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TAROT MEANINGS FOR
REAL-LIFE

What does the Seven of Wands mean in a love reading? And the Six of Cups in a career reading? 

 

A single card is only a part of the larger, broader story that is a reading, but we have to start somewhere. What I propose here is a way for you to understand each card, so that you can apply it to relationships, career, finances, family life, wellbeing, spirituality or any other context. 

Because when you understand a card, you no longer need to memorize it and you can naturally adapt it to readings of any nature.

TAROT MEANINGS vs. INTERPRETATION

Meaning and interpretation are two separate things.

Many, if not most words have multiple meanings. An arm can be a part of your body, the cool thing that holds my overhead camera when I'm giving a class or a division in an organization. But it can also be the action of equipping yourself with something, often a weapon, but not always a weapon, since you can be armed with information, or education, or courage.

It is confusing! And if this happens with words, how wouldn't it happen with cards? 

Well, the information that you can arm yourself with here (arm, see what I did? I'm a genius!) will help you dissipate these doubts.

Meanings are defined, but interpretations are abstract. Imagine that you're about to leave your home but not be able to find your keys and as a result, you're late to work. And now imagine that 5 minutes later, there's an accident where you would have been by now had you made it on time. 

Well, not being able to find your keys means that you will not get to work on time. But you could interpret that losing your keys has potentially protected you from being involved in an accident. One is established, the other is not.

Finding a feather means that a bird lost it at some point, but it can be interpreted as a sign. What something means is one boxed thing, what you interpret from it, needs from other elements to come into play. In the same way, a single card can only tell you so much, but when interpreted with the rest of the cards on the table, in their context and question, you can get a well-rounded reading that is unique to the specific situation that concerns you or your querent. 

To help you with tarot card meanings, check out this list of blog posts! (Regularly growing until its completion) and to help you with interpretation, check out Tarot for Real-Life

Tarot meanings cheat sheet | the sibyls tarot meanings | fyodor pavlov tarot | sibyl meanings

CORE MEANINGS *

* Not another keyword resource.

At least, not any random keyword. Keep reading to learn what core meanings are and how they can help you in your understanding of each card.

WHAT ARE CORE MEANINGS?

Core meanings are the ultimate tarot meanings cheat sheet. They are not, though, any random keyword that you just repeat without any further understanding, and that is precisely the trick. Core meanings are a key that captures the essence of each card and unlocks its interpretations. It is based on understanding the card, not memorizing it, and while I have my own, they don't have to be yours. 

There's no memorization involved, there's no forgetting, there's understanding and integrating so that you are able to adapt it to the situation that you are reading about. 

This word, or keyword, has certain requirements. 

  • It is one word or a short concept.
     

  • Ideally, it is neutral, this is, not "good" or "bad" by itself.¹
     

  • It captures the essence of the cards, in it lights and shadows.
     

Here you will find a list with my own current² core meanings (some of which may be weird, but I suggest you look at each description before taking the word and running with it / being horrorized by the simplification or weirdness of the concept) if you click on each card, you will find more information about it. You are welcome to use my own core meanings, but I invite you to discover your own following my method.

1. What if I can't find a neutral word? 

That's okay, it is not always possible. However, keep an open mind when it comes to it and understand that while some words can have a positive or negative connotation, they often have neutral ones. An example of this is The Magician.
 

2. What do you mean by "current"?

I developed my first list years ago. After having read tarot for over half of my life, my knowledge and experience has evolved. The words that defined the cards have evolved with it, and while I have maintained some, I have learned more or found words that more accurately describe the essence of the cards. Learning is always a work in progress.

Core Tarot Meanings List

CORE TAROT MEANINGS LIST


0. THE FOOL - NEW

I. THE MAGICIAN - MANIPULATION

II. THE HIGH PRIESTESS - HIDDEN

III. THE EMPRESS - GESTATION

IV. THE EMPEROR - DUTY

V. THE HIEROPHANT - INSTITUTION

VI. THE LOVERS - CHOICE


VII. THE CHARIOT - MOVEMENT

VIII. STRENGTH - CONVICTION

IX. THE HERMIT - PURPOSEFUL ISOLATION

X. THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE - ACCEPTANCE

XI. JUSTICE - LAW

XII. THE HANGED MAN - SUSPENSION

XIII. DEATH - DEATH

XIV. TEMPERANCE - FLOW

XV. THE DEVIL - PERCEIVED ENTRAPMENT

XVI. THE TOWER - COLLAPSE

XVII. THE STAR - HOPE

XVIII. THE MOON - DISTORTION

XIX. THE SUN - JOY

XX. JUDGEMENT - DESERVING

XXI. THE WORLD - COMPLETION

ACE OF SWORDS - IDEA

TWO OF SWORDS - AVOIDANCE

THREE OF SWORDS - REVELATION

FOUR OF SWORDS - STILLNESS

FIVE OF SWORDS - INNER CONFLICT

SIX OF SWORDS - JOURNEY

SEVEN OF SWORDS - STRATEGY

EIGHT OF SWORDS - LIMITATIONS

NINE OF SWORDS - WORRY

TEN OF SWORDS - PAIN

PAGE OF SWORDS (EARTH OF AIR) - A WINDY DAY

KNIGHT OF SWORDS (FIRE OF AIR) - A TORNADO

QUEEN OF SWORDS (WATER OF AIR) - A RAINSTORM

KING OF SWORDS (AIR OF AIR) - THE SKY

ACE OF WANDS - DESIRE

TWO OF WANDS - PLANNING

THREE OF WANDS - EXPANSION

FOUR OF WANDS - FOUNDATION

FIVE OF WANDS - OUTER CONFLICT

SIX OF WANDS - CONQUERING

SEVEN OF WANDS - DEFENSE

EIGHT OF WANDS - SPEED

NINE OF WANDS - LONG GAME

TEN OF WANDS - BAGGAGE

PAGE OF WANDS (EARTH OF FIRE) - A TEA CANDLE

KNIGHT OF WANDS (FIRE OF FIRE) - A WILDFIRE

QUEEN OF WANDS (WATER OF FIRE) - A HEARTH

KING OF WANDS (AIR OF FIRE) - A FORGE

ACE OF CUPS - CALLING

TWO OF CUPS - TOGETHERNESS

THREE OF CUPS - SOCIAL

FOUR OF CUPS - ENNUI

FIVE OF CUPS - GRIEF

SIX OF CUPS - PAST

SEVEN OF CUPS - PROCRASTINATION

EIGHT OF CUPS - NECESSARY ABANDONMENT

NINE OF CUPS - SATIETY

TEN OF CUPS - MAXIMUM GROWTH

PAGE OF CUPS (EARTH OF WATER) - A SPROUT

KNIGHT OF CUPS (FIRE OF WATER) - BOILING WATER

QUEEN OF CUPS (WATER OF WATER) - WATER OF THE WOMB

KING OF CUPS (AIR OF WATER) - A RAFT IN CALM WATERS

ACE OF PENTACLES - OPPORTUNITY

TWO OF PENTACLES - JUGGLING

THREE OF PENTACLES - TEAM

FOUR OF PENTACLES - HOARD

FIVE OF PENTACLES - LACK

SIX OF PENTACLES - CHARITY

SEVEN OF PENTACLES - WAIT

EIGHT OF PENTACLES - MASTERY

NINE OF PENTACLES - ATTAINMENT

TEN OF PENTACLES - LEGACY

PAGE OF PENTACLES (EARTH OF EARTH) - FERTILE SOIL

KNIGHT OF PENTACLES (FIRE OF EARTH) - A DIAMOND IN THE MAKING

QUEEN OF PENTACLES (WATER OF EARTH) - WATERED PLANTS

KING OF PENTACLES (AIR OF EARTH) - A MOUNTAINTOP

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THE METHOD EXPLAINED

Follow these simple instructions to create your own list of core meanings. This is a lengthy process, specially when you are getting started with your tarot learning, so don't rush it.

Even if you are an experienced reader, finding your own core meanings can be beneficial.

THE PROCESS OF FINDING YOUR CORE TAROT MEANINGS

The first step is  gathering information about traditional card meanings. There are lots of resources that you can use for that purpose, from books to websites. Read a lot. Not to memorize, but to understand what's going on in each card.

Read about the story behind each card, its symbolism, meaning and keywords. Take some notes but not a whole testament. Only what's important. 

What does this information have in common? 

When you have learned about a single card, find a word (or simple concept) that encompasses all that you have learned, and that helps you unlock that information. 

It sounds complicated, but it is not that difficult. 

See an example of my train of thought here with The Fool. 

My core meaning for The Fool is "new". 

Here's how I have arrived to this conclusion. 

Most reliable sources of information will tell you that The Fool is associated to beginnings, innocence, originality, potential, risk-taking, recklessness, freedom

You may now be wondering how or even why would I simplify all of that to "new". 

Well, it is not exactly a simplification and it does not deny the other meanings. It simply unlocks them in my mind. 

A beginning is new, an spontaneus adventure is a new plan, innocence derives from inexperience, ergo, new. Original, never done before? Also new. A risk? It wouldn't be a risk if you knew what's going to happen, so it's also new. Freedom? Infinite potential, the clean slate, untouched, so again, new. 

As you can see, it's not that you have simplified it to mean one single thing, but that you have found a way to attach all of those meanings to a word, and if you have followed the process, you will be able to remember the connections that you made to arrive to that single word or concept, thus having a more ample view of the essence of the card. 

But don't just take my word for it. Try it!

Most tarot readers have, at some point, felt STUCK in an "intermediate level".

There are not a lot of resources to help you thread the cards together, read cohesively and make interpretations that are practical and precise.

Let's change that!

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María Alviz Hernando | Tarot Tableau | Learn Tarot | The Sibyl's Tarot
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