tarot card meanings

Tarot Card Meanings

What’s behind a card and a spread.

The reading of tarot cards is a practice that has been around for hundreds of years and is deeply rooted in symbolism. While the original tarot cards were used to play the European game tarocchi, today they have evolved into a popular form of divination and intuitive connection.

Although there are countless tarot card decks available for use, I have found that the common thread between them is the mystic symbolism within the cards. Through learning and understanding the symbolic meanings, you can connect with your own divine guidance and provide accurate readings to others.

Here we will explore the various types of tarot decks and popular tarot card meanings to get a broader understanding of the mystery of the tarot.

Tarot Decks

There are literally thousands of different tarot decks available on the market today, and what you choose to use depends solely on your personal preference. Here are three of the most popular decks to get you started in your search.


The Rider-Waite tarot card deck was developed in 1910 by mystic A.E Wait, and has become the gold standard of tarot that most decks today are based off of. With 78 cards divided into the Major and Minor Arcana, this deck is illustrated with classic tarot symbology and is an excellent deck to use for all forms of tarot divination.

Tarot of Marseille

With a long and vibrant history, the Tarot of Marseille deck was originally used in Southern France. With the standard 78 cards but no illustrations on the minor suits, the Tarot of Marseille gives the reader an opportunity to expand on their intuitive reading skills while using the cards for divination.

Thoth Tarot

The Thoth Tarot was the result of a five year collaboration between English occultist Aleister Crowley and painter Lady Frieda Harris. The end product was a beautiful and unique tarot deck that drew from both the classic Rider-Waite and several other world cultures. There are many differences between the standard and Thoth tarot, but those who use this deck claim it to be a powerful source of intuitive development.

Tarot Spreads

There are many different types of spreads used in tarot card divination. The type of question you are asking and the information you are looking for determines which spread is the right choice for you.

Celtic Cross

Arguably the most popular type of tarot card spread, the Celtic Cross involves laying the cards out in a row and column pattern. Many different variations of this spread have evolved over the years, and it is often used during a general reading to obtain in-depth guidance on several different aspects of your life. The position of the cards provides insight into your past, present, and future, as well as the various emotional and physical influences that are affecting you.

Tree of Life

When seeking to understand the karmic cycle of your life, this spread is an excellent choice. Popular among tarot card readers, the Tree of Life tarot spread connects with your past, present, and future while giving insight into your own mind and spirit. The various positions of the cards represent the different aspects of yourself and provide deep understanding into the issues and questions you face.

Relationship Spread

This tarot card spread is very useful in gaining a deeper understanding of your current relationship. When using this spread, I have found that it is best to ask a specific question, and then use the symbolic meaning of the various cards to get a broad understanding of the issue. The different positions of the cards can give insight into the needs of you and your partner, as well as the direction that your relationship is going.

Popular Tarot Card Meanings

The 78 different tarot cards all have a unique meaning and perspective to offer. While the Minor Arcana explore the “mundane” aspects of life, here we will look at three of the most influential cards from the powerful Major Arcana.

The Fool

The Fool is a unique card as it is represented by the number zero while all of the remaining cards are assigned a Roman numeral. This tarot card represents new beginnings and an exploration of your free will. When you draw this card, consider the important decisions you are making in your life and open yourself up to all of the possibilities that the future holds.

The Tower

The Tower card of the tarot is one of the most powerful of the Major Arcana. Although the tarot card meaning can be misunderstood due to its dark imagery, it carries a deep symbolic message. Drawing this card indicates that a major change or upheaval is occurring in your life. While this will likely cause challenges, the Tower reminds us that there is always a silver lining when moving forward.

The Sun

The Sun is the 19th card of the Tarot and is traditionally illustrated by a shining sun and young child riding a white horse. This card is powerful, as it represents the beauty of personal rebirth. When this card is pulled, it signifies the light returning to your life and obstacles being overcome.

The tarot card meanings are deeply symbolic and best interpreted based upon your individual circumstances. A skilled reader can guide you in understanding the meaning of the tarot cards and give you feedback in using them to guide and support your life’s journey.