While some Tarot cards are more well-known, the meaning we think they have may not always be the same from one deck to another, or from one reading to another.
The same suits of Tarot cards may have the same general idea, but if you’re going for a reading, it pays to know how different the meanings of cards can be. Do all tarot cards mean the same?
No, each card has its own unique meaning. Different decks may have similar cards or cards that look similar have different meanings. Not only do tarot cards themselves have unique meanings, but the type of spread, how they are laid out, and the position of these cards mean something as well.
Though some cards may appear intimidating, they look scarier than they really are. Below, we’ll look at various interpretations and layouts of the cards and you will see that tarot cards can have many meanings dependent on different factors.
Before we get into detail, I want to point out that I’ve included a section at the bottom of this article called Related Articles. Don’t leave before you check out these articles as well!
First, let us look at the specifics of the decks themselves.
Table of Contents
How Many Cards Are in a Tarot Deck?
This depends on the type of deck. There are ‘Major Arcana’ decks that have the 22 Major Arcana cards, and there is a full deck holding these major cards as well as suit cards. There are many meanings between the major decks and the full decks.
The added cards from a full deck can change a tarot reading greatly.
Read these articles to learn more about the Major and Minor Arcana as well as all the Tarot suits:
- How to use the Major Arcana tarot cards
- How to read the Minor Arcana Tarot Cards
- What’s the difference between the Major and Minor Arcana?
Major Arcana Cards
Major Arcana cards are often compared to the face cards in a regular deck of playing cards. Of these cards, you will find such things as The Tower, The Empress, The Lovers card, and many more. These cards’ names can be deceiving. Placement is key.
The Minor Arcana Cards
These hold the remaining 56 cards contained in a full tarot reading deck. Each of these cards divides into suits much like a deck of poker cards that has hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs. Each suit has the same number of cards.
What are the Suits of a Psychic Tarot Deck?
The four suits are Pentacles, Wands, Cups, and Swords. Each represents an area of your life.
- The Pentacles cover health, the physical things in life, and the material contained in your situation.
- The Wands describe actions, creativity, and passion within your situation.
- The Cups are closely related to empathy, love, and emotions as they pertain to you and your situation.
- The Swords are the cards that discuss challenges, observations, and thoughts to be aware of or present in your life.
While there are several different ‘themes’ of cards or designs on cards, if they are 78 card decks, the suits still mean the same as well as the number meaning of each card. Each number within the suit gives more detail to the tarot cards pulled up in your spread.
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What is a Tarot Spread?
There are several ‘spreads’ in tarot readings. These are for specific subjects or meanings in cases where you want a general reading. There are different numbers of cards in each type of spread.
Again, while the tarot cards themselves have unique meanings, the type of spread, how the cards are laid out, and the position of the cards all affect the overall reading. The same card can be read completely differently when in different positions or spreads.
Psychic tarot card reading may not be an exact science, but a tarot card reader knows their cards well and what the significance of each placement is.
Some readers prefer one spread over another, but at the same time, some spreads are more suitable for the situation than another may be.
- The Love Spread is a 6-card tarot spread. This article talks about the Best tarot spread for love.
- The Success Spread is a 5-card spread
- The Celtic Cross is made up of 10 cards and tends to be used for complicated situations supplying more information for the psychic tarot reader to better answer your questions. This articles give much more detail about the Celtic Cross Spread: “How to do the Celtic Cross Spread“
- The Spiritual Guidance spread is made of 8 cards is used in times of doubt or spiritual challenges
- The Three Card spread is a simplified tarot card reading. This holds a card for the past, present, and future.
- The Career Path spread is a 7-card tarot spread that gives information on career choices and coaching.
Other Tarot Spreads that I’ve reviewed and discussed:
- Best Tarot Spread Layouts
- Best Spreads for Beginners
- When to use the Celtic Cross spread
- Past life tarot spread
- Best tarot spreads for relationships
- Best Tarot Spread for Guidance
- How to us Tarot for Yes or No Answers
Meanings of Particular Tarot Cards
Now that you have a general idea of what is in a spread and the suit meanings, we can get into a few specific cards that may excite or even terrify you.
Does the Death Card Mean I Am Going to Die?
Before getting to know the psychic tarot card decks and their meanings, this card honestly shook me to my core. My heart would stop when I would pull this card.
Before you panic, it does not mean you are going to die. It is much less sinister. Does the Death Card mean I’m going to die? No! It can be looked at as a positive card depending on where it is laid out in your spread. It often represents change, letting go of something or an increased sense of self-awareness.
In fact, this is rarely a ‘death’ of someone, but this is the death of a situation to bring about major change or something new.
This can be seen when leaving an unhealthy relationship, moving to a new city, or leaving a career to start in a new field of work. This could be something such as going from a mundane 9-5 job to pursuing a career in what you are truly enthusiastic about.
You might also find these articles interesting:
The Tower Card
This card is another card that can look scary. It stands for a sudden, unexpected, or unwanted change. It can also show an accident. The placement of this card is important when pulled in a psychic tarot card reading.
Read more detail about the Tower card here:
The Lovers Card
Though it may appear to stand for couples and of course, can in a spread, it has a few more meanings that are worth mentioning. It may mean that the person receiving the reading is going to give up a certain lifestyle to achieve something they want more.
This tarot card may also mean that choices are to be made about where you want your life to go, what your passions are, and whether or not you are willing to change something about yourself to receive the results you are searching for.
This card signifies relationships. It may be a family relationship or even a friendship in your life. It doesn’t have to be an intimate relationship.
Read more about the Lovers Tarot Card, with this complete guide!
The Judgement Card
Though this can be another scary card because let us face it, no one wants to be judged, but do not be afraid if this card comes up in your tarot reading spread. This card represents a time of decisions leading to transitions and awakenings.
Read more about the meaning of the Judgement Tarot Card, with this complete guide!
Why Are Some Cards Upside Down?
While there are no good or bad cards, there are cards that signify happiness and joy. The placement of the cards is important, but so is whether they are upside down or right side up. In general, if a card is upside down, it has the opposite meaning of the card itself.
Common Upside-Down Cards
The Devil card.
When upside down, the devil card can mean that you have or are becoming aware of things that were a challenge or preventing positive movement in your life.
While this is true, an upright devil in the same position can mean you are ignoring the controlling desires for materialism and enjoying those desires regardless of how it may affect you, overall.
Here’s an article about the Devil card that you might be interested in… “When the Devil Tarot card is positive, 7 meanings explained“
The Lovers card.
Though in an upright position it may mean the choices within a relationship or relationship decisions, the opposite positioning may stand for bad choices you have made in a relationship.
The Lovers tarot card can refer to any type of relationship, not just romantic relationships.
The Star card.
In an upside position usually means you are suffering from low self-esteem or are discouraged. The opposite is much more pleasant. The Star upright shows inspiration, hope, and the feeling of true blessings. Who would not love that in their reading?
Read more about the Star Tarot tarot card here!
Now that you have an idea of the differences between tarot cards and their placement you can keep an eye on how the psychic tarot reader describes them in specific spreads.
Their interpretation will teach you a lot. If you choose to play with these cards yourself these general ideas will help you to understand what you are seeing.
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I’d love to hear about your experience. Please connect with me, after you’ve had a reading…
- What are the best questions to ask in a tarot reading?
- How often should you get a tarot reading?
- Tarot readings for pets. Is it really a thing?
- How to choose your first tarot deck, complete guide
- Can anyone read tarot cards?
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