How Many Cards In A Tarot Deck

How Many Cards In A Tarot Deck

Hey there! Have you ever wondered how many cards are in a tarot deck? Well, let me tell you, it’s definitely more than just a handful! In fact, there are a total of 78 cards in a standard tarot deck. That’s right, 78! It may seem like a lot, but each card holds its own unique meaning and plays a crucial role in a tarot reading. So, whether you’re a tarot enthusiast or just curious about the world of divination, knowing the number of cards in a tarot deck is a good place to start.

If you’re interested in learning more about the significance of these cards and how they are used in tarot readings, then this article is perfect for you. In the upcoming sections, we’ll dive deeper into the different types of cards found in a tarot deck, such as the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana, and explore their meanings. We’ll also discuss how tarot decks are shuffled and prepared for readings, as well as provide some tips for beginners on how to get started with tarot card readings. So, get ready to unlock the secrets of the tarot deck and discover the fascinating world that lies within!

How Many Cards In A Tarot Deck

Table of Contents

The Origin and Structure of Tarot Decks

Tarot cards have long been associated with mysticism, divination, and spiritual guidance. The origins of tarot cards can be traced back to the 14th century in Europe, although the exact origins are still debated among scholars. These ancient cards were not initially used for divination but rather as playing cards for games.

Historical Origins of Tarot Cards

The history of tarot cards is shrouded in mystery and speculation. Some theories suggest that the cards originated in ancient Egypt or ancient China, while others point to medieval Europe as their birthplace. One of the earliest recorded instances of tarot cards being used for occult purposes is in the 18th century, when a Frenchman named Antoine Court de Gébelin claimed that the cards contained hidden secrets of the ancient Egyptians.

Components of a Standard Tarot Deck

A standard tarot deck consists of 78 cards, divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. Each card carries its own unique symbolism and meaning, contributing to the overall tapestry of the tarot deck.

Major Arcana Cards

The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, each depicting a significant archetype or life lesson. These cards hold immense power and are often seen as the heart and soul of the tarot deck. Some of the most well-known cards in the Major Arcana include The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, and The World.

Minor Arcana Cards

The Minor Arcana makes up the remaining 56 cards in a standard tarot deck. These cards are further divided into four suits: Cups, Swords, Wands, and Pentacles. Each suit represents a different aspect of life, and the cards within each suit depict various scenarios and emotions.

Understanding the Major Arcana Cards

The Major Arcana cards are often seen as the core of a tarot deck. They carry deep symbolism and can provide powerful insights into a person’s life and spiritual journey.

Meaning and Symbolism

Each Major Arcana card holds its own unique meaning and symbolism. These archetypal figures represent significant life lessons, challenges, and transformative experiences. The symbolism within the cards can be interpreted in various ways, allowing the reader to delve deeper into the subconscious and tap into the collective human experience.

Interpreting the Major Arcana

To interpret the Major Arcana cards, it is essential to consider both the individual card’s meaning and its placement within a tarot spread. The position and adjacent cards can offer additional context and insights into the overall message. Reading the Major Arcana requires intuition, knowledge of the card meanings, and an understanding of how they interact with each other.

Significance of Each Card

Each Major Arcana card carries its own unique significance and wisdom. The Fool, for example, represents new beginnings, spontaneity, and embracing the unknown. The Strength card symbolizes inner strength, courage, and self-confidence. The cards in the Major Arcana serve as guideposts on the journey of life, offering guidance, lessons, and encouragement.

Exploring the Minor Arcana Cards

While the Major Arcana cards often take center stage, the Minor Arcana cards play an equally important role in a tarot reading. These cards provide practical insights into everyday situations and represent the joys, challenges, and transitions of daily life.

The Four Suits: Cups, Swords, Wands, and Pentacles

The Minor Arcana cards are divided into four suits, each symbolizing different aspects of life. Cups represent emotions, love, and relationships. Swords represent intellect, conflict, and mental challenges. Wands represent creativity, passion, and ambition. Pentacles represent abundance, material possessions, and physical well-being. Each suit offers a unique perspective and insight into specific areas of life.

Meanings and Interpretations of Minor Arcana Cards

Similar to the Major Arcana, each card within the Minor Arcana carries its own set of meanings and interpretations. The Ace of Cups, for example, signifies new emotional beginnings and a deepening of emotional connections. The Three of Swords represents heartbreak and emotional pain.

Relationship between Minor and Major Arcana

The Minor Arcana cards are closely connected to the Major Arcana, complementing and expanding upon their messages and themes. The Minor Arcana provides a tangible, day-to-day perspective on the broader aspects of life represented by the Major Arcana. Together, these cards create a comprehensive narrative and provide a deeper understanding of the human experience.

Numerology in Tarot Cards

Numerology plays a significant role in tarot card reading, adding another layer of symbolism and meaning to the cards. Each card is associated with a specific number, and these numbers carry their own vibrations and energies.

The Influence of Numbers in Tarot

The numbers in tarot cards have deep symbolic significance. They represent cycles, patterns, and energies that influence the card’s meaning and interpretation. Numerology allows for a more nuanced understanding of the tarot deck, providing additional insights and guidance.

Significance of Numerical Values

Each number in tarot has its own unique significance. The number one represents new beginnings and individuality, while the number two signifies balance and partnership. The number nine symbolizes completion and fulfillment. These numerical values can enhance the reader’s understanding of the card’s message and provide further clarity and guidance.

Correlations between Numbers and Card Meanings

The connections between numbers and card meanings in tarot are not arbitrary. Each number is associated with specific qualities, traits, and experiences that correspond to the card’s symbolism. Understanding these correlations allows for a more comprehensive interpretation of the cards and a deeper understanding of their messages.

Tarot Spreads and Reading Techniques

Tarot spreads are specific patterns in which the cards are laid out during a reading. Each spread has its own purpose and offers unique insights into different areas of life. Here are some commonly used tarot spreads and reading techniques:

Different Types of Tarot Spreads

  • The Celtic Cross Spread: This is one of the most well-known and widely used tarot spreads. It provides insight into various aspects of life, including past influences, current challenges, and future possibilities.

  • The Three-Card Spread: This simple spread consists of three cards and offers quick, straightforward answers to specific questions or situations.

  • The Relationship Spread: This spread focuses specifically on love and relationships, providing guidance and insight into the dynamics between two individuals.

Choosing the Right Spread for a Reading

Choosing the right tarot spread for a reading depends on the specific questions or areas of life that the querent wants to explore. Different spreads offer different levels of detail and can provide insights into different aspects of life. It’s important to select a spread that aligns with the querent’s needs and intentions.

Interpreting the Spread

Interpreting a tarot spread involves analyzing the relationships between the cards and their positions within the spread. Each card’s meaning is influenced by its placement and its interactions with other cards. The spread provides a roadmap for understanding the querent’s situation and offers guidance and insights into potential outcomes.

Tips for Accurate Readings

To ensure accurate tarot readings, it’s important to approach the practice with the right mindset and preparation. Here are some tips for beginners:

  1. Clear your mind: Before conducting a reading, take a moment to clear your mind of any distractions or preconceived notions. Allow yourself to be fully present and open to intuitive guidance.

  2. Set your intention: Clearly define your intention for the reading, whether it’s seeking guidance, clarity, or inspiration. This helps focus your energy and allows for a more accurate and meaningful reading.

  3. Trust your intuition: Intuition plays a crucial role in tarot reading. Trust your instincts and listen to your inner voice as you interpret the cards. Your intuition often offers valuable insights that can enhance the reading.

  4. Practice regularly: Like any skill, tarot reading improves with practice. Set aside regular time to study the cards, experiment with different spreads, and practice interpreting the meanings. With time and dedication, your readings will become more accurate and insightful.

How Many Cards In A Tarot Deck

Popular Tarot Deck Variations

Over the years, numerous tarot deck variations have emerged, each offering its own unique symbolism, artwork, and interpretations. While the standard Rider-Waite deck remains the most widely used and recognized, here are some other notable tarot deck variations:

Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

The Rider-Waite Tarot deck, created by Arthur Edward Waite and illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, is considered the gold standard in tarot decks. Its iconic imagery and rich symbolism make it accessible and easy to work with, making it a favorite among beginners and experienced readers alike.

Thoth Tarot Deck

The Thoth Tarot deck, created by Aleister Crowley and illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, is known for its deep esoteric symbolism and its connection to Crowley’s philosophies and practices. The deck offers a more complex and nuanced interpretation of the cards, appealing to those with a deeper understanding of tarot symbolism.

Marseille Tarot Deck

The Marseille Tarot deck is one of the oldest tarot deck variations, dating back to the 16th century. It features simple, hand-drawn illustrations and emphasizes the use of numerology in the interpretation of the cards. The Marseille deck is often favored by traditionalists and those seeking a more historic approach to tarot reading.

Other Notable Tarot Decks

In addition to the well-known Rider-Waite, Thoth, and Marseille decks, there are countless other tarot deck variations available. Some decks draw inspiration from specific cultures or mythologies, while others feature innovative artwork and avant-garde interpretations. The variety of tarot decks allows readers to choose a deck that resonates with their personal preferences and spiritual beliefs.

Tarot Card Reading for Personal Growth

Tarot cards can be a powerful tool for personal growth, self-reflection, and transformation. They offer a unique pathway to accessing one’s inner wisdom and uncovering hidden truths.

Using Tarot for Self-Reflection

Tarot cards can serve as a mirror, reflecting the querent’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences back to them. Through self-reflection, the cards can help individuals gain clarity, explore their subconscious beliefs, and uncover areas for personal growth and improvement.

Developing Intuition and Insight

Working with tarot cards can enhance and develop one’s intuition. As individuals connect with the cards and learn to trust their own interpretations, they become more attuned to their inner voice and gain deeper insights into their own experiences and the world around them.

Gaining Clarity and Guidance

Tarot cards offer a unique perspective on life’s challenges, providing clarity and guidance when faced with difficult decisions or uncertain situations. By tapping into the cards’ wisdom, individuals can gain a fresh perspective, explore different possibilities, and uncover hidden solutions.

Common Misconceptions about Tarot Cards

Despite its growing popularity, tarot reading is often surrounded by misconceptions and misunderstandings. Here are some common misconceptions about tarot cards:

Tarot as Fortune-Telling vs. Psychology

One of the most prevailing misconceptions about tarot is that it is solely used for fortune-telling and predicting the future. In reality, tarot is a tool for introspection, personal growth, and self-reflection. It taps into the subconscious mind and offers insights into one’s beliefs, emotions, and experiences.

Superstitions and Myths

Tarot cards are sometimes associated with superstitions and myths, such as the belief that they are inherently evil or possess supernatural powers. These misconceptions stem from a lack of understanding and a tendency to fear the unknown. In reality, tarot cards are nothing more than a tool for self-exploration and personal growth.

Ethical Considerations in Tarot Reading

Another misconception is that tarot readers have the power to control or manipulate individuals through their readings. In ethical tarot reading, the reader acts as a guide, providing insights and suggestions based on the cards’ symbolism. The responsibility lies with the querent to make their own decisions and take action based on the guidance received.

Benefits and Applications of Tarot Cards

Tarot cards offer numerous benefits and applications beyond divination and fortune-telling. Here are some of the ways tarot cards can be used:

Psychological and Emotional Healing

Tarot cards can serve as a tool for psychological and emotional healing. By exploring the symbolism and meanings of the cards, individuals can gain insights into their own patterns, traumas, and emotional blocks. This understanding can lead to healing, growth, and personal transformation.

Spiritual Guidance and Intuition Development

Working with tarot cards can deepen one’s spiritual connection and enhance intuition. The cards provide a pathway to accessing spiritual guidance and can serve as a tool for connecting with higher wisdom and universal energies.

Creative Inspiration and Problem-Solving

Tarot cards are not limited to personal growth and introspection – they can also inspire creativity and problem-solving. The symbolism and imagery within the cards can spark new ideas, offer fresh perspectives, and help individuals navigate challenges in their creative pursuits or daily lives.

Tarot Cards in Popular Culture and Art

Tarot cards have captivated the imagination of countless artists, writers, and filmmakers throughout history. The rich symbolism and visual appeal of the cards have inspired numerous works of art, as well as their representation in popular culture.

Representation in Movies, Books, and TV Shows

Tarot cards have made appearances in various movies, books, and TV shows, often serving as a narrative device or a symbol of mystery and intrigue. From the mystical fortune-teller’s tent in carnivals to the hands of protagonists seeking guidance, tarot cards have become an iconic and recognizable symbol in popular culture.

Tarot-inspired Art and Illustrations

Artists have long been drawn to the symbolism and aesthetic appeal of tarot cards. The intricate illustrations and deep meanings of the cards have inspired countless artworks and illustrations, both within and beyond the realm of tarot. These creations often seek to capture the essence of the cards and evoke the same sense of wonder and introspection.

Influence on Fashion and Design

The imagery and symbolism of tarot cards have also found their way into the world of fashion and design. Clothing, accessories, and home decor inspired by tarot often feature intricate designs, mystical motifs, and references to the cards’ archetypes and symbols. These designs allow individuals to connect with the energy and symbolism of the cards in their everyday lives.

Tarot Reading Tips for Beginners

If you’re new to tarot reading, getting started can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you embark on your tarot journey:

Getting Started with Tarot

To begin your journey with tarot, it’s important to choose a deck that resonates with you. Take your time to explore different options and select a deck that speaks to your intuition and personal aesthetic preferences. Once you have your deck, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the cards and their meanings.

Selecting and Cleansing a Deck

When selecting a tarot deck, choose one that feels comfortable and aligns with your personal beliefs. Some decks are grounded in specific spiritual or cultural traditions, while others offer a more modern or eclectic approach. After acquiring your deck, it’s a good idea to cleanse it energetically by placing it under sunlight or moonlight, or by using other methods such as smudging or visualization.

Learning Card Meanings

Learning the meanings of the cards is an essential part of tarot reading. Start by studying the symbolism and interpretations offered in the guidebook that comes with your deck. As you become more comfortable, you can explore additional resources, such as books or online courses, to deepen your understanding of the cards.

Practicing Intuition and Spreads

While it’s important to study the traditional meanings of the cards, don’t be afraid to trust your intuition when conducting readings. Allow yourself to connect with the cards on a personal level and listen to your inner guidance. As you gain more confidence, experiment with different spreads and techniques to expand your tarot reading skills.

Unlocking the Secrets of Tarot

Tarot cards have the power to unlock a world of self-discovery, personal growth, and spiritual connection. Here are some ways in which tarot can transform your life:

Tarot as a Tool for Self-Discovery

Tarot cards provide a direct pathway to exploring your subconscious mind, desires, and fears. By delving into the symbolism and meanings of the cards, individuals can gain new insights into themselves, heal old wounds, and uncover hidden strengths.

Connecting with Archetypes and Collective Consciousness

The archetypal figures and symbolism within tarot cards are deeply connected to the collective consciousness of humanity. By working with tarot, individuals can tap into this collective wisdom, connecting with the experiences, emotions, and universal themes that transcend time and culture.

Integration of Tarot in Daily Life

Tarot reading doesn’t have to be confined to special occasions or formal readings. It can become a powerful tool for daily guidance and self-reflection. By integrating tarot into your daily routine, you can develop a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you, and gain clarity and guidance in various areas of life.

Tarot and the Spiritual Journey

Tarot cards offer a gateway to the mystical and spiritual realms, allowing individuals to explore their own spirituality and connect with higher wisdom.

Exploring the Mystical and Divinatory Aspects

Tarot cards have a long history of being used for divinatory purposes, offering glimpses into the past, present, and future. By tapping into the cards’ mystical energy, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their life’s purpose, and the unseen forces at play.

Using Tarot for Meditation and Manifestation

Tarot cards can be used as a focal point for meditation and manifestation practices. By gazing at a specific card or incorporating its symbolism into your meditation practice, you can enhance your connection to the card’s energy and harness its power to manifest your desires and intentions.

Tarot as a Spiritual Guide

In addition to offering guidance and insights, tarot can serve as a spiritual guide on your journey of self-discovery. The cards provide a framework for exploring spiritual concepts, connecting with higher wisdom, and deepening your understanding of the divine forces at work in your life.


Tarot cards have stood the test of time, captivating individuals with their symbolism, mystery, and potential for personal transformation. Whether used for introspection, divination, or spiritual guidance, tarot offers a unique pathway to self-discovery, connection, and growth. By delving into the world of tarot, you open yourself to a wealth of knowledge, insights, and possibilities. Embrace the magic of the cards and allow them to guide you on your own journey of personal transformation.