How to Read Playing Cards as Tarot?

How to Read Playing Cards as Tarot?
How to Read Playing Cards as Tarot?

How to Read Playing Cards as Tarot?

Tarot card reading is a centuries-old practice that has provided countless individuals with guidance, clarity, and self-discovery. Traditionally, tarot decks consist of 78 cards divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. However, the symbolism and meanings found in tarot cards can also be found in a standard deck of playing cards.

Understanding the Suit Symbols

Playing cards are divided into four suits: Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades. Each case corresponds to a specific element and represents different aspects of life. Understanding these associations will deepen your interpretation skills:

  • Hearts (Cups): Emotions, relationships, love, and intuition.
  • Diamonds (Pentacles or Coins): Material wealth, possessions, and the physical world.
  • Clubs (Wands or Batons): Energy, creativity, passion, and personal growth.
  • Spades (Swords): Intellect, challenges, conflicts, and decision-making.

Assigning Meanings to Play Card Numbers

Every playing card has a number from Ace to Ten. These numbers hold significant meaning and can shed light on different situations in life. Here’s a brief overview of the interpretations for each number:

  • Ace: New beginnings, opportunities, and potential.
  • Two: Balance, partnerships, and choices.
  • Three: Creativity, expansion, and growth.
  • Four: Stability, foundations, and practicality.
  • Five: Change, challenges, and adaptability.
  • Six: Harmony, cooperation, and problem-solving.
  • Seven: Introspection, inner wisdom, and analysis.
  • Eight: Power, success, and manifestation.
  • Nine: Culmination, attainment, and fulfillment.
  • Ten: Completion, abundance, and transformation.

Exploring the Court Cards: Kings, Queens, Jacks

The court cards consist of the King, Queen, and Jack in playing card tarot. These cards often represent people or personalities in our lives and can provide valuable insights into their characteristics or the energy they bring to a situation:

  • King: Authority, leadership, and mastery.
  • Queen: Nurturing, intuition, and emotional depth.
  • Jack: Exploration, curiosity, and youthful energy.

Creating Card Combinations and Spreads

Card combinations are a powerful tool that can add depth and nuance to your readings. Combining two or more cards can create a more complex and layered message. There are different types of card combinations that you can use, depending on your intention and the cards you are working with.

Numerical combinations involve looking at the numbers on the cards to find patterns and connections. For example, adding up the numbers on two cards can give you insight into their relationship. Elemental combinations involve looking at the cards’ elements (fire, water, air, earth) to find connections and themes. Archetypal varieties include looking at the archetypes on the cards to find links and patterns. Directional types involve looking at the orientation of the cards (upright or reversed) to find links and themes.

Examples of card combinations include combining the Empress and the Emperor to explore themes of balance and power or combining the Devil and the Tower to examine themes of upheaval and transformation.

Card spreads are a way of laying out your cards in a specific pattern or structure. Each spread has a different purpose and can give insight into other aspects of your question or situation.

The one-card spread is the simplest and involves drawing a single card to answer a specific question or gain insight into a situation. The three-card space consists in laying out three cards in a row to explore the past, present, and future or to explore different options or perspectives. The Celtic Cross spread is a more complex spread that involves laying out ten cards in a specific pattern to examine various aspects of a situation or question. The relationship spread is designed to explore the dynamics between two people.

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Examples of card spreads include using the one-card feed to gain insight into a specific decision or using the Celtic Cross spread to achieve a more holistic understanding of a complex situation.

Creating Your Card Combinations and Spreads:

Creating your card combinations and spreads is a powerful way to personalize your readings and gain deeper insight into your questions and situations. To make your mixes and spaces, it is essential to understand your intention, choose your cards intentionally, lay them out in a meaningful pattern, and interpret your reading carefully.

Understanding your intention involves clarifying what you want to explore or gain insight into. Choosing your cards intentionally involves selecting cards that resonate with your choice and work well together. Laying them out in a meaningful pattern involves selecting a spread that supports your choice and creates a clear structure for your reading. Interpreting your reading with care involves reflecting on emerging messages and exploring them with curiosity and compassion.

Interpreting the Major Arcana with Playing Cards

While playing cards don’t have the explicit imagery of the Major Arcana found in traditional tarot decks, you can assign their interpretations based on their suits and numbers. For example, the Ace of Hearts can be associated with The Fool in tarot, symbolizing new beginnings and taking a leap of faith.

Although playing cards don’t have the explicit imagery of the Major Arcana, you can assign their meanings based on their suits and numbers. Let’s explore how you can interpret the Major Arcana using playing cards:

The Fool: The Ace of Hearts represents The Fool, symbolizing new beginnings, spontaneity, and taking a leap of faith. It signifies a time to embrace change and trust in the journey ahead.

The Magician: The Ace of Diamonds corresponds to The Magician, representing manifestation, creativity, and the power to bring your desires into reality. It signifies harnessing your inner potential and using your skills to create positive outcomes.

The High Priestess: The Ace of Clubs can be associated with The High Priestess, symbolizing intuition, inner wisdom, and the exploration of the subconscious. It encourages you to trust your instincts and dive deep into your inner realm.

The Empress: The Queen of Hearts embodies The Empress, representing nurturing, abundance, and feminine energy. It signifies a time of creativity, growth, and connecting with your nurturing qualities.

The Emperor: The King of Diamonds corresponds to The Emperor, symbolizing authority, leadership, and structure. It signifies the need to establish order, take control of your life, and make rational decisions.

The Hierophant: The King of Hearts can be associated with The Hierophant, representing tradition, spirituality, and guidance. It signifies seeking wisdom from established beliefs and spiritual practices.

The Lovers: The Two of Hearts embodies The Lovers, symbolizing love, partnerships, and harmonious connections. It signifies making choices from the heart and embracing the power of love.

The Chariot: The Two of Clubs corresponds to The Chariot, representing determination, willpower, and overcoming obstacles. It signifies staying focused, taking charge, and moving forward, Strengthength and purpose.

Strength: The Queen of Clubs emboStrengthength, representing inner courage, resilience, and the taming of one’s passions. It signifies finding strengtheneth and using it to overcome challenges.

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The Hermit: The Nine of Clubs can be associated with The Hermit, symbolizing introspection, solitude, and inner guidance. It signifies a time for self-reflection, seeking answers, and finding spiritual enlightenment.

Wheel of Fortune: The Ten of Diamonds corresponds to the Wheel of Fortune, representing cycles, destiny, and the ever-changing nature of life. It signifies embracing the ups and downs, trusting in divine timing, and being open to new opportunities.

Justice: The Queen of Diamonds embodies Justice, representing fairness, balance, and making ethical choices. It signifies acting with integrity, seeking truth, and finding equilibrium.

The Hanged Man: The Three of Hearts can be associated with The Hanged Man, symbolizing surrender, letting go, and gaining a new perspective. It signifies releasing control, embracing uncertainty, and finding enlightenment through surrender.

Death: The Queen of Spades corresponds to Death, representing transformation, rebirth, and letting go of the old to make way for the new. It signifies profound changes, endings, and the beginning of a new chapter.

Temperance: The Four of Hearts embodies Temperance, symbolizing balance, moderation, and finding harmony. It signifies integrating different aspects of your life, embracing patience, and finding inner peace.

How to Make Tarot Cards?

Reading the Playing Cards: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you have a foundational understanding of playing cards as tarot let’s dive into a step-by-step guide to reading the cards:

  1. Set the intention for the reading and create a calm and focused environment.
  2. Shuffle the deck thoroughly while concentrating on your question or the area of life you want guidance on.
  3. Draw the number of cards randomly or using a specific spread.
  4. Observe the suits, numbers, and court cards, noting their meanings and any intuitive impressions.
  5. Consider the interactions between the cards, paying attention to their placement and proximity.
  6. Piece together the reading narrative, combining your knowledge of the cards with your intuition.
  7. Trust your instincts and interpretations, allowing your inner wisdom to guide the reading.

Enhancing Intuition: Trusting Your Inner Voice

Reading playing cards as tarot is not just about memorizing meanings; it’s about tapping into your intuition. As you practice, focus on developing your intuitive abilities and strengthening the connection between the cards and your inner voice. This will bring depth and accuracy to your readings, providing valuable insights into your life’s journey.

Create a Sacred Space: Find a quiet, comfortable space to focus and connect with your inner self. Clear the energy of the area by smudging with sage or lighting incense.

Meditation and Mindfulness: Engage in regular meditation practices to calm your mind and heighten your awareness. Mindfulness exercises help you stay present in the moment, allowing you to receive intuitive messages more clearly.

Listen to Your Gut: Pay attention to your gut feelings and initial impressions when you look at the cards. Your intuition often speaks to you through subtle sensations or inner knowings. Trust these insights and let them guide your interpretations.

Practice Daily Card Draws: Pull a card daily and reflect on its meaning. Write down your interpretations and compare them to the events or emotions during the day. Over time, you’ll notice patterns and strengthen your intuitive connection.

Develop Symbolic Associations: Create personal associations with the playing cards based on your experiences and intuition. Assign meanings to specific colors, shapes, or images within the cards, and allow these associations to deepen your interpretations.

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Work with Your Dreams: Keep a dream journal and pay attention to any dreams or symbols related to the cards. Plans can provide powerful insights and offer a bridge between your conscious and subconscious mind.

Engage in Automatic Writing: Set aside time for automatic writing sessions, where you allow your subconscious to express itself freely through writing. This practice can unveil hidden wisdom and intuitive guidance related to playing cards.

Connect with Nature: Spend time in nature and observe the elements represented by the playing card suits. Notice how the energy of each case aligns with the natural world. This connection with nature can amplify your intuitive abilities.

Tips for Accurate Card Interpretation

Here are some tips to enhance your accuracy and interpretation skills when reading playing cards as tarot:

  • Maintain a transparent and open mind during readings.
  • Practice regularly to familiarize yourself with the cards and their meanings.
  • Keep a tarot journal to document your lessons and personal insights.
  • Meditate or engage in mindfulness exercises to heighten your intuition.
  • Seek guidance from experienced tarot readers and participate in workshops or courses.

The Benefits of Using Playing Cards as Tarot

Reading playing cards as tarot offers several unique benefits:

  1. Accessibility: Playing cards are readily available and familiar to most people.
  2. Versatility: You can read cards anytime, anywhere, without a specialized tarot deck.
  3. Connection: Playing cards provide a personal touch and a sense of familiarity in readings.
  4. Intuition Development: The practice enhances your intuitive abilities and deepens self-reflection.
  5. Insightful Guidance: Playing cards can unveil hidden truths, offer clarity, and guide decision-making.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use a Joker card in playing card tarot readings?

While jokers can add an element of surprise, they don’t have specific meanings in traditional tarot or playing card tarot. It’s best to set jokers aside during your readings.

How accurate are playing card tarot readings?

The accuracy of any tarot reading, including playing card tarot, depends on various factors such as the reader’s skills, intuition, and connection with the cards. With practice and a focused mindset, accurate readings can be achieved.

Can playing cards be used for complex spreads like the Celtic Cross?

Yes, playing cards can be used for complex spreads like the Celtic Cross. Assign meanings to each position and adapt the interpretation to the playing card system.

Is having prior knowledge of traditional tarot necessary to read playing cards as tarot?

No, prior knowledge of traditional tarot is not necessary. Playing card tarot has its system and meanings, which can be learned independently.

Can playing card tarot readings predict the future?

Tarot, including playing card tarot, is not designed to predict the future. It offers insights, guidance, and reflections on a situation’s current energies and possibilities.


Reading playing cards as tarot is an exciting way to unlock card divination’s wisdom and guidance. By understanding the symbolism of the suits, numbers, and court cards, you can embark on a journey of self-discovery and intuitive exploration. Remember to trust your instincts, practice regularly, and enjoy the insights that playing card tarot brings to your life.