The Fool is seen as a foolish character, not looking where he is going, balanced precariously with one foot on solid ground and the other in mid air, seemingly ready to dance off the cliff. The Fool represents the willingness to take a step into the unknown, facing the future with blind faith and being willing to take a leap of faith. This presents the start of a new venture, a new life chapter or a new journey. The Fool isn’t looking for guarantees, doesn’t have a road map and might not even know where things are going to lead. This is that situation where life presents you with no other option, but to move forward, where the only choice is to move on. When the Fool shows up in a spread it is time to commit to the future rather than the past and especially when this might require a leap of faith. This is the first step in the archetypal Hero’s journey.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Fool, this could be a caution against being impulsive or a warning against taking a risk. A reversed card can indicate the reverse of its upright meaning, where you are stuck, unable to find the courage to move or to take the first step.
The Magician is the card of manifestation but in its embryonic state. All the ingredients are there, you have the skills and resources to act. Something is ready to be embraced. This card represents that moment where everything is there but it hasn’t yet manifested, but it is about to. The Magician can indicate that the laws of attraction are at work but only because you are ready and the timing is right, in that it can represent the definition of luck, where outward opportunities present that can be seized because you are ready. You have done the prep work. That connection to the divine through your own sixth sense, making it important to trust your instincts. Information is being passed from the divine through your intuition. The small plant at the bottom left hand corner of the card represents the potential for growth, something small able to grow into something larger. Alchemy, synchronicity or magic, blending of right idea at the right time.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Magician can represent the trickster, with someone not being completely honest with you or where you are not being completely honest with yourself. If something is stuck, not moving or not happening it could be that either you have yet to fully prepare or the timing isn’t yet right.
The High Priestess represents feminine intuition in the highest form, a connection to the divine and to spirit. Whether for a man or woman, the High Priestess represents connecting to a voice or a power beyond ourselves and the conscious mind. When the High Priestess shows up in a spread it is time to trust your intuition, your psychic abilities or your sixth sense, whatever you like to call it. Above the High Priestess, we see a host of heavenly angels, men and woman of the church and then below we see the comings and goings of everyday life. The High Priestess is the link that we all have within us, between the mundane and the divine. For that reason the High Priestess is the card of balance, the balance between the mundane and the divide or between the conscious and the subconscious mind, filtering information between the two, leaving you with a sense of knowing.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the High Priestess could indicate that you are failing to trust your own intuition or you are finding it a challenge to trust what your instincts are telling you. The High Priestess is a link to your intuition and to the divine so can only come from a place of truth, so always needs to be trusted.
The Empress is connected to the Earthly realms and especially to fertility. While an obvious feminine energy and the Empress does represent mothering and nurturing this also represents anything in our life that is ripe with possibility, fertile with the promise of new life and growth. The Empress has a subtle look of pregnancy about her and can represent an actual pregnancy. However, in most cases, it represents a situation or a time in your life that is pregnant with possibility and rich with potential. This is a card of abundance and fertility, whether that be the potential for a new life, a new project, a new relationship or a new chapter in your life. This could indicate the start of a journey, where you are venturing out into the world, full of promise and with the potential for what the future might bring. This is one of the most positive cards in Tarot but is less about what you have now and is more about the potential of what could be.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Empress, this could mean that you are failing to nurture yourself or you don’t feel that you have all that you need. The Empress represents the physical body so this could be a call to take better care of your health.
Where the Empress represents the feminine, the Emperor represents the masculine and even the patriarchy and in both men and woman, our inner strength, power and ability to stand firm. Externally this can literally mean your father, a father figure in your life or a person of authority, in a position of power or it can represent the system itself as in bureaucracy. This can represent coming up against a person or situation in your life that is unyielding or unbending, with an unwavering sense of conviction and who can take on a leadership role. Or this can represent finding that within yourself. What the Emperor lacks in emotion he makes up for in power. This is a person you might go to for advice or help, in a personal or a professional capacity but who you will not be able to influence or sway. Internally this can represent reaching within to find your own inner strength, a sense of conviction, willpower or standing strong without wavering from your position.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Emperor, as he represents power, this could indicate that you are feeling disempowered, that you have given your power away. It could indicate that someone has power over your, whether real or imagined.
The literal translation of the word Hierophant is ‘priest’ or ‘holy man’. It’s a connection between religion and spirituality. The bridge between man and god. The connection with all things philosophical and of knowledge handed down through the ages. The connection to ancient knowledge, teachings and wisdom and can represent higher education, the study of ancient oracles such as Astrology or the Tarot. Unlike the High Priestess, which the Hierophant is considered to be the male partner for, where her focus is on a personal connection with the divine or your subconscious, here the focus is on collective wisdom. This is a card that indicates study, learning, gaining knowledge or either reaching out to a teacher or mentor or becoming one yourself. The search for answers, knowledge and wisdom through study, books or education from those that have gone before you.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Hierophant, this could represent a sense of dissatisfaction for a life that is shallow or lacks meaning, wanting more from life in the form of something deeper or more meaningful. On a more mundane level, it could also indicate that you don’t have all the answers or information you need and that you need to dig deeper to find the truth or seek out an expert.
As is the case with all the cards, sometimes the meaning is literal and sometimes there is a deeper meaning. In a literal sense, the Lovers card is what is says on the package – this is about love, lovers and all things romantic. Here, hovering over the Lovers is the white bird that presents loyalty, representing a love affair that has the ability to stand the test of time. Yet the Lovers card also has a deeper meaning in that it represents a choice, often in love but not always. Your heart might be torn between two lovers, not sure who to pledge your heart to or it could be a choice about whether to begin or end a relationship. Outside a relationship, this can represent having reached a point of crisis in a job or any situation where the time has come where a choice has to be made one way or the other. Often, when you are in this situation the choice is often made harder because there is no clear choice, yet a choice must be made.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Lovers, this could indicate infidelity or it could indicate that you are facing the consequences of choices made in the past. In a situation where you are unhappy in a relationship, a job or any situation you are in, it could indicate that there isn’t the right amount of give and take.
The Chariot represents movement and especially forward movement or momentum. You’re going somewhere either literally, like a journey, moving houses, changing jobs or that you are going somewhere in terms of going up in the world. This implies that where there has been inaction or where nothing has been happening, there is now an opportunity for movement and for things to move forward. In the card a woman sits in the driver’s position and the birds pulling the chariot are poised, ready to take flight, yet she has no reins in her hand so has no control and this indicates that sometimes things are happening so fast that we are along for the ride. This is either because we are being swept along by outside forces, by our own competitiveness or an inner drive to make things happen that we feel we have no control over. The Chariot is not a card that indicates that you have decided that it is time to take action and more that action itself has decided that it is time.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Chariot, this could have several implications. On the one hand, it could feel that things are going too fast and you have little control. On the other hand, it could indicate that things aren’t moving and as a reverse card can often mean the literal opposite, that things are stuck or stalled.
In the Strength card the name says it all, in that this is the card of strength in all its forms, whether it be physical, mental or inner strength. The lion is the central figure in the Strength card, yet the lion is not on his own and this presents the fact that while we have pure animal strength to call on, we are also human. We might not always feel strong or brave but when we look within we can find the strength we need, when called upon. This card often appears at a time when a situation demands that we dig deep to find that inner strength and that instead of relying on others to help we need to rely on ourselves. This could indicate that you are braver and have more strength than you think you do or that you will have when called upon. The Strength card doesn’t represent something always available and instead an inner strength that is only available when it is needed. This card shows up when we are called upon to be the hero in our own story, rolling up our sleeves and doing what needs to be done.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Strength card, this could indicate a struggle to find the strength to continue with something or a lack of belief that you have the strength required. As we only find the full influence of the Strength card when we are tested, it could represent a fear of being in a situation where you might fail.
The Hermit is a card of reflection, isolation, separating, withdrawing from the world, either by choice or because of circumstance. The Hermit represents solitude, withdrawal and reflection. This could be a time when you don’t want outside distractions in order to work on a project or just because you need time to contemplate. The need to pull back from outside noise and distractions so that you can pay attention to your own agenda, whether that be a quest to find your inner truth, to spend time meditating, or just because you have things to do and don’t want to be disturbed. This can represent recuperation, where you need time to recover from an injury or accident or from a busy phase or from a challenging time or event in your life. As a Major Arcana, this does mean that this has major significance in your life right now, having to block off outside noise in order to listen to your own voice and counsel. A withdrawal to work on something of significant meaning to you, with a chance to embrace a sense of purpose.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Hermit, this could indicate that you feel isolated or even lonely. On the other hand, it could mean that life is so busy that there is little time to hear yourself think and as a result you feel disconnected with your inner voice. In short, this could indicate either too much or not enough solitude.
The Wheel of Fortune card can indicate that something is fated or destined to be. This is mostly a positive card, indicating good fortune, success and that life can and does bring sudden, unexpected and positive change, when and where we least expect. This also indicates that what goes up must go down. If you are experiencing challenges, this is a reminder that things change and this is temporary. At the same time, this is a reminder not to take anything for granted, to appreciate what we have at the time. The most important part of the Wheel is the hub, for while the Wheel of Fortune is constantly turning, the hub remains still and this is a reminder to remain grounded and centred, especially at a times when there is a lot of change. If you are strong within yourself, the turning Wheel of Fortune is less likely to take you on a roller coaster ride. Move forward with optimism and confidence. The Wheel of Fortune card can also suggest that something is fated to be.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Wheel of Fortune, this could indicate that the Wheel is stuck and things are not turning. Likewise, it might indicate that you are losing faith that things can change, feeling that you will always be in this situation. If that is a case, this is a reminder not to lose faith.
The Justice card represents the many aspects of justice. In a literal sense this can represent anything to do with the legal or justice system, the signing of contracts or having legal documents being drawn up. In a broader concept, this represents what is just and approaching things in a way that is fair and balanced. In the card of Justice we see a woman holding a sword in one hand and a pair of scales in the other. This is the sword of justice and the scales are to weigh two sides of a situation in order to find a balance between the two. The scales don’t lie and in order for things to be just, they must be equally balanced. This could indicate working towards finding a compromise or weighing up different options or choices. The Justice card indicates looking at something impartially and not through emotion or intuition, dealing with facts as you weigh up the pros and cons of a situation.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Justice card, could be a warning against rushing to a decision without weighing up your options. It could indicate an injustice or in a legal situation that things might not end favourably, that you need to spend more time getting the paperwork you need or that this isn’t the best time to take legal action or to make an informed decision.
The Hanged Man represents a time of waiting or of a need to wait, to be patient. This can be something that you have chosen or where the situation itself requires it, with life asking you to be patient. On the other hand, it might indicate that you don’t feel ready to take the next step and would rather wait until you have more information or resources. It is important not to push through, even if you feel the resistance is coming from you and that you are procrastinating. For some reason, your inner voice will be telling you to wait. If the holdup is not coming from within and you are ready to move but nothing is happening, this could be frustrating. This does indicate delays but not permanent delays, suggesting that with patience and in its own time things will start moving again. Until then, make the most of the chance to gain more information, insight or just surrender and stay in the moment.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Hermit, this could have two different implications. Taken in a negative context this could indicate that you have become stuck in a habit, relationship, job or other situation. On the other hand, a reversed card can have the opposite meaning to its direct position, so could indicate movement after being stuck.
The first thing to be aware of when drawing the Death card is that this does NOT mean actual death. It can indicate the death of something, as in the end of a situation, a job or a relationship but the most important meaning of this card is transformation. When something ends something new begins. This is the circle of life, with one door closing and another door opening. The Death card can indicate that we have taken something as far as it can go and there is nothing to be achieved from going down that path or pursuing that situation. Whenever the Death card shows up in a reading it indicates that something new is waiting to come into your life but in order to make room for it, something must first end that is taking up space. There can be a resistance to letting something go or to see something come to an end but it is necessary in order to make way for something new. Death is carrying a flag bearing a white rose, white for the purity of truth and the rose for passion.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Death card, could indicate that you are resisting changing, holding onto the past and refusing to let things go. Staying in a situation, relationship or state of being that has already ended. Feeling stuck or stalled.
The Temperance card is all about balance and harmony, flow and transformation from one form to another. Whether it is a flow of feelings within a relationship, the creative flow when it comes to expressing yourself or the flow that comes from a life that is balanced, this all about the effortless and easy flow when everything is balanced and in harmony. This is a positive card, suggesting that there already is or with a very little effort you can have a relationship, a job or situation that flows and provides what we need. If things are out of balance, the Temperance card is a call to get back in balance, whether on the health, relationship, job or personal front. In life, there must be the right amount of give and take or else things don’t flow effortlessly and smoothly, with the Temperance card indicating this is what you already have or is what you are seeking and if that is the case, this is a favourable time to achieve that. Through give and take, balance and harmony we can find peace of mind and healing.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Temperance card, this could indicate that things are out of balance, that there isn’t the right amount of give and take in a situation, relationship, job, your health or in general. A relationship or a job might be taking too much out of you or you might not have the right work/life balance.
The Devil card as two main meanings. The first is of being chained and the other is of excess, especially an excess of so called vices. The Devil card is dark and is depicted by a dark figure, seen devouring human souls while sitting chained. This can represent being chained to old habits, addictions, the past or to what we feel ashamed of. This can also represent excess of the things associated with pleasure, including pleasures of the flesh but also the sins of gluttony and lust, those things that provide temporary pleasure but aren’t ultimately good for us. The Devil also represents the power to free ourselves from those chains by self acceptance and in the process, this can unleash our creativity. It is often fear and shame that hold us captive, chained to a past that continues to hold us prisoner. The Devil is a dark card but it is ultimately a card of hope because by self love and acceptance we can set ourselves free. We alone have the power to break free from the chains of the past, addiction, impulses, shame or whatever it is that holds us captive.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Devil, this could indicate that we are now free from old chains, addictions or anything from the past that has been holding us back. The Devil card can represent self loathing, so in reverse can indicate a return of self love and acceptance. .
Of all the cards in the deck, the Tower is challenging not just visually, but also by what this represents. This card represents a ‘tower’ moment in our lives, a falling down or away of something. This is reminiscent of the tower that comes tumbling down with sudden and unexpected destruction. This can be a relationship, job or situation that seems to end in an unexpected and irrevocable way, often because of a catalyst. Yet despite its violent imagery and meaning, the Tower can only destroy what is false or is held together artificially. A point where the effort required to hold something together, to deny a truth that is no longer sustainable is too much and we are forced to let go. In doing so, we reach the hidden gift that the Tower holds. It sets us free, allowing what is false or what has served its time to fall away. This comes with a sense of release, as we no longer need to pretend or try and hold something together. The outcome is liberation and freedom, as a weight is lifted. The Tower never destroys anything healthy, solid or that still has life.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Tower, this could represent being stuck, the ‘tower moment’ is elusive. Holding onto something that has passed its time but we are unable to break free. We are either resisting change, that something is stopping change from occurring naturally or that it might not yet be time.
Above all, the Star card represents hope, of a wish fulfilled or a wish that will be granted. The Star card is one of the brightest and most optimistic cards in the Tarot deck and can represent the light at the end of the tunnel, a bright end to a dark journey or the triumph of light over dark. The Star card symbolises the very human ability to hope or strive for more, that spark that allows us to believe that something is possible. We not only see the ‘star of hope’ but an angel pouring water from a vessel. This represents the flow of life and also the flow of creativity and that no matter what challenges or setbacks we face, the heart will go on. Hope continues to flow and so does life itself. In the card an Angel is getting water from the river to distribute on the land, indicating that we have the resources we need, that there will be future growth and life. We can hope for abundance and fertility. In the literal sense, it can indicate that you are a star or that your star will shine and you will be successful or recognised.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Star card, this could indicate that you have lost hope or no longer believe that things will improve or get better. This can represent a creative or even writer’s block or that we are not being appreciated or recognised. Yet even in this position, this is such a positive card that the message is not to give up hope.
The Moon card represents our deepest emotions. This brings confusion of strong emotions, emotions that overwhelm us. Our deepest intuition and the subconscious itself, for it is down in the subconscious that our deepest buried feelings, memories, emotions live, which secretly control our habits, patterns and choices without us being aware. This is the realm of secrets, memories and hidden emotional scars from the past. It is in the subconscious that we are able to connect and access our intuition, dreams, sixth sense and psychic abilities. The Moon is also connected to cycles and patterns and it is by paying attention to them that we have a chance to unlock the mysteries of the subconscious. The Moon can also indicate that we are taking an emotional approach to things producing an emotional response that might be out of proportion to what we are dealing with. The more we understand the hidden realms of the subconscious the less control this has on us. Also indicates a need to keep things private or secret.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Moon, this could represent that our emotions are controlling us or that we are out of touch with our emotions, feeling disconnected. Being over emotional about something and being detached from our emotions is equally disempowering. This could indicate that we are afraid to lift the lid on old memories, afraid of what we might find.
The Sun card is the most positive card in the Tarot deck and is often called the ‘yes’ card. If a ‘yes/no’ question is asked and the Sun appears in the deck then the answer is often ‘yes’ or ‘no’, if the latter is a positive. If the question asked is ‘will I get the job I am going for’ and the Sun card appears, the answer is ‘yes’ but if the question asked is ‘will I lose my job’ and the Sun card appears, the answer will be ‘no’. The Sun card represents a positive outcome. It is all things playful, romantic and creative and can also represent children. In the card we see the Moon setting into its watery realms while the Sun rises in the heavens, sending its light down onto the world to illuminate everything. The Sun represents everything that is bright, sunny and optimistic and can also indicate that it is time to put yourself first and to make yourself the centre of your own world. The Sun lights the way and illuminates, so can indicate of time of clarity and of things coming to light that may have been hidden.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Sun it is still hard to find a negative connotation. This is such a positive card that even reversed it indicates a positive outcome, though it might suggest that this is something you are still working towards. This is also a call to look at what might be blocking the Sun’s joy and light making its way to you, looking at what is blocking you from fully embracing this.
Unlike the ‘Justice’ card, which does cover legal matters or judgement, this is not the card of judgement in a legal sense. This is a card of personal judgement, when you can make a judgement on something in your life, a decision or a choice. It can present a time when we are being judged by past actions and are able to reap what we sow. ‘What goes around comes around’, when life weighs up the decisions and actions made in the past and we reap the reward or suffer the consequences. This is a card that can often indicate a time when we are called to take action, that we are being judged by our ability to show up and take action. At the same time that is when decisions and actions in the past are creating our current reality, the decisions and actions being taken now are shaping our future reality. We have reached a period in our life that we have been preparing for, that we are called on to fulfil our sense of purpose and to do more than simply go through the motions.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the Judgement card, we feel that we are being judged by others or that we are judging ourselves too harshly. If this does indicate that past actions or decisions come back to haunt us, this is also a chance to take responsibility for that. We can’t change the past but we can change the decisions we make now. Putting off making a decision out of fear of making a mistake.
The World card is the final card in the Tarot deck and it represents the end, completion, the end of a journey and or success. Just by looking at this card you can see that everything is there, it is rich with life and there is a sense of triumph and accomplishment. The World card is all about completion, having reached the end of a journey, quest or project and emerged triumphant. This is the ‘happy ever after’ card. Everything that we need and that the world really is at our feet. In the card we can see the tree of life, but also the sun, stars, heavens and the zodiac, representing the totality of life. The journey that began with the Fool ends with World card, but while it represents the end or completion it also indicates that as one journey ends another begins. There is every reason to celebrate your success and what you have achieved, while you also have everything needed to begin new quests, projects or journeys. May also be taken in a literal sense indicating overseas travel or destinations. It can also indicate higher learning and gaining knowledge of the world beyond your present horizons.
Reversed or with challenging cards around the World card, it could feel that you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, that you are falling short of completing something or that you are thinking too small, failing to look at the big picture. This is such a positive card that even reversed this is a message to look outwards rather than inwards.