Tarot for the Modern Reader
15 Tarot Cards for Self Care
What does self-care look like in the tarot? Well for starters, we have to talk about self-love. We have to have that in order to really be able to prioritize our self care. You might even be wondering why it's so important to prioritize ourself and our own care in the first place.
Read tarot for others long enough, and you'll quickly notice that the overwhelming majority of our readings involve questions about love and/or relationships. That's our number one priority it seems. But, what about our relationship with number 1? With ourselves? This is the most important relationship we have and forms the foundation for all others.
Why Self Care is Important
For starters, we can't give from an empty well. If your own love tank isn't full, you won't have any to share. Another way to put it, is that you can't give away what you don't possess. We have to truly understand what it feels like to love ourself, before we can give love to another freely and completely.
Ever notice the instructions to put on your own oxygen mask before trying to help someone else with theirs? Because we all have to prioritize ourself (no one else is going to) and then we can help others. But we are no good to others if we haven't gotten our own mask on.
Additionally, when we constantly give, give, give all the time to others, we end up feeling depleted and resentful. It's important to give to yourself just as much as you give to others, rather than expecting others to give to you as endlessly as you give to them. No-no.
So self-care is a way of showing ourselves self-love. Self-care is a way for us to make sure we are embodying self-love. Self-care can give us ways to show ourselves self-love and prioritize ourselves and our own needs.
Let me also say that often the first thing those of us who give freely think is that self-care is selfish. Nothing is further from the truth. YOU deserve just as much as those you are constantly giving to. If you are concerned about being selfish, you have already ruled yourself out as being so! Selfish people don't think that way or care.
What Happens When We Neglect Self-Care
You need to be taken care of wholly and completely in all ways, and that falls on you. We cannot rely on others to fill our tanks or meet our needs. But all too often, we are sooooo busy doing all the things for our family and friends and obligations we've taken on, that we've squeezed aaaalllll the room off of our plate for us to have any room left for ourselves!
So our needs mainly go unmet and we end up feeling some sort of way. Cranky, unfulfilled, resentful, neglected, and oftentimes, having unrealistic expectations for others to fill our needs.
So today's collection of cards doesn't just represent what self-care looks like in the Tarot in terms of a bubble bath and a mani/pedi. There are MANY cards in the tarot that can be a sign that you are neglecting yourself in certain ways, and the card is a call to action for you to acknowledge that and take action.
Tarot Cards for Self-Care by the Suits
So let me give you a quick overview of the cards I've chosen. I think at first they may surprise you. Out of the 15, just 5 are majors. I think we can actually find more acts of self-care practices in the tarot represented in the minor arcana suits than the majors. And the Majors may surprise you at first as well.
There are no wands...that's right, none. Wands energy is so "out-there", so expansive and growing. And self-care is much more inward focused. We have just one pentacle...what?? Where's all the luxury? All the pampering?? Four cups, which might be starting to sound about right. But if you're doing the math along in your head (just kidding, I know I have a community of spiritual intuitive types, not stem lovers lol), that leaves the remaining 5 cards for self-care coming from the suit of swords.
Yep! I find the most call and direction for self-care coming from our good old suit of conflict, strife and communications with others (head scratch). Ready to dive in?
Self Care in the Tarot: The Major Arcana
Let's start with the Majors shall we? There are 5 cards here:
The High Priestess- when the High Priestess shows up, she can be a signal to you that you are not listening to your intuition, or you need to pay better attention. She is that inner intuitive voice that often gets drowned out when we are busy doing #allthethings. Her appearance can signify that side of yourself that you have been ignoring and need to get in touch with.
The Empress- conversely, when the Empress shows up, you have the opposite usually. The Empress is all about abundance and beauty and creativity, and often, her appearance in this department suggests a sense of lack. You are ignoring your own feminine needs, or, as is often the case as a mother, putting your own needs aside to take care of everyone else. Her appearance can suggest taking time just to pamper yourself a bit.
The Hermit- alone time. Plain and simple. This card's appearance is a clear call to action that you need to spend some time alone, with your own thoughts and your own company.
The Sun- the Sun in astrology represents our core personality. This card can be a true indicator of "self" in a reading. So when it falls under the right context, possibly under advice, it can be advising you to think about yourself, or consider yourself and your needs.
The Moon- if the Sun is our core, outward, personality, the moon represents our inner landscape. It represents our emotions. The Moon shows the possibility of needing to do some inner work or shadow work. It suggests needing to spend some time looking within or even doing some psychotherapy.
Notice how these cards have worked in pairs mainly, identifying the different parts of self?
Self-Care in the Tarot: Cups and the Lone Pentacle
Cups seem like an obvious suit for self-care in the tarot on the surface right? Let's go deeper, but let's start with that lone pentacle.
Nine of Pentacles- now this is one of two standard cards for self-care in the tarot in my book. As an independent woman of luxury, it suggests being concerned with yourself and pampering yourself as well. This is the card for richly pleasures, whether it's dark chocolate, a glass of red wine or a bubble bath (or all three!). A good romance novel and some alone time fall under this card.
Ace of Cups- this is the other standard card of self-care in the tarot for me. We've got the suit of cups and the card for number 1. If the 9 of Pentacles is the pampering side of self-care, this is the deeper side, the one that encompasses self-love. To me, this card is all about filling up your own love tank. When this card shows up, you really need to examine how you are showing up for yourself before you can really show up for others.
The Four of Cups- this card in the tarot can signify self-care in the form of stillness. Have you taken time to simply relax and be? This is a great reminder that a bit of meditation could be the answer.
The Eight of Cups- the implication here is that the greatest thing you can do for yourself is to walk away. There is nothing left of value, or valuable enough that is. You are being drained emotionally.
The Nine of Cups- similar to the 9 of Pentacles, some indulgence is being called for. Go ahead and have some fun. In regard to self-care, it's advising you to go ahead and enjoy some spoils.
Self-Care in the Tarot: Surprises in the Swords
Interestingly, it turns out there is a nice little run of cards in the Suit of Swords that indicate the ways we need to take care of ourselves or practice-self care. These tarot cards show the way.
The Four of Swords- when you see this card, it's a sign that you need to pay attention to the needs of your mind and body. Rest is called for.
The Six of Swords- self-preservation is called for in the six. The self-care this tarot card indicates is similar to the 8 of Cups. That you must walk away in order to preserve your own best interests.
The Seven of Swords- despite the bad wrap this card sometimes gets, it actually indicates looking out for number one. Keep that in mind if it comes up as advice.
The Eight of Swords- this tarot card for self-care indicates you have some mindset work to do. Don't let yourself be trapped by your own limiting beliefs.
The Nine of Swords- more work for the mind. This card as a sign of self-care can advise facing your fears in the light of day and can be another card indicating therapy might be a good choice. This card advises you to get your thoughts and fears out of your heart and head and into the open where they can be dealt with.
Wrap-up for Self- Care in the Tarot Cards
What do you think? Did some of my choices surprise you? What was missing for you? Did you notice any themes? I did as I looked through the cards I chose. Notice almost all of the 9 are present in both the major and minor arcana? What does that tell us about it's themes of solitude in relation to self-care?
There were also a few fours, both pertaining to stillness and rest. What does that tell us? You may notice that in the majors, the cards I chose really applied to the dual sides of our personalities for the most part, and included two 9 cards as well! And the run of swords was the most interesting of all for me. The tarot is full of surprises and mystery for every seeker.
So what are your thoughts? Feel free to share them in the comments below, or in our fb group Tarot for the Modern Reader if you are in there with us!
I'm Liza, professional Tarot reader, writer and mentor, and this is Tarot Liza. Everyday we're working to bring our mission of delivering more value and Tarot education to the Modern Reader to life! Welcome! Read more...
- I have a question in my facebook group, Tarot for the Modern Reader that asks "What is your BIGGEST struggle with reading Tarot cards?" With over 1000 responses, I have gotten the same 4 over and over and over again. One of them being, "How to tell the story in the cards"- how to weave the narrative that plays out by relating what all of the cards me…Read More »
- Jupiter, the planet of abundance is about to leave spiritual Pisces and dive head-long into powerhouse Aries! This is the sign ruled by the Emperor. Our lives are all about to get a lot busier! So this week, let's talk about how we can use the Emperor's energy to be the BOSS in our own lives. The kings in the tarot are really the personification of the…Read More »
- Have you never noticed how many cards in your deck feature animals? Spoiler alert- in the RWS deck, it's 33! That's nearly half the deck! What does this mean? In the artwork of our decks, the animals are seen as symbols, they represent more than just something cute or interesting to look at. As a matter of fact, every animal has it’s own…Read More »
- So you've heard me say that metaphysical systems do not exist in a vacuum once or twenty times right?? In this week's episode, I share what Taurus season brings, how it differs and builds upon the season of Aries that we just left, and what cards I expect to see more of in my readings (besides the two in the title)! I also share how you can work with this…Read More »
- Did you know there are astrological symbols hiding in plain sight in the tarot? Each card in the Tarot is associated with a corresponding astrological sign, planet, or both. This likely isn't a surprise to you, after all, metaphysical disciplines rarely exist in a vacuum. As a matter of fact, with a slower, second look, we can see evidence of all…Read More »
- Astrology is a big part of the Tarot. Metaphysical disciplines don't exist in a vacuum. Each is related to, and intertwined with many other disciplines. In today's episode I want to share with you a little about how astrology and tarot can work together, and specifically, the Major Arcana. There are 22 Major Arcana. There are also 12 signs and 10…Read More »