folks. Under the pretext of jokes and entertainment, they were allowed to say and do things that would entail extremely severe punishment even for the highest nobility. Therefore, a jester is a true speaker who remains unharmed and achieves his goals.
Another meaning of the joker is a combination of opposites. The joker carries both white and black, it represents good and evil, it says truth and falsehood. Due to his aptitude for learning, he comprehends and accepts the world around him with an open mind. His goal is to get joy from life and accumulate experience playfully.
The other facet of joker symbolism lies in its connection with the principle of perpetual movement. He is adventurous, inquisitive, open-minded, and he trusts his instincts. He longs for new experiences. Therefore, the joker is free to choose the direction, go anywhere and do whatever he wants. It resonates with the nature of bikers themselves, doesn’t it? Maybe because bikers are also the arbiters of their own destinies, they are uninhibited in their actions and, therefore, they feel a connection with the joker.
Anyways, the joker goes down a road, and fate itself guides him. He has to continue his trip relying on intuition, luck, and the protection of the Higher Forces.
Card Suits and Their Meanings
Together, the four suits represent the four elements - earth, wind, seasons, and the cardinal points. Thirteen cards of each suit stand for thirteen lunar months. The entire deck of cards forms a detailed allegory of the universe. Collectively, the cards represent life with all its joys and sorrows. At the same time, they show the struggle of opposing forces striving to win over each other.
The spades on a par with clubs personify the cold seasons - winter and autumn respectively. Along with that, they are a visual representation of darkness. The symbol of spades is shamrock, which means life. Spades are often associated with the suit of Swords in Tarot cards and in various interpretations, they can symbolize intelligence, action, air, fate, and death (the latter is true for the Ace of Spades though). The King of spades is identified with Saturn, the Queen - with war and Athena, and the Jack - with Mercury. In predictions, in addition to the personification of death, spades can signify misfortune, illness, and financial troubles.
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Together with the other red suit, hearts symbolize the warm seasons (hearts stand for summer while diamonds mean spring) as well as the forces of light. Hearts are, as it were, a central point of the universe and life in general. Being associated with the Tarot Cups, this suit represents knowledge, the underwater world, love, and fertility. The King of Hearts symbolizes water and the god of the seas, Neptune. The Queen of hearts stands for love. The Jack of Hearts is the god of war Mars. In fortunetelling, hearts mean joy.
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Clubs represent cold, night, and darkness. In contrast to diamonds, clubs are a symbol of the masculine principle. Similar to Suit of Wand in Tarot, clubs are signifiers of fire, energy, will, wealth, work, and luck. The king of clubs is linked to Zeus, the Queen - to Hera, and the Jack - to Apollo. In predictions, any card of clubs, as a rule, denotes happiness.
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Along with hearts, the suit of diamonds symbolizes warm seasons. On top of that, it personifies the feminine principle. As with other suits, each card has its own meaning. The Ace of diamonds denotes life, the King of diamonds is a representation of the Father and Holy Spirit, the Queen stands for the Mother and soul, the Jack is ego and a warrior. Diamonds are associated with Tarot Pentacles and their meanings are earthly affairs, money, courage, and energy. In fortunetelling, they predict ill will and trouble.
The meaning of this symbol may differ in the 1% and 99% biker clubs. The members of outlaw clubs often wear a rhombus-shaped patch with the symbol of 13 inside. The 13th letter of the alphabet is M, and M stands for Marijuana or Meth. This can denote that a biker with such a patch or jewelry sells or uses drugs. Another interpretation of this symbol says that it stands for Murder and that a person who wears is, in fact, a murderer.
The meaning of the number 13 in the 99% motorcycle clubs is not so ominous. 13, or M, may simply mean Motorcycle.
When 13 is combined with gambling symbolism, it drastically changes its meaning. So, we have already said that spades, especially the Ace of spades, are a symbol of good luck. At the same time, the number 13 is bad luck itself. When good luck and bad luck meet in a single symbol, they balance each other. In this case, jewelry may show that its owner strives for balance, or he understands that fortune is impossible without bad luck and vice versa.
On the other hand, 13 in Tarot cards means death. Ace of spades, thanks to American warriors, means death, too. So maybe two death symbols at once denote something more than death? Either way, the beauty of biker symbols is that it is flexible and versatile. You can give a symbol many meanings based on your experience, personality, or vision of the world. With this Number 13 Spade Ring, you can send many messages but which one you really mean will be unknown until you let people know you better.
While 13 is a bad luck number, its exact opposite is 7. This number is not only lucky, but also magical and even sacred. It is found in all world religions. For example, the Old Testament describes 7 days of creation. Also, Christians have 7 virtues and 7 deadly sins. In Islam, there are 7 heavenly gates and seven heavens. During the pilgrimage to Mecca, worshipers make 7 circles around the Kaaba stone.
Many of the ancient cultures worshipped the number 7. The Egyptians had 7 primordial supreme Gods. The number 7 itself was a symbol of eternal life and it belonged to the god Osiris. One could get to the ancient underground kingdom of the dead by breaking through 7 guarded gates.
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For gamblers, 7 is a harbinger of good luck. Three sevens on a slot machine are the jackpot, so each individual seven is a step towards winning a fortune. If a player wants luck to accompany him, he just needs a talisman depicting a lucky seven (just like this Seven silver ring by Bikerringshop).
While 7 doesn't have any unique meaning in biker culture (though, some Christian biker clubs have patches and ornaments featuring 777 as a symbol of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), many of the bikers are gamblers. This means that they don't mind having luck on their side. In general, good luck symbols forged on jewelry in themselves are an important part of biker culture.