Whether you want to make tarot reading your profession or you’re just simply intrigued by it, it is undeniable that the journey to mastering it is long and complicated. If you are a beginner to tarot reading, you’re probably wondering how many cards are in a tarot deck. Beyond memorizing each and every card in the deck, the pressure to get your readings right is definitely on!
So, where do you start?
Why You Want To Learn Tarot Reading
Entering the world of divination is no easy feat. Although there are people who practice tarot reading as a hobby, they still underwent complex training to understand its ins and outs.
The first step in learning tarot card reading is determining your reason. Curiosity can fade anytime, so you need to establish a strong foundation for commitment. You need to have the passion for intuitive realms.
Although tarot card reading has become widely popular, it is certainly more than just a trend. It is a serious platform for various psychic developments.
Next, you need to get rid of your fear of getting readings wrong. Most people don’t even get to start because they are blinded by their perfectionism. Tarot reading is an endless learning process.
Even the best tarot card readers sit once in a while to teach themselves things that they may have missed out. As with anything, constant practice is the key to mastery.
How Many Cards Are In A Tarot Deck
Of course, the first thing that you might ask is how many cards in a tarot deck are there. The answer is 78. Yes, you need to familiarize yourself with each and every card.
You need to know each of the tarot card meanings, their implications, and their fitting interpretations. There are two major parts of a deck: the minor and the major arcana.
The Major Arcana
There are 22 cards in the Major Arcana deck. While it is a smaller subset, these cards are the most important as they represent universal life events and meanings.
Some tarot readers even opt to just use the Major Arcana deck because these cards already encompass all the major interpretations for the querent. All 22 cards show the tale of The Fool and his adventures, that is why these cards usually follow a strict order in the deck.
Below is a quick rundown of each card and its meaning.
#1 The Fool
Meaning: Bliss in ignorance or innocence
#2 The Magician
Meaning: Magic-like solutions to a problem; miraculous but can also be an illusion
#3 The High Priestess
Meaning: Hidden/secret circumstances needing attention
#4 The Empress
Meaning: Gentle power
#5 The Emperor
Meaning: Ruling, undefeatable power
#6 The Hierophant
Meaning: Dependence on a spiritual authority
#7 The Lovers
Meaning: Electrifying connection
#8 The Chariot
Meaning: Triumph – and what it brings
#9 The Strength
Meaning: Real strength used wisely
#10 The Hermit
Meaning: The good and the bad of solitude
#11 The Wheel of Fortune
Meaning: Uncertainty from things beyond your control
Meaning: The rule of the law
#13 The Hanged Man
Meaning: Sacrifice; martyrdom
#14 The Death
Meaning: An end or a loss; death of someone
#15 The Temperance
Meaning: Persistence through patience
#16 The Devil
#17 The Tower
Meaning: Aiming too high resulting in a painful fall
#18 The Star
Meaning: Taking a step back; time for reflection
#19 The Moon
Meaning: The feeling of longingness
#20 The Sun
Meaning: Not taking too much from what is given; moderation
#21 The Judgement
Meaning: Final result; ending
#22 The World
Meaning: Success comes with a price
The Minor Arcana
If the Major Arcana deck shows the universal events in our lives, the Minor Arcana focuses on our everyday situations.
There are 56 tarot cards in this deck, which are divided into four suits:
#1 The Suit of Wands
The cards in this suit are connected to the fire element. They symbolize a person’s energy, creativity, and drive. When these cards appear in a reading, their main message pertains to starting a new project or getting some work done. The Wands often inspire us to create or change something. When at its best, this suit provides nothing but courage and passion.
The suit’s weakness however is excessive grit. When you are filled with too much energy, your actions may be perceived as aggressive, and even destructive. Reversed cards in this suit mean recklessness and danger.
The 14 cards included in the Suit of Wands are:
Ace of Wands – Drastic material change
Two of Wands – Ambition
Three of Wands – Obsolete
Four of Wands – Celebration
Five of Wands – Brewing calamity
Six of Wands – Success
Seven of Wands – Competition
Eight of Wands – Obstacles
Nine of Wands – Recovery and healing
Ten of Wands – Being overwhelmed
Page of Wands – Helpful friend
Knight of Wands – Success forthcoming
Queen of Wands – Growing possessions
King of Wands – Wealth
#2 The Suit of Pentacles
The suit of pentacles is related to the earth element and pertains to the material aspects of our lives. Hard work, resilience, and withstanding the test of time are the main themes of this suit. When these cards appear, they often give a message regarding one’s finances, work, and career/life goals. The suit of pentacles teaches us to be responsible and ambitious.
The dark side of the suit comes from too much ambition and greed. Reversed Pentacles cards signify too much love for material wealth, which can result to extreme means to get them.
Below are the 14 Pentacles cards:
Ace of Pentacles – Drastic change of thoughts
Two of Pentacles – Confusion
Three of Pentacles – Pondering Thoughts
Four of Pentacles – Narcissism
Five of Pentacles – Desolation
Six of Pentacles – Generosity
Seven of Pentacles – Contemplation
Eight of Pentacles – Skills
Nine of Pentacles – Prosperity
Ten of Pentacles – Intellect
Page of Pentacles – Reality
Knight of Pentacles – Intellectual advancement
Queen of Pentacles – Settling mind
King of Pentacles – Intellectual Prominence
#3 The Suit of Cups
The suit of cups is connected to the water element, which symbolizes emotions and sensitivity. When Cups cards appear in a reading, they pertain to the emotional state of the querent, their relationship with the people around them, and their emotional responses to their environment. They regard to all the matters of the heart.
Reversed Cups cards denote oversentimentality at the expense of logic. In contrast, they could also mean repressed or denied feelings.
The 14 cards of Cups:
Ace of Cups – Drastic change of feelings
Two of Cups – Bond
Three of Cups – Festivity
Four of Cups – Melancholy
Five of Cups– Despair
Six of Cups – Success
Seven of Cups – Temptation
Eight of Cups – Disgust
Nine of Cups – Gluttony
Ten of Cups – Bliss
Page of Cups – Comforting friend
Knight of Cups – Emotional advancement
Queen of Cups – Settling emotions
King of Cups – Emotional restraint
#4 The Suit of Swords
The last suit is connected to the element of air, which symbolizes sharpness, clarity, and transparency. These cards pertain to the way we behave when faced with certain situations. They reflect our personal resolve, our defense mechanisms, and other behavioral patterns. At its best, this suit gives us discipline, morality, and boldness.
When reversed, the suit of swords can be very problematic. These cards can be associated with violence, conflict, and aggressiveness.
Below are the 14 cards in the suit of Swords:
Ace of Swords – Drastic change in action
Two of Swords – Crossroads
Three of Swords – Separation
Four of Swords – Commemoration
Five of Swords – Desertion
Six of Swords – Loss
Seven of Swords – Betrayal
Eight of Swords – Victim
Nine of Swords – Anguish
Ten of Swords – Defeat
Page of Swords – Ally
Knight of Swords – Advancement in action
Queen of Swords – Settling calamity
King of Swords – Decisive action
Tarot Card Reading For Beginners
Now that you have been introduced to the 78 cards in the Tarot deck, you probably already realize that getting into tarot reading is not as simple as it sounds.
It’s not just a question of how many cards are in a tarot deck, but how each one of them presents a unique meaning for you to interpret, depending on the tarot spread you use.
Your journey doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful though. Simply start with picking a Tarot deck that resonates with you. You can go for the Rider-Waite deck, or you can go with anything that you feel much more connection with.
From there, there’s no way to familiarize yourself with the cards aside from literally going through each one of them. Your consistency here matters. If your time allows, practice tarot reading every single day. This will greatly help you in mastering everything.
Lastly, remember that it is normal to have bad days. There will be times when you will forget what The Fool card means, or what a Wands card is trying to say.
It’s impossible to memorize everything overnight. Grab your guidebook and regularly quiz yourself on the cards’ meanings. This will make all the difference in your tarot reading journey.
Have you picked your tarot deck yet? We’re excited to hear about it in the comments section below!
The Individualogist Team is made up of archetype fanatics, individuation practitioners, and spirituality fans. Our humble group has banded together to deliver thought-provoking, life-changing, and growth-probing wisdom.