Tarot Explained eBook out Now!

tarot explained ebook

e-Book Tarot Explained

The Tarot-Explained eBook is out now. It contains all of the site content in an easy to read an indexed format, as well as some new content. The ebook makes it perfect for performing or learning more about tarot when you don’t have an internet connection. Check it out here!



Tarot Explained eBook!

tarot explained ebook

The first edition of the Tarot-Explained eBook is coming up for release on July 1st. While Tarot-Explained.com will always be free; hosting for websites isn’t. The eBook is an optional purchase for anybody who would like to support the website, as well as have access to the site content while offline. At the moment, the eBook is only available on Amazon. In future, it will be available on other platforms and for other eReaders. Check it out here or click the image to see the eBook.

Mobile Update

mobile update image tarot explained

mobile update image

If you’ve been browsing Tarot-Explained.com on a mobile device recently, you may have seen a few new features. The menu has been optimised for mobile view. The header has two menus, a ‘Quick reference’ menu, and the regular ‘Full site’ menu. I find it much easier to navigate Tarot-Explained when I’m on my phone now! There’s also a button when you first load the site, which looks like a small phone. If you tap this, it will let you add Tarot-Explained to your phone home screen for easy access.

I hope these small updates enhance your experience with using Tarot-Explained.com. If you experience any problems, please send us an email from our Contact Page

Reverse meanings

upside down tarot cards

I recently received an email asking why Tarot-Explained doesn’t have any definitions for reverse meanings; that is to say, cards that are upside down when dealt. There are a few meanings for this, and this isn’t a technique I practice when I read tarot.

Firstly, Tarot cards have been given specific meanings, there are already cards that can mean opposites. If you were meant to get a negative meaning but you drew a positive card upside down, surely you should have drawn a negative card in the first place?

Secondly, Tarot cards and playing cards have a lot of similarities. We never read playing cards upside down, as there is no upside down for them. Some Tarot decks also do not have an illustration, and therefore cannot have a reverse meaning.

Finally, I shuffle my cards in a very thoughtless way. I don’t want to introduce thought into shuffling cards, I want it to be a random approach. Introducing any sort of consciousness into the process just doesn’t feel right, for me!

That isn’t to say there is no merit to reverse meanings. As a general rule, any card meanings can be read as the opposite when the card is drawn reverse. If it feels right to you, then read your cards with reverse meanings!


Site Update – New cycle

Tarot card - The Fool Major Arcana Reversed

It’s time to go over the site and update, fix problems and tinker. Maintaining a website such as this requires constant updating, refreshing and fixing. Over the coming weeks we’ll be adding to each card page, updating the spreads and adding new features to make tarot-explained.com even better than before. It’s unlikely that there will be any downtime, but if there is any, it’ll only be for a very short while!

This round of updates is to make sure that the current definitions of each card and spread are as good as they can be, before new content is added.

Ten top tips for interpreting the tarot cards

tarot scene

Learning to interpret the 78 tarot cards might feel like a big task, and it can take time, effort and practice to get acquainted with the cards.

Here are my top ten tips that you can use and apply when you’re reading the tarot.

  1. Major or Minor Arcana

Have you drawn a card from the Major or Minor Arcana? This will be your starting point. Overall when interpreting the trump cards, keep in mind that these cards symbolise transformation, and growth, either in the form of a new cycle or the completion of a cycle.

The four suits on the other hand, represent events that happen in our day to day lives. For example, in a career reading, drawing the five of wands signifies healthy competition at work.

You can also provide dates for your predictions with the four suits:

  • Cups – Months
  • Pentacles – Years
  • Wands – Days
  • Swords – Weeks
  1. Universal elements and the four suits

Each suit relates to a universal element. Use the qualities of each element as a tool to assist you when interpreting the cards.

  • Cups – Emotions, feelings, love, relationships (Water)
  • Wands – New beginnings, inspiration, ideas, creativity, vocation (Fire)
  • Swords – Mental, thought, communication, logic, intelligence, mind (Air)
  • Pentacles – Money, possessions, materialism, land, health, body (Earth)
  1. Use a cheat sheet

Use a tarot cheat sheet when you practice your readings. Cheat sheets are a great way to learn more about the cards, a cheat sheet will;

  • Summarise the information;
  • Present the meanings in an easy to read format; and
  • Provide concise words to describe each card.
  1. Take your time

Don’t be afraid to take your time when interpreting the cards. Being patient will allow you to understand the cards with accuracy. You will be more helpful to your client when you can give a clear reading. Drawing too many cards at once can become overwhelming and will affect the quality of your reading.

  1. Use your intuition

Practice using your intuition. Gaze at each card and clear your mind. Eventually, you will tune into the cards and learn to trust your instincts with each answer. This method does take time, but continue with it and you will develop your own internal guidance.

  1. Combine numerology with the tarot

Each tarot card has a number and numbers have different qualities to them. You can combine numerology in your readings to benefit you. Another way of using numbers is by dividing the cards into piles of the same number and look for similarities amongst them. For example, the number two in each suit symbolise events that are playing out behind the scenes, and the number three cards symbolise new beginnings.

  1. Choose the right spread

Selecting the right spread will provide a structure to your reading and you will be able to recognise if the card relates to a past, present or future event. Learn by using a simpler three card spread, then progress to the four-card cross spread, and when you feel confident try out the Celtic cross spread.

  1. Practice on yourself

It’s not unlucky to practice the tarot on yourself and it will get your skills up to speed. You can practice by asking the tarot specific questions about yourself and by matching a spread to your question. The more you do this, the more confident you will get at interpreting the cards to fit different questions.

  1. The question under consideration

Always interpret the cards by keeping the original question in mind. This will be more difficult in general readings because of the broad nature of the question. Stick to the question and take a break if needed to get perspective on each card.

  1. Communication between the cards

Look at how the cards communicate with each other. Are the figures on the card facing each other? Or, does one have their back to the other? Look for patterns.

For example, the cards below are both Swords and relate to the mind and communication. The figure on the Nine of Swords has their back to the Ten of swords, indicating that this person was betrayed in the past, which is causing mental suffering and preventing them from moving forward. Communication is important here, they can resolve this internal conflict by confiding in someone, such as a therapist or counsellor.

As you can see, the tips given here will take time to learn, but by using these methods consistently you will begin to develop your tarot skills and your own internal guidance. Most importantly, play around with these techniques and have fun! Or even create your own methods for interpreting the tarot…


Sarah Buttery is a professional tarot reader and esoteric researcher and blogger.

News and a New Spread – 12 Month

tarot year

Have you wondered what the next year might bring? A new spread has been added; a 12 month Spread. Now that it’s coming up to the end of the year, it’s a perfect time to think about what the next year will bring for you.

There are also some other exciting features for Tarot-Explained in the new year. January 1st is the celebration of our second birthday, and with this comes a review and update of the card meanings. Recently, we added a numerology section to each card, and more card meanings will be added over the next year.

Have a happy holiday season everybody.

Tarot as Inspiration

tarot inspiration

I look at my deck of tarot cards when I’m in need of inspiration. As Tarot-Explained.com mentions a lot, Tarot cards are a great addition to your life in terms of decision making and getting a second opinion. They can act as another person to bounce ideas off of or a sounding board for your own ideas.  They even helped with this update. Once you understand even the basic card meanings, you’ll be able to bounce ideas around and develop them.

The idea generation process is different for everyone, but as most of us have a visual memory and visual brain, Tarot lends itself to idea generation well. You can look at single cards, combine cards, take elements you like from some and ignore others, it’s really up to you. The imagery of the Rider-Waite tarot deck is complicated and filled with lots of hidden symbology. Personally I find this extremely interesting, and it adds a whole new layer of depth to the cards. You can spend ages looking up card meanings and reading about new concepts.

How do I put this into practice?

If you have a project you want to start, a painting for example, in mind, here is what I’d suggest. Of course you can adapt this to whatever you’re working on. Grab a piece of paper and your tarot deck and find somewhere quiet for ten minutes or so. Write down any of your first ideas to start on the paper as a mind map. You don’t need any ideas to start with really, but if you do, the Tarot deck is a good place to grow them.

Shuffle your deck and draw a card. When you draw a card, first of all, take note of the visuals, does this apply to anything you’ve written down so far? Add it in, link concepts down. Next, check out the card meaning. Anything else relevant? When you’ve exhausted a card, it’s time to draw another. You can continue until you feel your ideas are developed enough to start working on.

I use this method when I’m stuck. This post, for example; I was stuck for an idea of what to write. I have a list of topics to cover written down but none of them felt ‘right’ for writing right now, so I looked at the deck, in front of me where it always is and drew a card. I drew the three of pentacles. Although it isn’t the given meaning of the card, I saw people discussing. It looks like they’re discussing ideas. I sometimes have trouble generating ideas, and realised that whenever I’m like this, I can and often do just look into my tarot deck for inspiration. That was my train of thought, and it just goes to show that a Tarot deck can have more uses than mystical divination.

How to start using Tarot

how to start tarot reading

Tarot is a complex system to learn and work with, that’s why Tarot-Explained.com exists! Tarot is not all for show and isn’t fully intuitive or ‘made up’; there are basic universal meanings to cards that you’ll need to learn to read effectively. Have a look at these steps for some good tips on learning to read Tarot for yourself and others.

Learn the basics

Each card has a meaning. Combinations of cards have meanings. Learn the meanings of each card. While you’re learning, it’s helpful to look through each meaning as you draw a card. on Tarot-Explained.com, each card has a page full of meanings so you can quickly look up how to interpret it. Soon, you’ll begin to learn the meanings by heart, and you won’t have to look them up to get a general idea. It’s still helpful if you are doing a more in depth reading, however. Card meanings will soon become second nature to you. Learning the basic meanings of each card first will help you in your Tarot journey.

Start simple

For your first few readings, try simple yes and No questions. Each card meaning on Tarot-Explained.com has a Yes and No section. You can easily draw a Single card spread for this. Simple draw a card and look for the Yes/No section on the card meaning page. If you’d like to delve deeper, consider the meanings of the cards in relation to your question. Have you drawn the Ten of Swords for example? The answer is ‘No’, but the symbology of the card and the meanings it carries may help you further understand the question. Extrapolate and understand what you’re asking yourself.

Use your intuition but stay objective!

Tarot is a personal journey. Cards have universal meanings but it is up to you to interpret them. This can carry some weight, especially if you’re asking questions with difficult answers. Tarot is objective in meaning, but you will use your intuition to understand what it is telling you. Will you get that new job? You might read the the cards to say no, but you can still achieve what you wanted. This comes out best when you are doing a reading for a close friend. You don’t want to promise good news, but you don’t want to hide bad news simply not to hurt their feelings. Remember; you’re reading Tarot to understand and get a new perspective; don’t kid yourself if you see something bad.


As the adage says ‘Practice makes perfect’. Consistent practice will help you further understand the card meanings and relations between them. Do lots of readings on lots of different subjects. Try to do one reading a day if you can.

Subjectivity of Tarot

tarot explained thumb

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.