The tarot is a deck of cards used for divination. While there are many different versions, they all consist of seventy-eight cards split into two sections – the major and minor arcana.
The major arcana focuses on the major events in one’s life. They help us learn the important lessons that allows us to transition from one stage to the next. This section of the tarot contains twenty-two cards numbered from 0 to 21. In addition to a number, each card also has a name and a corresponding image.
The minor arcana compliments the major arcana by providing more insight on day to day matters. This section is further split into four suits most commonly known as wands, cups, swords and pentacles. In some decks, wands may be referred as staves. Similarly, coins or discs may be used instead of pentacles.
Within each suit, there are ten cards numbered from ace to 10, plus four court cards. These court cards are the page, knight, queen and king. In some versions, the page and knight are replaced with the princess and prince respectively.
While the lessons of each major arcana card can be understood by their names, the minor arcana cards are unnamed. Instead, the meaning of each card is derived by the image on the card or the associations that are attached to their suit and number.
Each suit is associated with one of the four elements and they represent different aspects of our lives. Wands represents the element of fire and is symbolic of our will, energy and ability to create. Cups represents water and is symbolic of cycles and emotions. The element of air is represented by the suit of swords and it symbolizes our intellect and ego. And last but not least, pentacles is the symbol of earth and it represents the material and social aspects of our lives.
A tarot card reading begins with a querent, which is a person with a question. Once the question is formulated, the tarot card reader will lay out a series of cards in a certain order called a spread. There are many different types of spreads and they may contain any number of cards. The choice of spread may depend on the type of question and/or the personal preference of the tarot reader. Generally, each position in a spread represents something such as a person, situation, time, cause, outcome, etc.
The following charts list out the cards in the tarot deck. Select a card to learn its meaning.
* For each card’s explanation, there is also a description for a corresponding I Ching hexagram (which is a Chinese divination system). This is a part of the Tarot Above, I Ching Below project. Feel free to read both or just the tarot portion.
|0 – Fool|
|1 – Magician||2 – High Priestess||3 – Empress||4 – Emperor|
|5 – Heirophant||6 – Lovers||7 – Chariot||8 – Strength|
|9 – Hermit||10 – Wheel||11 – Justice||12 – Hanged Man|
|13 – Death||14 – Temperance||15 – The Devil||16 – Tower|
|17 – Star||18 – Moon||19 – Sun||20 – Judgement|
|21 – World|
*card descriptions are added to this site regularly