How Many Cards Are There in a Standard Tarot Deck [Explained!] (2023)


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  • The standard tarot deck consists of 78 cards.
  • These 78 cards are divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.
  • The Major Arcana is comprised of 22 cards, each representing a significant life event or archetype.
  • The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards, which are further divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles.
  • Each suit in the Minor Arcana contains 14 cards: Ace through Ten, and four Court Cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King).
  • In addition to the suits and court cards, the Minor Arcana also includes numbered cards that depict various scenes or symbols related to their respective suit.
  • The Major Arcana cards hold more weight and significance in readings as they represent major life events or lessons that one may encounter on their spiritual journey.
  • The Minor Arcana cards provide more specific details and insights into everyday situations and experiences.
  • When conducting a tarot reading, all 78 cards are typically used to gain a comprehensive understanding of a situation or question posed by the seeker.

Are you ready to unlock the mysteries of the Tarot? Have you ever wondered just how many cards are in a standard Tarot deck? Prepare to be intrigued, as we delve into the captivating world of this ancient divination tool.

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Tarot has long been a source of fascination for seekers of knowledge and spiritual guidance. Its beautifully illustrated cards hold deep symbolism and profound meaning. But just how many cards are there in a standard Tarot deck?

Before we reveal the answer, let’s explore the significance behind these enigmatic cards. Each card represents a unique archetype, a window into the human experience. They hold within them secrets waiting to be unlocked, truths waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re seeking clarity about your past, present, or future, the Tarot offers a powerful tool for self-reflection and insight.

Now, brace yourself for a moment of surprise. A standard Tarot deck actually consists of 78 cards! Yes, you heard it right – 78 intricately designed pieces that hold the key to unraveling the mysteries of life itself. The deck is divided into two main sections: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. Each card tells its own story, offering guidance and wisdom in its own unique way.

So whether you’re an avid Tarot enthusiast or simply curious about this ancient practice, join us on an illuminating journey as we explore each card’s hidden meanings and discover how they can guide us on our path towards self-discovery and enlightenment. Get ready to

How Many Cards Are There in a Standard Tarot Deck – The Quick Answer

The origins of tarot decks can be traced back to medieval Europe in the late 14th century. Initially used for playing games, they later became associated with divination and fortune-telling thanks to occultists like Antoine Court de Gébelin. These decks consist of 78 cards divided into Major Arcana and Minor Arcana, each with its own symbolism and meaning.

1. What is the total number of cards in a standard tarot deck?

A standard tarot deck consists of 78 cards. These cards are divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, while the Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards.

The Major Arcana are often referred to as the “trump” cards and hold significant symbolic meaning. They represent major life events, archetypal figures, and spiritual lessons. Each card in the Major Arcana has its own unique imagery and symbolism.

On the other hand, the Minor Arcana cards are divided into four suits: Cups, Pentacles (or Coins), Swords, and Wands (or Rods). Each suit contains ten numbered cards from Ace to ten, along with four court cards: Page, Knight, Queen, and King. These suits represent different aspects of life such as emotions (Cups), material possessions (Pentacles), intellect (Swords), and action or creativity (Wands).

In summary, a standard tarot deck consists of 78 cards – 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards divided into four suits.

2. Background on the origin and history of tarot decks

The origins of tarot decks can be traced back to medieval Europe in the late 14th century. Initially, these decks were not used for divination or fortune-telling but were primarily playing cards used for games such as Tarocchi in Italy and Trionfi in France.

It was not until the late 18th century that tarot decks began to be associated with esoteric practices like cartomancy and fortune-telling. This shift can be attributed to occultists who saw potential symbolism and hidden meanings in the imagery of the tarot.

One influential figure in the history of tarot is Antoine Court de Gébelin, a French clergyman and Freemason. In the late 18th century, he published a work called “Le Monde Primitif” where he proposed that tarot cards held ancient Egyptian wisdom and mystical knowledge. This idea popularized the use of tarot for divination purposes.

Later, in the 19th century, renowned occultists such as Eliphas Levi and Arthur Edward Waite further developed the symbolic interpretations of the tarot. Waite collaborated with artist Pamela Colman Smith to create the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, which remains one of the most widely used and recognizable tarot decks today.

Over time, tarot decks have continued to evolve with various artists and authors creating their interpretations and variations. Today, tarot decks are widely used for self-reflection, spiritual guidance, and personal growth.

3. How are the cards in a standard tarot deck divided into different categories or suits?

In a standard tarot deck, the cards are divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.

Major Arcana:

The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards numbered from 0 to 21. Each card represents a significant life event or archetype. These cards often depict powerful symbols and imagery that convey deep spiritual lessons or universal truths. The Major Arcana cards are typically associated with major shifts in one’s life journey and offer profound insights into personal growth and transformation.

Examples of Major Arcana Cards:

  • The Fool – Represents new beginnings, innocence, and taking risks.
  • The Magician – Symbolizes manifestation, power, and mastery.
  • The High Priestess – Signifies intuition, inner wisdom, and hidden knowledge.
  • The Tower – Represents sudden change, upheaval, and breaking free from old patterns.
  • The World – Symbolizes completion, integration, and wholeness.

Minor Arcana:

The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards divided into four suits: Cups, Pentacles (or Coins), Swords, and Wands (or Rods). Each suit represents a different aspect of life and is associated with certain qualities or elements.

Examples of Minor Arcana Suits:

  • Cups – Represent emotions, relationships, and the realm of the heart.
  • Pentacles/Coins – Symbolize material wealth, abundance, and practical matters.
  • Swords – Signify intellect, communication, and challenges that require mental clarity.
  • Wands/Rods – Represent energy, passion, creativity, and the pursuit of goals.

Within each suit of the Minor Arcana, there are ten numbered cards from Ace to ten. Additionally, there are four court cards: Page (or Princess), Knight (or Prince), Queen, and King. These court cards often represent different personalities or aspects within each suit.

By understanding the different categories and suits in a tarot deck, readers can gain deeper insights into various aspects of life and navigate their personal journeys with greater clarity.

4. Significant meaning and symbolism of specific cards in a tarot deck

The Fool

The Fool card is often depicted as a young person standing at the edge of a cliff, ready to take a leap into the unknown. It symbolizes new beginnings, innocence, and spontaneity. The Fool encourages us to embrace uncertainty and trust our instincts, reminding us that sometimes we need to take risks in order to grow.

The High Priestess

Representing intuition and deep inner wisdom, the High Priestess is often portrayed sitting between two pillars, holding a scroll or book. She embodies mystery and the unseen realms, urging us to tap into our subconscious mind for guidance. This card reminds us to listen to our intuition and trust our inner voice when making decisions.

The Tower

The Tower card depicts a tower struck by lightning, with people falling from its windows. It signifies sudden upheaval or destruction that can lead to transformation and growth. While it may seem chaotic or distressing at first, the Tower reminds us that sometimes we need to break down old structures in order to build something stronger and more authentic.

Some other significant cards in a tarot deck include:

– The Death card: Symbolizing endings and transitions
– The Lovers card: Representing love, partnership, and choices
– The Magician card: Signifying manifestation and harnessing personal power

5. The role of Major Arcana cards in a standard tarot deck

In a standard tarot deck, the Major Arcana cards play a vital role in providing overarching themes and life lessons. They represent major milestones and transformative experiences on one’s spiritual journey. These 22 cards depict archetypal figures such as The Fool, The Magician, The Empress, and The World.

The Major Arcana cards are distinct from the Minor Arcana, which consist of four suits (Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands) and represent day-to-day experiences and challenges. While the Minor Arcana cards provide more detailed insights into specific situations, the Major Arcana cards offer broader guidance and deeper spiritual lessons.

When a Major Arcana card appears in a tarot reading, it often indicates significant events or shifts in one’s life. These cards encourage self-reflection, personal growth, and understanding of universal truths. They remind us to pay attention to the larger patterns at play in our lives and to embrace the transformative power of these experiences.

6. Variations and regional differences in the number of cards found in a tarot deck

While a standard tarot deck consists of 78 cards (22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana), there are variations and regional differences when it comes to the number of cards found in a tarot deck.

One such variation is the Tarot de Marseille, which originated in France. This deck typically includes only 22 Major Arcana cards without any illustrated scenes like those found in Rider-Waite-Smith decks. It focuses more on symbolic imagery and numerology.

Another example is the Tarocco Siciliano, an Italian variant that consists of 64 or 66 cards. This deck incorporates elements from traditional playing cards alongside its own unique imagery.

Additionally, some modern tarot decks have expanded beyond the traditional 78-card structure by including extra Major or Minor Arcana cards. These additions aim to provide more nuanced interpretations or cater to specific themes or belief systems.

It’s important for tarot readers to familiarize themselves with different deck variations and understand their unique symbolism to effectively interpret readings using non-standard decks.

7. Interpretation and use of different cards within a tarot reading session

During a tarot reading session, the interpretation and use of different cards depend on their position in a spread, their individual meanings, and the question or situation at hand. Here are some common card positions and their interpretations:

Past Position

Cards in the past position often provide insights into the influences or events that have led to the present situation. They can shed light on past experiences, patterns, or lessons that may be relevant to understanding the current circumstances.

Present Position

Cards in the present position reflect the current energies and challenges surrounding the querent. They offer guidance and advice for navigating the present moment and making informed decisions.

Future Position

Cards in the future position provide glimpses into potential outcomes or paths that may unfold based on current choices and actions. They offer insights into what lies ahead and help individuals make conscious choices to shape their future.

In addition to these positions, tarot readers also consider card combinations, numerology, elemental associations, and intuitive impressions while interpreting readings. The reader’s expertise lies in synthesizing all these elements to provide a holistic understanding of a situation and guiding individuals towards clarity and empowerment.

8. Significance of the order or arrangement of cards in a tarot reading

The order or arrangement of cards in a tarot reading holds significance as it adds layers of meaning and context to each card’s interpretation. Here are some common ways cards can be arranged:

Sequential Order

When cards are laid out sequentially from left to right, they generally represent a timeline or progression of events. Each card builds upon the previous one, offering insights into how situations evolve or unfold over time.

Cross Layouts

Cross layouts involve placing cards in a cross-like pattern, with each position representing different aspects of an individual’s life or specific questions they seek guidance on. For example, the Celtic Cross spread is a popular layout that offers comprehensive insights into various aspects of life.

Elemental Associations

Some readers arrange cards based on elemental associations (fire, water, air, earth) or specific suits (Cups, Pentacles, Swords, Wands). This arrangement helps understand the elemental influences at play in a situation and how they interact with each other.

The order of cards within a layout can also be influenced by intuition or the reader’s preferred method. Regardless of the specific arrangement used, it’s important for the reader to maintain consistency and establish clear meanings for each position to ensure accurate and coherent interpretations.

In a standard Tarot deck, there are a total of 78 cards.

Frequently Asked Questions about How Many Cards Are There in a Standard Tarot Deck

How many cards in a standard tarot deck?
There are a total of 78 cards in a standard modern tarot deck. The Moon is the 18th card in the major arcana. These decks are based on either the Venetian or the Piedmontese tarot. The deck is divided into two groups: the major arcana, which includes 22 cards known as trumps, and the minor arcana, which consists of 56 cards.

How big is a full tarot deck?
The Standard Tarot Size is designed to be the same dimensions as a traditional tarot card set, measuring 2.75″ x 4.75″. It can also be used for oracle cards.

What are the 4 tarot card groups?
The page, knight, queen, and king are the four common court cards.

How many cards should a beginner tarot deck have?
Though design varies greatly, all tarot decks are uniform in a couple of ways. Each includes 78 cards divided into two groups: the major and minor arcana.27 Oct 2021

Is Tarot card reading true?
Tarot card readings are not precise or objective, and they are not intended to provide straightforward yes or no responses. The best approach to interpreting a Tarot card reading is to view the cards as symbols and indicators related to the specific life situation being inquired about.

What religion do tarot cards come from?
Tarot cards are often connected with New Age spirituality. This literature review aims to give an introduction to New Age spirituality and explore how Tarot cards offer valuable insights into the study of the New Age movement in the modern era.

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