Tarot cards have many meanings depending on the type of deck and the interpretation. Some decks are traditional, dating back to the middle ages, and other Tarot card types have evolved over time – carrying with them meanings relatable to varying aspects of the human experience. One thing that all of the various decks and cards have in common, no matter how tarot cards are read, is that they are all relatable to our lives.
A traditional Tarot cards deck has a total of 78 cards in it. There are 22 cards that are within the Major Arcana grouping and another 56 cards within the Minor Arcana – the Minor Arcana Cards are broken down further into various suits, namely Wands, Pentacles, Cups, and Swords.
Tarot Cards list in the Major Arcana (standard deck)
Tarot cards in the Major Arcana are also called Trumps. They do not belong to any of the suit classifications and each one has a specific focus.
The Fool symbolizes the connection between happiness and ignorance. There are many times throughout our lives when it is better to be blissfully unaware than it is to be hung up on many small, stressful details. The ignorance described here is not a negative one as it is important to remain aloof of life’s trials and tribulations at times.
The Magician symbolizes events in mind that seem like magic. Often times, magic is simply an illusion and it is up to the interpreter to identify the difference between whether the card signifies magic or illusion a person’s life.
The High Priestess
The High Priestess symbolizes that there are things you must understand before getting the keys to unlocking doors that block your path forward. This card can mean that you do not hold all the pieces of the puzzle and until you are given the pieces that you need there will be tests to pass.
The Empress is a powerful card but not one that is aggressive. This card signifies times in life when it is better to be calm and collective while not letting go of the power in your hand. If faced with an Empress, it is important to remember not to underestimate hidden powers.
The Emperor is a powerful card and it knows it. This card embodies all that is strong and forceful. Approach with caution and respect, so as not to put yourself into a difficult situation.
The Hierophant is another powerful card. This card draws its power from the ideals it represents, so should not be overlooked or underestimated even if you do not agree with what the Hierophant represents. There are many people in our lives that represent things more powerful than ourselves and, like it or not, we must recognize the power and authority that they possess.
The Lovers signify strong, intimate personal connection with a lover (or potential lover). This card represents a situation that is or will bring love into your life. The card can represent a situation, another person, or you, depending on where the card lands on the spread.
The Chariot carries an important message which tells the recipient of the card to be cautious with how one responds to success. The Chariot can signify quick, decisive achievements and progress, but often with little thought to the long term. When presented with this card, consider how limiting your excitement to your achievements might bring you more benefit in the future.
Strength represents a person’s ability to utilize the tools in life that bring about success. While the card can mean physical strength, it most often refers to a person’s ability to utilize their mental, psychological, spiritual, and emotional strength to reach a desired end.
The Hermit card can mean a few different things, depending on where it ends up on the spread. When it relates to another person in your life or you, the card often means that there is intentional distance being sought. Sometimes, that distance can be a positive thing and others not so much. The Hermit can also relate to situations when it is better that you distance yourself to give yourself time to think about all that must be considered.
Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel of Fortune card is as it sounds. A circumstance in life, a decision that you will take (are taking?), and another person’s behavior and actions, can all be described by this card. Whatever party the Wheel of Fortune card refers to, there will be great risk at the promise of great gain. The results of whatever it is to happen are impossible to determine.
When presented with the Justice card there is often a judgement that needs to be carried out. It might be you that needs to make a decision about how a situation or person should be judged, or someone else might be judging you. In either case, the answer will lie in the decisiveness of the person holding the scepter.
The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man represents martyrdom. The card signifies times in life when sacrifices are necessary and should be taken. In Tarot, however, being a martyr is not a very troublesome thing and the consequences of making the necessary sacrifices are often more neutral than negative. In fact, the Hanged Man often points progress when sacrifices are made wisely.
Death invokes feelings of finality when heard. In Tarot, the Death card can mean the end of a person’s life, but more commonly it refers to the end of a situation, project, idea, belief, etc. Death can also refer to great either material or spiritual loss. Generally speaking, the Death card means that it is time for you to exercise greater caution with all that you do and with each person with whom you associate.
Temperance means that it is time to stand still. Consider being patient and waiting for things to pass before making any important life decisions. This card informs the receiver that it is wise not to rush into things. The result of waiting is often sweet and long lasting.
The Devil card represents people, feelings and situations that present tempting outlets to darker thoughts and impulses. You might be presented with an opportunity to act out desires you might not otherwise give time to. Likewise, someone else might approach you with tempting requests aimed at satisfying their needs. When presented with The Devil, remember that with great pleasure often comes with a price.
The Tower is a card that signifies destruction and failure. It can be a large project that falls to pieces, it can be a destructive mindset that brings down an idea, or it can be another person who acts with intent to destroy. In any case, The Tower can mean that too much ambition can lead to detrimental results.
The Star card represents a time in your life when careful consideration and introspection is needed in order to realign yourself with all that is important to you. The Star card can mean that there are crucial crossroads ahead and that it is time to consider which road you will take. The ‘roads’ in this description can mean ideas, people, situations, tasks, and more.
Another Tarot card with roots in astrology, The Moon represents a deep hankering for something. Depending on its placement in a hand, The Moon can mean that another person has awakened or intensified your feelings of longing. It can also mean that a situation has done the same. Either way, The Moon most often means that there is something that you desire but you cannot immediately reach out and obtain it.
Also based in astrology is The Sun. This card means that there is great power and many resources available but it is wise to limit access to it. Just as an excess of sun can be damaging, the limitless power coming from it is also the source of all life on Earth.
The Judgement card deals in a final result from something. There is usually little to do with decision making and it can be positive and negative in terms of the effects of the result. Whether this card refers to another person, a situation, or you, it means an answer must be reached.
The World point to success and opportunity. When this card describes you, it can mean that there is an opportunity that you would like to pursue. While the risks associated with the opportunity may not be immediately evident, be mindful that they exist. When The World refers to another person or a situation, the same is true. There is success and opportunity presenting itself, but there might be hidden cost. Approach with caution.
Tarot cards list in the Minor Arcana (standard deck)
The Minor Arcana cards, also sometimes referred to as the number cards, come in 4 different suits. Each suit has 14 cards, including an Ace, numbers 2-10, and 4 court cards.
The element connected to the suit of Wands is fire. This suit is related to creativity, intuition, determination, strength, inspiration, spirituality, and life energy.
Cards belonging to this are:
- Ace of Wands
- Two of Wands
- Three of Wands
- Four of Wands
- Five of Wands
- Six of Wands
- Seven of Wands
- Eight of Wands
- Nine of Wands
- Ten of Wands
- Page of Wands
- Knight of Wands
- Queen of Wands
- King of Wands
The element connected to the suit of Pentacles is earth. This suit is related to material possessions and worldly gain.
Cards belonging to this are:
- Ace of Pentacles
- Two of Pentacles
- Three of Pentacles
- Four of Pentacles
- Five of Pentacles
- Six of Pentacles
- Seven of Pentacles
- Eight of Pentacles
- Nine of Pentacles
- Ten of Pentacles
- Page of Pentacles
- Knight of Pentacles
- Queen of Pentacles
- King of Pentacles
The element connected to the suit of Cups is water. This suit is related to personal connections and relationships. It is also associated with our emotions and feelings.
Cards belonging to this are:
- Ace of Cups
- Two of Cups
- Three of Cups
- Four of Cups
- Five of Cups
- Six of Cups
- Seven of Cups
- Eight of Cups
- Nine of Cups
- Ten of Cups
- Page of Cups
- Knight of Cups
- Queen of Cups
- King of Cups
The element related to the suit of Swords is air. This suit is connected to power and strength, as well as conflict, force, truth, and justice.
Cards belonging to this are:
- Ace of Swords
- Two of Swords
- Three of Swords
- Four of Swords
- Five of Swords
- Six of Swords
- Seven of Swords
- Eight of Swords
- Nine of Swords
- Ten of Swords
- Page of Swords
- Knight of Swords
- Queen of Swords
- King of Swords