List of Meanings for Playing Card Tarot

Updated on February 16, 2020
theraggededge profile image

I'm a professional tarot reader, but when I don't have a tarot deck with me, I can use a deck of playing cards to provide a useful reading.

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 Ghost playing cards by Bicycle. 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.

Playing card interpretations: use the Jokers if you want to. I'd only include one of them. Ghost  cards by Bicycle.
Playing card interpretations: use the Jokers if you want to. I'd only include one of them. Ghost cards by Bicycle.

The Joker

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.

Playing Card Tarot Meanings: Clubs
Playing Card Tarot Meanings: Clubs

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.

Playing Card Tarot Meanings: Hearts
Playing Card Tarot Meanings: Hearts

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.

Playing Card Tarot Meanings: Spades
Playing Card Tarot Meanings: Spades

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.

Playing Card Tarot Meanings: Diamonds
Playing Card Tarot Meanings: Diamonds

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

  • How do I shuffle playing cards for a tarot reading?

    You shuffle the cards in the same way you would if you were playing a regular game. Everyone tends to have a preferred way of shuffling, so go with whatever you feel comfortable with.

    Here are some ways of laying out the cards for a reading: https://hubpages.com/fortune-divination/Playing-Ca...

  • Does the Queen of Diamonds represent what every woman in this day and age tries to be or longs to be?

    No, the Queen of Diamonds only represents one aspect of what being a woman means. Diamonds are related to the Pentacles/Coins suit in tarot, therefore are connected to material concerns, such as home-making, child-rearing and health. Other examples: a passionate woman is represented by the Queen of Wands (Clubs), an intuitive, empathic woman by the Queen of Cups (Hearts), an ambitious woman by the Queen of Swords (Spades). Yet those are just brief examples - Queens, like the other courts, encompass the whole of human nature.

  • Can you read the whole deck?

    Do you mean in one spread? It's possible, but I wouldn't like to do it with playing cards. You would have to assign 52/53 position meanings, and it would get very complicated.

    Some readers can do it by asking a question and then turning a card, then asking another question. It is a tedious process.

  • Is it possible to use both joker cards in a reading? One being used as the upright, and the other the reverse?

    No, because that doubles the chance of the card appearing. You wouldn't do it in tarot. Just mark the card to show if it's reversed. However, a skilled reader understands that all the cards hold the full spectrum of meaning from positive to negative. They rely on the intuition, the circumstances, the question, and surrounding cards to help them pull out the meaning.

  • How do I do a reading? How many times do I shuffle the deck?

    This article is simply a reference for the card meanings. To learn how to do a reading, you need to read these articles:

    https://exemplore.com/fortune-divination/How-to-Re...

    https://exemplore.com/fortune-divination/Playing-C...

© 2018 Bev G

Comments

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    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      2 days ago from Wales, UK

      Great question, Wally. Yes they do. Combinations tend to come under intermediate to advanced reading, and usually readers come to it themselves with experience. I usually take adjacent cards into account when reading tarot. Also, there is a concept called 'Elemental Dignities', where the element of the card (for example, Spades/Swords = air; Clubs/Wands = fire) have an effect - the air of the Spades card would accentuate the fire of Clubs.

      Can't go into it all here, but it's a fascinating aspect. Maybe I should write an article about it?

    • profile image

      Wally 

      2 days ago

      What do cards mean in combinations? I remember someone once had me shuffel the deck and place cards into three piles the largest closest to me, the cards were then tuned over making 4 rows of 13 and as the cards were spred on the table my friend began to tell me my reading and when a card from the row above touched the card next to it of on the bottom of it, it had a different meaning, as an example when the Ace of spades came into contact with the 9 of clubs I was told it ment change, or death, perhaps death of a situation, or of a relationship; something ending, perhaps a job ect. Do certain combinations of cards tell a story or have a particular, or special meaning?

    • Drew Agravante profile image

      Drew Agravante 

      6 weeks ago from Philippines, Currently in Qatar

      Wow, I never thought that each card had such meaning. Thanks for the very interesting piece.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      6 weeks ago from Wales, UK

      Hi G,

      Most playing card decks are the same whichever way they are dealt, so reversals aren't possible without marking the cards.

      However, in tarot reversals can be a bit of a double-edged sword for a new reader. For example, how do you decide what percentage of the deck should be turned? And wouldn't deliberately turning a portion of the deck be interfering with the fall of the cards?

      Personally, I prefer to keep the cards upright, but at the same time, I'm aware of the whole range of possible interpretations from negative (reversed) to positive. I allow my interpretations to be driven by the other cards, the energy surrounding the question and my own intuition.

      A good deck to take a look at is the Revelations Tarot, which has the reversals built right into it.

      You can find more tarot articles at tarot-study.info.

      Good luck on your journey :)

    • profile image

      6 weeks ago

      Hello!

      Thank you very, very much for this article. I am a novice in card reading and I am using my playing cards until I get a tarot deck of my own. Thus, I would like to ask if in the interpretation of the playing cards we should take reversals into account (e.g. a reversed Ace of Spades or a reversed Ace of Cups), as I have noticed that reversals are usually taken into account in Tarot readings.

      Thank you in advance for your time. Keep up the excellent work!

      Namaste,

      G.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      4 months ago from Wales, UK

      Whoever gave the cards was implying that you and your friend are a pair of jokers. It was a crude attempt to be funny.

    • profile image

      Me 901 

      4 months ago

      I was given two joker cards under me n my mates pic what does it mean

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      5 months ago from Wales, UK

      Hi Ltheflowerwitch,

      There is another article, which I have linked to in the article above, "How to Read Tarot with Playing Cards". It details how to use the cards as a substitute for tarot.

      As there are no Majors in playing card tarot (apart from the optional Joker), the Queen of Clubs has to be the equivalent of the Queen of Wands. As she is listed under her suit, where it says Clubs are the same as Wands, then she can't be a Major.

      If you read through this article, and the other one, I mentioned, you should gain a clearer understanding. I can't be more specific than I already have been.

    • profile image

      Ltheflowerwitch 

      5 months ago

      Can you make another post about this but more specific like you said the joker means the fool but what does the queen of clubs mean is it the empress or the queen? thank please reply

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      6 months ago from Wales, UK

      Hi Juno, they can have different meanings for people - those who read intuitively, for example.

      However, I believe that the best way of doing it is to know the basic meanings and then expand on them yourself. For example, in tarot, the Three of Swords (Spades) is often seen as a broken heart. I disagree slightly - I think it means mixed up communication which *could* lead to a broken heart.Because Swords/Spades are connected to thinking and communication, not to emotions.

      The Eight of Diamonds (Pentacles) is usually connected to work and can mean things like retraining, apprenticeships, change of career, etc. Eights are connected to movement or lack of it. Diamonds to practical issues.

    • profile image

      Juno 

      6 months ago

      I would like to know if the meanings of any card could have a different meaning for me, example 8 of diamonds new job etc. could I have a different meaning for it?

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      7 months ago from Wales, UK

      It doesn't mean anything, sorry :(

    • profile image

      7 months ago

      Hi what does it mean when you find a card face down but when you pull it up and turn it over its blank?

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      7 months ago from Wales, UK

      Hi there 1, the cards are always accurate, it's the interpretation that can be wrong.

      I'm not sure why you would pull four cards when one would do. Tell me what you think the cards mean. Because whatever you thought when you saw them is probably correct.

      Two articles that would help with your questions:

      https://exemplore.com/fortune-divination/How-Accur...

      https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Can-I-Ask...

    • profile image

      7 months ago

      hello, I would like to ask are the tarot cards always accurate...also I pulled queen of pentacles, queen of swords, 10 of pentacles and 7 of wands about how the person in my mind feels about me at the moment what does this mean?

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      7 months ago from Wales, UK

      Hi Crystal, sure it is. This article might help you...

      https://exemplore.com/fortune-divination/Tarot-for...

    • profile image

      Crystal 

      7 months ago

      Is it okay to do a reading for yourself?

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      13 months ago from Wales, UK

      You are welcome, Shawn. Thank you and have fun on your tarot adventure :)

    • profile image

      Shawn Fiscus 

      13 months ago

      I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this information. It has really helped my understanding of tarot.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      13 months ago from Wales, UK

      Aw... thank you, Heather.

    • profile image

      Heather 

      13 months ago

      I just want to say thankyou all for doing what you do I really appreciate you all posative vibes to you all.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      17 months ago from Wales, UK

      What about them, NC?

    • profile image

      N0rcal.centaur 

      17 months ago

      Ace of clubs five of hearts diamonds clubs to Diamonds of 8 of Spades jack of diamonds

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      17 months ago from Wales, UK

      Hi Nancy, feel free to print any of my articles out for educational purposes, but not to republish online.

      All the best.

    • profile image

      Nanci Larkin 

      17 months ago

      I would like to contact you via email to request permission to use two of your articles to print out for the Chaplaincy program in the local jail. There is widespread interest in Wicca and Tarot and we are looking for resources, but need permission to use your material for copyright purposes.

      Thanks.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      19 months ago from Wales, UK

      No, sorry, I can't do your reading for you.

      https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Can-I-Ask...

    • profile image

      9ofHearts 

      19 months ago

      I pulled 3 cards on strategy to use to get my dreams. They were All Spades ♠️; the Ace of ♠️ , then Queen of ♠️ and 2 of ♠️. Can you help me to understand how to strategise based on what these cards are saying? Thank you

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      22 months ago from Wales, UK

    • profile image

      Jayme 

      22 months ago

      How can i lay my cards and how many cards should i used to get my right reading? i am using playcards

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      23 months ago from Wales, UK

    • profile image

      kandi kay 

      23 months ago

      How to lay the cards out to read them

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      2 years ago from Wales, UK

      I have to admit to being confused about what you are asking. Are you using playing cards or tarot. And What are 'prints'?

      Whatever the answer you felt will be the right one for you.

    • profile image

      Pollypop147 

      2 years ago

      Hi, I'm completely new to using playing cards as tarot readings. I started with my question which was how my partner feels towards myself and a past wanted love which never took off properly. I used my Ryder-Waite tarot and for me I pulled out The king of prints followed by seven of spades. For the other female I pulled page of prints and the Ace of hearts! I just 'felt' the answer? Or am I wrong? Please can someone help me clarify the meaning. Thankyou

    • profile image

      priestessleslie 

      2 years ago

      wow we learn new things every time you turn around, thanks Bev.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      2 years ago from Wales, UK

      Have fun, Kari :)

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      I didn't realize you could do a reading with a pack of cards. Now I need to go find my cards. Thanks for the explanation!

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      Thankyou Bev. =)

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      2 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thanks so much, Louise. Feel free to ask me anything. There's lots of info on my blog: tarot-study.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      Thanks for another interesting hub. I enjoy reading them, and always learn something. I'm going to buy a deck of tarot cards now and learn more!

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