Tarot Glossary

Tarot - The Magician

This page will probably never be classed as 'finished', as new words and meanings will keep turning up. Please let me know about any glaring omissions and errors.


The full deck of 78 cards, 22 major and 56 minor arcana.


The picture cards.


See 'Wands'.


One of the four suits, equate to Diamonds in the modern pack. Also known as Pentacles, Rings and Derniers. Linked to the element ‘Earth’.

Cold reading

Methods used either deliberately or unconsciously to find out details about a subject without them realising it, or to modify their interpretation of memories. Click here for more information.


See 'Cups'.


One of the four suits, equate to Hearts in the modern pack. Also known as Coupes. Linked to the element ‘Water’.


The full set of 78 Tarot cards - 56 minor cards in four suits, 22 major.


See 'Coins'.


See 'Swords'.


See 'Questor'.


The pattern used to lay out the cards to be read. Click on the main link on the left for more details, and to see some examples. A layout can be of any number of cards, up to the full pack of 78.

Lesser Arcana

See 'Minor Arcana'.

Major Arcana

An extra 22 cards numbered 0 to 21, usually using Roman numerals from I to XXI. There is a link to their number, title and interpretation on the 'Meanings' link, on the left of this page.

Minor Arcana

Four suits, each of 9 numbered cards, an ace and four other picture cards (King, Queen, Knight and Page). See Wands, Cups, Swords and Coins.

Questor, querent

The person having the reading. Also known as the Inquirer.


The person giving the reading.

Reversed cards

Cards laid upside-down from the position of the reader, this can be used to give a different interpretation of the card - usually a reversal of the original meaning.


See 'Coins'.


See 'Wands'.


See 'Layout'.


One of the four suits, equate to Spades in the modern pack. Also known as Épées. Linked to the element ‘Air’


One of the four suits, equate to Clubs in the modern pack. Also known as Batons and Sceptres. Linked to the element ‘Fire’.

Warm reading

By carrying out research beforehand, or getting details from other scamps involved in the industry, a psychic/reader/fortune teller can give the appearance of having uncannily accurate information about a 'mark'. There is apparently a code called 'patrin' which can be used to pass on details.

Sometimes the information is used in a large gathering, where although the person singled out probably knows how the information was originally obtained (perhaps in a letter they sent), it appears to the rest of the room that this was a genuine flash of insight. Doris Stokes was quite adept at this technique.

Click here for more details.

Would you like to share anything on Tarot reading?

Please feel free to contact me with anything you think should be included on this site, or examples from your own experience.

Many thanks


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