TAROT CARDS MEANINGS
LEARING TAROT CARDS
By Steven Bolton
(Founder & owner of tarotcardsmeanings.info)
10th September 2012
• If you’re looking for information on Tarot card meanings I am glad you have found this
presentation. This presentation has been created to provide clear and concise information for
anyone who would like information on how to read Tarot cards. I have a long standing
interest in the Tarot cards and have found there is a lack of concise information on Tarot
reading. Within this presentation I outline the structure of the Tarot card deck and some of
the more popular methods of spreading the Tarot card deck for a tarot reading. I also discuss
the history of the Tarot cards.
• History of the Tarot Cards
• The origins of the Tarot Cards is shrouded in mystery with influences attributed from a wide range of
cultures and rumored to contain Egyptian wisdom, Mithras religion, Medieval heretic and Pagan Celtic
beliefs. The first recorded use of Tarot cards is in southern Europe in the 14th Century, where they were
originally used for a mixture of educational purposes and the playing of card games. Different packs were
designed to teach different things for example logic, Greek Mythology, Religion, Geography and even the
art of carving of meat and fish. The origin of the name Tarot probably originates from the Italian word for
cards ‘Tarocchi’, which comes from the valley of the Taro River in northern Italy. The modern Tarot card
pack is said to descend from the French Tarot of Marseillies, which contains 78 cards with 22 trumps. The
first significant record of Tarot cards being used on a more spiritual level was in 1781, when the Swiss
occult writer, clergyman and freemason Antoine Court de Gibelin wrote of Tarot cards meanings in his
book on civilization. He believed Tarot cards hid information on the structure of the world that had been
hidden in a simple game by Egyptian priests to avoid the loss of their knowledge in the world of increasing
religious dominance. The first known fortune-teller to have used Tarot cards is Alliette from Paris. He
believed Tarot card readings showed possible future events such as travel, sadness, love and fortune.
Set-up of the Tarot Card Deck
• The Tarot card deck is divided into 2 sections called the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. This division
roughly relates to the Court cards and Spot cards in the modern deck of playing cards. There are a total of
78 Tarot cards, comprising 22 Major Arcana Tarot cards and 56 Minor Arcana Tarot cards.
• The Major Arcana
• These cards do not have suits and are character cards whose appearance during a tarot card reading
indicates something of special significance.
• The Minor Arcana
• Consists of fifty six cards, divided into four suits of fourteen cards each; ten numbered cards and four court
cards. The court cards are the King, Queen, Knight, and Page, in each of the four tarot suits. The suits are
wands, cups, swords and pentacles.
• Each suite is similar to normal playing cards (ace to ten), with the addition of an extra Court card, the Page.
• The playing card equivialents to the Tarot suites are:
• Wands ….. Clubs
• Cups …….. Hearts
• Swords ….. Spades
• Pentacles . Diamonds
• Each suit refers to a specific area of the subjects life, thus there are four broad arenas of life, each
represented respectively above by the astrological signs of Fire, (passion), Water, (emotions), Air, (ideas),
and Earth (physical).
Spreading the Tarot cards
• To perform a Tarot card reading, the Tarot deck is typically shuffled by the subject, and is laid out in one of
a variety of patterns called “spreads”. They are then interpreted by the reader for the subject. There are
many ways of setting out the cards for a Tarot card reading. These are three of the most popular Tarot
• Three Tarot Card Spread
• Three cards are selected with the first representing the past, the second the present and the third the
• Five Tarot card answer
• Usually used to help the subject with one or more particular questions they have at that time in their lives.
The five Tarot cards selected are used to indicate:
• 1. Current situation the question relates to.
• 2. What actually caused the problem.
• 3. What sort of response is needed.
• 4. What ill effects might result.
• 5. The most likely result after action is taken.
• The Tarot card calendar
• Twelve Tarot cards are selected which are placed in a circle in front of the subject. The subject is usually
asked to turn over the card nearest the one o’clock position in the circle of Tarot cards. This card
represents the general situation they will have in the next month. This process then proceeds around the
circle and each card is then related to the important aspects of each subsequent month.