Tarot Card Meanings

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The Meanings of Position

The position of tarot cards and whether they appear upright or reversed plays a significant role in the interpretation of a tarot spread. When laying tarot cards, whether in a simple three-card spread or in a more complicated pattern such as the Celtic Cross, each position’s meaning communicates different aspects of a question or situation.

Tarot Cards - Meaning of positions

The Significance of Positions

Each position in a tarot spread has a unique significance that can represent something specific about the seeker (questioner), such as their past, current state, future possibilities, underlying feelings, or challenges they may face. For example:

  • Past: This position can provide insight into events or emotions from the questioner’s past that affect their current situation.
  • Present: Here, the current circumstances or the questioner’s current state or emotions are reflected.
  • Future: This can offer a prediction or guidance on potential outcomes depending on the questioner’s choices and actions.

Advice and Challenges

In each position, tarot cards can offer advice. This guidance is interpreted in light of the card’s placement in the spread:

  • In the past, the advice may be about reflecting on past experiences and learning from them.
  • In the present, it can provide guidance on how to best navigate ongoing challenges.
  • For the future, it may suggest actions that will lead to desired outcomes or warn against actions that could be detrimental.

Challenges or obstacles revealed by the tarot cards are crucial for understanding the questioner’s situation:

  • When related to the past, they can point to unresolved issues still affecting the present.
  • In the present, the cards can identify immediate obstacles in the way of the questioner’s progress.
  • In the future position, they may indicate potential future problems that can be avoided or overcome.

Upright and Reversed Tarot Cards

When a tarot card is drawn, it can land either upright or reversed, and this will affect the reading of the card.

The Star

Upright: When a card is upright, it usually symbolizes the card’s primary, traditional meaning. It may point to positive aspects, success, favorable situations, or a yes answer to a yes/no question.

The Star

Reversed: A reversed card can mean many things depending on the context and the specific card. It may represent an internalization of the card’s energy, an obstacle that needs to be overcome, a delay, or something that is diminishing. Sometimes it may also mean the opposite of the card’s upright meaning, or a more subtle or introspective version of that meaning.

Context is key when interpreting the meaning of a card. The relationship between the cards surrounding it, the nature of the question, and even the questioner’s own intuition are all important factors. A card that is reversed in a position about the future, for example, may suggest that the future outcome is not set in stone, or that there is room for change depending on the questioner’s actions.

Tarot is a complex and nuanced art, where each spread offers a unique glimpse into the weave of human life. It is a mixture of symbolism, archetypes, and intuition that work together to create a story and provide guidance. The tarot reader should remember that the cards are not fixed fates but rather reflect potential paths of development and inner landscapes.


Example of a Tarot Reading

Let’s imagine a scenario where a person is contemplating a major career change and is seeking guidance through a tarot reading. The questioner wants to know if it is the right time to change careers and what potential challenges they might encounter along the way.

Eight of pentacles

First Card: Eight of Pentacles (Upright) – Past

This card represents hard work and mastery. In the past position, it indicates that the questioner has spent a lot of time and energy developing their skills. This has created a stable foundation for their current professional situation.


The Tower

Second Card: The Tower (Reversed) – Present

The Tower in a reversed position can mean that the questioner feels an internal unrest and need for change but without the sudden resolution that an upright Tower often signifies. It suggests that the current challenges in the career may come more from within than from external circumstances.


The Star

Third Card: The Star (Upright) – Future and Advice

The Star is a sign of hope and inspiration. As a future and advice card, it suggests that the questioner has a bright future ahead if they dare to follow their dreams. It advises them to maintain hope and belief in themselves, which will lead them toward fulfilling opportunities.

This spread indicates that the questioner has already put in the work that is required and has the skills (Eight of Pentacles), even though they are currently struggling internally with the decision (The Tower Reversed). However, the future prospects (The Star Upright) show that a change is not only possible but could also be very rewarding. They are encouraged not to lose faith in the path they are considering, for even though uncertainties exist, their ambitions and hope are leading them in the right direction.


Final Words

Tarot is a complex and nuanced art, where each spread offers a unique insight into the weave of human life. It is a blend of symbolism, archetypes, and intuition that come together to create a narrative and provide guidance. The tarot reader should remember that the cards are not fixed destinies but rather reflect potential pathways of development and inner landscapes.


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