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Comprehensive Tarot Glossary

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

Whether you're a seasoned practitioner or a curious novice, this tarot glossary is designed to decode the language of Tarot, demystifying its intricacies and illuminating its profound wisdom. Each term you encounter here holds a key to unlocking deeper insights and understanding within your Tarot readings.

Demystifying Tarot: A Comprehensive Tarot Glossary

Embarking on a journey into the world of Tarot can be both exhilarating and enlightening. As you delve into this ancient practice, you may encounter a wealth of terms and concepts that might initially seem like a labyrinth to navigate.

I created a comprehensive Tarot Glossary that serves as your trusty guide through this mystical realm.

At the helm of this exploration is Kate Putnam, a seasoned Tarot reader with a gift for weaving intuitive interpretations into each reading. With over 15 years of experience, Kate brings a unique blend of expertise and intuition to every session, helping clients find clarity, direction, and empowerment.

As you peruse this glossary, consider it a preview of the transformative journey that awaits you in a personalized Tarot card reading with Kate. Each entry is a stepping stone toward deeper self-awareness and spiritual growth, inviting you to embark on a voyage of self-discovery.

So, whether you're seeking answers to specific questions, guidance in navigating life's challenges, or simply a deeper connection with your inner self, Kate Putnam's Tarot readings offer a profound and insightful experience. With this glossary as your companion, you'll be well-prepared to embark on a transformative Tarot journey.

As you explore the entries within this glossary, we invite you to take the next step in your Tarot journey by booking a reading with Kate. Allow the wisdom of the cards to illuminate your path, and let Kate's intuitive insights guide you toward the answers you seek. Embrace the magic of Tarot and embark on a journey of self-discovery today.

tarot glossary kate putnam

The first card in each suit represents new beginnings, opportunities, and potential.


The two parts of a Tarot deck, are the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana, which means "secrets" or "mysteries" in Latin.

In tarot, it refers to the two main groups of cards: the Major Arcana (22 cards, representing major life events and themes) and the Minor Arcana (56 cards, representing everyday events and situations).


The material used to make tarot cards. It can be either a coated or uncoated card stock and can vary in thickness and durability.

Court cards:

The sixteen cards in the Minor Arcana represent people, such as the King, Queen, Knight, and Page.


A Tarot deck is a set of 78 cards that includes the Major Arcana, Minor Arcana, and the Fool card.


The act of divining; predicting the future or interpreting messages from the Divine. Traditionally, divination is the act of telling the future. Modern tarotists use the term to mean communication with the Divine.


Not a tarot term but is used in this book to mean God, the universe, the Great Spirit, the Higher Self, higher power, etc.

Fortune Telling:

Predicting the future.


The first card of the Major Arcana in Tarot, represents new beginnings, innocence, and unlimited potential.

Golden Dawn:

A secret magical society that existed in England at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries.

Arthur E. Waite:

(creator of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot) and Aleister Crowley (creator of the Thoth Tarot) were members.

Major Arcana:

The 22 cards in a tarot deck represent major life events, archetypes, and spiritual lessons and themes, such as The Fool, The Magician, and The World. These cards do not belong to one of the four suits of the Minor Arcana.

Minor Arcana:

The 56 cards in a tarot deck, divided into four suits

  • Wands (passion)

  • Cups (emotions)

  • Swords (intellect)

  • Pentacles (material reality)


As in a predictive reading—a reading in which the future is foretold.


As in a prescriptive reading—a reading in which the focus is on giving the querent advice.


A Western esoteric and mystical tradition drawing on Jewish Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), astrology, alchemy, and other mystical studies.


In a reading, the querent is the person asking the question. If someone is reading for herself, she is both the reader and the querent.


In a reading, the reader is the person conducting the reading and interpreting the cards.


Using the cards to discover information.


When a tarot card appears upside-down, this is said to be reversed. Reversed cards can indicate obstacles or challenges in the energy of the card, or can represent a need to address the shadow aspects of the energy.


“The situation” or “this situation” refers to the situation that the reading is about, also known as the question.

Tarot reader:

A person who interprets the meaning of Tarot cards in a reading and provides guidance, insight, and advice based on the cards drawn.


One of the four suits in the Minor Arcana, represents material possessions, money, and career.


One of the four suits in the Minor Arcana, represents mental faculties, communication, and conflict.


A predetermined layout of Tarot cards used for reading. Examples of spreads include the Celtic Cross, the Three-Card Spread, and the Zodiac Spread. Upright - A Tarot card that appears in its standard orientation.


When a tarot card is drawn right-side up, it is said to be in its upright position. This is often considered to be the standard position of the card, representing its most direct meaning.


One of the four suits in the Minor Arcana represents inspiration, creativity, and passion.

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