Tarot: Vocabulary

In combination with my Tarot FAQ, I decided to set up a list of vocabulary as well, so that way, you know the basics of what kinds of things I’m talking about when I read and also describe things.

Arcana – a division or “deck” of tarot. From the Latin word arcanus, meaning “secret,” as meanings are hidden in the playing cards.

Cartomancy – divination, or fortune-telling, with the use of a deck of cards.

Cups – Also called chalices in other decks. The suit is most closely related to hearts (♥). The element is water (duh). The signs are Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio. This suit is associated with clergy, emotions, and love (duh).

Divination – fortune-telling or the attempt to gain insight or understanding into a question, person, or situation.

Pentacles – Also called coins or rings in other decks. The suit is most closely related to diamonds (♦). The element is earth. The signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. This suit is associated with merchants and material possessions.

Querent – a card which represents the person being read.

Reversed – when a pulled card is upside down. It is typically a card’s opposite meaning or downside to the card’s upright meaning.

Significator – a card which represents the ruling planet of the topic or person being read.

Spreads – the arrangement of cards, where each card in the arrangement represents a particular aspect in the reading.

Swords – the suit most closely related to spades (♠). The element is air. The signs are Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra. This suit is associated with nobility and reason.

Tarot – a pack of playing cards. Often used for a form of divination called cartomancy or, more specifically in this case, tarotology.

Wands – also called batons in other decks. The suit most closely related to clubs (♣). The element is fire. The signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. This suit is associated with peasantry, creativity, and will.