Significators in Tarot Readings


Significators are sometimes used in Tarot spreads. Some spreads have a built in significator (a card drawn to represent the Querant), and some do not.

Some Tarot Readers do not Read with significators, and simply ignore that position when it is built into a spread. As with many aspects of Tarot Reading there is no hard and fast rule about this and it really comes down to what you the Tarot Reader are comfortable with. 

If you decide to Read with significators, there are various ways that the card can be chosen. Again there is no right or wrong way to choose a significator card.

One traditional way is to use the Magician to represent a male Querant and the High Priestess to represent a female Querant. Some Tarot Readers choose a court card based on the physical appearance of the Querant. In the method using physical characteristics, the traditional view is to use Wands for a fair person with blond hair and blue eyes. For a Querant with light to medium skin, brown hair, and blue or hazel eyes, consider using Cups. Choose a Swords significator card if the Querant has olive skin, dark hair, and light eyes. Finally, a Pentacles court card would be used for a Querant with dark skin, dark hair, and dark eyes.

Another traditional way to select the significator card is to base it on the astrological sign of the Querant. The fire signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius would use a Wands court card. The water sings of Cancer, Scorpio, and Pieces should use Cups. A Sword significator is suited to the air signs of Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn, the earth signs, would use Pentacles. In the method using Zodiac signs, once the suit has been defined, the Court Card that best matches your client is chosen. Pages are most often seen as children of either sex, Knights as young adults of either sex; Queens as adult females and Kings as adult males.

In addition to the physical appearance and astrological sign, you can also choose a significator card based on personality. This can be how the Querant sees their personality normally or how they feel based on the matter they are thinking about. A Court Wands significator card is for someone who is passionate and energetic. Cups would be suitable for an emotional and creative person. If the Querant is an intellectual and logical person, they may want to use Swords. Pentacles are good for a practical, down to earth person.

The main disadvantage to finding your signifcator card in a Tarot deck in these traditional ways is that it cannot be used in other positions in a Reading. That is why some methods have been developed which allow the significator card to have meaning in the Reading.

You can do this by letting the deck choose which card will be the significator card. Simply shuffle the cards and use the top one. When you do this, the significator card can show how the Querant feels about the role he or she plays in the situation. If the Querant is unfamiliar with the Tarot deck, you can allow him or her to go through the deck and choose his or her own significator card. This method provides insight in how the Querant sees themselves.

Although the above are all popular methods for finding a significator card in a Tarot deck, don't feel duty bound to adopt them. Experiment using these techniques and your own until you find the ones that you feel lead to the best Readings

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