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Meanings for Tarot Cards

Updated on January 2, 2011

Are You Confused About the Meanings for Tarot Cards?

Well, then you are definitely not alone!

It can be really confusing to figure out the meanings for individual tarot cards, especially with so much conflicting information out there.

I have been reading tarot cards for over 30 years, and I know that I can help you get a clearer idea of how to interpret the meanings for tarot cards.

Which Meanings For Tarot Cards is Right?

How to figure it all out.

It doesn't matter if you are a tarot card beginner or someone who has been reading the cards for years. With so many different tarot decks, books and information available, figuring it all out can be really confusing.

I was reading tarot cards for years before I even realized there were different kinds of decks from the one I had. Then I started reading all these different books, that all had conflicting meanings for each card. I started second guessing everything that I thought I knew about tarot cards.

The more information I learned, the more confused I became. Soon my readings started to suffer. The more I "learned" the more inaccurate my readings became.

Then I realized that I had too much information. When I read the cards I found myself trying to sort out the dozens of possible meanings for each card abd trying to force those meanings into the reading instead of letting my intuition guide me to what the card actually meant.

One I realized that there were no "right" or "wrong" meanings for tarot cards, my readings became accurate again.

Why Are There So Many Different Meanings For Tarot Cards?

Why isn't there an easier explanation?

There are hundreds of different tarot card decks and even more books on the subject.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many different and often conflicting meanings for tarot cards?

It is because reading the tarot cards is intuitive and everyone interprets the cards in their own unique and personal way.

Because the tarot is such an interesting subject and inspires creativity. Many people over the last 200 hundred years have designed their own tarot decks. Even more people than that have written books that reflect their own personal intuitive interpretations of the cards.

Now we have hundreds of tarot card books that all have similar yet conflicting meanings for each card.

Mystic Mama's Advice

For Tarot Card Beginners

If you are just starting to learn to read the tarot cards, then the very best advice that I can give you is to "keep it simple!"

Choose one method for learning the meanings for tarot cards and stick with it. Don't even look at the zillions of other books and stuff out there until you feel comfortable with the basic meanings of the cards.

Reading the tarot cards is more about intuition and learning to listen to your own "inner voice" than memorizing meanings for tarot cards

Develop your Intuition

Here are some excellent books to help you develop your intuition.

Sixth Sense - Unlocking Your Ultimate Mind Power

Awakening Intuition

Intuition - Awakening Your Inner Guide

Intuition Workout - A Practical Guide to Discovering and Developing Your Inner Knowing

Awakening Intuition - Using Your Mind-Body Network for Insight and Healing

Tarot Tips & Tricks

For learning the meanings for tarot cards

Really learning to read the tarot cards is more about feelings and intuition than memorization. Each tarot card can have a totally different meaning from one reading to another, depending on who you are reading the cards for.

The basic meanings for tarot cards that you find in the books are more like suggestions, than rules. Once you have the basic meanings memorized, the next step is to actually build a personal relationship with each card and create your own personal interpretation for each card.

There are a lot of different exercises that you can do to help facilitate that process. Meditation, journaling, rapid word association and the one card per day method can all help you develop a personal relationship with your tarot cards.

I personally use all of these methods from time to time, just to keep fresh and in tune with my cards. Especially if I get a new deck. I find that just as I may read the same particular card differently for different people, that I also read the same particular card differently for various decks.

Tarot Workbooks

Finding the right tarot learning system can make all the difference. I find that workbooks with learning exercises work the best.

The Tarot Workbook - A Step-by-Step Guide to Discovering the Wisdom of the Cards

The Tarot According To You - A Workbook

Tarot for Your Self - A Workbook for Personal Transformation Second Edition

Tarot Journal

Rapid Word Association Exercise

The First Step For Beginners

This is always the very first exercise that I use with students when I teach a tarot class or workshop. It is also the first thing I do whenever I buy a new deck of tarot cards.

1.) Get a notebook and pen or pencil and write down the numbers 1-78, give each number at least one line.

2.) Take your deck of tarot cards and set it in front of you with the cards face down.

3.) Turn over the first card and write down the first thought that pops into your head. Then write down the name of that card.

4.) Do this for every card in the deck.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When doing this exercise it is very important to quickly write down the very first thought that pops into your head, no matter how strange it may seem.

This can be difficult if you are already familiar with the basic meanings of each card, but you really have to put everything you already know in the back of your mind and just let your intuition take over.

When You are done you should have a list that looks something like this:

1.) heartache - 3 of swords

2.) playful fun - the fool

3.) freedom - Ace of wands

4.) wealthy - 9 of pentacles

When you are all done, go back and look at each card again and think about why that particular card gave you that particular thought.

I like to keep a notebook just for this tarot exercise. It's really fun to see how the same card can give you a totally different result on different days.

This exercise not only helps you get familiar with the cards, but it also helps you learn to trust your intuition.

If you compare your results with the meanings given for each card in just about ant tarot book, you will often see how close your first impression of each card is to the suggested meanings for each card.

This exercise teaches us to hear and trust our "inner voice" and helps us to do the same later when we are actually reading the tarot cards for someone else.

Tarot Secrets Revealed!

Learn the truth about Tarot cards & the secrets behind the myths

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Good lenses on Tarot with excellent recommendations for resource material. Nice job.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

    • julcal profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks again Bambi, i love the exercise you've given in this lens. A great starting point for me. I have my first deck and my first book, but i'll go with your exercises without knowing a darn thing! I'm really diggin' these Tarot lenses.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I've never read tarot cards or had them read to me, but I like your lens. I really didn't know it was more intuitive than anything or that there were all sorts of different decks. Interesting!

    • ayngel boshemia profile image

      Ayngel Overson 

      9 years ago from Crestone, Co

      You have such a lovely writing style, very clear and concise. Very positive. Good luck with Giant, I'm rooting for you.

    • mysticmama lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Bambi Watson 

      9 years ago

      [in reply to Portable_eBay]

      No...I can't believe 2 different people have asked this ridiculous question in the same day...OMG!

      The tarot, psychic ability or any form of divination can only be used to help cannot be used for self-serving or greedy purposes...if it is, then bad karma comes back on the person who is greedy and shallow enough to do something that creepy...psychic ability is a gift that will be taken away if mis-used...unfortunatley there are many bad people in the world that give the tarot and other forms of divination a bad name by pretending to be psychic in order to scam people out of money...those people should be very careful, because anything negative you do in the world will in due time come back on you tenfold.

    • MatCauthon profile image


      9 years ago

      Are Tarot cards good for picking up lottery numbers? Time to dig up Grandma's tarot set...

    • mysticmama lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Bambi Watson 

      9 years ago

      [in reply to NanLT]

      Thanks NanLT, but just to clarify, the advice is to choose just one book or system for learning the tarot cards basic meanings and not look at any other books until you have a strong relationship built with the cards.

      Though in reality one could very well learn to read the tarot without ever opening a book of meanings, because as I said all of the books only give suggested meanings...there is no right or wrong meaning for any particular card. What ever your personal intuition tells you that card means, is quite literally that cards meaning for you. It is completely possible to accurately read tarot cards withour ever once seeing anyone elses suggested meanings for the cards. In fact in the old days, people did learn the tarot soley through their own intuition...another reason why so many of the "books" have conflicting suggested meanings.

    • NanLT profile image


      9 years ago from London, UK

      I found this to be very helpful indeed. I have an on again off again relationship with tarot cards. I can read them for others but tend to be too biased to read for myself.

      Best advice I ever saw for reading cards though: Use the book until you start seeing meanings that aren't in the book. Then get rid of the book.

    • mysticmama lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Bambi Watson 

      9 years ago

      [in reply to MikeMoore]

      No lenses about witchcraft from me...sorry, but I've learned to stay far away from any subjects that deal with religion or politics...though you may see some herbal remedies and rootwork in the future...which some people consider a form of witchcraft...lmao

    • MikeMoore LM profile image

      MikeMoore LM 

      9 years ago

      Bambi, your lenses are always so interesting. They're also on subjects I often wonder about. Is there a witchcraft lens in the works? If there is, you're a freaking mind reader!


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