A tarot card reader draws from 78 cards for guidance and messages. These cards often tell a story about you.
Tarot readings reveal spiritual truths about the big picture of your life and its long-term direction. They also guide you in love and relationships, helping you to harness your intuition and wits.
The Major Arcana cards symbolize life lessons that help us understand our place in the universe. They also illustrate a journey that leads to a spiritual and Karmic understanding of the world around us. These lofty, overarching energies are why many tarot card readers choose to use this deck for divination.
When you draw a Major Arcana card in your reading, it is important to consider the overall meaning of the whole deck as well as the other cards that are present in the spread. It is also important to recognize that a card may change its interpretation over time, especially as other cards enter the picture.
For example, the Fool card symbolizes new beginnings and taking a chance based on your intuition. But if this card appears reversed, it suggests that you may be feeling overwhelmed and need to slow down your pace.
Other Major Arcana cards to keep in mind include the Death card, which represents endings and letting go of the past. It is a reminder that whatever you are experiencing at this moment will pass, and it will eventually be replaced with something better. The Tower is a more ominous card, as it typically signals a disruption or danger that needs to be faced. It can be a sign of a breakup or the end of a project.
Some tarot readers like to use different types of Tarot spreads, and this is entirely up to you. Some prefer to cut the deck and pull a card out, while others will fan the cards out as if they were in a poker game to select one that draws their eye or feels right in their hand. Some readers will even use a variety of three-card spreads, such as the Celtic Cross, the Tree of Life spread, the Planetary spread, the Tetraktys spread, and more.
The Minor Arcana
The 78 cards that make up a tarot deck are split into two groups, the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. This grouping of cards reflects the way they are used in divination and magic, with the Major Arcana dealing with bigger life lessons and shifts, and the Minor Arcana looking at more mundane features of your life like work, health, money, relationships and love.
In occult and hermetic tarot the Minor Arcana is divided into 10 pip cards (Ace through to 10) and four Court cards (Page, Knight, Queen and King). The suits represent different aspects of your life including physical world, emotions, challenges or conflict and action. Each suit also has a symbol that represents its theme, so you can read a reading by understanding the symbols in the cards, and the relationship between them.
Tarot is often thought of as a tool for divination, and while it can be used this way, it is really a tool for tapping into your own intuitive power and energy. The cards are a way to get information from your subconscious, and as tarot reader Mary Beth Wrenn puts it, they’re “like a mirror for the unconscious.”
Whether you believe in the magical properties of the cards or not, the truth is that a deck of tarot is an incredible resource for insight. It is important to remember, however, that while the tarot can provide you with a guide for your life, it’s ultimately up to you to live it. As a result, it’s best not to approach a reading with the expectation of getting all the answers you need. Instead, think of the tarot as a conversation with a less conscious part of yourself, or even a friend.
The Court Cards
While the Major Arcana represent the archetypes of life, the Court Cards illustrate how they manifest in your life. They can symbolize people, yourself or influences. It’s important to choose the kind of question you want to ask before doing a reading, as this will affect how the Court cards answer it. For instance, if you have a question about how someone else is impacting your situation, you could use the Four of Swords in the love position. The Four of Swords is often seen as a time for quiet reflection and self-assessment.
In many tarot systems, the Court Cards are depicted as stereotypical characters of their rank and suit: Pages are children, Knights are young men or women, Queens are married women and Kings are mature men. However, this way of thinking about the Court Cards can be limiting, as traits are not tied to certain groups.
A more useful approach to the Court Cards is to think of them as internal energies that can be triggered by external situations. To do this, you can assess the members of your immediate family, and decide which card they each embody – for instance, your father may be the King of Cups.
You can also map the people you know to their corresponding court cards. This can help you understand how they are influencing your situation and what you need to do about it. You can get a free copy of our Court Card Mapping PDF here. This is the first step towards truly understanding how the Court Cards work in your Tarot readings. Once you’ve got a feel for this, try working with the different combinations of suits and ranks to gain insight into how the cards are impacting your life.
The Celtic Cross
The Celtic Cross is one of the most well-known spreads in tarot. Its simple design and spiritual meaning make it a favorite among many readers. It consists of two cards each in four positions, forming a cross shape. Each card carries its own unique energy and significance. The Celtic Cross is considered to be the most powerful of all spreads, and is a must-have for any beginner or advanced tarot reader.
Position 1 – The Querent (or Subject)
This is the central card of this spread and represents the Querant’s present situation. It will often reflect the Querant’s hopes, desires and fears. It will also highlight the blocks and challenges that are impacting the Querant in this moment.
Position 2 – The Past
This card shows the events that have occurred in the Querent’s life that have brought them to this point. This card may highlight a key lesson that has been learned or a challenge that has been overcome. It can also give insight into the underlying driving forces that are pushing the Querant forward.
Position 3 – The Future
The third card of this spread reveals the most likely outcome of the situation or question at hand, based on the current actions and mindset of the Querant. It should ideally align harmoniously with the Card above to indicate that the Querant is on the right track towards their Desired Outcome.
The final card of this spread, positioned above the other cards, provides the big picture of what’s going on. This will include the outer influences surrounding the issue or question, such as other people’s perceptions and opinions, or external energies that are working to either help or hinder the situation.
The tarot is a card deck that contains symbols and narratives that are open to interpretation by anyone who chooses to learn. Many tarot practitioners have their own systems that incorporate numerology, astrology, and the Kabbalah, giving each card a richer meaning. There are 78 cards in the deck, and they can be shuffled into a variety of spreads. The most popular is the Celtic Cross, which helps a reader delve into any question they may have. Regardless of the number of cards in a reading, the key is to listen to your intuition and be open to possibilities that may arise from the symbolism and images in the cards.
If you are new to tarot, it’s recommended that you start by learning how to read for yourself or a close friend before moving on to readings for strangers. Tarot can be confusing and overwhelming, so it’s important to have a trusted mentor along the way. Be sure to research the different decks before choosing one to work with. A reputable tarot reader will never rush you or be pushy. If you decide to seek the services of a professional, ask about their fees and payment processes before they get started.
For anyone interested in tarot reading, we recommend checking out the Wild Unknown Tarot Deck. Its creator, Kim Krans, has redefined tarot for the twenty-first century. She explains that she wanted to create a tarot deck that is accessible to people who want to use it for spiritual guidance, healing, and personal growth. The deck has already found a home with tarot enthusiasts all over the world, inspiring them to share their own readings and creative awakenings via social media.