Tarot Significators: What They Are & How to Use Them

Posted on March 07, 2020
Updated on November 03, 2020

Tarot significator from the major arcana displayed on the Astrology Answers Master Tarot Deck with a quartz crystal next to the cards.

If you’ve ever wondered, “what Tarot card represents me?” or are looking for a way to enhance your readings in a new way, or even have stumbled upon the concept of a significator and found yourself intrigued but confused, you may find that using significators within a Tarot reading may be right for you.

Tarot significators are not required for most readings, but you may occasionally stumble upon a Tarot spread that calls for one. When that happens, you’ll want to be clued in on what they are and how to properly use them, so read on to learn a bit more about this age-old Tarot tradition!

What is a Tarot Significator?

A significator, or sometimes called a signifier, is simply a Tarot card that represents you (or the person that you’re reading).

More traditionally, a significator is consciously selected to represent the querent and is incorporated into the chosen Tarot spread.

How to Pick a Significator Tarot Card:

The old-fashioned way of picking a significator is typically to match the querent’s appearance to the card at hand, usually using court cards - Queens, Knights, Pages, and Kings of the Tarot. For example, middle-aged to older feminine people with light hair and light eyes may be associated with the Queen of Wands. As one ages or their appearance changes, their significator might change along with them.

However, less traditional ways of picking a significator may include letting the deck pick itself through shuffling and selecting a card as you would in any other Tarot reading, and focusing much more on the energy and personality of the Tarot card rather than its appearance.

If you’re willing to, you can include cards other than court cards from the Major Arcana, like The High Priestess or The Emperor or The Magician, to widen the diversity and possibility within your selection pool. If you want to use this method, you can split the deck into the cards that you would like to use and the cards that you would not, shuffle, and select intuitively for your significator.

With either method, it’s important to be open to flexibility with your significators. Often, a significator changes throughout one’s lifetime regardless if you focus on appearance, age, personality, or energy.

Further, we all inhabit some levels of masculine and feminine energy. Simply because someone is a woman does not necessarily make her a Queen; do not be alarmed or confused if a King, for example, shows up for her place. This is especially important if you are reading a situation that involves other people besides yourself (or your querent).

Keep an open mind and try to think intuitively rather than logically, thus increasing the likelihood that if a significator of someone else pops up in a reading that you will be able to identify who it is attempting to represent.

They may also represent you based on your zodiac sign.

How to Use Tarot Significators:

Aside from allowing you to better focus on your querent, significators often are used with consideration to their placement to the rest of the spread, and can add another layer of depth and nuance to your readings. For example, here is an example of a Tarot reading being interpreted with the inclusion of a Significator:

Card 1: Ten of Pentacles

Card 2 (The Significator): Knight of Wands

Card 3: The Moon

In this spread, based off the actual depiction of the significator, the Knight of Wands would be seen looking at the Ten of Pentacles while looking away from The Moon. You could interpret this as the querent looking towards financial abundance and stability (Ten of Pentacles) while turning away from the more intuitive, emotional side of reality (The Moon).

Of course, with a larger spread, and more significators involved, the reading can gradually become more complex and difficult to decipher. Regardless, if you practice and begin to get the hang of using and incorporating significators into your reading, you may find that you enjoy the added layer of complexity and diversity.

In Conclusion…

Whether or not you include a Tarot significator into your reading is ultimately up to you and your preference. However, we still recommend giving it a try to see if you enjoy the method; at the very least, it’s always a good thing to have up your sleeve, especially if you do happen to come across a spread that asks for it.

And whether you are the Queen of Cups, Temperance, or something else entirely, it can be a great way to check up on you and your energy to see what energy the Tarot thinks you inhabit at the moment.

Can’t decide on Which Tarot Card You Are? Take the quiz to find out!

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An honest Aries with a grounded Virgo Moon and Rising, Lexi Hikari picked up her first astrology book at age 12, and has loved the language of the stars ever since. She began her… Learn More About The Author »

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