Learn About Tarot Cards
Read some common questions we receive about tarot cards, as well as our answers.
While each tarot card deck may look completely different in imagery and even card size and design, all Tarot card decks have a few things in common.
Each tarot card deck has 78 cards, and each of those cards falls into one of two categories: the Major Arcana or the Minor Arcana.
The Major Arcana is also referred to as Trump Cards, while the Minor Arcana is also known as the Lesser Arcana.
The Major Arcana
The major arcana is a set of 22 Trump cards that refer to major influences and revelations when they’re pulled during a reading. Traditionally, Trump Cards are playing cards that are seen as superior, rising above their usual rank. In the context of Tarot, these cards represent the Fool’s journey, ending when he embraces The World.
Major Arcana cards aren’t suited and instead stand alone.
The Major Arcana is also known as the “greater mysteries” and represent a path to spiritual enlightenment. The cards are associated with different stages of life, archetypes, and energies.
Some of the more famous Major Arcana cards include The Lovers, The World, The Tower, and Death.
You’ve likely seen wide-eyed teens pull the Death card in horror movies, but this card is not what it seems to the layman. Remember that Tarot cards are not meant to be frightening. Like a compass, they are meant to help you along your path.
Often, cards that seem frightening are actually quite powerful. If you want to learn more about cards like Death, read our article on the most powerful cards in the Tarot deck.
When you see a major arcana card in your reading, it’s important to pay attention to the message it has for you. The Major Arcana can provide valuable insights into your life and help you on your journey towards self-discovery.
The Minor Arcana
The Minor Arcana often falls to the wayside in popular culture, but these cards are responsible for telling the story of everyday matters and influences.
The Minor Arcana is made up of 56 cards, divided into four suits: Cups, Wands, Pentacles, and Swords. Each suit has 14 cards, which include the Ace (1), 2-10, and the Page, Knight, Queen, and King.
Some decks may choose to use different naming conventions, such as “coins” for “pentacles,” but the four categories are always the same.
In a reading, each suit represents some aspect of life. Creativity and passion for Wands. Intellect for Swords. Career and money for Pentacles. Emotion and feelings for Cups.
Furthermore, each suit corresponds to a group of astrological signs, such as fire for Wands. Air for Swords. Earth for Pentacles. Water for Cups.
This means that you can also bring in Zodiac interpretations during a reading. For example, the Six of Pentacles may have an altered meaning for Taurus querent compared to someone with a Libra sun sign. The same can be said for Aries practitioners when the Two of Wands appears in their tarot reading.
While the major arcana represent big life events or lessons, the Minor Arcana focus on the smaller, day-to-day details. They can give you information about your current situation, and offer advice on how to best handle it.
For instance, the Seven of Wands tells us you are feeling embattled but can remind you to try to find a solution where everyone wins. It can take your mind out of a loop that keeps repeating by showing you the visual interpretation of it. The mind feels heard and satisfied that it has processed the energy fully so it can go on and work on the solution to the problem. That is the great power of the Tarot.
When you see a minor arcana card in your reading, pay attention to the suit it belongs to. This will give you clues as to what area of your life the card is referring to.
For example, the suit of Cups is associated with emotions and relationships, so a card from this suit in your reading is likely related to your love life. The suit of Wands deals with creativity and ambition, so a card from this suit might represent a new project you’re working on.
The suit of Pentacles is associated with money and material possessions, so a card from this suit might give you insights into your financial situation. And finally, the suit of Swords is associated with difficulties and challenges, so a card from this suit might be warning you of some tough times ahead.
Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines – ultimately, it’s up to you to interpret the card in a way that makes sense for your specific situation. The Ace of Wands will have a different answer to your question than mine.
When you’re ready to start exploring the Minor Arcana, check out our guide to the Cups, Wands, Pentacles, and Swords on our card meanings page.
Some people believe your first Tarot card deck should be gifted, but this has been widely dismissed. In fact, many beginner Tarot readers don’t have someone in their life that understands or appreciates Tarot enough to gift a deck. If you wait for a gift, you may be waiting forever.
If you’re choosing your first deck, it is wise to pick one that closely resembles the imagery of the Rider Waite Tarot deck. Because most interpretations are based on this deck, you will have an easier time learning card meanings.
You may consider buying the original Rider Waite deck itself. Even if you dislike the religious imagery, it is a good point of reference when you’re getting started.
If practicality isn’t your primary aim, let your intuition guide you. How does the deck make you feel? Ask yourself if you connect to the artwork. If not, look for another deck.
As we mentioned before, the Major Arcana is often better-known and more sought-after than the Minor Arcana, but each offers valuable knowledge. When it comes to determining importance, this feels like a trick question because the most important tarot cards are the ones that answer your question. If the Ace of Cups or Five of Pentacles appears in your reading instead of The Sun or Hierophant, that does not mean the answer you receive is any less powerful or significant. However, some cards do have a certain energy that readers across the board seem to sense. To learn more about these cards, read our article, “What is the Most Powerful Tarot Card?“
Tarot cards provide insight into various life situations. Likely, you’ve heard of someone receiving a tarot reading on their love life or future career, but did you know some cards point to pregnancy? Both the major arcana and include cards that allude to pregnancy, childbirth, and all the emotions that go along with them. No…
The Lovers Tarot Card Keywords Upright Love, Blessing, Choice, Harmony, Unification Reversed Loss, Shame, Illusion, Hedonism The Lovers Tarot Card Description The Lovers Tarot Card is one of the most recognizable cards in the tarot deck. It is the sixth card of the major arcana, and it serves as a mirror to the Devil tarot…
This card typically signifies satisfaction, contentment, and plenty. It can represent feeling emotionally fulfilled or having your material needs met.
The nine of cups can also suggest that you are surrounded by people who support and love you. sometimes this card appears when someone is about to experience good luck.