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.
A tarot spread is a pattern you lay your cards in. Each position in this pattern has a different meaning and/or significance. When you lay a tarot spread, you take note of the position’s meaning and the meaning of the card before you make an interpretation
For example, the center card in the Celtic Cross Tarot Spread represents the querent or person asking the question. So, if you pulled the Queen of Swords as the center card, it could mean you are someone who will approach the situation logically and with clear communication.
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?“
Think about the information you want to know, and set your intentions. It’s better to ask specific, open-ended questions. As a good practice, it’s better to ask the cards about yourself and your life than to focus on other people. For more advice, check out 117 Questions to Ask the Tarot.
Court Cards are the four cards at the end of each Tarot Suit: the page, the knight, the queen, and the king. There are 16 Court Cards in total.
Often, the Court Cards are viewed as the stages of life or as members of a family. The page represents the child, the knight represents the adolescent, and the Queen and King are the parents.
Many people interpret the Court Cards as representing someone in your life or as a stand-in for yourself. For example, the King of Wands could be your boss or your father, while the Page of Cups could be your younger sibling or the person you’re mentoring. The gender of these cards is only as important as you want it to be. Even if you identify as a woman, the King of Pentacles could still represent you in a reading, especially if you’re good with your money.
As we said before, the Court Cards often represent the stages of life. However, they can also represent specific people in your life or serve as a stand-in for yourself. In the case of Pages, they represent younger individuals, especially students or someone who is being mentored. Although the pages are male in the traditional Rider Waite deck, they can represent someone of any gender.
Alternatively, Pages can represent something you need to learn in life. The Page of Pentacles can mean that you’re developing your financial skills or building assets. On the other hand, the Page of Swords could signify that you are currently improving/need to improve more “abstract” or mental skillsets, like your communication or writing skills.
In Tarot, the Queens are symbolic of an individual’s inner power and representation of their higher self. They represent maternal energy; compassion, intuition, nurturing, love, and wisdom.
The Queen of Wands specifically symbolizes a spirited female leader who is creative and confident in her abilities. She is a strong-willed woman with formidable determination and ambition.
The Queen of Cups represents emotional maturity, and a sympathetic, nurturing, and supportive nature. She is able to see the world through an empathetic lens and provide comfort for those in need.
The Queen of Swords is all about communication, intelligence, and wisdom. She is independent-minded with strong opinions and a sharp wit that helps her get ahead. She has great problem-solving skills and is a great negotiator.
The Queen of Pentacles embodies abundance, prosperity, and stability. She stands for hard work, determination, reliability, and practicality in all she does. Her energy reflects one who is generous and financially secure.
In general, the Queens represent our highest expression of self when we are emotionally mature with strong leadership capabilities and a connection to our inner power. They are the embodiment of confidence, self-assuredness and an ability to rise up in moments when we need it most.,
Kings in Tarot cards represent active energy, authority, wisdom, and mastery. They are often seen as rulers of their suits and signify a person with the ability to take control and lead. Kings typically have a mature outlook on situations and can offer advice from experience. They bring an element of protection, trust, integrity, and reliability to any reading.
Kings also represent strength and self-confidence, helping us to trust our own instincts and have faith in taking action. They can also represent a father figure or mentor who provides guidance along the path of life. Ultimately, Kings in Tarot are a reminder that we need to take responsibility for our actions and use sound judgment when making decisions.
The King of Wands is known as the “Spiritual Warrior” card and can represent a person who is charismatic, passionate, confident, and powerful.
The King of Swords is often seen as a figure of authority and justice, symbolizing the use of logic, intellect, and discernment. This King is said to bring clarity and focus to any situation, allowing us to cut through the fog of confusion.
In the earthier Suit, the King of Pentacles represents a leader who is practical, reliable, and grounded. He is seen as a provider of security and stability, symbolizing wealth, abundance, and material success.
Lastly, the King of Cups is often associated with emotions and instinctive reactions. This card may represent someone with strong intuition or deep feelings for others around them. He can bring us closer to our emotions and help us to become more aware of our own thoughts and feelings.
By understanding the meaning of Kings in Tarot, we are better able to understand the advice or insight they can bring when appearing in a reading. When Kings appear, it’s time to take ownership of our lives and trust our own intuition. It may be necessary to make tough decisions and use strong leadership skills. Kings also remind us to have faith in ourselves and know that whatever actions we take will ultimately lead us where we need to go.
Reversed Kings usually indicate that we have become too rigid in our ideas or beliefs and are not open to change. They can also suggest a lack of self-confidence or feeling overwhelmed by authority. Reversals show the dark side of these court cards, turning a fair ruler into a tyrant or a caring husband into a jealous, controlling partner. Kings bring power structures into play.
Regardless of the suit, Tarot Kings are a reminder that we can use our experience, wisdom, and authority to create positive change in our lives. Whether it be through justice or emotional clarity, these cards represent a strength within each one of us that can be tapped into.
The Suit of Wands represents ambition and willpower. This suit is all about initiating creative projects, following your dreams, and taking risks. It symbolizes the resources at our disposal for achieving success as well as the potential obstacles we may encounter along the way.
The Suit of Wands also suggests that we have an inner fire that drives us to explore new ideas and take bold action when needed. For example, the Three of Wands will appear when it is a good time to give instructions or directions to others. Likewise, the Nine of Wands comes when we are tired and need a break from our responsibilities. With the Suit of Wands in a reading, it’s time to get up and make something happen!
Aces represent new beginnings in the Tarot. Think of them as the root from which the rest of the Suit grows. In some readings, they can be called the seed of potential which is why it’s important to pay attention to what each Ace in a spread means.
In many decks, each Suit will have an Ace card. Aces are one of the most powerful cards and often represent a new opportunity, fresh start, or turning point in life. They tell you that it’s time to take a risk and make the most of the new opportunities that are coming your way.
Aces are also associated with success, ambition, power, creativity, and strong determination. These qualities can be beneficial when pursuing any goal. When an Ace appears in a reading it suggests that you should have faith in yourself and trust your instincts.
The Ace of Wands is indicative of new beginnings, creativity, and the pursuit of personal passions. Wands are associated with energy, so when this suit appears it may mean that a creative idea or project needs to be pursued.
The Ace of Swords represents communication, clarity, and intellectual power. When this card appears in a reading it can indicate that there will be a need for clear communication and that a decision must be made. It could indicate that you are beginning a new phase in your career.
The Ace of Pentacles symbolizes material possessions, wealth, abundance, and security. When this card appears it suggests that you should take advantage of new opportunities to increase your prosperity or stability.
The Ace of Cups is related to emotion, relationships, love, and healing. This card can signify the beginning of a new relationship, a deeper understanding, and connection with yourself, or an emotional awakening.
Overall, Aces represent new beginnings in the Tarot. In each spread, they can offer insight into what new opportunities may be coming your way and where you should focus your energies.
The number 2 represents balance and duality, two halves of the whole. Twos often appear when you’re weighing your choices. In the Major Arcana, the number 2 comes in the form of the High Priestess. She is an embodiment of intuition and spiritual knowledge. The High Priestess stands between two pillars, symbolizing the balance of the conscious and subconscious mind. Her presence in a Tarot reading suggests that you should look to your inner wisdom for answers instead of relying solely on logic or external advice. Whether it’s a decision about home life, work or romance – the High Priestess encourages us to go within for guidance. So if you’re struggling with a choice, be sure to consult your own inner High Priestess – she may have all the answers!
The number 2 can also represent partnership and relationships when it appears in other cards. In matters of love, it often signifies the need to compromise and find equilibrium between two people’s perspectives.
The Two of Cups speaks of love and partnership, urging us to open our hearts and connect with someone at a deeper level. Whether it’s romantic love or friendship, this card represents an invitation for meaningful connection. That being said, it’s important to remember that true love is a two-way street and requires effort from both parties. The Two of Cups reminds us to be open to the possibilities of connection and cherish our relationships.
The Two of Swords signals an internal struggle between opposing forces. It can also signify being stuck in limbo or feeling unable to move forward. This card often appears when we’re faced with difficult decisions and need help finding clarity. The message here is to take time out for yourself, reflect on your options, and trust your intuition when making a choice—even if it feels like you’re choosing the lesser of two evils.
You can be pulled in multiple directions, but the Two of Pentacles reminds you to trust your inner compass and make decisions that balance your needs with those of the people around you.
In tarot readings, the number two is often a sign that it’s time to find peace within yourself. It might mean taking some time out for self-care or reflecting on where you want to go next in life. Whatever it is, twos remind us to look inward and make sure we’re on track.
Finally, the Two of Wands is a card of ambition and progress. This card often appears when you’re contemplating an adventure or embarking on a new journey. It’s time to break free from the status quo and pursue what makes you excited. But, remember that growth takes effort! The Two of Wands encourages us to take risks, trust our instincts, and invest in ourselves—all while keeping our eyes firmly set on the prize.
The number two embodies the power of choice and finding peace within duality. Whether it’s making tough decisions or forging meaningful connections, twos provide a gentle reminder to look inward for guidance. So the next time you come across this mysterious number in tarot readings, remember its importance—and use it as an opportunity.
When you see the number 3 in your tarot spread, think of expansion and development. This could mean that your career is taking off or that you’re family planning. It could also be a sign that you’re ready to take the next step in your relationship. The number 3 represents growth and change, and it encourages you to look at things with an open mind and embrace new beginnings. It can signify creativity or the power of communication, which is always important to maintain positive relationships.
Threes represent the outcome of a union. This could be children, a successful business venture, or a happy marriage.
The Three of Wands symbolizes looking towards the future and setting goals. It can also signify collaboration with others to achieve success. If this card is appearing in your spread, you may want to reach out to those around you for help or advice. It can also be a signal to look at the bigger picture and think ahead.
The Three of Pentacles suggests that you’ll build something wonderful if you have the right hands on deck. This card can also be a sign that you have the skills and capability to manifest your desires. It encourages you to work with others in order to complete a task, as well as cultivating patience and discipline along the way.
When it’s time to celebrate those accomplishments, the Three of Cups will appear in your spread. It represents camaraderie and joy. You’re surrounded by friends who genuinely care about you and want to share in your success. It is a reminder to take time out to celebrate with those around you and show appreciation for their support. Lastly, the Three of Swords may indicate sadness or difficulty. However, it can also symbolize the hope that comes after overcoming a difficult situation. From heartbreak and pain can bring new strength.
Overall, when the number 3 appears in your tarot spread, expect to create something new. It encourages you to take risks and collaborate with others, as you embark on this Fool’s journey.
The number 5 is often associated with instability and chaos, as well as a need for changes in life or situation. You may have already experienced a crushing defeat or setback. Additionally, fives can mean that you are standing at a crossroads and have difficult decisions ahead of you.
In the Tarot world, this might be symbolized by the Five of Swords card, which can represent the feeling of being overwhelmed and having to make a tough call. Five often refers to evolving (or devolving) situations, so things might not always be going as planned and it may be time to reassess your life or current status.
Five is the number of growing pains. Even though it hurts, if you choose to learn from the pain, this knowledge will benefit you along your life’s journey.
The Five of Pentacles is a card that often refers to feeling isolated and misunderstood. It can also represent material loss, such as poverty or financial hardship. This card reminds us to keep our chin up and stay hopeful during difficult times – although it may seem like you’re stuck in a rut, the only way out is to persevere and look for solutions.
The Five of Wands is a card that often symbolizes conflict and competition. It can refer to the idea of being challenged or having your ideas opposed. This card reminds us that there are almost always two sides to every story, and it’s important to be willing to listen and consider both perspectives before making a decision.
Lastly, the Five of Cups demonstrates a sense of loss, sadness, and regret. It can be a warning that we may be wallowing in the past or clinging to something that no longer exists. This card reminds us to try not to dwell on our losses, and instead take an honest look at why things didn’t work out as planned.
The number 5 in Tarot is a reminder that change is inevitable, so it’s important to embrace the chaos and uncertainty of life. Every loss is a lesson that offers valuable insight into ourselves, our past lives, and the world around us. If the number 5 appears in your tarot reading, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for what comes next.
The number 7 in Tarot usually represents spiritual development and the search for understanding. It is associated with seeking the truth, looking within ourselves to find answers, examination of our beliefs and values, and striving to achieve a higher level of consciousness. The Seven of any suit also suggests that it is time to contemplate important matters before taking action. It may be a sign of an important decision that needs to be made or a warning that we should not act without forethought.
In addition, the number 7 often indicates a need for change and transformation. This can mean letting go of attachments or taking a risk and trying something new. It can also suggest building on your current knowledge and skills to take your understanding and spiritual growth to the next level.
Finally, 7 is a number associated with luck and good fortune. It can represent an opportunity for you to make important changes in your life that will bring lasting rewards. In tarot readings, it can suggest that any difficulties or challenges you are currently facing could be resolved in a positive way.
The Seven of Swords tarot card represents deceit, cunning, and manipulation. It is a warning to watch out for dishonest people who may be trying to take advantage of you or your trust. However, it is also a reminder to stay alert and think before you act in order to get the best outcome from any situation.
The Seven of Cups signifies illusion, fantasy, and imagination. It is a card of escapism and indicates that it’s time to look beyond your current reality in order to find solutions or answers. However, it can also suggest that you are neglecting practical matters or the need for discipline.
The seventh card in the major arcana, the Chariot, is associated with courage, victory, and strength. It is a card for overcoming obstacles and suggests that you have the courage to take action and achieve your goals.
In conclusion, the number 7 in Tarot can represent many different things depending on its context. Generally speaking, it usually indicates spiritual growth, contemplation before taking action, transformation, luck, and courage. Understanding the meaning of this number can help you interpret tarot readings more accurately and make better-informed decisions about your life
Tens represent the energy of their suit to the highest degree. The qualities of the suit build and build until you get to the last card. Like the Ace represents the beginning, 10s represent the end or completion of the suit.
As an example, take the Ten of Pentacles. It is the last numbered card in the Suit of Pentacles, and it represents your life’s work coming together and the satisfaction it brings. It is the ultimate legacy card.
You also see the energy of the 10s in the Ten of Cups, where the emotions of the Suit of Cups overflow. It is the card of emotional fulfillment and harmony.
In the Major Arcana, the tenth card is the Wheel of Fortune, one the luckiest cards in the deck. It speaks to the cycles of life and making your life what you want it to be.
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