Tarot Card Meanings and Their Interpretations

Tarot Cards have been used to tap into the subconscious and Universal energies that influence people’s lives for centuries. They started off as a frivolous game, matching the symbols and signs of the cards to people’s character traits, but their divinatory power became apparent very quickly. These days Tarot Cards are used all across the globe to help people attune to the subtle and hidden influences inside and around them.

I’ve compiled this quick and easy to use Tarot Card Interpretation Table for you to decipher what the cards are trying to tell you. Remember that the cards are a window into the hidden energies at play in your current circumstances. They are not going to tell you your future and sometimes you won’t exactly like what they have to say. But on the positive side their interpretation isn’t set in stone and if you take their advice the outcome can always be changed.

The Upright and Reverse Debate

You’ll see I’ve included the upright and reverse meanings. While some people may prefer to only use upright cards in their readings I urge you to try using reversed cards as well. This opens a whole second layer of interpretation, and while they do usually edge on the negative, they also give you a better sense of what to watch out for. Life isn’t just about the positive and knowing what to avoid is, well, a good way to avoid unnecessary trouble.

A good Tarot Reader knows that the cards are always right, but they don’t always predict the future. They predict the most likely outcome for that point in time, which largely depends on the energies surrounding the topic you’re consulting the Tarot on. So, even a small shift in one of the energies can result in the outcome changing completely. That’s why it’s so important to take what the cards tell you to heart, but not to let a negative reading get the better of you. In the end they are just a tool and the true power lies within you to make your future happen the way you want it to. But that’s just my opinion, if you prefer to only work with upright cards it’s your prerogative.

The Major Arcana

Each traditional Tarot Deck is divided into the Major and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards. The Fool is the main character and is usually unnumbered (but still counts as one of the 22 Major Arcana cards). The other 21 cards tell the story of The Fool as he faces Major life challenges and themes. These are the same themes we all face in our Spiritual journey, so if a Major Arcana card shows up in your reading there is a very strong Spiritual shift at play in your life.

The energy surrounding the Major Arcana cards aren’t easily changed and when they show up in a reading it’s best to take the advice from the rest of the reading and don’t try to fight what’s happening. Some things just have to run their course. At least you’ll be aware of their influence after the reading and you won’t act as rashly as you may have done in ignorance of the situation.

Here are the 22 Major Arcana cards and what each of them represent:

The Card Upright Reverse
0 - The Fool beginnings, possibilities, pleasure, adventure, opportunity, foolishness, thoughtlessness, extravagance indecision, hesitation, injustice, apathy, bad choice, carelessness, negligence
I - The Magician creativity, self-confidence, diplomacy, dexterity, sleight of hand, willpower, skill delay, unimaginative, insecurity, lack of self-confidence, disgrace, mental instability
II - The High Priestess knowledge, wisdom, learning, intuition, impatience, virtue, purity, mystery selfishness, deceit, shallowness, misunderstanding, ignorance
III - The Empress development, initiative, accomplishment, action, evolution, venturing into the unknown inaction, lack of concentration, vacillation, anxiety, infidelity, unraveling
IV - The Emperor authority, father-figure, protection, structure, solid foundation, stability domination, excessive control, obstruction, inflexibility, immaturity
V - The Hierophant mercy, conformity, forgiveness, social approval, alliances, inspiration vulnerability, unconventionality, foolish generosity, understanding, weakness
VI - The Lovers harmony, attraction, romance, optimism, beauty, love separation, frustration, failure, fickleness, untrustworthy
VII - The Chariot providence, rushed decision, presumption, turmoil, vengeance, adversity vanquishment, defeat, failure, disputes
VIII - Strength courage, conviction, power, energy, determination, action, virility pettiness, sickness, misuse of power, unfaithfulness, weakness
IX - The Hermit inner strength, prudence, solitude withdrawal, vigilance, corruption, roguery
X - The Wheel of Fortune unexpected events, luck, advancement, destiny, fortune, success increase, abundance, superfluity
XI - Justice equality, rightness, virtue, honor, balance false accusation, unfairness, bias
XII - The Hanged Man change, reversal, wisdom, improvement, rebirth, sacrifice, intuition, prophecy false prophecy, useless sacrifice, unwillingness, selfishness
XIII - Death loss, failure, transformation through adversity, corruption, destruction, death immobility, slow changes, sleepwalking, stagnation
XIV - Temperance temperance, patience, good influence, management, moderation, economy conflict, disunion, frustration, impatience, discord, competing interests
XV - The Devil downfall, destiny, effort, controversy, ravage, disaster, ill tempered weakness, the unseen, pettiness, evil
The Tower disruption, abandonment, destruction, downfall, unexpected events, adversity imprisonment, cruelty, oppression, fear
The Star optimism, insight, hope, faith, a brighter future disappointment, arrogance, disdain, imbalance, broken dreams
The Moon double-dealing, deception, disillusionment, trickery, terror, danger, disgrace trifling mistakes, deception, changeability, silence, instability
The Sun accomplishment, success, fortune, love, joy, happy marriage, satisfaction, contentment adequacy, survival, balance, achievement
Judgement awakening, renewal, rejuvenation, rebirth, improvement, promotion, change of position disappointment, simplicity, failure, ill-health, theft, worry
The World perfection, recognition, success, fulfillment, eternal life also travel lack of vision, stagnation, permanence

The Minor Arcana

This part of the Tarot Deck reveals more about everyday energies and challenges you may be facing. The energy is more mutable than that of the Major Arcana, but just because it’s easier to change doesn’t make it any less important. In fact, knowing what the Minor Arcana cards reveal in your reading will help you to overcome some pretty tough obstacles.

There are four suits in the Minor Arcana, and they do correspond to the four suits you find in normal playing cards. Each suit has a specific meaning attached to it and if your reading has a surprising amount of a single suit it means that the reading is about the topic represented by that suit.

 

Wands

Wands represent the forward motion of life. Like a seed carries the primal energy of life, so the suit of Wands represents all energy. This energy is especially associated to Spirituality and creativity. So, if your spread is filled with this suit it’s a clear sign that new things and the energy to accomplish what you set out to do is coming your way.

The Card Upright Reverse
Ace of Wands creation, profitable endeavour, new business, beginning, new career, birth, inheritance selfishness, lack of determination, indulgence, setback
Two of Wands “money doesn’t buy happiness”, generous person, wealth, unhappiness, patience surprise, enchantment, impatience, fear
Three of Wands cooperation, good partnership, enterprise, success, effort carelessness, arrogance, pride, disappointment
Four of Wands satisfaction, harmony, kindness, peace growth, beauty, attractive decorations
Five of Wands ungrounded or petty lawsuit or quarrel, fake allies, competition to attain success tricks, legal matters, contradictions
Six of Wands victory, good news, hope, success postponement, bad news, fear, pride in riches, disloyalty
Seven of Wands stiff competition, discussion, negotiations, victory, courage embarrassment, anxiety
Eight of Wands energy, new ideas, love, journey, assured happiness jealousy, violence, quarrels, remorse
Nine of Wands strength, good health, obstinacy, patience weakness, ill-health, adversity, obstacles
Ten of Wands pain, ruin, failure all as a result of oppression cleverness, contradictions, mystery
Page of Wands enthusiasm, exploration, discovery, free spirit, a faithful lover setbacks to new ideas, pessimism, indecision
Knight of Wands generous, journey, friendly person suspicion, jealousy, narrow-mindedness, a break-up
Queen of Wands a loving, friendly, honorable person; fondness of money jealous, vengeful, infidelity, opposition
King of Wands honest and conscientious married person with a friendly demeanor unyielding but tolerant, severe but good

Cups

Cups represent emotions and everything linked to them, including relationships. Your emotional consciousness is in question when Cups dominate a reading. If this happens look at how your emotions are influenced and influencing your relationships and the quality of the connection you share with others.

The Card Upright Reverse
Ace of Cups “your cup runneth over”, good health, love, joy, beauty, purity deceit, selfishness, instability
Two of Cups romance, friendship, passion, cooperation, affinity violent passion, false friendship, misunderstanding
Three of Cups conclusion, fortune, hospitality, happiness, healing hidden, overindulgence, pain, gossip, ending
Four of Cups dissatisfaction, kindness, reevaluation, redemption new goals, ambitions, beginning
Five of Cups bitter marriage, vain regret, sorrow, loss, inheritance return, news, ancestry, hope
Six of Cups good memories, happiness, childhood renewal, the future
Seven of Cups imagination, illusion, directionless, sentiment willpower, determination, projects
Eight of Cups disappointment, abandonment, misery pleasure, success, joy, celebration
Nine of Cups physical well-being, hopes, security, victory illness, failure, mistakes, overindulgence, imperfection
Ten of Cups friendship, happiness, life at its best waste, broken relationships, quarrel, violence
Page of Cups sweetness, interest in literature, gentleness, studious poor imagination, selfishness, seduction
Knight of Cups emotional, romantic dreamer, intelligence, arrival or something coming idleness, untruthful, fraud, swindling
Queen of Cups loving, devoted person who is gentle and exudes happiness a perverse and unhappy person who suffers from a gloomy disposition and over-active imagination
King of Cups an educated person who is kind and willing, enjoys helping others a double-dealer that incites scandal, crafty, violent

Swords

Swords represent the intellect and its uses. It refers to your personal beliefs, attitudes and the actions you take to enforce these. In some instances the pen may indeed be mightier than the sword, so if your reading is filled with this suit take special note of what you’re thinking and how this is affecting your actions. Don’t be rash!
The Card Upright Reverse
Ace of Swords unclearness, trouble, balance, choice, avoidance obstacles, tyranny, power, overcoming with violence
Two of Swords conformity, trouble, balanced, friendship, affection unscrupulous, release, disloyalty, duplicity
Three of Swords broken relationship, civil war, broken heart or bonds feeling alienated, sorrow, loss, confusion
Four of Swords temporary exile, strife, retreat, vigilance, literally tomb or coffin circumspection, renewed activity, precaution
Five of Swords defeat, cowardliness, empty victory, dishonour unfairness, defeat, loss, burial
Six of Swords harmony, sorrow, journey, expedition obstacles, confession, difficulties, declaration
Seven of Swords betrayal, insolence, unwise attempt, false hope counsel, helpful advice, instruction
Eight of Swords crisis, weakness, indecision, censure unwanted results, difficulty, accident, opposition
Nine of Swords desolation, illness, miscarriage, suspicion, cruelty, deception, disappointment doubt, suspicion, fear, shame, imprisonment
Ten of Swords defeat, failure, pain, sadness, tears courage, positive energy, good health, success, advantage
Page of Swords grace, diplomacy, dexterity, a spy or secretive person cunningness, someone using good qualities for bad ends
Knight of Swords a strong person who is brave and clever a crafty troublemaker that lacks discretion
Queen of Swords a mutable person who has a lot of experience and wisdom a sly, keen, deceitful person
King of Swords a powerful person who extends friendship and counsel a perverse person who is obstinate with evil intentions and judgments

Pentacles

Pentacles represent anything material in life including work and wealth. It’s quite fitting as the coins represent material well-being and this suit is concerned with how to collect that wealth too. If you’ve got a spread filled with pentacles take a look at your financial situation and what you’re doing to improve or impoverish it.
The Card Upright Reverse
Ace of Pentacles prosperity, happiness, pleasure, contentment wealth turned rotten, misery, greed
Two of Pentacles harmony, new projects, recreation false pretenses, facade
Three of Pentacles abilities, approval, craftsmanship, skill preoccupation, unfulfilled ambitions, mediocrity
Four of Pentacles greed, inheritance, selfishness spendthrift, obstacles, opposition
Five of Pentacles destitution, poor finances, despair, but not without company disorder, ruin, chaos
Six of Pentacles prosperity, charity, gifts, the present moment jealousy, illusion, unfairness, desire
Seven of Pentacles development, re-evaluation, effort, hard work impatience, slow progress, anxiety
Eight of Pentacles employment, money, learning, trade, skill void, no ambition, dislike, vanity
Nine of Pentacles solitude, well-being, green thumb, discernment caution, possible loss as a result of deception
Ten of Pentacles wealth, property, stability, richess misfortune, lost bet or gamble, loss but inheritance gained
Page of Pentacles a person associated with writing, whether with study or letters a person living in luxury, often beyond their means, rebelling and as a result they are bad news
Knight of Pentacles a person who seems dull, but is patient and responsible and shows interest, trustworthy a careless person who has lost all ambition and remains stagnant and irresponsible
Queen of Pentacles a generous person who is happy to share what they have freely, whether it’s advice or wealth a person that cannot be trusted, they are evil and should be feared
King of Pentacles a reliable person, that is steady in business a corrupt person who indulges in bribes, materialistic

Ready, Set: Tarot!

You’ve got all the meanings you need to make the most of your Tarot Reading now, so go ahead and have fun!