The Meaning of Each Tarot Card

by Charlie Reese

Tarot card meanings are as varied as the styles and pictures n the various decks. Tarot card meanings are also clouded by the fact that to some degree, interpretation is left up to the instincts of any individual working with the cards. However, there are general guidelines to follow in the quest to understand tarot card meanings. Following is a general interpretation of the standard cards in a “typical” deck.

High Priestess: This card represents female qualities. She portrays pure, sublime, and benevolent influence. Mysterious and unknown, she balances the masculine strength in the Magician’s card.

Empress: The Empress is a symbol of love, beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, completeness, charm. She is the sign of abundance, luxury, friendship, tenderness and joy. Turning up the Empress card implies something is appropriate in the life of the reader (or recipient of a reading). She is also fate’s favor.

Emperor: With a strong masculine energy, this card appears as a denomination of war. He represents conquering, clashes, ambition, or feat. He also reflects the concept that earthly power has somehow been completed.

Hierophant: The meaning of this card is that of stubborn strength. This can mean entrepreneurship, effort, endurance.

Lovers: Representative of an inclination and openness toward inspiration and spiritual sensation, this card can also signify that the recipient is prone to childishness and superficiality.

Chariot: This is the card of triumph and victory. Triumph comes as a consequence of strength and great effort.

Strength: Courage, great energy, effectiveness and possession and use of power are the symbols of this card.

Hermit: The implied isolation of the Hermit represents internal enlightenment.

Wheel of Fortune: As a rule of thumb, this card speaks of change of luck, implying “good” luck. It also implies fate or destiny.

Justice: This card represents righteousness in a broad sense. It can represent harmony in that through righteous justice, harmony is the final consequence.

Hanged Man: As a symbol of forced sacrifice, the Hanged Man demonstrates fatal loss, suffering, defeat, and failure.

Death: Either deliberate or unintentional, this card represents a transformation and a change.

Temperance: This image represents fulfillment as a result of accurate calculations.

Devil: Descriptions of this card include inconsiderate and irresistible forces, ambition, temptation, obsession, hard work, stubbornness, rigidity, dissatisfaction and suffering.

Tower: The Tower stands for disagreements, struggle, collapse, lost plans, sudden death.

Star: This card represents hope, faith, inspiration, unexpected help, clear insight, and spiritual insight. It can also mean daydreaming and disappointment.

Moon: The dark side of daylight, the Moon represents illusion, deceit, fraud, bewilderment, embarrassment, insincerity and mistakes.

Sun: This is the symbol of glory, pride, gain, wealth, triumph, pleasure, enjoyment, truth. Its counter meanings include shamelessness, arrogance and vanity.

Judgment: This card always implies that the recipient should make a final step regarding a specific situation in his/her life.

World: This card implies the ending of an issue.

Fool: Denoting the beginning of an adventure, this card expresses enthusiasm, initiative, resourcefulness and agility.

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