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Tarot Cards and Their Meaning

An in-depth guide into all 78 cards in a tarot deck.

Major Arcana

The Major Arcana, which consists of 22 cards, is often referred to as the core part of a tarot deck. While all tarot cards are equally meaningful, the Major Arcana is indeed the heart of the deck.

Unlike the Minor Arcana, the tarot card meanings of the Major Arcana describe monumental events and key milestones in one's life. In the skilled hands, it can predict one's entire life journey.

Every Major Arcana tarot card has its unique name, such as The Fool, The Sun, or The Wheel of Fortune.

Read more about Major Arcana

Minor Arcana

In contrast, the 56 tarot cards of the Minor Arcana, which include 40 pip cards and 16 court cards, address the day-to-day events and challenges.

The card meanings of the Minor Arcana might seem less significant (which isn't necessarily true). However, they are indeed better suited for short-term predictions and analysis and can't offer a roadmap of one's entire life.

All Minor Arcana tarot cards belong to one of the four suits listed here—the Suit of Wands, the Suit of Pentacles, the Suit of Swords, and the Suit of Cups.

Read more about Minor Arcana

    Suit of Wands

    The tarot meaning of the Suit of Wands cards is creativity, action, and inspiration. This suit is associated with the element of fire, which is reflected in all Wands tarot cards meaning.

    They typically represent passion, ambition, and pursuit of one's dreams. The ultimate meaning of tarot cards within the Suit of Wands is to challenge one to follow one's instincts and act on one's desires.

    Read more about Suit of Wands

    Suit of Cups

    Finally, the Suit of Cups' tarot cards meaning is everything that has to do with emotions, relationships, and feelings. Cups cards are associated with the element of water, and they typically describe or predict emotional choices, responses, and developments.

    If a person keeps drawing a Cups tarot card over and over again, it suggests that the deck wants them to remember the importance of intuition, compassion, and understanding in nurturing relationships.

    Read more about Suit of Cups

    Suit of Swords

    The tarot meaning of the Suit of Swords is intellect, communication, and challenges. Associated with the element of air, Swords cards address things related to mental activity and decision-making.

    Basically, every card on the tarot card list of the Suit of Swords represents the power of thoughts and words. However, for a more detailed and accurate analysis, we encourage you to study the entire Swords tarot cards list and meaning.

    Read more about Suit of Swords

    Suit of Pentacles

    If you look up the tarot card meaning list of all tarot cards in the Suit of Pentacles, you'll see that all of them represent material aspects of life, such as work and finances.

    Associated with the most grounded element of the four, earth, Pentacles tarot card meanings match earth's energy in that they typically describe manifestation, stability, and the results of hard work.

    While this obviously depends on the individual tarot meaning of each card, as a whole, the Suite of Pentacles encourages building a solid foundation and being resourceful.

    Read more about Suit of Pentacles

    How a Detailed and Accurate Tarot Card Meanings List Can Help Your Reading

    Even if you want to have a guided tarot reading session with a professional reader, it's always a good idea to look up all tarot cards meaning beforehand to have at least a basic understanding of each of the cards.

    This way, you are more likely to comprehend and memorize the important insights you get from the tarot reader.

    Obviously, learning the meaning of tarot cards can take a while, but even a surface-level idea of each of them is better than nothing.

    Luckily for you, Nebula's tarot experts have prepared in-depth tarot cards meaning list with pictures that will help you understand what each card stands for and how you can interpret it.

    But first, let's explore why it makes sense for you to research tarot meaning before having a tarot session.

    It'll Make the Reading More Efficient

    Even when you have a reading with a professional tarot reader, knowing the basics of tarot meaning is helpful.

    It helps streamline the reading because the tarot reader doesn't need to explain the general meaning of each card to you—you already know it.

    As a result, the reader can focus on interpreting the cards with respect to your unique questions and circumstances.

    It'll Help You Save Time and Money

    By learning the basics of tarot readings to make your tarot reading more efficient, you save time and, therefore, money.

    Basically, you cut the session in half, which means that you need to pay two times less. It's a smart and frugal choice.

    You'll Understand the Tarot Reader's Advice and Guidance Better

    Even if money isn't an issue for you, we still encourage you to use Nebula's tarot cards meaning list with pictures to improve your tarot knowledge.

    It's a chance for you to understand the reader's insights better. They won't have to explain each conclusion they reach to you because you will understand it on your own. You will also be able to catch a questionable piece of information or advice if the reader slips up.

    You'll Be Able to Guide the Reader

    By being aware of different aspects of the meanings of the Minor Arcana and Major Arcana tarot cards while also knowing your unique life circumstances, you will have more information to guide the reader in the right direction.

    Each card in a tarot deck can mean a few different things simultaneously. When you know those things, you can ask the reader to stop on the ones that are actually relevant to you in more detail.

    Over Time, You Will Be Able to Perform Simple Tarot Card Readings Yourself

    Sure, no one can master the nuances of all tarot card meanings overnight.

    However, if you're genuinely interested in tarot and want to be able to talk to the cards every once in a while without hiring a professional reader, you can.

    Nebula has not only a guide to all tarot meanings but also free step-by-step explanations of various tarot spreads. Using those, you can eventually master the art of tarot reading yourself.

    Is It Difficult to Learn Tarot Cards and Meaning?

    Unless you're thinking of becoming a professional tarot reader, to learn isn't exactly the verb you're looking for

    As you probably know, there are 78 cards in a tarot deck.

    So, learning what each of them represents by heart isn't a short process. Nor is it necessary to be able to perform tarot readings for yourself and your friends.

    Instead, we recommend you try to fully explore the meaning of all cards so that you understand each of them. If you forget something, you can always go back to our free guide to tarot meanings.

    It Might Take a While

    Still, even studying the tarot deck to understand the complicated nuances of each of the cards' meanings is by no means a quick or easy process.

    You will need to read (obviously, way more than once) the interpretation of each of the cards in an upright vs. reversed position across various contexts, including love and relationships, career, finances, past, and more.

    Depending on how much time you're willing to dedicate to this, it might take months, if not years.

    But You Can Use Our Guide

    Nevertheless, thanks to our in-depth guide, it is possible to master the nuances of all tarot cards' meanings.

    Each of the cards has its own page on Nebula, where you can learn about its interpretation in both upside and reversed positions as well as across the most popular contexts.

    The more time you spend with our guide, the better you will memorize our tarot interpretations.

    Practice Makes Perfect

    Also, as you probably realize, a critical part of the learning process is practice.

    You need to spend as much time as possible with a tarot deck—ideally, while also trying out different spreads.

    You see, the meaning of each card largely depends on the neighboring cards in a spread. So, the best way to improve your tarot knowledge and skills is by performing tarot readings.

    You'll Gradually Learn All Cards' Meanings Organically

    Some beginners think that they should just read a guide a thousand times over to memorize each card's meaning. But that's boring and, frankly, ineffective.

    Instead, we recommend you have fun while learning. The best way to learn all cards' meanings organically is—you guessed it—by performing tarot readings.

    A Word of Encouragement

    Will you ever be as good at tarot reading as Nebula's reader? Unlikely. They not only have years, if not decades, of experience and unparalleled tarot knowledge but also have unique intuition and extrasensory perception that make them as competent as they are.

    No matter how much time you spend with a tarot deck, your chances of getting anywhere near as good as Nebula's readers are pretty slim.

    That being said, through practice, you can become a decent amateur reader. That's more than enough to have fun and entertain your friends from time to time.