Tarot Cards – Their Meanings and How to Read

Can Tarot Cards Predict the Future? 

The answer to that question mainly depends on how much you believe that a deck of cards can foretell what’s going to happen to you in the next couple of hours. 

Some people think that Tarot Cards Reading is a nonsense and outrageous way of letting people take your money in exchange for predicting your future. 

While other people believe that the Tarot is a therapeutic way to cope with life and that it’s a “Pathway to Enlightenment”. 

Hold your thoughts for a while because in this article, we’re going to dive deeper into the world of Tarot Cards Reading and figure out why millions of people around the world believe in it. 

History of Tarot

Did you know that Tarot Cards were never meant to be used for divinity and mysticism? 

It was first brought to Europe by Turkish people in the 14th century. Back then, they were likely associated with “Mamluk Cards”. 

By the 1500s, Italian Aristocrats invented a game called “Tarocchi Appropriati” where players were dealt random cards and they would have to use them to write poetic verses about each other. This is somehow similar to the popular childhood game “Mash”. 

However, by the 18th century, people began to assign specific meaning to each card and even proposed that these cards could then be used for divinity and mysticism. 

Thus, the modern-day “Tarot” was beginning to see the sunlight. 

1781 was the year when Tarot was first considered to be related to divine creatures when Antoine Court de Gebelin published an essay connecting the cards to the Egyptian Gods such as Isis and Osiris. 

By the year 1791, Jean-Baptiste Alliette released the first Tarot deck designed to be used for divine and mystic purposes. Completely erasing the fact that it was once used just for parlor games and entertainment.

Finally, the year 1909 when Arthur Waite and Aleister Crowley created the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. 

More than a century later, many people now call it the Waite-Smith deck. Although a wide variety of designs are available in the market, they all still base their creations on the Waite-Smith deck. 

And unlike 600 years ago, these brilliant cards are now used for a totally different purpose. 

Now that we learned about the origins and history of the Tarot Cards, it’s time that we dive deeper into how they actually work. 

What are the names of these Tarot Cards? What are their meanings? How do people read it? Who are the people reading tarot cards for a living?

So, What Are Tarot Cards? What are their respective meanings? How do we read it?

How Stuff Works discussed that a modern-day Tarot deck consists of 78 cards divided into two (2) main groups: the Major Arcana (1) and the Minor Arcana (2). 

Major Arcana Cards

The Major Arcana is composed of twenty-two (22) cards also known as trumps. Trumps have pictures representing the virtues, vices, characters, and various forces. Each of the cards is numbered from I to XXI representing a name and equivalent meaning. 

Moreover, the card’s meaning changes depending on its position after it was dealt, the upright position often denotes a positive sign while a reversed position implies the opposite.

 There is one unnumbered card which is called “The Fool”. It is said that the Major Arcana cards embody the life lessons and karma ultimately guiding your soul through the journey of enlightenment. 

Biddy Tarot explains that there’s a reason behind the unnumbered card. The Fool is believed to be the main character of the whole deck. 

If the deck represents your life, then who’s the main character? Yes, it’s you. You’re the fool! 

Kidding aside, each of the succeeding cards represents the teachers and life lessons you encounter as you progress through life. 

Ultimately, your journey of enlightenment will end after you meet card XXI — The World.

Now it’s getting interesting, right? Buckle up ‘cause we’re just getting started. 

Let us now dive deeper into the names and meanings of each card and how they are amazingly represented in our lives:

  1. The Magician
  2. The High Priestess
  3. The Empress
  4. The Emperor
  5. The Hierophant
  6. The Lovers
  7. The Chariot
  8. Strength
  9. The Hermit
  10. Wheel of Fortune
  11. Justice
  12. The Hanged Man
  13. Death
  14. Temperance
  15. The Devil
  16. The Tower
  17. The Star
  18. The Moon
  19. The Sun
  20. Judgment
  21. The World
  22. The Fool

I – “The Magician”

Upright: Manifestation, Resourcefulness, Determination, Dexterity

Reverse: Manipulation, Confusion, Ill Intention

The Magician represents the phase of your life when you can manifest anything into reality. It is the first Major Arcana card because it is meant to tell you that while you’re young and determined, you can succeed in everything you put your mind into because the universe will provide all of the resources you will need. 

On the other hand, The Magician may also represent another person in your life who can enlighten you through their wisdom and knowledge. 

II – The High Priestess

Upright: Intuition, Mystery, The Subconscious Mind, Creativity

Reverse: Secrets, Silence, Hidden Information

The High Priestess embodies the time in your life when you have to fully trust yourself and your capabilities because things are not what they seem. You have to rely on your instinct and gut feeling to make the right decision. 

It is meant to tell you that you should pay attention to the signs the universe is sending. That there is an impending conflict that you should be aware of. 

III – “The Empress”

Upright: Abundance, A New Opportunity, Nature

Reverse: Domestic Problems, Financial Issues, Dependence on others

The Empress symbolizes your softer side. Whether you’re a parent or not, it reminds you to be compassionate with people who need empathy and nurturing. 

It represents the point in your life when you have to be there for someone who’s hurting. It doesn’t matter who that person is, the universe is telling you that person needs you.

IV – “The Emperor”

Upright: Authority, Power, Leadership, Establishment

Reverse: Domination. Lack of Control, Immaturity, Manipulation

The Emperor is the counterpart of The Empress. It symbolizes that sometimes in life, you have to show people your hard side. That if you want to be successful, you’d have to stand up to the things keeping you away from your goal. 

Be man enough to face your demons and don’t let emotions restrain you. The Emperor may also mean that you need a father figure at this point in your life or become one instead. 

V – “The Hierophant”

Upright: Education, Learning, Guidance, Tradition

Reverse: Abuse, Rejection, Personal Beliefs, Revolt

The Hierophant represents someone in your life who will be of great help to you with spiritual guidance, morals, and wisdom. It may also mean that you’re currently dealing with someone upright with his values. 

Moreover, it may represent a situation where you should stick to your moral values and don’t challenge the tradition because it may cause a great conflict. 

VI – “The Lovers”

Upright: Commitment, Love, Choices, Harmony

Reverse: Relationship Conflicts, Self-Love, Disharmony

The Lovers may indicate that you’re currently at a crossroads contemplating the best choice to make in your life. It also represents a time in your life when you have to appreciate, understand, and ultimately love yourself. 

It also means that you are in a relationship conflict with significant people in your life. 

VII – “The Chariot”

Upright: Journey, Confidence, Willpower, Ambition

Reverse: Opposition, Self-Doubt, Lack of Direction

The Chariot represents your drive and willpower to overcome every obstacle life throws at you. It serves as a reminder that you should never lose sight of your goal and give you the determination to ultimately attain it. 

On the other hand, The Chariot may also mean that you are lost in life. That self-doubt consumes you and everything in life isn’t falling into the right place. 

VIII – “Strength”

Upright: Self-belief, Vitality, Persuasion, Influence

Reverse: Lacking Courage, Low Energy, Lack of Inspiration

Strength represents a situation in your life when you most need strength. It represents the inner challenges you have to overcome to progress in life. It serves as a reminder that you have every tool and skill you need to succeed. 

You just have to realize that you’re the only one stopping yourself, that you have to defeat your fears and anxieties. 

IX – “The Hermit”

Upright: Self-reflection, Solitude, Soul-searching

Reverse: Isolation, Misfit, Exile

The Hermit serves as a reminder that you may be needing time to be alone. That you have to withdraw yourself from a difficult situation to gather yourself and eventually fight right back. This is a point in your life when you have to focus on yourself and don’t take yourself for granted. 

Moreover, it may also mean that someone in your life needs help from the danger of themselves.

X – “Wheel of Fortune”

Upright: Destiny, Luck, Opportunity, Turning Point

Reverse: Disappointment, Misfortune, Bad Luck

The Wheel of Fortune symbolizes the time in your life where you have to bet your chances in luck. It either means you’re ready to experience the best time of your life or suffer the complete opposite.

All in all, it means that you’re set to experience a major change in your life but you have to get ready for the outcome by all means because it is not guaranteed to be positive. 

XI – “Justice”

Upright: Balance, Fairness, Karma

Reverse: Dishonesty, Imbalance, Unfairness

Justice reminds you of the concept of karmic justice. It allows you to look back at all the choices you’ve made and how they brought you to the situation you’re in right now. 

It may also symbolize the time in your life when you have to make an important decision to justify everything you’ve done and provide the much-needed balance you need in your life and everyone you love. 

XII – “The Hanged Man”

Upright: Letting go, Breaking Free, New Perspectives, Pause

Reverse: Ego, Inflexibility, Resistance, Delays, Indecisiveness

The Hanged Man represents a time in your life when you feel you’re trapped or unhappy in a situation. Although it also serves as a reminder that you have the power to releases yourself from all those torments.

It may also mean that you’re currently facing a setback and it won’t hurt to take a much-needed pause to gather and recover from all the pain you’re going through. 

XIII – “Death”

Upright: Endings, Failure, Major Change, Transition

Reverse: Delayed, Depression, Resistance to Change

The Death card is one of the most feared and controversial cards in the Tarot deck. Although you don’t have to worry because it doesn’t equate to physical death and it has long been a general rule for Tarot readers never to predict the physical death of a person. Death in Tarot only means a major change.

It represents a time in your life when you have to let go of what you’re used to progressing. It reminds you that sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone and conquer the world. 

XIV – “Temperance”

Upright: Balance, Harmony, Divine Intervention, Purpose

Reverse: Disharmony, Imbalance, Lack of Patience

Temperance serves as a reminder that you have successfully regrouped yourself and can progress through life with much maturity and peace of mind.

It also indicates that you now have full understanding and love for yourself and that you’re now ready to impart that love to the people around you. 

XV – “The Devil”

Upright: Fear, Feeling Trapped, Temptation, Restriction

Reverse: Releasing dark thoughts, Hopelessness, Anxiety

The Devil symbolizes the time in your life when you’re being influenced by outside forces and restraining you or trapping you in a situation you don’t want to be in. It also often indicates depression and anxiety.

It also serves as a reminder to never lose faith in divinity and yourself, that whenever temptation comes near you, you have the power to overcome it. 

XVI – “The Tower”

Upright: Destruction, Sudden Change, Awakening, Rebuild

Reverse: Obstacles, Losses, Disaster, Personal Transformation

While the Devil is the card everyone’s terrified of, the Tower on the other hand is really what you should look out for. It implies the time in your life when you suffer the pain of an unexpected disaster. It reminds you to be ready for the worst time in your life.

On the brighter side, the Tower signifies that once you overcome these tremendous disasters, you can handle anything life has in store for you.

XVII – “The Star”

Upright: Good Health, Hope, Inspiration, Renewal, Faith

Reverse: Despair, Lack of Self-trust, Disappointments

The Star represents “the rainbow after the rain” situation of your life. It reminds you that overcoming severe challenges in your life brings great blessings and lessons in your life. This is the perfect time to recover after a huge loss and appreciate the renewal of life. 

On the other hand, failing to overcome The Tower puts a person in deeper mud than he has ever experienced and ultimately despairs. So it is very important to recover after overcoming major challenges.

XVIII – “The Moon”

Upright: Deception, Difficult Situation, Illusion, Anxiety

Reverse: Release of Fear, Confusion, Unhappiness, Mysteries Unveiled

The Moon symbolizes the point in your life when you have to understand and listen to what your subconscious is telling you. It also reminds you to be vigilant about the effects of anxiety and fears in your life. 

It also means that you are currently in a situation where you’re unsure and confused about yourself.

XIX – “The Sun”

Upright: Enlightenment, Joy, Happiness. Positivity, Warmth

Reverse: Immaturity, Sadness, Lack of Clarity, Feeling Down

Unlike the Devil and the Tower, this is a card you would want to show up on your deal. The Sun symbolizes the time in your life where you’re sparkling with joy and enlightenment. 

The Sun also serves as a reminder that you will be meeting people in your life that will bring happiness and warmth to you or the other way around. This is also the time where you’ll feel carefree, and self-contented. 

XX – “Judgment”

Upright: Awakening, Redemption, Crucial Decision-Making, Rebirth, Absolution

Reverse: Self-doubt, Stagnation, Ignorance

The Judgment symbolizes your supreme maturity and level of experience. You are now in a state of self-actualization, enabling you to make sound decisions for whatever life throws at you. Put simply, you are now ready to finish the journey of enlightenment. 

On the other hand, it also serves as a reminder that this is the last time you’ll be asked the truth, so be honest and accept the judgment the world will give to you.

XXI – “The World”

Upright: Achievement, Fulfillment, Success, Completion

Reverse: Stagnation, Incompletion, Failure, Delayed Success

The World signifies your triumph over all the obstacles and mishaps life has given you. It represents the fruit of your labor and lets you be genuinely happy about your accomplishments. This is the last chapter of your journey to enlightenment. 

Rejoice because the universe is proud and smiling upon your success. Don’t forget to enjoy the moment and celebrate your accomplishments. What a journey your life has been!

0 – “The Fool”

Upright: Beginnings, Leap of Faith, Adventure, Uncertainty

Reverse: Recklessness, Risk-taking, Poor Judgment, Stupidity

This is the beginning of your journey. Inexperienced, stupid, stubborn, and immature. This represents the start of your unforgettable journey in life. A time where you’re full of energy and determined to be successful one day. 

The days when you were reckless, immature, and always commit poor decisions. 

Minor Arcana Cards

The Minor Arcana, on the other hand, is composed of 56 cards which are divided into 4 suits containing 14 cards each. These resemble the modern playing cards of poker. The 4 suits of Minor Arcana are as follows: Cups (Hearts), Pentacles (Diamonds), Swords (Spades), and Wands (Clubs). 

Each suit in turn has 14 cards each with 4 court cards namely: King, Queen, Jack, and Knight. While the other 10 cards are numbered just like modern playing cards from ace to ten. 

Buddy Tarot says that although these cards are called “Minor Arcana”, they have a huge impact on our lives. The Minor Arcana cards represent the trials and conditions taking place in our everyday lives. The Minor Arcana Cards’ concept represents our day-to-day decisions ultimately affecting how we perceive our goals. 

Unlike the concept of Major Arcana, the meanings behind Minor Arcana cards can easily change depending on the actions we take to overcome a situation. 

How do Tarot Card Readers do a reading?

You might be thinking that you have to meet a woman wearing dark clothes with a ball of crystal on the table and a deck of cards waiting for you in a dark room to foretell your future, huh? 

Well, that’s not the case. Many Tarot Card readers don’t wear the kind of clothes you’re imagining right now. So, let’s go straight to how Tarot Card readers normally perform a reading. 

It’s simple. First, you have to ask the deck of cards a question, remember that it should be a broad and clear question. Next, it’s time to shuffle the deck of cards. Keep in mind that there are creative ways of shuffling a deck and there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

 Thirdly, you now have to pull your card (s). Now, this is how it goes, the more specific your question is, the more cards you have to pull from the deck, as simple as that. 

The last step is to lay them face down in your spread. After that, slowly flip them up and interpret their meanings as long as you go. And voila! You now know the meanings behind and the basic way of reading Tarot Cards.


So, are Tarot Cards real? Can they tell the future? — Technically? No, they can’t. No one can tell you what’s gonna happen in the next minute, hour, day, week, or year! 

However, Tarot Cards can serve as your guide to figure out what you need and want to do with your future. 

In the end, you are the only one who has the power to alter the course of your life and dreams. You are the one who’s making the final decision. 

So, whether you’ll base it on Tarot Cards reading or not, solely depends on you. Either way, you’ll find an answer to the question you’re asking. 

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