The Meaning of Tarot cards

Four court tarot cards in different suits sit on a pile of turned over Master Tarot Deck cards.

Learning to Read Tarot Begins With Knowing Their Meaning

Receiving a Tarot card reading is a beautiful and mystical experience that can help you better understand your unique journey through the spiritual, emotional, and physical world.

It gives you a glimpse within, offering you a mirror into your own soul. The key to getting the most from the Tarot is to understand the intricate and multi-layered meanings of Tarot cards, including what each card expresses individually and how they can work together to provide you with even greater insight.

What Does This Card Mean?

Discover the meaning of individual Tarot cards by clicking below.

Skip Ahead To The Arcanas

Major Arcana Definitions | Minor Arcana Definitions

Skip Ahead To The Suits

Cup Definitions | Pentacle Definitions | Sword Definitions | Wand Definitions

Tarot definitions are by no means complete; no single meaning of tarot cards or interpretation is carved in stone. Each reading is influenced by the training and intuition of the reader as well as by the personal story and perspective of the individual receiving the reading. The cards present the symbols and we make sense of them in our living context.

Whether you are getting a reading from a professional, a friend, or even just doing one yourself - the meaning is within your hands.

What's important is what each card in your reading means to you.

These Tarot descriptions are meant to act as an online guide to help you understand the major arcana and minor arcana. By understanding the meaning of the tarot cards, you can begin to add your own perspective, intuition, and inspiration to your future readings.

Let your intuition guide you to the secrets the tarot has to share.

The Major Arcana

To understand the meaning of individual tarot cards, it’s important to know that there are 22 major arcana cards in an average tarot deck. They represent archetypal images and energies and tell the story of the Fool, as he starts at number 0 and travels through all of life’s experiences, ending with the World card at number 21.

The major arcana cards are the anchor of the tarot and deal with the major twists and turns within your life and can even represent a person. The meaning of these tarot cards have an impact on the overall interpretation of your reading. Whenever a major arcana card reveals itself in your reading, pay special attention to it.

Learn More About the Major Arcana

Take our Quiz: Which Tarot Card Are You?

The Minor Arcana

The 56 minor arcana cards are meant to complement the major arcana. The minor arcana is divided into 4 suits (similar to playing cards).

These suits are..

The minor arcana cards help you focus on the current challenges and opportunities you face on a daily basis. They can help you better understand when opportunity knocks or prevent you from making decisions that you are not 100% sure of.

Another purpose of this category of tarot cards is also to provide greater understanding of the major arcana cards in your reading. They give you additional details or perspective that you need.

Learn More About the Minor Arcana

Cups

Cups in Tarot represent the emotions of a person or situation that is being inquired about. This suit is rightfully associated with the element of water, a symbol that can be found on almost every one of these cards. The water will either be in the scenery or within the cup that is being presented.

If you are a Water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces) you will feel most represented by these cards, as their symbolism will tie directly to your driving forces: Creativity, inspiration, attachment, feelings, and intuition. Cups bring clarity to the emotional depth and connections we all feel, whether happy, joyful, or sad.

Pentacles

Pentacles in Tarot represents the path to success, varying based on what your definition of success means. This suit is associated with the element of earth and is represented on each card by a pentacle often on a golden disk. These star shaped symbols will either be in the scenery or held in the hand of the person featured.

If you are an Earth sign (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) you will feel most represented by these cards, as their symbolism will tie directly to your core values: tradition, ambition, rationality, and reaching wealth and career goals. Pentacles bring the concepts of greed, loss, failure, and reality to the forefront of our readings.

Swords

Swords in Tarot represent the obstacles that you are facing regarding a person, place, or situation. This suit is associated with the element of air, and is represented on each card by a silver or gold sword. The higher the card, the more of this weapon is featured, either in the scenery or held in the hand of the person featured.

If you are an Air sign (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) you will feel most represented by these cards, these cards channel the challenges you face in social situations: power, intellect, growth, and good vs evil. Swords allow us to tap into the thoughts of the people or situation that we are facing in order to make the best decision for ourselves.

Wands

Wands in Tarot represents the actions we are taking or should be taking, in order to show us how to make the next move. This suit is associated with the element of fire, and is represented on each card by a wooden stick or pole. This symbol of wood ties to fire as these cards show us what is already there in front of us, we just need to light the flame.

If you are a Fire sign (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) you will feel most represented by these cards, as they channel your main drivers: activity, ambition, enthusiasm and passionate thought. Wands allow us to get to the core of our being and discover what ‘lights our fire.’ In turn, Wands allow us to understand, and put into motions our dreams and passions.

Learning the Meaning of Tarot Cards

Developing an understanding of the meaning of tarot cards takes time and practice. Start by reviewing our definitions of each major arcana and minor arcana card to develop a basic fluency in the tarot deck.

A great way to improve your understanding of tarot is to regularly receive readings. Getting consistent readings will improve your understanding of the cards and help you develop your tarot reading intuition.

Not sure where to start? Try one of our free three-card tarot reading for life, career, and love to begin your tarot journey.

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