Tarot is an absolutely fascinating world of healing archetypes, mythologies, and intuitive guidance. It consists of a deck of 78 cards created in the 1440s in Italy, perhaps drawing on older versions from France, Egypt, and China. Through the images depicted on the cards, we go on a soul journey from The Fool to The World in the 22 Major Arcana cards, which deal with life’s biggest themes and lessons, and gain wisdom, insight, and medicine through each of the 10 numbered “pip” cards and 4 Court Cards in the 4 suits – Wands (Fire), Cups (Water), Swords (Air), Pentacles (Earth), for a total of 56 Minor Arcana cards.

While the true messages of each card and spread (layout) will be different for everyone and instinctive to you and you only, as you go deeper on your journey with the Tarot, you will come to learn the secrets that each of them personally hold for you. The common agreed upon Tarot card meaning is a good place to start, however it is highly encouraged to read many blogs, books (my favourites so far are Ultimate Guide To Tarot, Modern Tarot, Holistic Tarot, and Tarot And Astrology), podcasts (my absolute favourite is Tarot For The Wild Soul), and, most importantly, experiment and journal your experience with the cards to note how your relationship with them develops. Over time, you will form a unique language that can be spoken through them and used for powerful insight.

I have found so much beneficial communion with my cards, they have led me to great clarity, grace, awareness, faith, and calm on a myriad of different life events, if you would like to learn how to read tarot cards more in depth too, I invite you to check out our own Tarot Guidebook For Heightened Intuition!

Until then, here is a handy list of all the 78 cards of the Rider Waite Smith deck in order and their keywords, including reversals, to act as a starting point for you on your path:

The classic Smith Rider Waite Tarot deck illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith in 1909 is the most well-known and used Tarot deck in the world, it acts as the basis for most other Tarot card decks and teachings, thus it is an excellent place to begin. Once you are comfortable with these and have formulated your own meanings, you can move on to other Tarot decks (such as the popular Wild Unknown Tarot Deck).

To reiterate, Tarot is not uniform- it bends and shifts to the perspective of the Tarot reader, what’s true for you will not hold true for someone else, and all views are beautiful and valid, so it is greatly recommended to gather as much information as you can on the cards and then form your own relationship with them. Spend time integrating their invitations and see how they relate to your personal life. You are your own best teacher and oracle.

As for reversals, some people choose to read them, others don’t. The choice is up to you. Some take their meaning to be almost inverted, but often it is more nuanced than that. I personally believe them to be a combination of “opposite” meanings as well as sometimes simply signifying the end of a cycle and that you are actually coming out of the lesson of the card. Other times it can indicated that you are resisting the lessons or change represented by the card or that it is something you need to internalise more deeply. Often, upright cards can mean that the energy is being directed outwards and reversed cards show that this energy is being directed inwards (or that you are being called to integrate and embody this message more within yourself). It can be all of them, a combination of them, or none of them and what you personally take them to mean instead. As you can see, much like the practice of Tarot itself, reading reversals is very multi-faceted! Listen to your intuition for which is true in the moment.

A quick word of advice when learning the Tarot- don’t be discouraged or too steadfast in memorising the classic Tarot card meanings that others have set forth for you, take everything with a pinch of salt and look for your own meaning within them. Sit with them, meditate with them, journal on them. Pull a card a day and see how it resonates with you or muse upon the theme. This will allow you to absorb their messages more fully while having more concrete practical benefits in your day-to-day life.

Also, there are no bad cards- each of them are here to illuminate a different aspect of the human psyche and cycle of life. For example, if you pull the Five of Pentacles which classically indicates a financial setback or spiritual poverty, do not be afraid that this will befall you. Tarot cannot predict the future. Rather, look at it in the context of the question you are asking and engage yourself in some honest introspection- is there a part of your life in which you feel your needs are not being met? How does this relate to the situation at hand- perhaps you have been withholding from your true potential in some regard? Take part in an open and curious exploration to your current situation and state of being and see where the card may be showing up for you in your life. Over time, your intuition will drastically increase and you will naturally pick up on the messages the cards are trying to tell you in an instant.

Each of the cards is multi-faceted, there are many varying meanings for them and the one that resonates most at the time for you will depend on your personal disposition, current situation, and the surrounding cards. They each have more “keywords” than are listed here because they each tell a complete story that then becomes woven together as you do a Tarot reading and your practice grows. In the meantime, however, here is a general overview:

0 – The Fool (new beginnings)
KEYWORDS: Youthful energy, fresh starts, new beginnings, naïveté, start of a cycle

Ruled by the planet Uranus (and Aquarius by default, check out our Astrology Guidebook for more information), it corresponds with the Air element. Within the Major Arcana, we are said to be going on “The Fool’s journey”. Our hero bravely launches himself into the world, small worldly possessions in toe and loyal companion by his side. His face is uplifted to the spiritually energetic sun and he doesn’t have a care in the world. His clothing his flamboyant and he holds a white rose for purity. The Fool card asks you for you, too, to unabashedly be in the world. If you have a project in mind or feel like you are starting a new phase of life, this card is your trusty “YES” for the go-ahead on all things fresh and exciting.

REVERSED: Foolish, jumping in before looking, getting ahead of yourself.

1 – The Magician (manifestation)
KEYWORDS: Creation, manifestation, capability

Ruled by Mercury (and Gemini and Virgo by default), the Magician is often said to represent the Earth element (or sometimes Air). He has a floating lemniscate above his head, symbol of the power of infinite creation, and has a representation of all the suits on his table in front of him, symbolising his capability to create and mould with the elements. His wands points to the heavens and his finger to the earth (or underworld)- as above, so below, as within, so without, as the Universe, so the soul. When you pull the Magician you are being reminded that you are an infinitely capable being.

REVERSED: Misalignment, confusion, destruction

2 – The High Priestess (intuition)
KEYWORDS: Intuition,

Ruled by the Moon (and Cancer by default), she represents the Water Element. She embodies our innate knowing and wisdom, our intuitive and higher selves. She practically transforms into water at the end of her gown, reinforcing her one with its transmutability and power. Her crown shows three phases of the Moon, waxing, full, and waning, reflecting the so-called three stages of womanhood- maiden, mother, crone, and that she is equally potent in each. With this card, your internal wellspring of knowledge is sacred, listen to it.

REVERSED: Blocked intuition

3 – The Empress (nurturing)
KEYWORDS: Mothering, nurturance, nourishment, luxury, indulgence

Ruled by Venus (and Taurus and Libra by default), The Empress is an embodiment of the Earth element. She is our mother-like presence, whether internal or external, the Diving Feminine, our ability to nourish ourselves truly and deeply. She is everything fertile, whether that be a literal pregnancy or the conception of a project, her creative power is strong and the capacity to nurture it successfully to completion even stronger. She knows that self-care and indulging in the finer things in life, whatever makes your soul sing, is sacred and worth protecting.

REVERSED: Lack of self-care, need to slow down and be present

4 – The Emperor (leadership)
KEYWORDS: Authority, power, leadership, confidence, determination

This is the first Tarot card to be directly ruled by a Zodiac Sign, Aries (which is also the first Sign in the Astrological cycle). This makes him a Fire Element. The Emperor, counterpart to The Empress after we have learned to properly take care of ourselves, asks us to boldly take up space in the world and shine our light, speak our truth, and lead the way on our path fiercely.

REVERSED: Overbearing, overpowering, headstrong, dictatorial

5 – The Hierophant (teachings)
KEYWORDS: Religion, spirituality, doctrine, teachings

This is the card for the year 2021 (read more about it in our post here). It is Taurus’ card and so is symbolic of the Earth Element. The Hierophant teaches us to be our own spiritual wisdom keepers and share our knowledge with others. It asks to make sure where you are getting your beliefs, thoughts, opinions, ideas, feelings, and any other teachings from is in alignment with your highest self, while not giving away your personal power. Only you know what is best for you and what your truth is. Perhaps you are being called to explore your spirituality more or teach others about your ways.


6 – The Lovers (duality)
KEYWORDS: Relationships, love, romance, partnerships, duality

This is Gemini’s card and representative of the Air Element. The Lovers can be indicative of a new relationship or deepening existing one, but always with the intention of embracing and integrating the inherent duality present in everyone, you are yours before you are anyone else’s and you are always whole. No one can “complete” you, the person you are looking for is you- as they say, you’ll find the one when you realise that you are the one. The most important relationship you will ever have in life is first and foremost the one you have with yourself, and from this will stem everything else. How can you accept all sides of yourself, including your “shadow side” and parts that want healing? We are in a constant state of flux, balancing our Divine Masculine and Feminine, Yin and Yang, The Lovers card reminds us of this. What you love in someone else is what you love about yourself, and likewise what you judge others for is what you judge yourself for. What do your triggers have to teach you?

REVERSED: Blind love, giving away of power, loss of self

7 – The Chariot (endurance)
KEYWORDS: Strength, perseverance, endurance, emotional stability

This is Cancer’s card (check out our post on Zodiac Signs for more information) and thus a Water Element card. The Chariot asks us to be emotionally brave and stable, and persevere with strength through what we are trying to endure, the end is almost in sight!


8 – Strength (courage)
KEYWORDS: Strength, courage, bravery, vulnerability

This is Leo’s card and so representative of the Fire Element. As we can see in the picture of Strength, this is not brute force, but rather the deep, enduring inner strength we each possess, the one that is not loud and shouting, but soft and confident. She, too, has the infinity symbol above her head (like The Magician), symbolic of her eternal courage, our internal fountain of bravery knows no limits. As she is gently opening the lion’s mouth, we can see that it is in moments of tender vulnerability when we are in fact strongest. She is not dressed in fighting amour, nor charging ahead, but is quietly composed, steadfast in the knowledge of her capabilities. Where is your inner voice roaring when it should perhaps be more confident as a whisper?

REVERSED: Aggression, forcing, hotheaded

9 – The Hermit (introspection)
KEYWORDS: Introspection, reflection, solace, insight, wisdom, retreat

This is Virgo’s card and representative of the Earth Element. The Hermit is a card of deep and reverent introspection and self-reflection. It asks to step away from the noise of the world and retreat to our inner world to hear what our soul is saying. It is only through moments of stillness that can gain enough time for our internal wisdom to speak. Where will your shining star guide you, what is it illuminating? If you pull this card it is an invitation for some sacred time alone to explore yourself.

REVERSED: Loneliness, lost

10 – Wheel of Fortune (luck)
REVERSED: Luck, fortune, changing cycles, wheel of life, cosmic dance, Divine timing, fate, destiny

This is ruled by Jupiter (and Sagittarius by default), representing the Fire Element. The Wheel of Fortune depicts the ever-turning cycles of life, one moment we are on top, the next we are at the bottom, nothing is forever and everything holds its place, none are better or worse than the other- they each hold their own lessons and medicine. Generally, as Jupiter is a positive planet, it signals good luck, but is still a reminder to enjoy the present moment as best you can, remaining aware of the impermanent nature of things.

KEYWORDS: Changing luck

11 – Justice (equity)
KEYWORDS: Justice, equality, equity, fairness, adroitness, righteousness, morals, ethics

This is Libra’s card and reflective of the Air Element (it is also a “master number”, numerology is extremely important in the Tarot, click through to read more about The Link Between Numerology and Tarot). The Justice card, as the name suggests, relates to all things judicial, moral, and ethical, dealing with things of fairness, rightness, and equality. It can be an indicator to check in with your own prejudices or a symbol of your righteous integrity.

REVERSED: Immoral, unjust, unfair

12 – The Hanged Man (pause)
KEYWORDS: Wait, pause, liminal, inaction

This is ruled by Neptune (and Pisces by default) representing its liminal quality, and is by consequence a Water Element card. The Hanged Man is a call to wait, pause, let the unfoldings of life to naturally unfurl themselves without interference. Don’t force something to happen that doesn’t want to be, allow things to occur on their own in their own time. As the man is hanging (placidly) upside down, it may also indicate a change in perspective or point of view. All will be revealed in due time, but for now, float easily in the waters of life’s tides.

REVERSED: Skewed perception

13 – Death (transformation)
KEYWORDS: Change, transformation, transmutation, end of a cycle, rebirth

This is Scorpio’s card and so also representative of the Water Element. Death is a natural part of life, a necessary part of life. Without it, nothing fresh would be able to come through, in order for the new to be born, the old must first die. If you pull the Death card it can indicate that you are in a powerful transition of metamorphosis and change, slowly shedding your skin to emerge refreshed and renewed, born again from the chrysalis a transformed being.

REVERSED: Resisting change

14 – Temperance (patience)
KEYWORDS: Temperance, moderation, patience

This is Sagittarius’ card and so ruled by the Fire Element. Temperance is the card of Divine timing and patience, a lesson to consume everything in moderation, practice grace with yourself, others, life. Where can you soften your approach and ease into the effortless, mild capabilities of the angel on the card to seamlessly water-bend. How can you embrace your inner sanctuary of peace and trust in the natural process of things while holding onto a sense of serenity and tranquility, comfortable in not having it all at once? Is there somewhere your internal fire needs to be tamed or restrained in some way?


15 – The Devil (obsessions)
KEYWORDS: Materialism, obsessions, compulsions, addictions

This is Capricorn’s card and so an Earth Element. The Devil is representative of our Earthly vices, those things, habits or thought patterns we become obsessed with that don’t serve our best and highest good. It can also point to too much importance placed on material objects or things outside of ourselves, as well as downright addiction.

REVERSED: Freedom of negative habits

16 – The Tower (upheaval)
KEYWORDS: Change, destruction, upheaval

This is ruled by Mars (and Aries by default) with a Fire Element disposition. It’s safe to say that this card is fiery. The Tower represents the crumbling of false foundations, collapse of unstable beliefs, and the cataclysmic destruction of anything that was created on shaky ground. Sometimes this can relate to things that previously served us that have run their course, other times it is the seismic shifts of something that should have never been erected in the first place. Whatever it is, The Tower brings change. This may also be a lesson we didn’t take heed to in the past, which could have more naturally, but not necessarily less painfully (such as with Death), shifted in its own due time that we chose to ignore. What may have started as a whisper is now a rumbling thunder and clap of lightening that will force change upon us whether we want it or not. However, that’s not to say that The Tower has to be difficult, it may be something you were aware needed to evolve, or it could be a small thing that has run its course.


17 – The Star (hope)
KEYWORDS: Hope, reset, refresh, regeneration, faith, trust

Ahhh sweet release, after all those growing pains and the potential chaos of the previous cards, much like the quiet after a storm, we have the beautiful blessing of the Star of hope. This is Aquarius’ card, who is always looking to the future with faith and regeneration, and so also an Air Element card. Like a breath of fresh air, we can breath easy in the breeze of The Star, safe in the knowledge that everything is as it should be and that we are on the right path and Divinely protected. Take this invitation to rest and reset, enjoying the nectar of the present moment.

REVERSED: Loss of hope, loss of faith

18 – The Moon (illusion)
KEYWORDS: Intuition, illusions, confusion, secrets, mysteries, unknown

This is Pisces’ card, a Water Element. It deals with illusions and false ideas, as well as the hidden and unknown. Use your intuition to guide you through the night and illuminate any lingering things that are holding you back. Perhaps now, refreshed and regenerated, we are able to see some things more clearly in hindsight. It can also point to a clouded judgement, foggy mind, or secrets that are yet to pass.

REVERSED: Lies, deceit

19 – The Sun (abundance)
KEYWORDS: Joy, happiness, victory, success, abundance, vitality

This is, of course, ruled by the Sun (and Leo by default), representing the Fire Element. Like all the other cards in the Tarot, when you pull The Sun, it does not necessarily mean that your life is, or will be, full of vitality, vibrancy, abundance, and joy (although it certainly can do!) but rather it asks where can you look to find these things and appreciate them, revelling in the gratitude. If you get The Sun card and your life is full of happiness and success then awesome! Hope for more of the same. However, if you pull it and you do not currently experience these things, it is a gentle reminder that brighter days are always coming and what can you see that you are surrounded with right now that makes you feel full? It can be as simple as a beautiful sunny day, a warm friend, a delicious cup of coffee that you can afford to treat yourself with. Abundance is all around us if we look.

REVERSED: Resisting joy

20 – Judgement (reflection)
KEYWORDS: Judgment, reflection, legacy, contemplation

This is Pluto’s card, the generational planet (and Scorpio by default), representing the Water Element. As we approach the end of our major cycle in The Fool’s jouney, we are tasked with looking back on our progress and taking stock of our change, trials and tribulations, all that we have learnt and expressed in the world, the legacy that we leave behind in our wake. Take an honest look and congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come (which is often further than we give ourselves credit for). Look to where you were a month ago, a year ago- how have you grown? What do you leave behind you and how have you affected those around you? It also asks us to completely own all aspects of ourselves and the part we played in every situation we have been in, good and bad. How did we get there, what would we do differently now?

REVERSED: Overly judgemental

21 – The World (completion)
KEYWORDS: End of a cycle, completion, satisfaction

This is Saturn’s card (and Capricorn’s by default), ruled by the Earth Element. We have finally come the end of the cycle. We can rejoice and appreciate, soaking up all the lessons we have learnt and gifts we have gained, ready to begin anew in the next cycle of life. Allow satisfaction to wash over you, thank your experiences for all they have taught you, and rest assured in this newfound growth.

REVERSED: Resisting endings, completion or growth

If the link between Astrology and Tarot interests you, read our post on Tarotscopes for more insight!

Or, if you’d like to channel Divine insight relative to a specific question you have, book yourself in for a personalised Tarot Reading with me and let’s access the wisdom they have to tell you!

The Minor Arcana generally represent the smaller, often described as mundane, but no less important, aspects of our lives. They show us what can be shifted and changed energetically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically if we want them to. However, each of them is also a sum of the whole, one part in a cycle of 10 (usually the Court Cards are taken to stand on their own), and so we can also look to their number in the cycle to determine some of their meaning. The Elements are also important and point to the area of life we are dealing with. For example, although all Ace represent a new beginning, fresh start, invitation, what kind of cycling is initiating will depend upon the suit.

The Wands are represented by the Element of Fire. This deals with all inspiration, creativity, energy, enthusiasm, spirituality, divine insight, and action.

The Cups are the Element of Water. This represents all of our emotions, feelings, wants, needs, desires, and relationships.

The Swords are the Air Element. This is related to the realm of the mind, thoughts, opinions, ideas, planning, strategy, clarity, focus, determination.

The Pentacles are represented by the Earth Element. This deals with all earthly matters, material possessions, values, rituals, practices, habits, routines, career, finances, money, and any worldly thing.

Just by using the Numerological and Elemental aspect of the Minor Arcana suits alone, you can begin to form preliminary conclusions on the cards (in fact, this is the solely intuitive approach recommended by the author of the Everyday Tarot Mini Deck)! As the purpose of this post is just to list Tarot in order, for the sake of conciseness I will simply include the main keywords for the Minor Arcana below, if you would like to learn more about them, check out our Beginner’s Tarot Guidebook For Heightened Intuition.



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