List of Meanings for Playing Card Tarot
If you are looking for a quick guide to reading playing cards as you would tarot cards, then you’ve found it. I've put together a basic list of meanings for the cards that you can refer to any time.
By necessity, this list of playing card interpretations is short and to the point. However, if you take each keyword or phrase as a kernel of an idea, you should be able to build on it. Take into account the circumstances of the person asking the question. Try to combine the meanings of two cards to come up with a third. Use your imagination and tap into your intuition.
You might want to go deeper and learn the structure of tarot as it applies to playing cards; I have another article, How to Read Tarot With Playing Cards that breaks down the basic elements so you can read any card for any question. By the way, reading cards of any kind to obtain information is called "cartomancy".
A note about these playing cards: The cards used to illustrate this article are . They are a little confusing because they are mostly black, with just elements of red to differentiate Hearts and Diamonds. They are excellent quality and, like all the Bicycle decks, good for cartomancy. Ghost playing cards by Bicycle
It’s entirely up to you whether you include the joker/s or not. The Joker is the playing card representative of the tarot Fool. Keeping it simple, the Fool is numberless; he is the unformed consciousness that journeys through the tarot, undergoing transformation, self-understanding, challenges, and generally educating himself via those experiences. Personally, for a quick playing card reading, I’d leave it out.
However, should you choose to include, either one or both, then the meaning assigned is: taking a risk (positive), doing something foolish (negative), innocence (unknowing). Which of those interpretations you select depends on the question.
The Suit of Clubs
Clubs are the equivalent of the tarot suit of Wands. They represent action, passion and inspiration. They are associated with fire.
- Ace of Clubs: Spark of inspiration, passion. A new love affair, the idea for a business or life-change.
- Two of Clubs: Planning, delays, waiting for the signal to move.
- Three of Clubs: You’ve done all you can, hard work pays off.
- Four of Clubs: Celebration, rest, stability, pause.
- Five of Clubs: Competition, petty arguments, fights, not working in harmony.
- Six of Clubs: Success, victory, good exam results.
- Seven of Clubs: Standing up for oneself. Defending your viewpoint.
- Eight of Clubs: Events moving quickly, getting organized (fast), possible pregnancy.
- Nine of Clubs: Stressed, but unbowed. Determined to finish the task/fight.
- Ten of Clubs: Responsibilities, weighed down, burdened but almost at the end of the project/life-stage.
- Jack/Knave of Clubs: Feckless charmer. Passionate affair. Individual unable to focus on one task.
- Queen of Clubs: Passionate, enthusiastic, fun. Career woman.
- King of Clubs: Leader, always aware of the larger picture, not good at details.
The Suit of Hearts
Hearts are the same as the tarot Cups. They represent emotions, feelings, fulfillment, and, of course, love and loss. Hearts are associated with water.
- Ace of Hearts: New love, beginnings of a deep connection, conception.
- Two of Hearts: Mutual attraction, love, friendship.
- Three of Hearts: Celebration of friendship, a girls’ (or boys’) night out, end of an emotional cycle.
- Four of Hearts: Emotional stability, possible low-level depression; unaware, or deliberately ignoring the positive aspects in life.
- Five of Hearts: Loss, sadness, depression, grief.
- Six of Hearts: Childhood, nostalgia, memories, the past revisited, an old flame appears.
- Seven of Hearts: Feeling-based choices, indecision, going astray.
- Eight of Hearts: Leaving, splitting up, change of direction.
- Nine of Hearts: Fulfillment, understanding that solitariness is not loneliness, contentment.
- Ten of Hearts: family, love, achievement of emotional peak.
- Jack/Knave of Hearts: A person who is in love with being in love. Romantic suitor, short-term love affair.
- Queen of Hearts: Someone to turn to; she offers emotional support, a listening ear. Watch out for darker undercurrents; she may have problems of her own.
- King of Hearts: Kindly counselor, gives wise advice based on experience. Possible alcoholic or addict of some kind.
The Suit of Spades
Spades are equivalent to the tarot suit of Swords. They are connected to thought and communication. All the activity that goes on in our minds; ‘head stuff’. Spades are associated with air.
- Ace of Spades: Flash of insight, revelation, realization, understanding, idea.
- Two of Spades: Reluctance/refusal to acknowledge the truth, withdrawal. Possible communication difficulties.
- Three of Spades: Breakdown in communication; misunderstanding leading to a rift, fight or break-up.
- Four of Spades: Recovery, recuperation, time-out.
- Five of Spades: Deception, bullying, walking away from a disagreement. Resistance or non-resistance.
- Six of Spades: Moving on, a change of direction, travel; putting the past behind you.
- Seven of Spades: Theft, recovery of property or abstract quality (confidence, self-esteem, etc.). Subterfuge.
- Eight of Spades: Feeling there’s no choice, backing oneself into a corner, can’t see the way out—although the solution is right there in plain view.
- Nine of Spades: Nightmares, repetitive thought, problems, anxiety, depression.
- Ten of Spades: Endings, mental breakdown, the only way is up. New beginning.
- Jack/Knave of Spades: Someone on a mission. Single-minded individual. Clever, sarcastic, intelligent.
- Queen of Spades: Truthseeker, efficient person. She cannot put up with indecisiveness or stupidity.
- King of Spades: Professional, good at his job, highly motivated and intelligent. Advisor, lawyer, accountant, writer.
The Suit of Diamonds
Diamonds are equal to the suit of Pentacles in tarot. They relate to the material word; all that we see and touch. They cover such areas as money, work, practical projects, homes, etcetera. Diamonds can also represent the practical aspects of relationships. Diamonds are associated with earth.
- Ace of Diamonds: Prize, gift, new home, new project, new job.
- Two of Diamonds: Balancing the budget, time management. Juggling resources.
- Three of Diamonds: Focus on work. Honing skills, teamwork, collaboration.
- Four of Diamonds: Guarding resources, not socializing; holding oneself apart from society.
- Five of Diamonds: Needing help, destitution, lack of money, loss of job.
- Six of Diamonds: Charity, offering/receiving help, supporting another financially.
- Seven of Diamonds: Materially well-off yet spiritually dissatisfied. Looking for a possible new direction.
- Eight of Diamonds: New job, change of career, improving skills, undergoing training or teaching.
- Nine of Diamonds: Material and spiritual independence. Satisfaction, happy in solitude.
- Ten of Diamonds: Family, inheritance, traditions, family business, social gatherings.
- Jack/Knave of Diamonds: Hard worker, loyal person, hidden attributes.
- Queen of Diamonds: Home lover, nest-builder, mother, female leader.
- King of Diamonds: Businessman, achievements through hard work. Enjoyment of luxury and fruits of own labor.
If you have any questions, do ask in the comments. However, please don't ask for free readings or ask me to interpret your cards for you.
Remember that you should never make an important decision based on what you see in the cards. Tarot readings are for entertainment only.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Please tell me the playing card suit that matches with each season or element?
Well my preference is for Diamonds (Pentacles/Coins) to correspond with winter. Clubs (Wands/Staves) = summer. Spades (Swords) = Spring. Hearts (Cups/Chalices) = Autumn.Helpful 6
Are there any differences to the meanings if you draw the card upside down?
Playing cards are the same both ways up. Therefore there are no reversed cards as there are in tarot.Helpful 4
I have read a lot of different meanings for tarot each card. And am confused about it. What are the real meanings?
There are a lot of meanings for each card, but there is always an individual theme. So, take the Two of Spades/Two of Swords. The core meaning is refusing to see what's in front of you. However, there is a scale of meaning from negative to positive. So the worst meaning is cutting yourself off, descending into mental health issues, but the positive one is taking the time you need to work out the truth or to make the right choice. All tarot cards work this way. Think of it as a spectrum of meaning from worst to best.
Your job, as an interpreter, is to decide where on the scale the right message lies. That means using your intuition, weighing up the situation, and deciding which works most appropriately. The problem is that people want to be given the right meaning, but it takes a little practice and skill to read the cards accurately. As I mentioned in the article, "...if you take each keyword or phrase as a kernel of an idea, you should be able to build on it. Take into account the circumstances of the person asking the question. Try to combine the meanings of two cards to come up with a third. Use your imagination and tap into your intuition."Helpful 3
What does it mean when the tarot cards run in numerical order?
Usually it means the deck hasn't been shuffled properly. If you are convinced that the cards have been shuffled well, then it means that there is significant progression in the situation. That the journey through (whatever the question refers to) is just as important as the outcome.Helpful 2
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