Learning all 78 Tarot card meanings can seem like a daunting task! Here I will share with you my seven favorite techniques for learning Tarot card meanings. These exercises will allow you to engage with your Tarot cards on a deep level, etching the Tarot card meanings into your brain! Take your time with these exercises and I promise you will gain a strong connection to and understanding of your Tarot cards. I recommend having a good book of Tarot card meanings as your companion for these exercises.
Scroll down to read the written version of my 7 Tarot Tips…
Many Tarot cards in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck illustrate some kind of scene unfolding. Really look at each Tarot card and ask what is going on here? What is the card imagery telling me?
For example, the Eight of Cups shows a figure walking away from eight stacked cups. It would appear as though this person is going off in search of something, perhaps even abandoning the cups. Indeed, the Eight of Cups meaning is all about moving on and searching for deeper meaning and fulfillment even if it means leaving something that one has worked hard to build up.
Jot down your impressions and then look up the Tarot card meaning in your companion book to see how close you were. Of course not all Tarot cards are so obviously illustrated, but this technique will work for many of the minor arcana cards.
2) Pay attention to the symbols
Go through your Tarot deck and choose one symbol on each card that represents an aspect of that cards meaning for you.
For me, the sun in the right hand corner of The Fool Tarot card represents optimism. The shining star in The Hermit’s lantern, in my opinion, stands for the guiding light of conscious awareness, and the uneven ground that the Page of Swords is standing on symbolizes instability.
The next time you do a Tarot reading, the symbols will act as memory triggers, reminding you of the Tarot card meanings. This is a really fun exercise to do on a rainy day!
3) Understand the Tarot suit qualities
Remove the Major Arcana cards from the deck and group the remaining Minor Arcana cards and Court cards into four groups – Cups, Swords, Pentacles and Wands. Each suit has a particular quality and deals with specific aspects of everyday life.
Cups– emotions, feeling, relationships (Water)
Swords – mental aspect, thought, communication (Air)
Pentacles – physical world, body, health, money (Earth)
Wands– spiritual aspect, passion, creative drive, vocation (Fire)
- Lay out each Tarot suit in a row in numerical order from Ace to ten, omitting the Court cards. Look at the progression from Ace to Ten as a “journey” of that suit and notice how each suits qualities are expressed in many different ways depending on the card number.
For example, the Suit of Swords shows us the many ways our thoughts can effect us, from the Ace of swords (representing clarity, insight and great idea) to the Four of Swords (calmness resulting from letting our minds become quiet) to Nine of Swords (anxiety from letting our negative thoughts spiral out of control).
- Compare each Tarot suit and notice the different vibes you get from each one. What vibe do you get from the Suit of Cups compared to the Suit of Swords? Does looking at the Suit of Wands make you feel different than when you gaze at the Suit of Pentacles?
- If you are the creative writing type, try crafting a story starting with the Ace and then progressing all the way through the suit, using each card to inspire the next stage of the story. This can really help you understand each Tarot cards meaning on a deep level. (Another good rainy day activity!)
4) Understand the numerical qualities
Re-organize your Minor Arcana cards so they are grouped according to their number. Put all the Aces together, all the Twos together, etc…until you have ten groups of four cards. Now look for the similarities – can you grasp a particular theme with each numerical group? Sometimes this is obvious and other times it is not. If you can’t see a link between the cards in each number group, what are the differences?
5) Observe any movement (or lack thereof)
Go through your deck and take out the cards that show obvious movement (eg: The Tower – people falling downward, Knight of Swords – charging toward something, Five of Pentacles – limping along with difficulty, Five of Wands – lots of movement but nobody’s going anywhere!)
Looking at each Tarot card individually, how does the movement in that card relate to that cards meaning?
Now go through your deck again and take out the cards that show a total absence of movement (eg: The Hanged Man, Four of Swords, King of Wands, Knight of Pentacles).
Looking at each Tarot card, how are these Tarot card meanings characterized by a lack of movement?
6) Personalize the Tarot card meanings
See if you can relate each card to a time in your life when you experienced what this card is portraying or to someone you know who has these characteristics. Maybe the Four of Cups reminds you of the time you kept getting job offers that just didn’t interest you. The High Priestess may represent your feeling of deep connection to the divine feminine within you. And perhaps the Knight of Cups reminds you of your sensitive, artistic nephew who always follows his heart.
Doing this will help you understand and remember the Tarot card meanings in a deep, personal way so that you won’t forget them easily! This isn’t something to be done in a day however – give yourself lots of time for this exercise, breaking it up over a period of several days or weeks.
7) Write on your cards
Jot down a few keywords on the back of each card, or on the white margins of the card. I have to be honest – this is my least favorite technique for learning Tarot card meanings. I haven’t actually tried this myself but many people tell me that this has worked well for them. I would recommend using an old deck or an extra deck that you don’t care about, since this pretty much ruins your cards!
This technique will not give you the depth of understanding that the previous techniques will, but if you still find yourself getting stuck on the Tarot card meanings after trying them, give this one a shot!
So as you can see, these aren’t Tarot tips for learning Tarot card meanings quickly – but if you play around with these techniques, I guarantee you will not forget the Tarot card meanings quickly, either! Have fun with these and let me know what exercise was your favorite in the comments box below…
Check out some frequently asked Tarot questions or learn more Tarot techniques!
92 thoughts on “7 Tarot Tips for Learning Tarot Card Meanings”
I am new to tarot and I was inspired to make my own deck. It has helped me to learn the meanings of the cards as I research and then decide how to illustrate my card.
Hopefully it will be more meaningful to me when using this homemade deck.
That is fantastic, Shelby! Creating your own deck is probably one of the best ways to gain a deeper understanding of Tarot. Good for you for taking on such a big project 🙂
Great tips – but when you say to garner an understanding of the numerical qualities…. well, what are those qualities?
I cannot find anyone, anywhere who explains how a card might come to be “reversed”. Is this just the result of a card being accidentally dropped during shuffling? Given that reversal of a card appears to be a key aspect in interpretation, it astonishes me that no one seems to see fit to cover this. I’m sure I’d find it somewhere eventually, but maybe it’s quicker to ask your good self?
For readers that read with reversals, the deck is shuffled in such a way so that some of the cards are reversed. For readers like myself who don’t usually read with reversals, I make sure all my cards are upright in the deck when I shuffle.
Hope that makes sense!
Thanks Kate. I didn’t realise some readers don’t work with reversals. Do you know how those that do “produce” reversed cards? Do they randomly reverse some “blind” as it were, and if so how many?
Readers that read reversals will reverse a portion of their deck and then shuffle all the cards together. It’s really just up to the reader how many cards they want to reverse – half the deck, a third of the deck, a quarter – it’s up to the reader. When I was experimenting with doing reversals I found that reversing half the deck was too much – so I would recommend reversing only 1/3 – 1/4.
The reversal mystery was bugging me as a newbie so this helps a lot. I’m starting to understand why some readers shun reversals — feels a bit artificial and arbitrary preparing the pack in that way. Better I imagine to weave the negative flipside of a given card into one’s interpretation in an intuitive way, incorporating the vibe one gets from the enquirer. Thanks again.
Not sure if this is still relevant but once you start to do more readings/play with them the more you shuffle sometimes that will cause them to just be in reversal by itself.
When you lay out the cards they would be up and down like portrait mode. when you flip the cards always flip horizontally ( left side moving to right). This way you don’t change the card, you are not accidentally reversing the card. Now when you flip the proper way, and the card comes up upside down (to you) then it is reversed and the meaning would be either the opposite or there may be other add ons to the original meaning (consult a guide book of meanings).
I used to split and hold a deck of cards in a way that I didn’t realize mixed them upside down and right side up when I shuffled. I was holding one half in one direction and the other half in the opposite direction. I don’t like using reversals so I re-taught myself how to shuffle so they all face the same way. Otherwise I ended up with half the deck reversed and that is just too hard for me. (I was never much of a card player so I probably just didn’t know how to shuffle!) That’s how my cards used to end up as reversals. Some readers shuffle their cards by putting them in a pile on the table and mixing them around. Others let their querents shuffle them. So they can end up reversed that way.
Hello this writing is not your original because I seen the same daily tips on the internet so to have people believe it was written by you is wrong and makes me believe that everything that written on here is taken from someone else and your just like us learning from the internet.
This article was written by me. Everything on this site is written by me and nothing has been copied from other sites, as you have suggested. What has happened a couple times in the past is my work has been lifted from my site and published on other sites (as if it was someone else’s work). This also happens with my youtube videos from time to time. Perhaps that is why you’ve seen this on another site? In any case, if you do see my work being copied elsewhere, please let me know as it bothers me to think that people like you see this and assume I’m the one whose copying!
Thank you for the wonderful guide. I just received my first tarot deck as I am a little lost in my life right now and looking at the guidebook that it comes with seems a bit overwhelming. This page is helpful at getting started.
Good to hear, Bettie! So glad this was helpful and didn’t overwhelm you 🙂
hey Kate i got a deck of tarot cards but every time i use them i start shaking is this normal or not because i’m brand new to using tarot cards.
Hmmm…I haven’t heard of that before. So no, I would say it isn’t normal to physically shake when you use Tarot. Other than the shaking, how do you feel when you read Tarot?
I’m not so new to reading anymore, but I know that I’ve always felt the only one who can give me the right deck, was myself, as I spent a good deal of time searching through decks at Aeclectic Tarot website, to find what most appealed to me. I chose The Robin Wood deck. I gifted myself for my birthday. I loved the deck, and began learning to read at the AT forum. But, that wasn’t actually even the first deck I got for myself; only the first I tried to learn to read with. I recently looked at all the decks I’d bought over the last 20 plus years, simply because I loved the images. Of course, now I have even more, and have oracle decks as well.
Since I’ve been working with the cards, I’ve found the most difficult part is finding the best question, and the best way to ask it. I know the How and What questions are favored. But I still find it’s a stumper, especially for the “big” questions.
I so appreciate the gift you have brought to the Tarot Realm, your generosity and your kindness.
thank you so much for your lovely comment 🙂
Great question – how do you ask the right questions?
I think what it comes down to is that you get to the heart of the matter and figure out what it is that you really want to know. Often we will ask questions like “when will I make lots of money?” when really we want to know how we can feel safe and secure. I guess what I’m saying is that there is often a deeper issue under our questions and if we don’t figure out what that is, then our readings will seem shallow and dull.
Does that help?
I love your site, you make me feel normal in the connection I have with my cards. Ian new to this and have so far found you answer most of my questions, until this morning…
I did a one card reading this morning, asking a very important question, the card I pulled sort off helped. When I went to return the deck to their box I found one card had been left in the bottom. That card is soooo relevant to my question, the answer so clear. The problem is, are the cards giving me a positive reading or negative. I felt good and relieved when I found the card, but then doubt tapped me on the shoulder. I am now so confused, should I do another reading ??
I’m glad you’re liking my site!!!
You could do another reading, but I think you were obviously meant to find that card in the bottom of the box. When you compare the card you first got to the card that was left in the box, how do they compare? Are they opposites? Similar? If they were people (or personalities) what kind of a dialogue would they have? Try these things out and see what comes up!
This has been the most understandable & useful article I have found about learning tarot! I have spent quite a bit of time learning what I can. I don’t have my own deck yet so I can only learn so much. I actually have a question that’s a bit off topic, but I’ve always been told that we should try to avoid buying our own first deck, that it’s better for the right deck to find us. I can understand and appreciate how wonderful it would be, to find your “soul mate” deck, however I’ve been so interested for so long I’m wondering if you’re familiar with this or if I should just go for it and buy a deck that I feel a connection with?
Caitlin! I’m so happy that you found this article helpful 🙂
I have no idea where that idea of having to wait for someone else to give you a deck came from. I think it’s silly. There’s nothing wrong with going out and buying your own Tarot deck. Hope this is the nudge you need to buy your first deck!!!
I hadn’t heard this before I got my deck but I had a trippy experience in the bookstore. I went in to get a specific book and saw these tarot cards on the table. Picked them up and put them back down. But each time I set them down I got all tingly and my stomach started being all weird and the symptoms would go away the minute I picked the cards up so aI bought them. Afterwards someone told me I wasn’t supposed to buy my own first deck but based on my experience I would say that’s not accurate. Hopefully the right deck finds you soon!
What an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I don’t know where that whole idea of having to have your first Tarot deck given to you comes from, but personally I think it’s a load of bull! I bought all my tarot decks myself…no one else was going to!
Please can you help….
I am attempting to teach myself the Tarot cards and am trying to make connections from the order in relation to symbolic to numerology.
Does The Major Arcana always follow in the same number order?
I ask because I have comes across a few website’s and books that the position switches: in Waite deck: Strength is at 8 and Justice is at 11, whereas the Rose Tarrot; Justice is at 8 & Strength is at 11?
Also what is the known truth regarding the switching of the swords and wands to hide the secrets of the Tarot? As both could be feasible in symbolic interpretations??
Some decks have Justice and Strength as different numbers. The original order was Justice as 8 and Strength as 11 but the Rider Waite deck switched this order and so now many decks have done the same thing. All other majors have the same order though.
I have only just recently heard about the wands/swords switcheroo so I can’t really say much about it. I know some decks have gone and switched the swords to represent fire and Wands to represent air. I think both representations work pretty well, so I don’t really worry too much about it.
Hope this helps 🙂
Thank you for your reply. Is there any reason’s given to why the Rider Waite deck switched?
The reason is given by Crowley in his Book of Thoth. When they were assigning the numbers to the Trumps, I beleive the first deck to do so was Marseilles. Later, occultists like Eliphas Levi and the adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn assigned the Hebrew letters, in the same order. The Hebrew Letters were already, (for a couple hundred years), associated with the elements, planets, and Zodiacal signs. What the Golden Dawn guys discovered was that the Letter Teth, which was assigned to Leo, came 8th (actually 9th, because the Fool/Aleph is 0), in the natural order of the letters, and the letter Lamed, assigned to Libra, came 11th. This was actually quite controversial. Anyways, Waite considered that he was correcting a “blind”, meaning, a deliberate false association, made to render the system inaccessible to people who only looked at it on the surface, and didn’t understand the deep system. Crowley, on the other hand wanted to keep Strength as 11 (he called it Lust), and Justice as 8 (He called it adjustment), but at the same time, he wanted symmetry in the system, so he went across the zodiac and switched the Emperor and the Star (sortof). Sounds convoluted, eh? So ask yourself, which number suits which idea more. I like Waite’s, it creates a perfect circle in the Tarot, where the Marseilles has a loop, or twist on one side, and Crowley’s has two symmetrical loops, one on either side, so it looks like a Moebius strip. Also, I see the two 1’s in 11 as emblematic of the scales, and 8 as being strong in the sense, of covering all 8 direction: kindof moral force/integrity, rather than physical force as such.
But know what? Originally the Tarot had no numbers at all. Recently I started working with the Visconti Tarot, which is the first one we know of, and I find the lack of numberic/esoteric associations is actually refreshing. I can concentrate on giving sound readings, and not getting distracted by the occult overlays. It took me 20 years to get here, but I like it. It feels more open.
Thank you for asking the question. I was just cruising tarot sites, and saw this, and though… hey! I can answer this! so I hope it helps. For a discussion of it, look at Aleister Crowley’s text on the book of Thoth. I started with that deck, but it doesn’t work for me anymore. Still, seeing his thought process in action (but not necessarily buying into everything he says) is valuable. He was a gifted and bold occultist.
So I bought a tarot deck today even though my grandma insisted against it (she’s extremely religious) is there a way to get her to not see them as evil? Like any tips?
That’s a tough one! Don’t try to change her mind about it – that could prove impossible. I wrote a little blog post about this kind of thing and you might like it: https://daily-tarot-girl.com/2013/11/02/how-to-deal-with-tarot-haters/
Try not to use your Tarot cards around your grandma if it makes her uncomfortable. I don’t know if you live with her or not – I guess if you live together this could be tough, but I would reserve my tarot time for when I’m alone and in private, at least to begin with.
A woman was in a similar situation. Her mother was extremely Catholic. First remind her that Adam, Enoch, Jesus all received messages from God. This woman got her mom an Angel Oracle deck and said she fell head over heels for them because they showed positive messages from the angels.
My mom is an atheist so you could imagine that flack I receive.
Several years ago, my partner and I were at a party. Just for kicks, we accepted the offer of a tarot card reading from a girl who was there offering them. When she started mine, she looked at my cards, then up at me. She said, “You could do this better than me!” I asked, “What!” She said, “Read tarot cards. With some training, you could do this much better than me and I’ve been doing this for 15 years!” I’ve never forgotten that. But I’ve never followed through. She basically went on to tell me that I had a natural ability to read and translate the cards as they relate to people and their personal experiences. She said that she had never met anyone else with the potential that she felt within me. My question: Is this possible? Could she have seen this within only a couple of minutes of meeting, after just turning over my cards? How hard are the readings to learn? IS IT SOMETING ONE CAN LEARN or is it something inherently within?
Wow – sounds like a good reading!
Yes, you can learn to read tarot. You don’t need to be born with an innate ability to read cards in order to do it well, but some people have been born with gifts that make it easier for them to catch on quickly and have an easier time giving fantastic readings (as opposed to just decent or good readings). It sounds like maybe you have that gift! Hopefully this answers your question and is enough of a push to inspire you to pick up a deck of tarot cards 🙂
I’m not sure whether I’m reading things right or that I’m reading things into them because that is what I want to see or not see. I’ve asked many of your psychic’s one question and never get a true answer. Simple as it seems (will I get the paper work done in order to sale my mother house, so I can sale it fast) I have a lot of bills from her funeral, doctor bills, and hospital bills, that have put me in the red with my bank and ruining my life. But to no avail have I ever been answered. They ask for the money and then run me around the block with no answer at all. I thought maybe if I could learn to read the cards maybe I could learn the answer.
Have you sold that house? What state are you in? I buy houses to renovate.
Trying to understand the more esoteric meanings of the Major Arcana has been a great challenge for me. An Adept whose insights I respected suggested that a binary method which might be helpful in unlocking some of the mysteries of the Majors. With key o The Fool standing placed at the top of two descending lines composed of Keys 1 through 1o, the next descending row of Majors mirroring the first,excepting Key 11 (Justice) opposite the top card,again theFool. The opposing cards,ie Key1 Magicia would fall across from theWorld. Both a reflection and an opposite in meaning Amazing insights which I never expected! Also,I enjoy your online offerings.
Found you on Google. Your short video was very informative. I am on a tarot learning course at the local spiritual church, which I am a member. I have been trying to memorize the card written meanings, which has been impossible. Your video on how to look at aspects of the cards and see how I feel etc, is a very good idea which I will try. Some of the ideas you gave about relating to things past of my life I have unconsciously been doing , didn’t realize until you mentioned it. I will certainly be visiting your site again.
I’m so pleased that you found my video helpful and that your learning Tarot 🙂
Best of luck to you as you learn the cards – it’s overwhelming at first but just go at your own pace and have fun with it.
Happy Tarot Reading!
Thanks for your reply, but I’m still wondering what the small animals mean, I.e. salamanders (lizard things) there’s a rabbit on one card, plus birds and fish. Lions are self explanatory etc.
Would welcome your reply
Accidentally stumbled upon this and so grateful I did. An accident? I don’t think so!
Greetings. i am very new at learning tarot. i would like to ask a question because i wonder, when we are using tarots we are harnessing the power of our higher self or tapping into deepest intuition i understand. so that would be good when reading for ones self, in sense that we know what we should do subconsciously? But what about reading for others? it is still the readers own feelings, how does this help someone else when feelings is not theirs? i am very interested and hope to learn more! thank
Great question! I am not sure I can answer it properly here because this topic deserves a whole article/blog post. Reading for others is a whole different thing than reading for yourself, but basically you are using the wisdom of your higher self and intuition to tap into the other persons energy (via your tarot cards) and give them insights into their lives. In some ways this is easier than reading for yourself, in some ways it’s trickier. When you’re reading for another person, think of it as working with them and let them know what your feeling and ask them if that resonates or makes sense to them. Not sure if I’ve answered your question or not, but I hope this helps 🙂
Light an Inscence, candle, use crystals to cleanse the area you sit in to call upon the Angels and spirits, release all negative energies the cards may have accumulated by placing the rose Quartz and clear quartz on top of the deck for a few moments while you close your eyes and voice your requests out to the universe, ask for clear answers and clarity for your own self and self guidance.
Hi. Started venturing into tarot and actually get myself a Glided Tarot.
Sometimes its quite hard to link your guide due to the illustrations slightly different.
Maybe you could advice me on how to read it?? Because until now i decipher it using own thinking about the cards
Hi, recently i just ventured into this tarot thing.. I purchased the Glided Tarot deck. Sometimes its hard for me to relate your Rider deck to my Glided deck. but still manage to do it… Alot of guides and in depth stuff i can do. Maybe one day i dont need to refer to guidebook and online for meaning of cards and can do reading based on how cards talk to me.
Hi, Kate! Doing these exercise you suggested helped me a great deal about understanding the tarot. Although, I told myself last night that I was gonna focus on angel tarot cards. I kinda ate my words! Lol! I know I should focus on learning the very basic first – that also means that I’m gonna use my Rider Waite deck until I’ve familiarized myself with all the cards.
Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge, Kate! 🙂
Thank you Liz – I’m so glad you enjoyed this and found it helpful 🙂 And I’m glad to hear that you’re focusing on the Rider deck first – that will give you a wonderful foundation that will help you read any deck after that, whether it’s angel cards, oracle cards, or other Tarot decks.
Happy Tarot Reading!
I am so glad I stumbled on your site.
A friend of mine who is an awesome artist was commissioned to paint a series of painting to be turned into a tarot deck- which is amazing in and of itself- but when I went to the gallery opening that unveiled the paintings I just fell in love with the whole series. I ended up buying the painting and one of the decks. I never opened the cards though because the series is (based on Aesop’s fables) not labeled in the traditional way, and as an inexperienced reader I figured there was no way I’d ever be able to interpret them without going to page 5 for a specific card and reading the “real” meaning out of a guidebook. I kept the deck and the painting (he’s the “widower” card, a beautiful kitsune fox that i just cant stop staring at based on the Mr Fox’s Wedding fable…) on the end table by my bed and decided they’d both be art pieces.
After reading (stalking?) several of your articles, I am excited to go home and open the cards up, and get to know them. It never occurred to me that they can mean something specific to me that I can figure out through intuition, that the meaning doesn’t have to come from a manual. Thank you SO much for giving my cards a new life!!!!
Rhiannon, I am so happy you’ve decided to finally open your deck! Your comment made me smile so much 🙂 Best of luck getting to know your deck and I hope you continue to use my site for ideas and inspiration!
I am really curious now – what is the name of your deck?
They’re actually based on Grimm’s Fairy Tales, not Aesops Fables like I originally thought. Oh the things you learn when you actually open the box! The box is labeled “Cartomancy 2014” and is by K8e Orr. Inside, the informational card says the deck is based on an Austrian tarot deck from 1904 she received as a present and features 32 Major Arcane and 3 bonus cards. I brought the deck to work with me today so they can hang out.
Is the nozomi tarots a good use even if it’s cosplay?
I’m not entirely sure what the Nozomi Tarot is (and I did look it up) – it appears to be the same as a real tarot deck and if so, then yes, you can totally use it!
I came back through the articles and this one stood out reminding me how great it was when I was just beginning. I didn’t read all of the comments but will add, that the writing on the deck (with sticky notes) was invaluable to me. as were the other tips. I just bought crystal visions after becoming enamoured with it in a reading you gave, and felt so connected with this hauntingly beautiful deck. I realized also that I am starting to see the thread of universal meanings rendered throughout the most decks. This comes in large portion to things I’ve learned here. Namaste.
Teresa, thank you so much for this! I’m thrilled that my 7 tips article helped you so much – and I love your tip on using sticky notes on the cards – that is much better than actually writing on the cards and wrecking them. And I’m pleased you’re enjoying your Crystal Visions deck – that deck is a stand out favorite of mine 🙂 I’m absolutely honored that you’ve found my site so helpful in your Tarot journey 🙂
This has been a really great read, full of all the things i was looking for, and so insightful. Thankyou so much
Stumbled on your site purely by accident, and love it. It’s one of the best sites I’ve come across.
Your explanations are simple straight forward and full of insight!
Thank you Chris! That is a wonderful compliment – welcome to my site 🙂
What is the seasons of the four suits? Everything I find is always different! Im so confused haha
thank you for this article; it was really helpful! my question is, for some reason, i have always read knights as messengers, but i’ve been told that is wrong, that the pages are the messengers. do i totally scrap what i’ve always been doing? also, it seems that every book i read has slightly different meanings for each card, and i just can’t wrap my head around the common meaning between one book and another. if you could help me, that would be great. thanks for all you do!
Yes, Tarot meanings differ slightly from book to book. Don’t get too hung up on that though – I see each variation as a different way to see the card, but there is no one “right” definition of each card – how you interpret them will depend on the situation, the other cards, the spread, who your reading for, etc, and of course, your intuition!
I don’t think it’s wrong to see the Knights as messengers – I often see them as riding into the Tarot reading with a message. Actually, I think all the Tarot cards are messengers in their own way! So don’t scrap what you’ve been doing, but now you can also see the Pages as messengers as well.
Good luck, Amy!
thank you kate! happy solstice!
Thank you for the tips. I will be saving your blog so I can refer back to it… OFTEN!! I have had tarot cards for a long time but became frustrated trying to learn how to read them. I can’t wait to try your tips as I believe they will be very helpful.
That’s so great to hear, Mcairlyn! Good to know you found this to be helpful, I hope you have fun trying out these techniques 🙂
Don’t forget about your intuition. The truth will come despite the cards drawn and the pictures on them 😉
Thank you for this insightful list of tips, it will definitely help me learn with my new deck, especially since simply memorizing never sticks with me.
A question, if you don’t mind. I know that there are different decks based on different time periods and influences both to the culture and the artist, but is there anything that one should watch out for with a deck that has many minor differences? For example, my deck is the wildwood deck, where arrows, bows, vessels, and stones replace the traditional swords, wands, cups, and pentacles respectively. Also certain well known cards from the major arcana are changed in ways that make them hard to recognize to a traditional deck, such as number 16 and 17, which ii believe are supposed to be the hanged man and the tower are now the blasted oak and the pole star. What do you think?
Thank you again for this video and list of tips!
Glad you found my article helpful 🙂
I have the Wildwood deck, so I know what you mean. I think decks like this are hard to learn Tarot on, but if you have a basic understanding of the Rider Waite deck, then working with a deck that breaks from the norm can be challenging and fun. I don’t think there is anything that you need to watch out for.
When I first started on the spiritual path I’m on now, I learned that wands represented air and swords represented fire. I later found that many people didn’t agree with that. However, I have a hard time changing now that I learned it that way. I meditated on it for awhile and came up with this: wands come from tree branches which “wave” through the air. Swords (knives) when used in a murder is often times called a crime of passion, passion represents fire. That just seemed to solidify it even more for me to use those associations. I am wondering however, if this is going to represent problems for me as I learn the tarot? By that I mean are the images on most decks designed in such a way that wands are fire and swords are air? Thanks for your insight on this. I am glad to have found this site.
Hello Ivy – welcome!
That’s a great question – I think that it could cause a bit of confusion for you since I know many decks illustrate the suit of wands as a firey suit with orangey hues and such and Swords as air, with colder colors, but really, I don’t think it matters all that much how you see it – go with the way you originally learned it (which actually makes sense, the way you explained it) but just keep in mind the other elemental association as well. I don’t always pay too much attention to the elemental associations when I am reading, but I always see swords as representing thoughts/mind and wands representing action/passion. The thing with Tarot is that nothing is black and white – so I wouldn’t worry too much about it! Hope that makes sense 🙂
Happy Tarot Reading!
I actually learned it the way you did, but the reasons given were basically “it doesn’t make sense that an object representing an element can be destroyed by that element.” I’ve never been sure which way to follow, since technically a sword CAN be destroyed by fire (just very difficult), but that is also how it is created. I feel more connected to the original way I learned it, though, so I’ll stick with it unless the other way clicks at some point lol
This article is indeed useful. The little tips mentioned therein will give a good result while practising and learning tarot.
I just wanted to say thanks for a brilliant article. I am just learning tarot and sometimes get overwhelmed by trying to remember everything. I love the tips about letting the cards tell their own story and assigning personal meaning to them. Thanks again for this.
Your welcome, Debi! I am really happy that my article helped you 🙂 Thanks for letting me know.
hey kate, well first thanks for this article , it help me a lot. i have another form of learning tarot cards meanings, and its matching the mayor arcana number with the minor arcana number and learning it by the keyword of each mayor arcana. for example, The Mage (I) goes with the aces, The Mage Keyword is “I want” so since each suit or group (Pentacles, swords) has their qualities you match it with the keyword of the mayor arcana. For example, Ace of sword will say ” I will have new beginings with problems”.
sorry if is isn´t clear hehe 😛
Pd: my vision of qualities for the suit of swords is problems and difficulties .
Thanks for this tip, Adrian – I really like this way of looking at the cards – I am going to sit down tonight with my deck and try this out!
Thank you 🙂
Hi, Kate. Just wanna say I enjoy your blog and I’m saving a copy of this article for learning purpose. I hope that’s okay. Greetings from random Tarot fan.
And thank you very much. Ha ha how could I forgot to say that.
Of course that’s okay! I am so delighted that you found it helpful enough to save a copy 🙂
Happy Tarot Reading,
Thank you 🙂
Thank you! I am just getting started~ 🙂
Kate, that was extremely helpful. I especially liked the tip relating a card to a specific event in your own life. It puts the card into perspective more easily. Thank you so much!
Thanks Deborah, good to know you found this helpful 🙂
Hi Kate I have a specific question.
Why is it that in some Tarot decks n8 Major Arkana is the Strenght and n11 is Justice
while in other decks its vice versa. Meaning n8 is Justice and n11 is Strenght.
Originally, in the older decks like the Tarot of Marseille, Strength was 11 and Justice was 8. Then, The Golden Dawn (a metaphysical group in the 1800-1900’s who had a huge influence on how Tarot came to be viewed), reversed the order because Leo (the lion) seemed to go with Strength and Libra (the scales) went with Justice. In the order of the astrological signs, leo comes before libra. Waite (the guy who commissioned the Rider-Waite deck to be created) was a member of the Golden Dawn.(I got this info from Rachel Pollack’s book “Tarot Wisdom”). Hope that helps!
Thank You 🙂 This was really helpful.
I did not notice it before but I bought a new pack of cards called Taroth Of The Sephiroth and started to compare the Images of The Major Arcana with my Rider-Wite and Cosmic Tarot decks and I found it a bit confusing that the Sephiroth had 2 cards in different order. xxx
Thank You! I found this website by accident and really find it useful.
The Tarot just keeps pulling me. I got a card deck and practiced a bit a few years ago.
I used the Cosmic Tarot and did just a beginners little readings and study and
then I totally let it go. But recently I keep stumbling on it over and over and I have now decided to educate myself as much as possible.
That’s wonderful to hear, Kaia. I also use the Cosmic Tarot – its such an interesting deck!!! Good luck with your Tarot journey, I am delighted that you found my website helpful.
Yes I saw it among 30 other decks You showed. 🙂
I am inspired to buy some more. Thank You again.
Love and Light
Just wanted to say that I really liked your tips and I am going to try them. I have put together a binder full of card meanings, but I am still struggling with learning them and becoming more comfortable with reading them. I bought my first Tarot card kit over the summer (2012) and just love learning more about them, so thanks!
That’s great to hear, Mary. Glad my tips are helping! Learning Tarot takes a while, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t learn it fast – just enjoy the process 🙂
Really helpful, Thnx! I’ll definitely be trying some of these =D
That is really helpful Kate, thank you. I’ve been interested for a while but found remembering all the meanings more difficult. These techniques will definitely help 🙂