list of the tarot cards, with tarot card meanings and descriptions of each element of the deck - The Wandering Moon Co.

list of the tarot cards meanings and descriptions of each element of the deck

tarot card meanings, a list in order of the major arcana and minor arcana with elements, archetypes, and more! 

it can be hard to remember what order the tarot cards come in, especially the major arcana! so for anyone wanting to know, here’s a list of the 78 tarot cards in order!

you can bookmark this page so it’s always handy!

traditional tarot decks have 78 cards, divided into two mail sections:

▪️the major arcana with 22 cards in total

▪️the minor arcana with 56 cards in total:

the minor arcana is then further divided into four suits:

- wands

- cups

- swords

- pentacles

arcana = pronounced “arh-cahn-ah” or “arh-can-ah”. you choose, it’s one of those words where either way is acceptable

the word ‘arcana’ originates from the Latin word “arcanus,” which means “secret.” it was a word often spoken quietly during the darker ages to the renaissance, referring to the unknown and unseen mysteries of this physical, earthly plane and also spiritual realms.

obviously, it was a word tainted by the church as it took people away from a religious mindset and offered a freedom in thinking for oneself away from doctrine. even today, the church’s smear campaign still alive and well. just ask some of your loved ones how they feel about tarot, and in particular the cards of ‘death’ and ‘the devil’.

▪️the 78 tarot cards & their basic, core meanings:

just a quick note, many decks out there will have more than 78 cards. for instance, my tarot decks have 81 cards. that’s because artistic license comes into play and by adding unique tarot cards (usually to the major arcana) we can put more of our “signature” upon the decks we create.

some deck creators will also change the names of the cards, or the names of the suits, just like i did for The Wandering Moon Tarot. i changed pentacles to “stars” and cups to “moons”. artists will do this to keep more of a theme tied within their decks or because they are leaning more towards their own person meanings for the cards and the suits. no matter the changes, you can always read the cards how you like.

also, find three tarot lovers and ask them the meanings of the cards and odd are, you’ll get three separate and different meanings. at their very core, all cards have an agreed upon meaning. after some time getting to know the cards however, you’ll begin to form your own thoughts and ideas off those core definitions. that’s exactly what tarot is all about: making it yours.


▪️major arcana tarot cards list notes:

the major arcana cards (or the “majors” or “trumps” but for obvious reasons many don’t like the latter anymore lol) are the beginning point, or the ground floor of the tarot that everything else is built upon. their mysteries are vast and expansive & their meanings outweigh that of the minor arcana cards. if this were a book or a movie, the majors would be the main characters with the minor arcana being the supporting cast.

the major arcana is a set of cards that stand apart from the suits (apart, but not above), representing those significant life events & spiritual lessons we learn along the way on our journey. each card in the major arcana holds deep symbolism & carries a unique message. they offer guidance, transformation, insight, & self-discovery.

they are akin to a mirror. they can not reflect what is not there, but can help us to acknowledge what we chose to hide and chose to deny.

the major arcana represents the journey of the soul, a guiding path through an individuals personal ups & downs, ebbs & flows, and encourages (either gently or brutally) personal growth, self acknowledgment, & enlightenment.

but why do these 22 cards mean more than the rest?

they don’t necessarily mean more, it’s that their energy carries more weight in a reading.

they have a key emphasis on the most well known and prevalent archetypes - who us human folks are at our most basic core truths.

▪️archetypes meaning:

1. a very typical example of a certain person or thing.

"he was the archetype of the old-style football club chairman"

2. (in Jungian theory) a primitive mental image inherited from the earliest human ancestors, and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious.

Jung had an apparent soft spot for tarot, it’s worth having a read about when you have the time!

sone of the best known archetypes include:

  • the hero
  • the villain
  • the mentor
  • the lover
  • the caregiver
  • the explorer
  • the rebel
  • the magician
  • the warrior
  • the wise old man/woman
  • the femme fatale
  • the artist
  • the ruler
  • the jester
  • the saviour

…..notice how much these line up with the themes of the major arcana? also, how much they reflect the characters in almost every mythological setting, the greek tragedies, the poetic edda, the shakespearen plays, plus almost every other piece of work created by a person.

▪️upright and reversed cards:

when you’re handling a tarot deck often, shuffling, doing readings, journaling, etc, some cards will eventually become the wrong way up, or ‘reversed’. many people read the cards as they come, meaning that if a deck is shuffled and some cards come out in the reversed position, then that’s how they are read. choosing to read reversed cards is a personal one.

▪️upright: the card in the usual position, with wording & images the correct way.

▪️reverse: the card is now upside down to you, the reader.

usually, a reverse card has a meaning that’s a direct opposite to the upright meaning. this is not always the case however. it is up to you if you choose to read cards when they are reversed.


the major arcana: a full, complete list of the first 22 tarot cards

but first, a note: while the fool is the first card, it is not card number 1. due to its meaning, it’s number is zero/0. it’s still counted in the total number of cards despite being a card without a number designated

0. the fool

upright: fresh starts, a beginning, an adventure, innocent, childlike, a clean slate, a risk taker.

reverse: risk taking behaviour, ignoring advice, reckless, not thinking of outcomes, irresponsible, being too anxious, over-cautious.

1. the magician

upright: manifesting, creating, and working on your dreams and deepest desires.

reverse: illusion, disconnect, trickery.

2. the high priestess

upright: intuition, feminine energy, nature, expressing your inner voice.

reverse: feeling repressed or silenced, unable to receive, uncentered.

3. the empress

upright: the divine feminine energy, sex, fertility, motherhood,

reverse: the mother wound (especially in the matriarchal line), dependence, smothering.

4. the emperor

upright: the energy of the divine masculine, hard work, stability, structure, authority, practical, logical,

reverse: rigid, cold, dictator.

5. the hierophant

upright: morality, ethics, tradition, mastery.

reverse: rebel, unbeaten path, out of the box.

6. the lovers

upright: union, partnership, communication, openness, honesty, duality, taking the light and dark from oneself and unifying them into a cohesive whole, self love

Reverse: removal of balance, one-sidedness, selfishness, conditional love that isn’t really love

7. the chariot

upright: taking the reins, gaining control & willpower, direction, and achieving your goals, travel and movement

reverse: lack of direction, loss of control, stuck, wandering aimlessly, a lost soul, loss of purpose

8. strength

upright: fortitude, the inner strength to get stuff done, inner passion, balance, courage, having a backbone

reverse: weakness, insecure, self-doubt, projecting an air of insipidity

9. the hermit

upright: the loner, self-reflection, alone time, contemplation, deep inquiry, self reflection, knowing different between ‘alone’ and ‘lonely’.

reverse: unhealthy self imposed isolation, loneliness, pining for someone, losing oneself to the feelings of being unhappily alone.

10. the wheel of fortune

upright: positive change, good luck & fortune, the end of a cycle/ the beginning of the end of a cycle, the wheels of fate forever moving

reverse: loss of control, clinging to control, misfortune, cursing fate for the lot you’ve been given, unpleasant history repeating itself

11. justice

upright: seeking justice, truth, karmic balance, social justice, seeing justice served

reverse: a warning of dishonesty, mistruths, unfairness.

12. the hanged man

upright: patience, waiting, release, a willing sacrifice.

reverse: a sacrifice you are not happy about, stalling,

13. death

upright: the balance of endings and beginnings, the end of a cycle, a new beginning, change, transformation.

reverse: fear of change or letting go, stagnation.

(death comes in many forms. in a tarot reading, it’s is not physical death that is being spoken of. instead, it is usually the death of something. the death of a relationship, the death of one’s ego, the ending and subsequent death of a job. fearing this card shows an internal imbalance as odds are, you are not fearing its equal opposite: birth. we can not have one without the other.)

14. temperance

upright: slow down, not causing upset, patience, ease, taking the middle road, moderation.

reverse: excess, lack of balance, an energy of heavy materialism,  gluttony, of never being satisfied.

15. the devil

upright: shadow self, codependency, addiction, materialism, violence/abuse in relationships

reverse: liberation, release, freedom, gaining control

(another card that brings out hesitation & fear in people. instead of thinking of fear-based biblical rhetoric, call this card ‘the shadow’ or ‘thee darkness’ - doesn’t seem so menacing now, amiright? because that’s exactly what this card is. it’s your shadow side, the darker parts of yourself that you don’t share with others, the things about yourself that you keep private and secret, the things you are ashamed of about yourself. this is your shadow. learning to love your shadow, just as you love your light, is a life long spiritual path for many. to love the worst parts of who you are seems like a staggering and pretty awful task. but once it’s done, once you’ve combined your light and dark, you’ll see the world in a whole new way.)

16. the tower

upright: a sudden ending or change, unexpected upheaval in life

reverse: end or fear of suffering, disaster averted, bruised ego.

17. the star

upright: seeking inspiration, finding your reason & purpose, restored faith in either oneself or in others, feeling hopeful.

reverse: lack of faith and hope, discouraged, insecure.

18. the moon

upright: illusion, intuition, wonder, mystery, the veil that separates, hidden realms, what is hidden from the light

reverse: fear, confusion, fearless & fretting energy, anxiety

19. the sun

upright: illuminating happiness, amazing luck & good fortune, happiness, celebration.

reverse: depression, negativity in mindset, dark & draining energy

20. judgment

upright: a decision that needs to be made, reflection, walking a new path, how we view ourselves, how we judge ourselves

reverse: no self love, self hate, doubt, lack of clarity, self-loathing, heavy & cruel judgment of others

21. the world

upright: ending of a cycle, a full stop,  completion, emotional fulfilment, striking a balance.

reverse: incomplete, lack of closure, cycles not ending but dragging.


▪️the minor arcana

now for the rest of the cards. the 56 cards of the minor arcana.

The minor arcana contains the lesser, smaller mysteries or ‘secrets’ of this realm, both seen and unseen (just like the majors, but on a smaller scale. the following is a complete list of the cards belonging to the minor arcana, divided into their suits.

if we return to our book or movie example, we’d have our main characters and the most important plot lines being the majors. any other characters with smaller, more supporting roles, and any supporting plot lines would be the minors. just like any book or movie, we, too, have lives filled with main characters, supporting characters, main plot lines, and subplots.

so which is more important? major or minor arcana? well, what’s a plot line without its supporting, background characters? equally, a plot line of only supporting characters would lack definition and life. so they’re equally as important to one another. they all serve a purpose and have a role to play.

in saying that, decks can be purchased which are ‘major arcana only decks’, like this one that i’ve created. it seems that we much prefer to know about the main characters, players, and plots.


▪️the four suits of the minor arcana▪️

These 56 cards are further divided into 4 suits of 14 cards: wands, cups, swords, & pentacles.

the 14 cards mentioned above, are further broken down again. there are 10 numbered cards (or “pip” cards), and 4 court cards. the court cards are traditionally called page, knight, queen, & king card (like a chess set). of the 10 numbered cards, much like traditional playing cards, the first card is not a 1 but an ace. the aces of the tarot represent fresh starts and clean, new beginnings.

The pip cards (numbered cards) describe people in certain situations, the subplots, while the court cards relate to the people such as parents, loved ones, partners, friends, coworkers, etc. if a court card can not be linked to a particular individual, their energy - feminine or masculine, or their linking elements can be used.

each of the four suits is represented by one of the four elements. the fifth element, spirit or aether/ether belongs to the major arcana.

  • swords: air
  • wands: fire
  • cups: water
  • pentacles: earth



also called rods, staves, sticks

the suit of wands is associated with passion, creativity, and inspiration. it represents fiery energy and the pursuit of goals. wands indicate ambition, courage, and taking action. they encourage growth, exploration, and stepping out of one's comfort zone. wands signify the spark of ideas and the enthusiasm to bring them to life.

  • ace of wands
  • two of wands
  • three of wands
  • four of wands
  • five of wands
  • six of wands
  • seven of wands
  • eight of wands
  • nine of wands
  • ten of wands
  • page of wands
  • knight of wands
  • queen of wands
  • king of wands



also called chalices

the suit of cups is linked to emotions, relationships, and matters of the heart. it represents love, compassion, and deep connections. cups symbolize intuition, dreams, and the subconscious mind. they encourage emotional healing, empathy, and self-reflection. cups indicate the ebb and flow of emotions and the importance of nurturing one's emotional well-being.

  • ace of cups
  • two of cups
  • three of cups
  • four of cups
  • five of cups
  • six of cups
  • seven of cups
  • eight of cups
  • nine of cups
  • ten of cups
  • page of cups
  • knight of cups
  • queen of cups
  • king of cups



also called daggers, knifes, (anything pointy and stabby)

the suit of swords represents the realm of the mind, thoughts, and communication. it symbolizes intellect, clarity, and the power of the spoken word. swords indicate challenges, conflicts, and the need for logical decision-making. they encourage mental fortitude, objectivity, and finding truth. swords signify the pursuit of knowledge and the ability to cut through illusions.

  • ace of swords
  • two of swords
  • three of swords
  • four of swords
  • five of swords
  • six of swords
  • seven of swords
  • eight of swords
  • nine of swords
  • ten of swords
  • page of swords
  • knight of swords
  • queen of swords
  • king of swords



also called coins

the suit of pentacles is associated with the material world, finances, and earthly possessions. it represents abundance, stability, and practicality. pentacles symbolize the rewards of hard work and financial security. they encourage a grounded approach to life, patience, and the appreciation of nature's abundance. pentacles signify the importance of finding balance between material and spiritual aspects of life.

  • ace of pentacles
  • two of pentacles
  • three of pentacles
  • four of pentacles
  • five of pentacles
  • six of pentacles
  • seven of pentacles
  • eight of pentacles
  • nine of pentacles
  • ten of pentacles
  • page of pentacles
  • knight of pentacles
  • queen of pentacles
  • king of pentacles
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