How To Get Started With Tarot

Close-up of a fortune teller reading tarot cards on a table with purple tablecloth

Are you committed to unraveling the mysteries of your future? Or, do you indulge in tarot for fun? No matter the reason, there is one thing we can all agree on; the tarot deck has a lot of cards. As a beginner, you will need to learn the name and meaning of each card. That is the only way you can begin to understand what the cards are trying to show you.

Of course, learning everything can be intimidating for anyone, especially if you’re just starting out. That’s where we come in. We have laid out everything you need to know. We will cover everything from how many cards there are in a deck to what each card means.

Understanding The Basics Of A Tarot Deck

Most people will be using the Rider-Waite standard tarot card deck. However, there are different types of tarot card decks and best tarot reading sites on the market. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you get a Rider-Waite deck or a Thoth tarot deck. Your deck likely consists of 78 cards.  

Every single card is unique, with its own imagery and meaning. Moreover, you will draw multiple cards in a single reading, and you have to combine their meaning for divination. Furthermore, these cards have two categories, i.e., the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.

You can also seek professional tarot reading at Purple Garden.

The Major Arcana

There are 22 Major Arcana cards in a tarot card deck. Also known as the trump cards, these cards focus on the bigger picture during divination. Additionally, the Major Arcana tarot cards can be arranged from 0 to 21 and depict the fool’s journey.

  • The Fool

The Fool (Card 0) is the first of the 22 Major Arcana cards and represents the beginning of a journey. Also, it stands for child-like carefree ignorance and means that you are starting a new journey. Moreover, during this journey, you will likely learn things that will help you grow.

  • The Magician

The Magician card, number 1, stands for manifestation and willpower. Therefore, seeing this card during your reading usually means that you can pass whatever hurdle you are facing. 

  • The High Priestess

If you see the High Priestess during your readings, it means that something is afoot. Hence, you need to listen to your instincts before proceeding, even though the obstacle may not be obvious. The card represents wisdom and intuition.

  • The Empress

This Major Arcana card stands for femininity, nurturing, and creative prowess. Thus, the appearance of this card means that you should turn to your nurturing side. That can include nurturing your children, yourself, a project, or something else that is close to your heart. 

  • The Emperor

The Emperor represents authority and leadership, in contrast to the Empress’s stands for a more gentle approach. Therefore, seeing this card means that you need to reach your goals through a structured approach.  

  • The Hierophant

The Hierophant stands for tradition and morality. The card shares a link with spiritual matters and has a lot to do with your religious and ethical beliefs. Thus, its appearance in a tarot reading suggests that you need to return to the more traditional ways instead of being innovative.

  • The Lovers

As the name indicates, this tarot card is about your love life. It shows that you have to make a big decision in your relationships. However, you mustn’t be hasty, as the easiest option may not be the right one. Think carefully and then make your decision. 

  • The Chariot

If the Chariot shows up in your tarot spread, it is time to act. The card is usually a herald of triumph. Therefore, it signals that you must act now to overcome whatever obstacle you face. 

  • Strength

As evident by its name, the Strength card signifies strength and courage. Just like the Chariot, the card represents your ability to overcome obstacles. However, this Major Arcana card also says that you should use your compassion to tamper that strength to help others.

  • The Hermit

The Hermit appears when you need some alone time to focus on introspection. Furthermore, this quiet introspection will help your personal growth and help you achieve spiritual enlightenment. 

  • Wheel of Fortune

One of the more favorable Major Arcana tarot cards, the Wheel of Fortune, signifies good luck. The card shows that everything is working out in your favor at the cosmic level. That could mean unexpected opportunities and strokes of good fortune tellers. Hence, you should be on the lookout for any boons from the universe. 

  • Justice

The Justice card stands for fairness and karma. So if you have been facing any injustices in your life, this is the time for you to get justice. It also means that you need to be careful while making decisions. Therefore, you need to ensure that all your decisions are fair and maintain a balance. 

  • The Hanged Man

This Major Arcana card represents a time in your life when you need to be patient. The card stands for sacrifices and letting go. You don’t get everything in your life, and sometimes, you must simply surrender to unfortunate circumstances. However, the sacrifice could be good for you in the long run. 

  • Death

The Death tarot card may seem morbid, but the card carries a more symbolic meaning. Just like death is a door for new beginnings, this card signifies the start of a new phase. Thus, the current stage in your life is ending, and you need to start moving forward with your new life.

  • Temperance

Temperance means moderation, and the Temperance tarot card warns you against going to extremes. Furthermore, it means the situation in from of you is complicated and requires deliberation. Hence, you need to think before acting and handle the situation carefully. Take the expression, slow and steady wins the race, to heart.

  • The Devil

The Devil seems like a bad card to get during readings. That’s because it shows you that you are engaged in some unhealthy habits. That could mean being addicted to something. Even social media or fitness can be harmful if taken overboard. Thus, this card is a wake-up call for the reader.

  • The Tower

Getting the Tower tarot card can seem like some major bad luck. The card signifies tragedy, sudden massive change, and upheaval. It means that everything in your life will go up in flames, and you have to prepare to pull through this tragedy. The process will be painful, but it is also an opportunity to cut out the rotten parts of your life. 

  • The Star

The Star tarot card usually shows up during the reading after a person has experienced trauma. The card signifies healing and self-love. The healing is spiritual and will give you a new purpose to continue with your life. Furthermore, you will connect with your inner self and the divine. 

  • The Moon

The Moon card signifies delusion and risks. The card often appears as a warning to readers to say that not all is as it seems. Therefore, you need to dig deeper and find out what’s really present underneath. You need to trust your gut and be more intuitive.  

  • The Sun

The Sun tarot card signifies happiness and fertility and is a sign of good news. So even if you have been having a hard time, you can be sure that there is happiness to come. Happiness can be in the form of success in your projects or other good news.

  • Judgment

Judgment and karma are very close. The Judgment card means you need to reflect on your past and the decisions you have made. If you have wronged someone or done something wrong, now is the time to correct it. Furthermore, if you have been wronged, it may be time to forgive and let go.  

  • The World

The last card in the Major Arcana, The World, is a good card to see in your tarot readings. It means success in your endeavors. The card signifies the end of a project. You have accomplished whatever it was that you set out to do. The previous phase of your life is over, and you are all set to start a new chapter. 

The Minor Arcana

In the second category of the tarot deck, there are 56 Minor Arcana cards. Where the Major Arcana shows the bigger picture for a person, the Minor Arcana cards deal with day-to-day events.  The Minor Arcana cards give more context and meaning to the Major Arcana tarot cards. Thus, Reading the major and Minor Arcana cards together in a tarot reading gives the complete message. You can also read about the best astrology sites.

The 56 Minor Arcana cards are divided into four suits. The suits are Wands, Cups, Pentacles, and Swords and each suit has fourteen cards. Moreover, different suits represent one of the four elements. Thus, you need to keep these elements in mind while you read tarot cards. The fourteen cards are the same in each suit. They start with an Ace, nine numbered cards (2-10), and the four court cards. Furthermore, the court cards include the Page, Knight, Queen, and the King. The suits roughly resemble normal playing cards. 

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  • Suit of Cups

The Suit of Cups is connected to water and deals with emotions. The tarot cards in this suit deal with any emotion you might experience, whether love or rage. Thus, they indicate what you feel and how you might react to various events.

  • Ace of Cups: The Ace of Cups represents new beginnings. As such, it embodies all the excitement and optimism associated with anything new. 
  • Two of Cups: The Two of Cups deals with relationships. Those relationships can be between lovers, friends, and family. Thus, the card represents love and happiness.
  • Three of Cups: The third of the Cups cards, the Three of Cups, represents celebrations. It is a celebration of your friends and your bond with those around you. 
  • Four of Cups: This tarot card shows that you might be feeling trapped. That feeling can be a result of losing a good opportunity. 
  • Five of Cups: You see this card when you feel sad and gloomy. However, you must remember no matter how much you despair, this time will pass. 
  • Six of Cups: The Six of Cups is for nostalgia. No matter where you are today, you will reflect on the past. This nostalgia could lead you to reconnect with someone from your past. 
  • Seven of Cups: You’re at a crossroads. The Seven of Cups signifies that you have plenty of choices. However, you must be careful and resist the temptation to choose the easiest path. 
  • Eight of Cups: This card is all about letting go. Some situations require you to step back for a while to better deal with them. Stepping away can be hard; however, it allows you to find your center and reassess what you need to do. 
  • Nine of Cups: The Nine of Cups deals with prosperity as your wishes come true. Prosperity doesn’t always mean monetary gains. Sometimes your dreams are more selfless and immaterial. The wishes mean you are triumphing, so enjoy the moment while it lasts. 
  • Ten of Cups: You are done with what you need to do, and now is the time to harvest the rewards. The Ten of Cups signifies happiness coming your way; you need to open yourself up for that happiness. 
  • Page of Cups: One of the court cards, the Page of Cups, represents the idealism of youth. This idealism can also translate into naivety, and the person must work to achieve maturity.
  • Knight of Cups: The Knight of Cups can hint at a new opportunity, perhaps something close to your heart. You need to consider it and go for what makes your heart happy. 
  • Queen of Cups: There are situations in your life that require a more intuitive approach. This card asks you to embrace your feminine side and be more compassionate.
  • King of Cups: The last card in this suit is all about emotional wisdom. You need to open yourself up to others to share your emotional experiences. 
  • Suit of Pentacles

Representing the Earth, this suit deals with the material world. The suit represents all the wins and losses you will face in your finances and career. Thus, If you have questions regarding the economy or other more material things, this is the suit you use. 

    • Ace of Pentacles: The Ace in this suit represents prosperity. Opportunities are coming your way, and this tarot card asks you to avail them.
    • Two of Pentacles: You’re tied up in multiple projects. This tarot card reminds you to prioritize and focus on one thing at a time for better performance. 
    • Three of Pentacles: Going at everything alone might seem tempting because asking others for help is hard. However, you can’t do everything by yourself and should ask the people around you for help.
    • Four of Pentacles: You need to focus on yourself, but that doesn’t make it okay for you to be selfish. Take a balanced approach in your life.
    • Five of Pentacles: This tarot card shows that you are struggling. However, you can’t lose hope. Keep looking. There’s something you’re missing that can help you.
    • Six of Pentacles: True happiness comes from sharing your good fortune. However, you must be careful as careless generosity can drain you.
    • Seven of Pentacles: Keep working patiently. Your success is near, and you must persevere to achieve your goals. The card tells you to wait longer and plan for your long-term success.
    • Eight of Pentacles: This tarot card tells you to get to work and stop lounging around. You need to hone your talent and work diligently to achieve success.
    • Nine of Pentacles: One of the more celebratory tarot cards, the Nine of Pentacles, asks you to appreciate all you have. You must accept that you have come a long way and enjoy your success.
    • Ten of Pentacles: You have everything you need – prosperity and a good relationship with the people around you. The card asks you to reflect on what you wish for those behind you. 
    • Page of Pentacles: There is a difference between dreaming and fantasizing. The Page is asking you to have more realistic dreams. Thus, the dreams will be achievable. The cards also herald good news.
    • Knight of Pentacles: Consistency is the key to success. If you stick to a plan and keep working towards your goals, you’ll achieve them. The Knight is telling you to be consistent with your efforts.
    • Queen of Pentacles: You need to achieve your goal but remain grounded. No need to get lost in your frenzy to do work. Trust that you will get to the end in time.
    • King of Pentacles: You are about to get a win. In terms of money, success is just around the corner. Now, it’s time to share all you have learned with other people and help them get stability. 
  • Suit of Wands

Fire burns hot and is unpredictable. As representatives of this element, the cards in the suit of wands act as catalysts toward actions. They deal with a person’s creativity and intuition. The Wands cards also depict a person’s beliefs and values. 

    • Ace of Wands: As with all the other suits, the Ace heralds new beginnings. You will have your greatest bursts of creativity during this period. Therefore, you must be enthusiastic and use as much creativity as possible.
    • Two of Wands:  You have decisions to make and paths to travel. It’s all a part of moving forward in your personal journey. However, the second Wand card advises you to be careful while making these choices.
    • Three of Wands: You have done much work to get to this point. Now, you need to walk towards your destiny. Don’t be afraid to take the next step.
    • Four of Wands: This card advises you to celebrate. If you are in a new place, network with the community and exchange ideas. 
    • Five of Wands: There is competition on the horizon. You need to see if it will enable growth or turn into a rivalry. Subsequently, you need to deal with the conflict depending on its origins.
    • Six of Wands: You have done a lot, and now you’re getting the recognition you deserve. The tarot card tells you it’s time to celebrate your wins, no matter their nature. 
    • Seven of Wands:  You are resilient, and it’s time to use that resilience to work your way to the top. Stay focused on your goal and work towards it. 
    • Eight of Wands: Events are unfolding quickly and changing the scenario. You must make swift decisions to keep up with that change. It’s an exciting time with loads of opportunities. 
    • Nine of Wands: You have a lot going on, and it’s finally getting to you. You feel like giving up, but you’re nearing your goals. The cards advise you to persevere as you’re almost at the finish line. 
    • Ten of Wands: You’re struggling and quickly nearing a burnout. This is the time to slow down and think of a way to achieve your goals without tiring yourself out. Work smarter, not harder. 
    • Page of Wands: You can finally start whatever exciting thing you have been pushing back because of work. Perhaps, this is the time for you to find inspiration for trying new things.
    • Knight of Wands: You have taken a risk for your goals. The card signals that you will receive the rewards for your risk. In short, the card encourages you to keep going and take calculated risks.
    • Queen of Wands: You are doing what you need to do and doing it confidently. Thus, the Queen of Wands is here to guide you as you proceed while remaining self-assured.
    • King of Wands: A king exudes authority and power. Similarly, you have the power to shape your legacy, but you mustn’t be selfish. Instead, use your talents to help others.

  • Suit of Swords

The final suit in the tarot deck, the Suit of Swords, is associated with air. The element is associated with communication and mental clarity. Hence, the suit depicts how your thoughts manifest themselves. 

  • Ace of Swords: This card indicates a major change and news that will affect you. It also offers mental clarity, which boosts your decision-making abilities.
  • Two of Swords: There is an obstacle in your life. It could be a blockage that you have induced yourself. This tarot card indicates that you’re stuck and warns you to proceed carefully to deal with the blockage.
  • Three of Swords: You are dealing with heartbreak, and nothing seems to be going your way. Therefore, the tarot card indicates the need to overcome and deal with your grief. 
  • Four of Swords: Everything is chaotic, and your anxiety is getting the best of you. This Swords card reminds you to take a step back and refresh yourself.
  • Five of Swords: This tarot card is an omen of upcoming battles. They are not impossible to deal with, but you must be mindful of how you deal with them. Be careful not to crush others in the battle ahead. 
  • Six of Swords: This is the time to proceed with your life and heal. You need to let go of people and emotions holding you down. 
  • Seven of Swords: Something is wrong. You must be careful with the people around you as they might not have your best interests. Hence, this tarot card advises you to consider what you share.
  • Eight of Swords: You are in a slump. There are factors tying you down and making you unproductive. Therefore, it is time to look at those things and see how much of this is your own doing.
  • Nine of Swords: There’s a shadow around you. Something has been keeping you up at night and driving you to despair. Therefore, the card serves as a warning to overcome this despair before it’s too late.
  • Ten of Swords: Sometimes, you fail despite your best efforts. This tarot card signals that you accept this failure and let go. Thus, you should learn from your mistakes and start again.
  • Page of Swords: The Page of Swords appears to tell you to follow whatever ideas you have. You can only realize your dreams if you act on them.
  • Knight of Swords: You need the courage to proceed with your goals. The Knight tells you to do what you must do with tenacity and enthusiasm.
  • Queen of Swords: Rather out of character for the queen, she wants you to think logically before doing anything. 
  • King of Swords: Like the previous tarot card, the king advises you to use your intellect. Thus, you need to take your time and take an objective approach to the matter at hand.

Conclusion: How Many Cards Are On A Tarot Deck?

That concludes our short intro to a standard tarot deck. Now that you know what all 78 cards stand for, you can start your reading sessions. Use both the Major and Minor Arcana cards to see what the future holds for you. Professionals at Purple Garden know how to read these cards accurately and precise.

The tarot deck may seem like a playing card deck, but it can be so much more. Thus, it is up to you to use it for divination or fun. Of course, practice makes perfect. Thus, you should get in a ton of practice before you can get really good at reading the cards. 

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Jhalak Choudhary

Jhalak Choudhary is an experienced editor and proofreader who has held their impression on the industry for 3 years now. Their ability to work above and beyond brings only the best foot forward. Jhalak Choudhary has had extensive experience in...
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