How to Read the Same Tarot Card in Different Decks

Do Tarot card meanings differ depending on what deck you’re using?

Does The High Priestess in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck have the same meaning in The Druidcraft Tarot or the Shadowscapes Tarot?

Yes AND No!

Let me break it down for you and show you how to read Tarot like a pro – regardless of what Tarot deck you’re using…

When reading Tarot with different Tarot decks, keep these things in mind:

1) Each Tarot card has a basic meaning, which typically will not vary much from deck to deck. Think of this as the underlying structure of the card, like a blueprint for a building.

2) Each Tarot deck will depict the cards a bit differently. The underlying structure of the card remains the same, but the artistic differences are like interior decorating – they add a different twist to the basic structure/meaning.

3) Your initial interpretation of a Tarot card will remain very similar, regardless of what deck you’re using – but how you elaborate on that meaning will differ, depending on what images and symbols appear on the card.

Good luck & happy Tarot reading!

24 thoughts on “How to Read the Same Tarot Card in Different Decks”

  1. This question was driving me crazy and your post was very helpful. I’ve just started learning the tarot and more than once I’ve had cards that didn’t make sense (to me anyway) with the meaning given in that deck. Just last night I did a reading using my new Deviant Moon Tarot deck and the outcome card was Knight of Wands. I could see how the meaning might fit, but it wasn’t really an answer. When I looked at the meaning in a beginners handbook I have, the meaning was an exact answer to the question. I love these cards, but they’ve been confusing for me to read. Right now it makes more sense to me to stick to one core meaning for each card no matter what deck I’m using. Maybe it will make more sense as I go along. Thank you!

  2. Hi Kate,
    Thank you for explaining how to read tarot cards from different decks. You explain the difference very well. Very helpful. Thank you. I was wondering how to read a card in reverse. I know this is an amateur question. I am sorry. I just recently purchased the Black Cat Tarot deck and the little with book does not come with an interpretation for reverse cards. Am I to read all cards upright?

  3. Hello, Kate
    I’m just a beginner and this helps me a lot. But I have a question. I just bought new Golden Tarot Deck by Kat Black which is fundamentally based on Rider-Waite and I tried to study the meanings of each cards but, for example, The Fool card normally means a new beginning or a journey right? But when I read the book within my new deck which is Golden Tarot, it says that The Fool means Blissful ignorance, optimism, naive innocence and so on. I was wondering why don’t the book says about new beginning? And why it looks quite negative?
    Can you explain to me and teach me more about about Tarot?
    Thanks a lot

    1. Hi Vincent,
      The Fool means many things – like all the cards, it has more than just one meaning. Each card has a positive side and a negative or dark side – there is always a down side and an upside to each card. And depending on what book you pick up, the meaning might be slightly different. I know this is really confusing when you’re learning so it’s important to spend time with each card and develop a personal understanding of each card so that you’re not too dependent on your companion book. One thing to remember is that all the cards are multidimensional and their meaning will shift a little depending on what your reading about, the spread you use and surrounding cards.
      Good luck! Have you downloaded my free guide to reading a tarot card? It is pretty simple and I think it will help you eliminate some of the confusion:

  4. Thank you so much for this post! I use two decks for different things: full readings and daily draws, and I’m not sure why, but it just feels right. I wondered about this, but kind of just go with my gut, so this helps to read and get someone else’s opinion too!

  5. Hi Kate!
    I am not sure if my question is relevant on this post but it would be of great help if you could help me figure out how to interpret a positive card in a challenge position. Say I get knight of cups in a position which tells what is causing difficulty in a situation. It will be really kind of you to help me with this query.
    Much love_Anu

    1. Hi Anu!
      Great question. Each card has a negative and positive side to it, so think what the negative aspects of the Knight of Cups is. My perspective is that the Knight of Cups is very dreamy and a bit too romantic – he may have ridiculous romantic/fantasy-type ideals and expectations and he has a tendency to follow his heart and ignore his head. Hope that helps you with your reading 🙂


      1. Thanks Kate for the prompt reply!! 🙂
        It sure gave me clarity to read the spread better. Btw love your weekly readings on YouTube. Love your interactive spirit and willingness to teach people.
        Lots of love and blessings!

  6. Hi Kate!

    I’m just beginning my journey to better understand the tarot, and your videos and website have been an immense help so far! I own the Wild Wood Tarot, and noticed that you mentioned that the suits have been renamed. This cleared up a bunch of questions, and raised a few more. As far as I understand it, swords=arrows, wands=bows, and pentacles=stones. But my final suit is Vessels. What is this suit related to?

    Many thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Taya,
      Welcome! I’m so glad you’ve found my site 🙂
      The suit of Vessels in the Wild Wood Tarot are related to the suit of Cups.

  7. Exactly…you say it so well. The core is there, and the artwork can resonate with it…or not. This is where I’ve found having more than one deck comes in handy. If one deck is dissonant because of superficial appearance, sometimes it helps to look at the same card from a different deck to connect the dots.

    1. I agree, Ronda – often, when I’m doing a reading I will think of how a card looks in my other decks, to get a better understanding of it.

  8. Hi, Kate–

    I really enjoyed this video! Thanks so much for it. It’s great to see various artists’ interpretations of the same cards and consider how even the subtle differences–like the wind blowing in the Dame Darcy Eight of Cups–can influence the reading.

    Also, I’ve often puzzled over the Hezicos Eight of Cups. I appreciated your take on the little girl’s quest for perspective!


    1. Hi Jamie,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this and I’m pleased that I could give you some perspective on the Hezicos 8 of cups!

  9. Hi Kate! This might be one of my favorite video tutorials that you’ve done. That was fantastic and very helpful. I own about 5 decks and stick to mainly the same meanings, while trying to add something here and there depending on the deck. Your building (decor) explanation really clarified and provided a good symbol for the process of going back and forth between decks. Using that analogy in mind when working with different decks, I can take notice of the unique decor of each card. What a wonderful and unique way to put it. Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much, Chris! It’s really good to know that you liked this video so much and that my analogy will help you with your readings 🙂

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