Subjectivity of Tarot

One of the most striking things I found out when I was learning about Tarot was the sheer subjectivity of the meanings of the cards. They’re read in context, but the divined meanings can differ greatly depending on where you are sourcing your information from. If you’re doing a reading for yourself, this is fine, you understand yourself better than anyone else, much like dreams; usually, if you give it just a little bit of thought, you can work out why your dreams are the way they are. You understand your own internal symbology and mental connections, and when you understand the basic meanings of a spread, you can find sensible ways to apply them to yourself.

This made it difficult, however only slightly, when coming up with meanings for the cards on Tarot-Explained. I gathered the meanings of the cards from a number of sources and tried to put what was ‘right’ or what was generally considered a consensus on the card meaning. In retrospect, this is okay, but i’m not entirely sure if it’s correct. There seem to be two main ways to know what a card means; inherited meaning and applied meaning.

Inherited meaning is what this site provides; the basic outline of what the card is traditionally meant to symbolise. Death = Rebirth, Fool = Beginnings, etc. As I mentioned above, I went through a number of sources and tried to gather the general aspects and meanings for each card, and write them in a way that worked. To understand the core concepts, it’s fine. Given meaning is how the cards make you feel, or, what you understand them to feel, or how you interpret their illustration. You might look at a card and feel something completely different to what the inherited meaning is. This is okay too.

Many people feel a special connection to a deck, and this is where a given meaning can apply best. There’s no right or wrong, in the end it’s up to you how to decide what the cards laid out in front of you are meant to mean.


The site is due a redesign soon. We have a fancy new logo and other things coming. Exciting times.

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