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Did you know that the famous writer Italo Calvino wrote a novel inspired and constructed around the concept of tarot cards?

His novel, titled The Castle of Crossed Destinies, is only one of numerous examples of how tarot cards have influenced us since the 1400s.

Do you want to be a part of tarot history? Keep reading to learn how tarot cards work.

Two Card Types

Most tarot card decks have two kinds of cards.

The first is called Minor Arcana and is similar to your average playing-card deck. These types of cards fall into one of four suits. There are the Wands, the Swords, the Cups, and the Pentacles.

There are ten cards in each suit. Don’t forget that there are also face cards in each suit, including the queen, king, and knight.

The other kinds of cards are called Major Arcana. They’re composed of singular cards that hold their own special meaning, such as the Hanged Man, the Devil, the Fool, Death, and the Empress tarot card. These are iconic cards that you’ve probably seen in one or more movies.

Has anyone ever asked you, “What is a tarot card?” Now you can tell them that it depends on the specific card in question.


After dealing out the cards from a tarot deck, you’re supposed to arrange them in a certain spread. There are different kinds of spreads but the most common two are The Celtic Cross and the Three Fates

The Celtic cross is a ten-card spread and is often used to represent opposing influences, such as the push and pull between the past and future. It can also represent the personal hopes of the person whose fortune is being interpreted.

The Three Fates, as you might guess from its name, is a three-card spread. The first card signifies the past, the second signifies the present, and so on. The three cards can also be changed to represent other three-tiered phenomena, such as a situation, a problem, and a potential solution.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can try creating your own tarot spread meanings.

The Meaning of the Cards

Simply put, tarot reading is not a branch of science, which means there is no official way to read or interpret the cards. 

If you want to know more about tarot cards, you must realize that different people bring different interpretations to the table. This includes specific cards and the act of tarot reading in general.

For instance, some people believe the cards tap into a universal knowledge or mind while others think that the cards are merely a tool for helping someone navigate through life.

Now You Know How Tarot Cards Work

Now that you know how tarot cards work, you can read the fortunes of friends and family members for fun. If you’re ambitious, you could even start your own tarot-reading business.

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