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A Guide To Tarot Card Reading

Tarot cards are a magical gift. You can learn so much about yourself when choosing to let the cards guide you through a certain situation or life itself. It can feel overwhelming when you first look at a deck of tarot cards and see all the images, colors, numbers, and symbols. Once you take the time to understand each card and the meaning behind it, you open yourself up to new opportunities.


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What To Expect In This Post:

  1. Origin of Tarot Cards

  2. Summary of the Major Arcana Cards

  3. Summary of the Minor Arcana Cards

  4. Popular Spreads

  5. Example Reading

Origin of Tarot Cards

Table games and playing cards have been associated with divination on and off for centuries. When stakes are high, we seem to have an instinct to read into our fate in search of meaning, satisfaction, clarity and direction.

Tarot cards is a tool we use to bridge divination and reality into one.

The tarot card deck is developed from the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. (I will get into what each section means later in this post) "Tarot cards likely originated in northern Italy during the late 14th or early 15th century. The oldest surviving set, known as the Visconti-Sforza deck, was created for the Duke of Milan’s family around 1440. The cards were used to play a bridge-like game known as tarocchi, popular at the time among nobles and other leisure lovers. According to tarot historian Gertrude Moakley, the cards’ fanciful images—from the Fool to Death—were inspired by the costumed figures who participated in carnival parades. " (Where do tarot cards come from?, BRENDAN I. KOERNER)

Major Arcana

Cards 1-21 comprise the Fool's journey, where The Fool (the adventure seeker in all of us) travels through life's major experiences, represented in these 21 archetypal personas to gain knowledge, grow, and achieve an epitome of freedom, joy, and love.

Each Major Arcana card has it's own interpretation and description of the name, drawing, symbols, numbers, and colors. To learn the full description and meaning of each card archetype, you definitely need: Tarot For Beginners, by Meg Hayertz on

Here is a list of the 21 Major Arcana cards:

The Fool's Journey - Major Arcana Tarot Cards
The Fool's Journey - Major Arcana Cards

The Fool

Represents a leap of faith, innocence and adventure.

The Magician

Represents creativity, manifestation and ability.

The High Priestess

Represents inner knowledge, intuition, and duality.

The Empress

Represents beauty, motherhood and creativity.

The Emperor

Represents reliability, fatherhood, and responsibility.

The Hierophant

Represents education, knowledge, religion and conformity.

The Lovers

Represent connection, fulfillment, love, and choice.

The Chariot

Represents momentum, breakthrough, and travel.


Represents compassion, perseverance, and power.

The Hermit

Represents wisdom seeker and inner voice.

Wheel of Fortune

Represents change, patterns and fortune.


Represents balance, objectivity, fairness and equity.

The Hanged Man

Represents trust, self-sacrifice and waiting.


Represents endings, grief, transformation, and rebirth.


Represents creativity, art, healing and balance.

The Devil

Represents vitality, plat, temptation, and oppression.

The Tower

Represents destruction, consequences, catastrophe, and detoxification.

The Star

Represents guiding vision, healing, and creativity.

The Moon

Represents dreams, instinct, and crisis.

The Sun

Represents joy, success, health, and children.


Represents higher calling, criticism, judgment call, and absolution.

The World

Represents completion, celebration, and wholeness.

Minor Arcana

While the Major Arcana represent major events in our life, the Minor Arcana indicate specific facets of everyday life. These are known as the "minor mysteries" of life. The Minor Arcana highlight situations and influences which are temporary compared to the Major Arcana.

There are four suits in the Minor Arcana: Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands. Each suit is made up of 10 cards and four court cards: Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kinds.

The four suits map our experiences into four different spheres of energy. Each is associated with a natural element to further guide the qualities of the suit.

Here is a list of the four Minor Arcana Suits:


Is associated with the water element. This suit represents matters of emotions, relationships, inner life, and spirituality.


Is associated with the earth element. This suit represents matters of the physical world, raw material, the body, health, resources, money and career.


Is associated with the air element. This suit represents matters of critical thinking, clarity, and mindsets.


Is associated with the fire element. This suit represents matters of creativity, family, workplace, and community.

Court Cards:


Are beginners, students, young people, and apprentices. They are inspired and curious individuals.


Are skilled in the realm of their particular suit, but have not fully mastered it. They are often more impulsive than rational when making decisions.


Represent inner mastery. The queens help others cultivate the qualities of their own suit within themselves.


Represent external mastery and leadership. Self-reliance characterizes their expression of competence in the qualities of their suit.

Learning the qualities of each suit, along with the numbers, gives you all the information you need to understand tarot cards. It will definitely take some practice, but you will learn so much about yourself and your journey.

Next up, I'll be talking about the most popular spreads.

Popular Spreads

Tarot card spreads allow us to view different aspects of a situation, question, or life in general. The positioning of each card in a spread helps us define that meaning and represents a facet of experiences.

By showing many facets of our life, tarot card spreads allow us to zoom out on the big picture or focus on a specific moment in time.

One thing to note, is reversal cards. When you see a reversed card, it usually indicates an extreme quality of the upright card, added difficulties or resistance, emphasis on the upright meaning, or indication the upright card has now ended.

One Card Pull often brings more than enough inspiration and clarity to any situation.  Whether it's to look for a theme in the upcoming week or day, a glimpse of a bigger picture, or to confirm your intuition about an event taking place in your life; a one card pull is a simple reading that can answer all your questions with just one card.

One card pull - tarot card reading

The past/present/future spread is an eye-opening way to understand and view some of the confusion of your life into a meaningful narrative. This three card reading provides a look into how we've grown and what our direction, values, or goals are now.

past, present, future tarot card reading

"The Life Path Spread uses numerology to identify some of the guiding patterns in your life. Using only the Major Arcana, this spread offers a big-picture perspective on where you have been, where you are now, and where you may be headed." - Meg Hayertz, Tarot For Beginners Book.

life path tarot card reading

The Celtic Cross is one of the most well-known tarot spreads. If offers a new perspective on a situation. You can use this spread for a general life reading or to examine specific factors in any given scenario, such as career or spiritual growth.

celtic cross tarot card reading

Example Reading

Riley's Life Path Reading

Birthday: 01/30/1997

0+1+3+0+1+9+9+7= 30


3rd Major Arcana Card = The Empress

Life Path: The Empress

  • Represents beauty, motherhood, and creativity

  • I create through love and everything I do is with a good intention

  • I nurture my relationships and want to help all people grow to their full potential

  • I cherish my emotions as a way of knowing the world and connecting with myself

  • Sometimes I put others before myself

Shadow: The Hanged Man (Unconscious personality trait)

  • Represents trust, self-sacrifice and waiting

  • Sometimes I struggle to trust the process and get impatient because I just want things to happen quickly

Past Year: The Tower

  • Represents destruction, consequences, catastrophe, and detoxification

  • I had graduated from college without having any job offers and felt like my whole world was crashing before my eyes

  • I felt as though I had worked so hard the last four years for nothing because I wasn't aligning with what society expected all college graduates to accomplish right away

  • Luckily, I listened to my intuition and stuck with my gut when it came to job hunting, as I wanted to be sure I would feel good with the company I chose to work for full time

  • Towards the later half of 2019, I was offered a full time job at a company that supports women and has a really positive atmosphere

  • This allowed me to purge and detox all the negativity I felt after I graduated college and create a new foundation of self-care, confidence and happiness

Present Year: Strength

  • Represents compassion, perseverance, and power

  • This year I am learning to tame my negative or aggressive thoughts and to remind myself that I am loved

  • I know my visions in life are achievable and worth the effort

  • I am learning to discipline my impulses to self-destruction

Next Year: The Hermit

  • Represents wisdom seeker and inner voice

  • I am an old soul at heart and seeker of inner healing

  • I am on a pilgrimage to finding my inner voice and spiritual truths

  • Looking for new ways to make my life more meaningful

  • Doing more things for myself to prioritize my spiritual life

I hope this post has brought some inspiration, clarity and knowledge for you. Tarot cards are such a special activity and way of life. It can feel overwhelming at first, but the more you read about each card and study the images, numbers and symbols, the more you will learn to appreciate them and have a new outlook on life.

Want a Tarot Card Reading for yourself? Check out The variety of Tarot Card Readings I provide!

"Tarot is an instrument that reveals hidden things about the world and makes sense of the visible ones." - Wald Amberstone



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