Tarot Card Meanings: Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words

tarot card meaningsFortune telling traces back to the Renaissance where ceremonial magic and folklore gave birth to spiritual readings like astrology, numerology and taromancy. Fortune telling techniques such as these are often considered taboo and are even considered a sin within Judaism and Christianity. Despite the forbidden and mysterious nature of fortune telling, it maintains high popularity worldwide. So what is taromancy? It’s a form of cartomancy (fortune-telling by using cards) to gain insight into past, current and future events in addition to uncovering the collective consciousness and sub-conscious thoughts. Tarot card readings are not just for the gypsies. It’s actually a fairly popular past-time and line of work for many people in Western civilization.

Want to make money reading cards? You can in Tarot Reading for Profit.  Whether or not you adhere to the belief system that fortune-telling often employs is of no concern. Anyone can be given a reading and what you do with the information given to you is your choice.

What are Tarot cards?

In any form of cartomancy cards are used to give some sort of reading or spiritual guidance to the person being evaluated. Spirituality isn’t just about fortune-telling, you can connect with your inner spirit many other ways and in The Spiritual Truth you can learn how. In taromancy, the tarot cards are specific to Tarot readings and consist of three separate categories: Major Arcana, Minor Arcana, and Court Cards. Tarot card reading finds its roots in 15th century Italy where the cards may have started off being used for gambling purposes of some sort of symbolic allegory. However, it’s in the 17th century that tarot cartomancy really takes off and becomes what we know of modern day occult Tarot. The deck of cards has 78 pieces and each one is equipped with a different meaning. I can’t cover the scope of all 78 cards in this article so I will select important ones from each category to know. IF you’re interested in becoming a Tarot Card reader there is a course to take you from zero knowledge of taromancy to becoming a master in the trade: Become a Tarot Reader from Scratch.

Major Arcana

  • Fool

The fool is card #0 (or #22 if it’s the last of the Major Arcana) and presents itself with a fool in colorful clothing with a hobo pack tied to a stick with a small dog on the edge of a cliff. The story behind this card is the fool doesn’t know where he’s going but he’s so full of wonderment that he may just walk of the cliff in front of him unknowingly. The bag represents a brand new beginning as wherever he lands he is capable of starting over. Basically, keep the enthusiasm up about life – but watch where you step.

  • High Priestess

This card shows hues of blues, whites and blacks with a lotus, crescent moon, pillars and a scroll with Tora scripted on it. Tora can be symbolic for the Jewish Torah or, Tarot. The High Priestess card represents the decisions we have to make in life when great ideas come to us. She shows you that there are cautions to consider and you should take time to think about the road ahead.

  • Emperor

A thorn, scepter, rams head and an orb are the symbols of the emperor that help the fool understand how to follow the decisions he’s made as a result of the High Priestess’ insightful words. The emperor provides structure, enthusiasm and courage to accomplish the tasks at hand. However, with this kind of power the Emperor can become impatient and controlling. Be aware of how you handle the situations that arise and don’t try to reach your goals with gusto while knocking down those around you.

  • Chariot

This is a complex card to interpret but once you understand it’s meaning it is a very useful tool in moving forward in your life. Often times there are opposing energies, opposing ideas and opinions that resign you to defeat from confusion. The goal of the chariot is to remind you to unite the black and white of your mind, there will be wars and struggles but you must not lose sight of what you set out to do. Remain confident and keep your purpose in mind and soon the chariot, the driver and the horses will all work together to bring you closer to your goals. Separated, the chariot will not move, the horses will leave and the driver will be alone.

  • Justice

The chariot shows us that sometimes life can be imbalanced. Sometimes we have a hard time finding the right path in-between the black and white but know that whatever comes your way happens for a reason – you just have to look for it. Justice is about being objective and understanding that despite the current situation adjustments can be made to remedy it. Whether this is an adjustment in attitude, physical adjustments like losing weight or emotional adjustments like compromising with a loved one. If the card is reversed it can indicate legal trouble or complications.

  • Death

The name of this card says it all, however, it doesn’t have to mean certain actual death. The black robes of armor and rising sun shows that with ends come new beginnings. Death can represent an end to something like a job, a relationship or even just an end to an old way of thinking. The death card is here to prepare you with how to deal with an end not so much to forewarn you of impending doom.

  • Star

In the aftermath of a death, there is a grieving process. Remember that death doesn’t have to mean the end of a life, it can merely mean the end of an era in your life. The star is here to remind us that despite the sorrow we are feeling right now there is always assistance to help us through. This can be actual assistance like social services, or help in the way of music, friends, a trip or some other powerful tool that will bring you out of a dark place. The most important thing to take from this card is to remain optimistic, employ patience and to ask yourself is it worth it?. If you have been laid off you can look at this in two ways: one, you’re now unemployed and everything sucks, or two, this is the opportunity to take up that new career path you’ve always dreamed of. How bad do you want to feel balanced again?

Minor Arcana

  • Ace of Wands

This card is the first of the Minor Arcana’s. It’s symbolic of a new-found desire to change something big in their life. This can be their faith, career, life philosophy, partner or change of residence. They feel driven to make the change by something unexplainable and the wand is a walking stick to help them get there.

  • Two of Swords

Two swords crossed is indicative of a crossroads or a point of contention in one’s life or someone’s life near them. Drawing this card can help the querent be reminded that while they may rather say I’ll figure it out later, the reality is they are going to have to eventually make a decision. This can be representative of tension building in a relationship or at work where they feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. Don’t ignore what’s going on because you can’t solve the problem. Use critical thinking and patience to come to the correct resolution.

  • Three of Pentacles

This card speaks to the craftsmen. Now this doesn’t mean you need to be building a new house from scratch or anything of the sort. It just means that there is an opportunity on the horizon for your dreams or goals to be funded by investors. Investors can mean even a boss who is giving you the time off you requested so you can get some R&R to rejuvenate and come back to work feeling new.

  • Four of Cups

This is definitely the grass is always greener card. You’re stuck in a routine, a rut and you’re dissatisfied with everything around you. You’re bored and grumpy and you look around thinking how nice it would be to have [fill-in-the-blank]. The biggest piece of advice to take from this card is if you don’t like something about your life – change it. The beauty is: only you have the power to do so.

  • Five of Wands

Don’t let you fear of losing keep you from trying at all. This card is about the turmoil that may ensue when you are fighting for something you really want, be it a job, a relationship, a scholarship, etc. Recognize that the competition you are facing is steep and you will battle to win first place but don’t let that defeat you. Pull out all the stops and keep trucking with confidence and determination and the rewards will be plentiful.

  • Six of Pentacles

Balance. We’ve talked about the importance of striking a balance and the Six of Pentacles only reminds us of that. This card displays a picture of a wealthy man handing money to the poor. This is symbolic of an equally beneficial exchange between two people who bleed the same blood. Regardless of your status, be aware of the graciousness of others; of the needs of those with nothing. The person opposing the reader should ask themselves which side of the coin they are and what they can do to restore their balance. Don’t let pride get in the way of asking for what you need; and don’t let greed get in the way of giving to those who are asking.

  • Seven of Swords

This card is known as the thief card. Usually, the reader will remind the querent be on their guard. This can mean theft of intellectual property, internet passwords, theft of possessions, or theft of your value system. Keep true to what you believe and remember that dishonesty is not a desirable characteristic.

  • Eight of Wands

These eight wands predicts things will move quickly in life. If you are awaiting the arrival of a friend, the completion of a project or speedy recovery, the eight of wands card is a good sign.

  • Nine of Cups

This is a lucky card, known as the wish card. This doesn’t mean you can wish to win the lottery and you will, it just means you are coming into a very happy and satisfying event or time in your life. The saying goes, treat your neighbor as you like to be treated, and this card reminds you that the more good energy you give out the more you will receive. Expect to have a good time with those around you, building relationships, attending a great party or coming into some good luck.

  • Ten of Swords

Although the image on this card is quite terrifying (ten swords in a mans back) it doesn’t indicate untimely death. Rather, it suggests that a negative event, thought or discussion has already occurred and there is no use spending more time dwelling on it. It’s time to move on and open your mind to new, positive things that are waiting to be found.

Court Cards

  • Page of Pentacles

Think: new growth. The Page of Pentacles symbolizes a good unexpected change in life, like coming into money, getting a promotion or having good health.

  • Knight of Cups

This card can mean you are preparing for a trip to a source of water. Maybe the beach, a boating trip or a day fishing on the river. It can also mean that you are in a state of emotional flux and it’s time to find the balance. Often time this card can indicate depression in the querent or in someone close to them.

  • Queen of Wands

The Queen of Wands loves the spotlight, maybe a little too much. Sometimes the entertainer can become intimidating and controlling if they aren’t constantly the source of attention. This woman is very charismatic and passionate and inspires people. Don’t let it get to your head.

  • King of Swords

As a male, this card represents The Judge. It symbolizes someone who has a very strong belief system but can still see both sides of the argument. This kind of person usually has, or should pursue, a career as a lawyer or a politician as they have the ability to influence people. This card also represents motivation to be more efficient and come up with resolutions to hard-to-solve problems.

Obviously we’ve only covered 21 of the 78 cards here but these are important ones to understand when giving or being a recipient of a Tarot reading. To learn more about the other 57 cards and their meaning check out Tarot through Storytelling.