Tarot Card Reading

Not only is tarot reading is a popular form of fortune telling, it is a powerful way to get in touch with intuition. In The Encyclopedia of Tarot, Volume 1, Stuart R. Kaplan writes, "What we see in the symbology of tarot derives in large measure from our own intuition and, once revealed, reflects back upon each of us to further enrich our lives."[1]

Each card has its own symbolism based on its orientation (upright or reversed) or the particular spread chosen. The table below uses The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Arthur Edward Waite, and the associated deck, illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith, and commonly known as the Rider-Waite tarot deck.[2] A noticeable difference between the Rider-Waite deck and the Oscar Wirth deck is that Strength and Justice are swapped around.

CardsEdit

Major Arcana
Card Picture Meanings
0 – The Fool Innocence, trust, naivete, silliness, blissful youth
1 – The Magician Abilities, focused will and intention, manifestation, insight
2 – The High Priestess Intuition, spiritual feminine, maiden, hidden secrets
3 – The Empress Maternal feminine, compassion, creativity, potential
4 – The Emperor Paternal masculine, outgoing, authority figure, rationality
5 – The Hierophant Spiritual teacher, heavenly wisdom, tradition, meaning
6 – The Lovers Relationship with self and others, reconciliation, loving partnership
7 – The Chariot Maintaining balance, steady pace, willpower, leaving home
8 – Strength Self-confidence, not swayed by obstacles, soft power, honor
9 – The Hermit Inward reflection, patience, enlightenment, solitude, withdrawal
10 – Wheel of Fortune Natural cycles, change brings growth, turn of events, karma
11 – Justice Receiving what is deserved, balanced thought, legal action, fairness
12 – The Hanged Man Spiritual awakening, change of perspective, calm, surrender
13 – Death Time of transformation, forgiveness, renewal, change
14 – Temperance Balanced emotions, compromise, diplomacy, over consumption
15 – The Devil Attachments, lust, greed, ties, addictions, self improvement
16 – The Tower Disruption, upheaval, blessing in disguise, unexpected change
17 – The Star Artistic expression, your true essence, inspiration, refreshed energy
18 – The Moon Illusion, deception, intuition, nature vs nurture
19 – The Sun Childhood, good times, happy thoughts, optimism
20 – Judgement Natural disasters, criticism, retribution, confession, clean slate
21 – The World Completeness, harmony, goals realized, protection, boundaries
Minor Arcana
Coins / Pentacles / Diamonds
Ace
Two
Three
Four
Five
Six
Seven
Eight
Nine
Ten
Page
Knight
Queen
King
Wands / Staves / Rods / Clubs
Ace
Two
Three
Four
Five
Six
Seven
Eight
Nine
Ten
Page
Knight
Queen
King
Cups / Goblets / Hearts
Ace
Two
Three
Four
Five
Six
Seven
Eight
Nine
Ten
Page
Knight
Queen
King
Swords / Spades
Ace
Two
Three
Four
Five
Six
Seven
Eight
Nine
Ten
Page
Knight
Queen
King

SpreadsEdit

Celtic CrossEdit

 
Celtic Cross Tarot Spread with the Waite Rider Smith deck
 
Celtic Cross Tarot Spread

While there are many tarot spreads for all sorts of occasions and questions, the Celtic Cross is one of the most popular tarot spreads. The spread is described in detail in A.E. Waite's book The Pictoral Key to the Tarot, consisting of a cross, and a vertical spread of four cards. The two cards at the center represent the paradoxical energies of the querent. The four cards making up the cross represent the energies all around (past, above, future, below). The four cards in the column on the right can be treated like an advice column, with different points of view to consider to determine a long term outcome.

The cards shown in order in the right:

  1. Placed in the middle of the cross. Represents the heart of the issue, or the influence affecting the matter of inquiry.
  2. Placed in the middle of the cross, above card "A", usually sideways. Represents the obstacle that stands in the way. If this is a "good" card, it can mean something that is good but not to one's benefit, that the thing good in itself isn't productive, that the opposing forces aren't serious, or that it may seem good only on first glance.
  3. Placed above the middle of the cross. Represents either the goal, or the best potential result in the current situation. It can represent the energy above the querent.
  4. Placed below the middle. Represents the foundation of the issue, which has passed into reality. Represents the energy below.
  5. Placed to the left. Represents the short-term past, the influence that is departing.
  6. Placed to the right. Represents the short-term future, the influence that is approaching.
  7. Placed at the bottom of the column. Represents you, either as you are, could be, your presentation, etc. This is an energy that is holding you back, or that you can utilize to move forward.
  8. Placed at the second rank of the column. This represents how other people see you.
  9. Placed at the third rank. Your hopes and/or fears. The energy of your subconscious mind.
  10. Placed at the top. The ultimate result, the cumulation about the influences from the other cards in the divination.
  1. Kaplan, Stuart R. The Encyclopedia of Tarot: Volume 1. Vol. 1, U.S. Games Systems, 1980.
  2. Waite, Arthur Edward. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. U.S. Games Systems, Inca., 1971.