From renaissance Europe to modern America, Tarot cards have been used to divine the future, spiritually explore oneself, or to turn a quick buck through sleight of hand.
This article is to serve as an introduction to all those interested and want to know how Tarot Cards are read and to understand the Tarot cards meaning.
A brief history
Playing cards were introduced into Europe during the 14th century, the “tarot” decks became known for their vivid imagery.
The practice of using cards for divination (predicting the future) started to emerge in the 17th century. Then-Occultists argued that the Tarot had ancient origins and that the imagery painted across the cards had hidden symbolism.
During the 19th and 20th century, psychologists assumed that the cards represented archetypes of the human mind.
Ever since then, Tarot cards have been used as a popular form of divination for modern Occultists.
Understanding how Tarot cards are read will also help you understand each tarot card meaning and their connection.
Understanding Tarot Cards Meanings
Tarot Decks consist of seventy-eight cards which are divided into two parts, the Major and the Minor Arcanas.
The Major Arcana consists of twenty-two cards which revolve around many different archetypes.
The Minor Arcana, consisting of fifty-six cards divided into four parts or “houses”; Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles.
Each “house” revolves around a certain theme, for example, Pentacles focus on earthly matters such as money and possessions. Whilst Cups focuses on matters of love and relationships.
Whilst you will have different scholars give varied meanings for each tarot card, the general archetype stays the same throughout.
How Tarot Cards Are Read
The typical card reading goes as follows:
The cards are shuffled and then laid out in a certain pattern (usually face-down).
Each placement representing a topic in the divination, such as the person in question, past experiences, future influences, etc.
When every card is laid out and displayed, the reader attempts to interpret the meaning of the cards in the layout’s context.
Firstly you need to learn how to shuffle tarot cards, how to spread the tarot cards and finally the meaning of each tarot cards.
You will then learn how to tarot reading on yourself with the 3 Tarot Spreads reading.
6 Step by Step How to Shuffle Tarot Cards
1- Tarot reading is about energy. Therefore it is important to cleanse it. You can do this by simple by holding your cards and meditating. Use your intention to think about cleansing the cards. (You can also burn incense or sage. But this is optional)
2- While you are holding the cards think about the questions you would like to have answers.
3. Shuffle the Tarot Cards and let your hands guide you. Remember it is your energy connecting to the tarot cards.
4. The aim is to mix the cards, so you can divide the pile in two and spread the cards into two sections. Or you can divide the cards in half and shove the halves into one another.
5- For the 3 Tarot Spread you need to separate the tarot cards into three piles.
6- The first pile is your past, the second pile is your present, and the third is the future
5 Three Card Tarot Reading Spreads for Beginners – Tarot Layout
There are several types of tarot card readings and tarot card layouts you can use.
Some layouts or tarot card spreads are very complex. Here I will show you how to do a tarot reading on yourself in a simple but interesting way.
You can use your left or right hand when separating the cards into 3 piles. The most important is to put your energy when you are holding your cards and think about the questions you want to be answered.
See below how the Tarot cards in a three spread reading are represented.
1- Card Tarot Reading Spreads for Love
First card: Represents your role, what you want and what brings you together
Second card: Represents their role, what they want and what pulls you apart
Third card: Represents the relationship, the direction of the relationship and what needs your attention
2- Card Tarot Reading Spreads for Finances and Career
First card: Represents your financial challenges, where are you now and what holds me back
Second card: Represents your financial strengths, what is your career path and what makes you unique
Third card: Represents where to find opportunities, how to get there and how to make use of them
3- Card Tarot Reading Spreads for The Future
First card: Where you are now, what you want to become and what will inspire you
Second card: What is holding you back, what are the outside obstacles and what can you do overcome the challenges
Third card: Where the opportunities are, what are your chances to succeed, which way is more promising
4- Card Tarot Reading Spreads for Personal Development
First card: Past, Mind, Conscious
Second card: Present, Body, Subconscious
Third card: Future, Spirit, Superconscious
5- Card Tarot Reading Spreads for Any Specific Question
First card: Weakness, the challenges/past
Second card: Strenghs, the current situation/present
Third card: Actions to take/possible outcome
You can find the meaning of each card at the bottom of the page.
Different Tarot Card Decks
There are many different kinds of tarot decks made by various artists from across the globe. There is no “right” deck to choose from. You can choose the one you like most.
We All Have A Tarot Card That Matches Their Life Path Number. What’s Yours?
Did you know that your Life-Path number has its unique Tarot card?
This means that your life path has been mapped out in a detailed image that represents who you really are, and where you’re headed in this lifetime.
You may have already got your life path number if you first visited my post about Numerology and calculated your Life Path number. The Tarot Number Calculator is used in the same way.
You probably still remember it, but just in case, here are the calculations:
How to calculate your Life Path Number
Example of your Life-Path if your Birthday is 11/19/1971:
1: Add each of the numbers together: 11 + 19 + 1971 = 2001
2: Add together each individual number: 2+0+0+1 = 3
3: If the result in Step #2 is two digits, add them together to get a single digit.
This example reveals your Life Path number would be 3
Now use your calculated Life Path number and find your card from the list below to see what it declares about you.
In the above example, the Life Path number is 3.
Below, I’ve included all 9 Life Path cards and it will give you a basic understanding of how Tarot cards are read. Simply scroll down to find yours and see what it says about you.
Each card has a number called Arcanum linked to your Life Path. See below:
What Tarot Cards Represent
You can use the Tarot card meaning below to understand the meaning of each card.
Life Path #1: The Magician
Zodiac Affinity: Mercury
The Magician makes things happen as the archetypal achiever. It is the number one in the Tarot deck so the number of positive action. You are Initiative and can confidently make choices. As a leader, you have a natural skill of producing magical results when others could not.
You have spectacular imagination, creativity and you can easily persuade others with your ideas. You are brave and willing to take risks. This can lead to success in various areas of life.
If your card appears in your “Present” Tarot card read position then it is time to rethink new ways to resolve a current issue.
Life Path #2: The High Priestess
Zodiac Affinity: Moon
The archetypal of all that is unknown. It is also called the female Pope. The number two card on the Taro, it symbolizes the dualism, the connection between the real world and other realms.
Sometimes you may find difficult to understand your feelings about someone but it would be something to work by trusting your intuition. Full of mysteries, you can see beyond what is obvious but gives nothing away and you can keep secrets forever or until it is time to be revealed.
Life Path #3: The Empress
Zodiac Affinity: Venus
In harmony with the natural world, you have a powerful nurturing characteristic. There is a strong connection with mothering. Whether being a mother or the relationship with your mother, this has an important influence in your life. You might have to mother your partner…
Your weapons are emotions and feelings, The number three in the Tarot card symbolizes harmony and synthesis. It represents the Great Mother Goddess and as a pregnant figure, she is the guardian of motherhood. You are fair and sympathetic and a great member of the community, a great heart.
More inclined to luxurious living and focus on beauty and art. You have a very sensual awareness and perhaps need to discover your sexual needs.
Life Path #4: The Emperor
Zodiac Affinity: Aries
Representing the masculine, the archetype of authority. Number four represents the concert, structured thoughts, the reason and will-power rather than love.
You can be stubborn sometimes and need to take control of situations. However, as The Empress, it can also represent that you have a question concerning someone with authority. It could be a father-figure or you might be attracted to a strong or dominating person.
You are likely to be insensible to other’s feelings and passions however your courage, fearlessness and strength gives security to your partners.
Life Path #5: The Hierophant
Zodiac Affinity: Taurus
The archetype of Hierophant is number 5 in the Tarot Cards. It represents education and knowledge. You believe in tradition and like to follow rules. It represents the Pope, connected with creative thought, mental inspiration and moral law. Also a symbol of God on earth.
You are wise, and as a guru or spiritual adviser or teacher especially about your faith, you are trusted by many.
You sometimes, get frustrated with people when you try to indoctrinate them but you may need to accept that others have their own beliefs and other views about life.
Life Path #6: The Lovers
Zodiac Affinity: Gemini
As number six in the Tarot card, it represents ambivalence and tension. The card represents the power of love and that you might have to make a relationship choice.
Whichever path you choose will be the right one at the right moment for you. You may need to think about want from a relationship and your true values to resolve the conflict of choosing.
Sometimes you need to withdraw from other peoples influences to decide between tradition or independence which in the end might bring you the love you are looking for.
Life Path #7: The Chariot
Zodiac Affinity: Cancer
You are confident, have a healthy ego and self-belief. You would achieve success and overcome challenges by planning and organizing your goals thoroughly. A however you need to beat the rivals if necessary by mastering your emotions. Trust your integrity and you will achieve if you want victory.
A highly adventurous person that likes to take risks and being on the driving seats. However, like The Chariot, it might mean that an outside force could help you achieve your dreams. You are powerful, vibrant and self-confident. As t number 7 in the tarot cards, it represents unity with complexity, self-expression and independent action.
Interestingly as seven is the number of progress, as compared to the previous card ” The Lovers”, the Chariot has already trespass the dilemma between mother and lover.
This means that you are in control of your choices and not dominated by someone else, emotions or any outside disturbances. You inspire others as a natural leader and determination to win at all costs.
Life Path #8: Strength
Zodiac Affinity: Leo
The number 8 in the Tarot Card, it represents justice. It also a symbol of maturity, self-awareness and compassion.
You should be ready to forgive or forget and sometimes a clam approach would be better than a fight for justice. Analyze your relationship and think if it is a two way given and receiving. Learn to take responsibilities for your actions and being tolerant of other’s faults is an inner strength and maybe a way towards a positive future.
Note: in some Tarot card deck the Strength is the 11th card.
Life Path #9: The Hermit
Zodiac Affinity: Virgo
You are wise, methodical and a natural problem solver. Inclined to search for inner wisdom and reflects within for answers instead of asking people’s opinions.
Looking for the truth at all costs, you are truly committed to the ones you love. You like to retrieve yourself from others to investigate and think before making decisions.
Now you know how to calculate your Life Path card and how Tarot cards are read.
Try to memorize it because, if your Life Path card appears in a tarot reading you should pay attention!
Maybe the Universe is trying to send you a secret message about your destiny! After all, do you believe in coincidences?
It all depends on which placement in your spread it falls. For example, in a three-card reading for your Past, Present and Future, if your Life Path card falls:
- Past – it means what brought you here is part of your life path and this situation is karmic in nature.
- Present – it means that what you do now will determine the outcome of your destiny.
- Future – it means that you are about to change courses in your life direction, and you must trust your heart.
It works BEST for love readings because you can quickly see if your partner is part of your Life Path… or if “the one” is still out there looking for you. It is really interesting to discover our romantic affairs through card reading.
If you want to know someone’s intention for you, have a sneaking suspicion about your partner, or even if you just want to see what your romantic future holds in store. You can give it a try here.
The best of is that it costs nothing, it’s only three cards, and you get your results right away.
Just remember to look out for your Life Path Card!
Let me know if it shows up in your reading.
P.S. This three-card love reading reveals your romantic past, present and future, so it works perfectly with the tarot spread tips I just gave you.
Try it now while it’s fresh in your mind, and you’ll be shocked at how accurate it was.
Click here to get your reading and unveil the romantic secrets of your past, present and future.
Recommend tarot Card Book to learn more about Tarot Card Meanings:
For further reading, I recommend Alfred Douglas’ book ‘The Tarot’ for a more in-depth yet easy to understand and how Tarot cards are read.