Tarot Reading: What Are These Cards? (+ Free Reading)
Almost everyone has heard of tarot cards! But if you've never had a reading then you might know very little about how tarot really works. Perhaps you are even a little nervous about tarot cards because they're an unknown.
Similarly, you might be wary about the possibility the reading could tell you something significant about your future. As it turns out, many people gain huge benefits from tarot reading.
In this way, it's well worth developing a deeper understanding of how this ancient, mystic practice can help you improve your life.
This guide will explain the nature and details of tarot readings. For example, we'll explore why (and when) you might want a reading. Plus, discover what you can expect to learn from tarot.
In addition, we'll look at how the process works, and consider some of the meanings of relevant cards and spreads. Throughout, we'll also consider how online tarot readings work, and why they might be right for you.
What Are Tarot Cards?
Tarot cards come in decks of 75. Every card carries not only a different image but also a range of different symbolic meanings.
In the simplest terms, there are 22 Major Arcana cards. These indicate information about our overall journey and purpose.
Comparatively, there are 56 Minor Arcana cards that symbolize the smaller, more transient parts of our lives. You can then break the 56 Minor Arcana cards into a group of 16. These show 16 psychological traits that we might embody during any period of our lives.
People use tarot cards for an incredibly wide variety of purposes. For example, you might ask for a reading that helps you make a decision, form a plan, learn about your deeper feelings, or figure out how to move past a place in which you currently feel stuck.
A reading invariably prompts self-reflection and growth, facilitating new, more creative thinking about existing problems.
The History Of Tarot Cards
Tarot cards first emerged sometime around 1440, largely in Northern Italy. Although tarot card decks can look markedly different from one another, all of the imagery derives from common sources. The very first tarot cards were based on symbols derived from a wide range of myths, writings, and plays in the medieval period. At this time, tarot cards were also used for games such as trinofi and tarock.
Decks that were created in the 19th century onwards also include imagery from astrology and Kabbalah. In contemporary tarot practice, it can be hard to connect some of the card images with these original decks. However, there is always some symbolic link. Expert tarot card readers experiment with a range of decks. Eventually, they typically find one that best connects with their interpretive inclinations. Then, at the point of doing a reading, the tarot card reader is better able to use their intuitive understanding to make contextual sense of the deck.
How Do Tarot Cards Work?
If you're new to tarot, you're likely very curious about how these cards are supposed to work.
For example, if you book a free reading, are you going to get free tarot predictions?
Will you find out something frightening, like information about the end of your life or an indication of impending doom of some sort?
Unfortunately, these types of questions reflect a widespread, mistaken assumption that the cards are imbued with a kind of psychic power. Others may believe that tarot will offer concrete facts about the future. This is one of the reasons why the cards often intimidate many people. We may be scared to engage with what these cards could reveal. Consequently, this means that we miss out on a potent source of insight and inspiration.
In truth, while there is an undeniably mystic element to the tarot process, it isn't really designed to predict the future. Rather, a tarot reading helps you to tap into your deepest intuitions, changing your perspective and generating valuable knowledge about how you can approach manifesting your dream life.
Each tarot card carries sophisticated, nuanced imagery that makes a direct link to your subconscious. This taps into your most profound desires and bypasses the restrictive, more logical part of your brain.
In doing so, the cards can help you understand yourself and your life in entirely new ways. This process can often kickstart a positive process of transformation. If you're using the Law of Attraction to manifest goals, the very act of having a tarot card reading can create a clearer, more vivid visualization of what you want to achieve.
What Can You Learn From Tarot Readings?
In principle, you can use the tarot cards to learn about absolutely anything in your life, whether it concerns your history, your present, or your future. However, if you're thinking about having your first reading, you might feel like you'd benefit from some inspiration on the types of issues that are commonly brought to a tarot card expert.
Common examples include the following:
- Romantic relationships: You might want help figuring out the type of partner that would suit you, wonder about how to move on from a difficult breakup, or ask for assistance in choosing between two potential partners.
- Careers: You might be asking yourself if you should leave your job and pursue a new career. Or, perhaps, you're curious about the prospects for starting your own business in the near future.
- Family dynamics: You might be debating whether to have children (or have additional children). Or you might be trying to navigate through a tricky family dispute, or just want to get a clearer perspective on the complex relationships in your family tree.
- Personal development: You might want to cultivate a particular trait, such as self-confidence. Similarly, perhaps you wish to figure out your core values. Or, you want to explore the ways in which an issue from your past might be holding you back in the present.
- Abundance: You might be weighing a wide range of factors in order to figure out how to best attract more wealth into your life. Alternatively, you may be trying to understand why this has typically been difficult for you in the past.
Tarot Card Meanings
Each aspect of the tarot card deck is linked to different elements, symbols, aspects of life, and negative possibilities. However, Tarot card meaning can vary enormously between readings, given the position of the cards, the other cards that are placed nearby, and the intentions of the person asking for a reading (as well as the interpretative leanings of the reader).
Sometimes, they function as a kind of “yes or no oracle”, giving you the answer to simple questions. For example, they may answer a tricky decision you have to make. At other times, the cards may tell you a complex story that provides an overview of your past, present, and future, thereby facilitating self-knowledge. This is one of the reasons why people often develop a habit of having regular readings, even when they have no massive issues in their life.
So, while a tarot card meanings list can certainly provide you with a general sense of the role each card may play, it can't realistically account for the many different ways in which context will subtly impact meaning. Let’s take a closer look at each category of cards. There are unifying features that connect each distinct aspect of the deck. You should also be encouraged to familiarize yourself with the general meanings. Consequently, this can help you get more out of your tarot card readings.
The Major Arcana
Also known as the trump cards, the major arcana cards all depict clearly defined archetypes. They work through a linear narrative from The Fool (at number 0) to The World (at number 22).
These cards are core to tarot readings. They track the typical spiritual journey that humans take from the point of ignorance to eventual enlightenment. Each major arcana card carries an important lesson and connects the reader with a particular stage of a person’s self-development.
Interestingly, some tarot card experts will occasionally conduct readings exclusively using cards from the major arcana; this should give you an indication of their richness and power.
Major Arcana Cards
- The Fool
- The Magician
- The High Priestess
- The Empress
- The Emperor
- The Hierophant
- The Lovers
- The Chariot
- The Hermit
- Wheel of Fortune
- The Hanged Man
- The Devil
- The Tower
- The Star
- The Moon
- The Sun
- The World
Suit Of Wands
The 14 cards in the suit of wands are traditionally linked to the element of fire. As such, all of these cards have some connection to your passions, your potential, your strength, and the things that inspire you in life.
In some readings, these cards also relate to your fundamental, primal energy. A suit of wands card can suggest a creation of any kind.
You may also often see the suit of wands cards in readings that relate to making concrete plans or taking action after a period of reflection. Where they play a more negative role, they can be read as suggesting impetuousness or directionlessness.
Suit Of Wands Cards
- Ace Of Wands
- Two Of Wands
- Three Of Wands
- Four Of Wands
- Five Of Wands
- Six Of Wands
- Seven Of Wands
- Eight Of Wands
- Nine Of Wands
- Ten Of Wands
- Page Of Wands
- Knight Of Wands
- Queen Of Wands
- King Of Wands
Suit Of Cups
The 14 cards in the suit of cups are all related to the sphere of emotions, as well as to the unconscious mind and gut feeling. As such, they often appear in useful positions when a relationship issue (either platonic or romantic) is the focus.
They can also tell you a lot about your inner life and the role it is playing in restricting or facilitating development. The suit of cups cards has a connection to the element of water. They can sometimes indicate something important about a problematic disconnect between the person’s inner life and their outer actions.
Suit Of Cups Cards
- Ace Of Cups
- Two Of Cups
- Three Of Cups
- Four Of Cups
- Five Of Cups
- Six Of Cups
- Seven Of Cups
- Eight Of Cups
- Nine Of Cups
- Ten Of Cups
- Page Of Cups
- Knight Of Cups
- Queen Of Cups
- King Of Cups
Suit Of Swords
Also containing 14 cards, the suit of swords is linked to the element of air.
While all of the cards carry a distinct meaning, they tend to relate to themes around truth, goals, communication, reason, and intelligence. Consequently, it’s unsurprising to see sword cards appear in spreads that relate to a question on how to make tricky decisions, how to balance different competing interests or whether to go with your heart or head.
When they appear to indicate something negative, cards from the suit of swords often tell you that you need to exercise more empathy and understanding in your treatment of others.
Suit Of Swords Cards
- Ace Of Swords
- Two Of Swords
- Three Of Swords
- Four Of Swords
- Five Of Swords
- Six Of Swords
- Seven Of Swords
- Eight Of Swords
- Nine Of Swords
- Ten Of Swords
- Page Of Swords
- Knight Of Swords
- Queen Of Swords
- King Of Swords
Suit Of Pentacles
Finally, the suit of Pentacles (or coins) includes 14 cards that bear a connection to the earth element. They relate to material pursuits in our lives, and to our worldly concerns in general.
Understandably, they often link to matters about financial abundance (or the lack thereof), but their symbolism can also be much broader, including themes around stability, health, and personal security.
When they appear in a reading, they typically tell you something about your long-term goals or investments, either at work or at home. In the negative, they can relate to jealousy or to an uncontrolled ambition that is leading you to live an unbalanced life.
Suit Of Coins/Pentacles Cards
- Ace Of Pentacles
- Two Of Pentacles
- Three Of Pentacles
- Four Of Pentacles
- Five Of Pentacles
- Six Of Pentacles
- Seven Of Pentacles
- Eight Of Pentacles
- Nine Of Pentacles
- Ten Of Pentacles
- Page Of Pentacles
- Knight Of Pentacles
- Queen Of Pentacles
- King Of Pentacles
Getting A Free Tarot Reading At Trusted Tarot
While you might not previously have considered the possibility of having your tarot reading done online, this can be just as useful as having a reading in person (as well as more convenient). And, as a bonus, it's possible to get an online reading for free. While you might initially worry that a free tarot reading could be less informative or in-depth than a paid reading, rest assured that this is not the case.
Trusted Tarot has received more than 50,000 five-star reviews for their free tarot card reading service, and has deservedly become one of the world's leading Tarot resources.
If you're looking for a reading you can trust, you can feel secure in the idea that Trusted Tarot will deliver results. For example, say you want a free love tarot reading that helps you find your way towards the right partner. Free love tarot reading spreads can be given with a minimal amount of information from you and will be speedily delivered. With an intuitive, easily navigable website and no assumptions of prior knowledge about tarot spreads, Trusted Tarot is as useful to the beginner as it is to an experienced tarot customer.
Learn More About Trusted Tarot
Tarot card reading is an art. It's natural that you want to ensure that you’re working with an expert who sees you as a real person and not merely a faceless entity on the internet. All of the Trusted Tarot tarot card readers are experienced, thoughtful practitioners who want to help you get the most out of their service. I've found they can be relied on to fully concentrate on the target question when they provide a reading. In addition, if you're curious about other processes that can help you make decisions and manifest your dreams, Trusted Tarot also provides information on horoscopes, biorhythms, and runes.
How The Online Tarot Card Reading Works
In many ways, an online tarot reading works in the same way as the one you would receive in person. You need to provide vital information about yourself so that the reading will be accurate.
On Trusted Tarot, you'll be asked to share your name, your date of birth, and your star sign. This all allows the reader to see your astrological chart. In turn, they should get a sense of the kind of basic traits you might have, as well as the types of challenges you might meet.
Next, you get to choose ten cards (just as you would if the deck was in front of you). Then you provide your email address so that you can receive the report on your free tarot reading. These reports are highly detailed, helping you get the most out of the reading.
The reading is not randomly generated, as it might be on other sites. Rather, your assigned reader shuffles a deck of tarot cards each day. They then upload the information about their order to the site. This process ensures that your reading actually reflects the order of a real, physical deck of cards. The deck is derived from an original deck of Tarot cards from the early 1900s.
Choosing a Good Question
In order to get the most out of your tarot reading, it's vital that you spend some time clarifying the question you want to ask or the issue you want to explore.
While the above gave you an indication of the types of topics that most people focus on when they ask for a tarot reading, it's well worth learning how to distill those topics down to something that works well with a tarot spread.
Here are some of the best tips for tarot readings:
- Choose something about which you don't already have the answer. You won't be guided by the reading if you come into it with a prior decision in mind. For example, if you're wondering about family relationships, ask “How can I improve my relationship with my brother?” rather than “How can I get out of having to have dinner with my brother?”
- Add detail, but not to an excessive amount. Try to find a broad way to look at a specific problem, in other words. To use another example, choose the question “How can I find a career that balances all my values?” rather than listing all of those values and interests, as that's too much detail.
- Try to focus on yourself, not on someone else… even if you think that this other person might be primarily responsible for the challenges you're currently facing. So, if there's a conflict with your spouse, for example, ask what role you play in the conflict rather than asking why your partner doesn't listen.
- Adopt an attitude of neutrality and openness to the outcome of the reading. This is an extension of the above advice to choose an issue about which you don't have a preconceived notion. It's simply not useful to ask for a reading only to confirm your preexisting beliefs or desires.
Your Tarot Reading Explained
So, how does your reading work, and how can you best interpret the information? As you choose cards, the image associated with each one will be revealed, and in the reading report, they will appear in the appropriate position to help you understand how they relate to your current issues and goals in life.
The meaning of every card will be explained, along with an indication of how it may connect to your past, present, and future.
Every reading is distinct, tailored to the individual, and there are so many factors in play that it would be almost impossible to receive the same reading as anyone else.
If you feel ready for your own, personal tarot reading, click here now.
One of the reasons why these tarot card reports are so insightful is that each report lists a range of key interpretations associated with each card. Plus, that meaning is uniquely influenced by where the card sits in the order of cards you chose.
You can also see a close-up image of the card, allowing you to tap into your own interpretations of its meaning. Often, people find that the pictures evoke unexpected feelings and thoughts. This subconscious response adds an extra layer of significance and usefulness to the reading.
In sum, tarot cards are often viewed as mysterious or foreboding in nature. However, the reality is that they are a powerful, useful tool that just about anyone can benefit from using. Rather than predicting the future, they help you use your gut instincts, intuitions, and innate creativity. In turn, this helps you to learn more about your current situation. This can be especially helpful when you need to make a hard choice about the direction you need to choose.
Whether you're worried about your career, trying to choose the right partner, starting a new business, or coping with a loss, the cards can offer the clarity you need.
While you may not have considered getting an online tarot reading in the past, you'll now have a better understanding of why this is a fantastic, straightforward option that provides the same accuracy that you can expect from a face-to-face reading.
At Trusted Tarot, you can get a comprehensive, free online tarot reading from a highly trusted and world-renowned source that is conveniently available whenever you need it. Many people find themselves coming back for regular readings as their life circumstances and desires change; each reading can offer fresh guidance about new events and challenges you might face.