What are the meanings of each tarot card?

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What are the meanings of each tarot card?


There are 78 Tarot cards in a deck, which can seem like an intimidating number for those new to psychic readings and the Tarot.

By Imogen Groome | 12th December 2018
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However, it doesn’t have to be, as they are all split into sections which can be learned about and practiced over time. Here’s what the major and minor arcana cards mean, and why they’re split into swords, wands, cups and pentacles.

The Major Arcana cards

What are they? There are 22 major arcana cards in an average tarot deck. They tell the story of the Fool, as he begins his journey at number 0 and goes through all of the experiences life has to offer, finishing up with the World Card in slot 21. Along the way, he meets new teachers and learns new life lessons.

What do they mean? People who see a Major Arcana card in a Tarot reading should reflect on the life lessons they are currently experiencing. This card will set the tone for the rest of the reading, as other cards will link back to the core meaning of your Major Arcana card.

What is each card’s name?

  • The Fool
  • The Magician
  • The High Priestess
  • The Empress
  • The Emperor
  • The Hierophant
  • The Lovers
  • The Chariot
  • Strength
  • The Hermit
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Justice
  • The Hanged Man
  • The Death
  • Temperance
  • The Devil
  • The Tower
  • The Star
  • The Moon
  • The Sun
  • Judgement
  • The World
Wheel of Fortune (Picture: iStock by Getty)
The Minor Arcana cards

What are they? There are 56 Minor Arcana cards, which reflect obstacles or experiences we have on an everyday basis. Of these, there are 16 Tarot Court Cards which each represent 16 different personality traits we may exhibit in life. There are also 40 numbered cards organised into 4 Suits – Swords, Wands, Cups and Pentacles. Each Suit has 10 cards which represent scenarios we encounter in daily life. You can gain expert advice about these from a tarot card reader by visiting AskNow.

The Tarot Court Cards

What are they? These are often viewed as the most confusing cards to interpret, because there are multiple ways to gain meaning from them. They are often linked to the Myers-Briggs Personality Trait Indicator, which is a well-respected method of finding out more about people’s personalities and what motivates them.

Based around the ideas of Carl Jung, the MBTI state there are 16 Personality Types – the same number as the Court Cards in the Tarot. There is no widely agreed upon link between a certain personality type and a court card, so it’s open for people to draw their own conclusions.

What do they mean? The Court Cards can be interpreted in many ways. They are most likely to represent a person, which is either the person holding the card or someone else. You will find this out by understanding the personality and attributes of the card and linking it to the best-matched person.

These cards reflect personality traits and character, giving the interpreter information about what motivates them and what their thoughts and feelings are.

What is each card’s name?

  • Page of Pentacles
  • Knight of Pentacles
  • Queen of Pentacles
  • King of Pentacles
  • Page of Cups
  • Knight of Cups
  • Queen of Cups
  • King of Cups
  • 10 of Wands
  • Page of Wands
  • Knight of Wands
  • Queen of Wands
  • King of Wands
  • Page of Swords
  • Knight of Swords
  • Queen of Swords
  • King of Swords
The Minor Arcana cards - Pentacles

What are they? The Suit of Pentacles Tarot cards are concerned with the outer layer of consciousness and physical aspects of life, such as how your health, finances, work and creativity are. They are associated with the way we make sense of our surroundings. They are also linked with the ego, self-esteem and self-images.

Pentacles are tied in to the element of Earth, which creates the foundation from which the planet can grow and develop. In a deck of playing cards, Pentacles is linked to Diamonds. For more insight, you can connect with an expert tarot card reader on Oranum.

What do they mean? The Suit of Pentacles examine material parts of life, which include work, trade, property, money, business and material possessions. They often correspond with the Earth star signs – Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. These people are practical, generous and down to earth, focusing on their career. They enjoy experiencing the world around them.

Positive elements from this suit include prosperity and realisation, while negative aspects include being overly materialistic, over-indulging and being greedy.

What is each card’s name?

  • Ace of Pentacles
  • 2 of Pentacles
  • 3 of Pentacles
  • 4 of Pentacles
  • 5 of Pentacles
  • 6 of Pentacles
  • 7 of Pentacles
  • 8 of Pentacles
  • 9 of Pentacles
  • 10 of Pentacles
  • Page of Pentacles
  • Knight of Pentacles
  • Queen of Pentacles
  • King of Pentacles
Queen of pentacles (Picture: iStock by Getty)
The Minor Arcana cards - Cups

What are they? The Suit of Cups Tarot cards look into the emotional parts of a human’s conscious being, so they are linked to connections, relationships, love and feelings. This suit’s element is water, as it’s fluid but also powerful – it has the ability to be both soft and powerful. Cups correspond to Hearts in a pack of playing cards.

What do they mean? If someone pulls a Cups Tarot card, it essentially means they aren’t thinking with their head, but with their heart. It’s a reflection of that person’s propensity to be spontaneous. It could also be linked to that person’s fantasy, imagination, romanticism and creativity.

The water star signs are seen in the Cups Suit – so Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio are featured. These people are more artistic, emotional, humane and creative. As they feel a strong connection with their emotional sides, they’ll draw their energy in daily life from what they feel on the inside.

What is each card’s name?

  • Ace of Cups
  • 2 of Cups
  • 3 of Cups
  • 4 of Cups
  • 5 of Cups
  • 6 of Cups
  • 7 of Cups
  • 8 of Cups
  • 9 of Cups
  • 10 of Cups
  • Page of Cups
  • Knight of Cups
  • Queen of Cups
  • King of Cups
The Minor Arcana cards - Wands

What are they? The Suit of Wands Tarot card is linked with spirituality, inspiration, strength, determination and primal energy. It’s linked with fire, which is hot, wild and energetic. While it can be destructive, causing many types of fire, it can also be creative, helping us to cook food or build tools. This masculine element is a symbol of the drive and willpower of male energy. Wands and Clubs are linked when it comes to a deck of playing cards.

What do they mean? Wands Tarot cards examine what’s at the core of yourself – for example, personality, self-concept, personal energy, ego and enthusiasm. Negative traits associated with the Suit of Wands include a lack of direction, being egotistical, illusion and impulsiveness.

This suit of Tarot cards is reflected by the fire star signs – Leo, Sagittarius and Aries. If Wands people are pulled from a card deck, you can expect them to be spiritual, energetic, warm and charismatic.

What is each card’s name?

  • Ace of Wands
  • 2 of Wands
  • 3 of Wands
  • 4 of Wands
  • 5 of Wands
  • 6 of Wands
  • 7 of Wands
  • 8 of Wands
  • 9 of Wands
  • 10 of Wands
  • Page of Wands
  • Knight of Wands
  • Queen of Wands
  • King of Wands
Ace of wands (Picture: iStock by Getty)
The Minor Arcana cards - Swords

What are they? The Suit of Swords Tarot cards consider the mind and intellect – the mental level of consciousness. They are related to your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes, and the quality of your mind in regard to these.

As swords are often double edged, the Suit of Swords reflects the balance between power and intellect. What’s more, it looks into how these can be used for either good or evil. Therefore, to have the most positive effect, they need to be balanced between Cups (feelings) and Wands (spirit). Swords link to Spades in a deck of playing cards.

What do they mean? The meanings of this Suit are related to force, power, oppression, ambition, action, change, courage and conflict. There are negative aspects such as guilt, harsh judgement, anger, verbal abuse, mental abuse and lack of compassion linked too.

These Tarot cards reflect the air star signs – Aquarius, Libra and Gemini. Swords people can be described as thoughtful, intelligent, rational and logical beings, who are great communicators. However, they can also be confrontational, rigid, ruthless and domineering.

What is each card’s name?

  • Ace of Swords
  • 2 of Swords
  • 3 of Swords
  • 4 of Swords
  • 5 of Swords
  • 6 of Swords
  • 7 of Swords
  • 8 of Swords
  • 9 of Swords
  • 10 of Swords
  • Page of Swords
  • Knight of Swords
  • Queen of Swords
  • King of Swords
Written by
Imogen Groome
Imogen is editor-in-chief of Hot5. She is also a lifestyle blogger, author and freelance journalist, with particular interests in music, politics, psychic readings and dating. She is usually found at home with her collection of animals, drinking iced tea. Read more.
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