This collection of tarot card definitions is gradually being added to as I move through my 78-Day Tarot Challenge. From July 1 - September 16th, I'll be posting one card + its message (I'll be using the traditional Rider Waite Smith deck) per day on my Insta story Here are more expanded definitions and journal prompts for each card.
CARD 0 - THE FOOL
Mantra for the fool: “Heed the call.”
Description: The fool figure stands on the edge of a cliff, just a few essential belongings in a bundle on his shoulder. He doesn't have a plan, just a lot of beautiful ideas of what could be. He isn't particularly worried - he doesn't know what he doesn't know, yet! The fool gives us the green light to take the leap we're being called to take, and trust that it's right. Move one step at a time in the direction of the best case scenario, and don't entertain any idea that 'it might not work out.'
Journal prompts: What opportunities are being presented to you? Where are you feeling inspired to take more risks? What is the leap of faith your life needs right now? What has recently inspired you to make a big change?
CARD 1 - THE MAGICIAN
Mantra for the magician: “I have all the resources I need, inner and outer.”
Description: The magician is a master manifester. He knows exactly how to turn the resources he has to work with - be it his inner guidance, higher guidance, or the resources around him, into whatever he wants! This card wants us to take our intentions seriously and know that we have everything we need, inside and outside of us, to make our dreams real.
Journal prompts: What does your personal superpower toolkit contain? Do a personal strengths and weaknesses analysis and examine what you’re working with. Write a formula for conjuring the conditions you want.
CARD 2 - THE HIGH PRIESTESS
Mantra for the high priestess: “My inner knowing is my best guide now.”
Description: The high priestess is an intermediary between the spirit world and earth. She has the ability to access her intuition freely and apply her wisdom to situations in the material world. She asks us to step into that part of ourselves - our ability to see beyond what’s in front of us. By leaning into your receptive side, spending time in nature, or writing down your dreams, answers will come. Listen to your intuition.
Journal prompts: What would your higher self do? What do you suspect this situation is trying to teach you? What do you see when you look into the future if you take road A, road B, road C, etc.?
CARD 3: THE EMPRESS
Mantra for the empress: “I nurture myself and the sources of abundance in my life.”
Description: The empress is a symbol of abundance and working in harmony with nature (she's the poster girl for 'hustle > align'). She wants us to nurture our own creativity similarly - by enjoying the things that make life on earth pleasurable, like making art, music, food, and relationships. She knows that feeling joy helps to create more joy in our lives. That's the secret to her success.
Journal prompts: Where is your creative energy flowing? What’s feeling stagnant or blocked? Are you nurturing yourself enough? What are you really enjoying lately? What's giving you energy?
CARD 4: THE EMPEROR
Mantra for the emperor: “I am my own authority.”
Description: The Emperor is the archetypal father-figure of the tarot. A symbol of rules and discipline, he represents a provider who rules over a social institution (like a school or a work culture). He enforces the rules and in his own way, compromises his power for no one. Acknowledge his rules that maintaining the foundations that may be supporting you, but do consider how to make them work for you. How can you step into your power?
Journal prompts: How does your current structure serve, you, and how does it now? Are you feeling a need to rebel? If so, explore it. What kind of structure do you really want and need, to thrive? What mentor or guidance do you need now?
CARD 5: THE HEIROPHANT
Mantra for the heirophant: “I choose how I honour traditions new and old.”
Description: The Hierophant might represent a priest, teacher, or healer we look up to. He is someone who channels ancient wisdom and guides a group to higher knowing in some way, determining our values, or more broadly, how we live. This card is about finding the structure we need to make our spirituality a tangible part of our lives. The Heirophant is intuitive, but he takes a by-the-book approach, using 'tried and true' methods. What do you need to 'live' your spirituality?
Journal prompts: What are your core values, and where are the people who share them? What does your spiritual path need now? What form could your spiritual path take? What certifications or methods of study intrigue you?
CARD 6: THE LOVERS
Mantra for the lovers: "I choose love."
Description: This card symbolizes, on one hand, harmony and health in relationships, but more broadly, it invites us to consider the necessary components of healthy relationships: open communication, shared personal values, loyalty, acceptance, etc. This card asks us to become crystal clear on our own personal values, and make the bold choice: Choose to live them. There's a great deal of responsibility implied with this card, so consider all the consequences at hand here.
Journal prompts: What does 'choosing love,' in this situation, require of you? What are your core needs in a relationship? How could you take even more responsibility over your actions - your words, your thoughts?
CARD 7: THE CHARIOT
Mantra for the chariot: "No obstacles can stop me now."
Description: The chariot is a symbol of progress, motivation, a sense of control over direction, and feeling supported by a structure that’s carrying us. This card shows that thee journey we're on is helping us build up strength to travel through life with ease and confidence. By continuing to keep moving forward, staying focused on the end-goal, we'll surely reach it - and become so much stronger.
Journal prompts: What structure is supporting you now, and what key components of it are giving you strength? What's fueling you? What ideas are moving you forward? Where will I refuse to accept defeat?
CARD 8: STRENGTH
Mantra for strength: “Strength begins with the choice to be kind to myself.”
Description: The Strength card is a symbol of courage and self-control, but also, gentleness and patience. Think of how a lion tamer works with a lion. She has to be gentle, not forceful. Consider your primal urges as the lion, and your higher self as the tamer. This card shows that with self-compassion and deep self-love, we can overcome whatever is limiting us. Pay attention to what makes you feel strong and able - physically, mentally, emotionally.
Journal prompts: What conditions (self-care, relationship dynamics, etc.) does your being strong in this situation require? Where could you be more gentle with yourself? What insecurities did you used to have that you don't have anymore? Where am you still building up confidence?
CARD 9: THE HERMIT
Mantra for the hermit: "I honour my wise inner self."
Description: The Hermit is the spiritual master of the tarot. He's committed to his spiritual path above all else. While he's the keeper of a lot of wisdom, he’s still motivated on his quest for truth. This card is an invitation to turn inward to find the light you need to light the way forward. Read, write, meditate, and don't worry about what anyone else says is the right way to live. It's time to live in your own authentic way.
Journal prompts: How does the universe or your higher self speak to you? How do you show it you're listening? Are you taking enough time for self-reflection? What major lessons has life taught you? What is your higher purpose?
CARD 10: THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
Mantra for the wheel of fortune: “What will be will be.”
Description: This card tells us that a new phase is being brewed up right now. Like all major changes in life, there are factors both within your control and out of your control at play here. Your job is to focus on what you can control - keep working, keep doing right by yourself and the people around you - and leave the rest up to fate. You can only do 'everything you possibly can' to contribute to your success. So do that.
Journal prompts: Are you doing all you can to influence the powers the be? Are you taking full responsibility for your journey? What do you need to do to start turning your life in a more fruitful, authentic direction?
CARD 11: JUSTICE
Mantra for justice: “I get what I give.”
Description: Fairness will rule the day when this card is drawn. The energy we put out always comes back to us, for better, or for worse. The justice card reminds us to take responsibility for our actions, our words, and be impeccable in how we show up in the world. Make amends if you need to. Be mindful of the possibility of your emotions clouding your ability to see your situation accurately. Take the logical approach.
Journal prompts: Are you being as objective and reasonable as possible? What do you see when you look at your situation from an external, impartial perspective? What is it you truly deserve?
CARD 12: THE HANGED MAN
Mantra for the hanged man: “Surrender to awaken.”
Description: You know that phrase 'problems can't be solved with the same mind set that created them'? That’s this card embodied. This card can show up when we feel stuck or in limbo and a new perspective is what's needed. Doing nothing is often harder than doing nothing, but when we challenge ourselves to release control, solutions have a way of finding us.
Journal prompts: What am I feeling a grasping or forcing energy around? What’s the difference between stillness and stagnancy? What would it take to see this situation - in a totally different way? What thoughts need a rest?
CARD 13: DEATH
Mantra for Death: “I’m willing to accept radical change.”
Description: A major phase in your life has run it’s course and you’re being called to step into a radical new sense of self. Accept change by forgiving what is no longer giving you life - a relationship, a routine or role you may have been occupying. Start new. Change may be painful, and may be uncomfortable, but you can be sure that this change is leading you toward a more expansive life. Take the new road forward, even if it looks unclear from where you are now.
Journal prompts: What is feeling stale? What aspects of my identity need to fall away? What doesn’t fit in my life anymore? What would help you honour the passing of your old self?
CARD 14: TEMPERANCE
Mantra for Temperance: "Find the middle road."
Description: Temperance is the bringer of balance. This card shows us that the integration of extremes - one way or another, our inner and outer worlds, hard work and hard play, together or alone, looks like. It teaches us to be OK with not being so extreme in our outlook, or, that we don't need to cling to either one side, or another. When we take the steps that lead us to find a middle ground, we create a new way entirely. We have a sense of a greater purpose.
Journal prompts: What self-care practices help you get back to a sense of equilibrium? What is you higher purpose - are you in touch with it? What does internal harmony look like?
CARD 15: THE DEVIL
Mantra for the Devil: "I'm not a puppet."
Description: The Devil is a symbol of whatever keeps us feeling trapped or small. (Think: A job, substance, pattern, or relationship that hurts us.) The devil can create a mindset of: 'there's no point,' or 'there's no hope.' This card reminds us that whatever we feel powerless to is not bigger than us. It invite us to take a step back and acknowledge the fact that we always have a choice. Explore this pattern, and ask yourself: what is this pattern doing for me? (Your ego). Remove the judgement and approach your situation with curiosity. How can you start making different choices?
Journal prompts: What does it feel like to be stuck? What would it feel like if I was not stuck? How would I act right now if I had total control of my life?
CARD 16: THE TOWER
Mantra for the tower: "Wave your white flag and surrender."
Description: The Tower is the divine storm of the tarot. It's when everything we've built/worked for comes crashing down (ie: a surprise ending to a relationship, or job etc.) We feel like we hit rock bottom, and have no idea where to go from here.
The blessing here is: when our towers fall, we can see how we built them. And we can see how we want to do it differently now. The way we've been operating in the world isn’t right anymore. Time to trust that god has other plans for us. This may sound extreme but often what this card is referring to deconstructing is around a story we’re telling ourselves that is keeping us limited.
Journal prompts: What just happened? How do I actually feel about it - when I remove other people from the equation?
CARD 17: THE STAR
Mantra for the star: "Keep the faith."
Description: The star is a symbol of hope and divine guidance. It might show up as a hit of inspiration, a chance encounter with a stranger, or a synchronistic event that reminds us that the challenges we’re facing now are not for nothing. The star wants us to know that we're not alone.
Pay attention to those tiny glimmers of hope and try to continue to find joy in your day to day, and give of yourself where you can (inspiring others may actually help you now!) Keep following the nudges of your north star.
Journal prompts: How do ‘signs’ show up for you? Do you have any recurring ones you see or hear, or have, in the past? How do you pray? What role does prayer have in your life? What is inspiring you now?
CARD 18: THE MOON
Mantra for the moon: "The path may not be clear, but my intuition lights the way."
Description: The moon symbolizes the 'dark night of the soul.' It shows up when confusion rules the day, or you may feel like you're lacking perspective on your situation. Someone may not be being honest with you, or you may not be being honest with yourself. Just take it one step at a time, and continue on with the guidance of your intuition.
Journal prompts: What footholds are keeping my grounded? What emotions might I be avoiding? What is pulling me through, day to day?
CARD 19: THE SUN
Mantra for the sun: "Joy begets joy."
Description: The sun is the happiness after a low period. It brings us a chance to feel like a kid again, and have our joy be infectious. It shows up to say: things are looking up. If they're not, your positive attitude can help things move in your favour. The Sun card invites us to bring things back to basics, and find joy in small things - our friendships, sunshine, good music. It actually challenges us, in a way, to not take things so seriously.
Journal prompts: How would you act / feel / move if you just had everything you want?
CARD 20: JUDGEMENT
Mantra for judgement: 'My daily choices align me with my higher purpose.'
Description: This card brings an invitation to pause and examine the journey we've been on; the challenges, successes, failures, the times we showed up, the times we shrank - who we have been in the world - and ask, how did we do? How do these chips fall together? What design have I made of my life? Judgement presents an opportunity to see our lives, and see our higher selves and then recalibrate - choose again. Judgement wants us to forgive our past and continue on, this time, awake.
Journal prompts: How do you connect with your higher power? What will your rebirth look like?
CARD 21: THE WORD
Mantra for the world: 'The end of an era.'
Description: This card indicates the culmination of a long-term project or journey. This phase in our life is about to reach a conclusion. We can see why everything - all the challenges, detours, and lessons, happened. This card can indicate a 'dream come true,' but in a way that feels more like, things coming full circle than it does a blessing falling from the sky. This is a time to celebrate our hard work and share our wisdom with others.
Journal prompts: What's ready to reach an end now? What long-term goal am I working toward now? How will I know I'm 'there'? What will make my dream feel real?