Tarot for the Modern Reader
Tarot Significators: The Who What When Where and Why
Tarot Significators, we've all heard of them. Do you use them? If so, how? Well that's what today's topic is going to cover, we're talking all about the 5W's (and the how!) of Tarot Significators.
If you're fairly new to tarot, you may have read about tarot signficators in your books. This is a topic that doesn't get discussed as much these days I don't think, but to me, I consider it important to understand, since much of the older literature references them. I have one important reason I like to use tarot signifcators, and I'll share it with you in this article.
So let's get into it shall we?
What are Tarot Significators?
A significator is any card in a reading that you choose to "signify" yourself in the reading. This is a card that you choose, either consciously or randomly, to represent yourself in that reading. So to be clear, a tarot significator is a single card, chosen to be "you" in that reading. It's a card that best represents you as a person in general, or in that exact situation, to be specific. So to get a little more clarity on this, let's take a look at WHO the tarot significators are.
How do You Choose Your Tarot Significator?
A tarot significator can be chosen in many ways. Most often, Court Cards are used. Many many years ago, a tarot significator was chosen by looks. If you were fair skinned, blonde haired and blue eyed, you may belong to the suit of Wands. Dark hair, brown eyes, and olive skin? Pentacles for you. Today we choose a little differently, however you certainly CAN choose based on physical resemblances if you like!
This is the card that represents YOU, so how you choose it is entirely up to you. I personally like to choose signficators based on age and astrology, and loosely, gender. I consider mature females Queens. I do not go by a strict number, as we all mature differently, but for the most part, often a female around 30 or over. But there are other factors I consider. She may be younger than that but a mother. Any woman who has borne a child I consider a Queen.
Pages represent children for me. The real question for me is for females who may be in their twenties, as they are in that borderland. I choose to use both Knights and Kings for men. A man in his twenties with all that surging testosterone is a Knight, a man in his forties is a King, and again I have that middle ground, the thirties for men. I have to decide based on other things in his life, how mature he is. Kings represent maturity.
These are all personal choice, there is no right or wrong. As for the suit, I go with the sun sign as I find those to be the most accurate depiction of that individual. Fire = Wands, Water = Cups, Air = Swords, Earth = Pentacles. So a 42 y/o Virgo woman is a Queen of Pentacles.
Who are the Tarot Significators?
So the significator is whomever you want it to be. You can use my method above and choose a court card for your signifcator, or you can also choose a major arcana card. Say you want to read about yourself in relationship to your children, you may choose to use the Empress as a significator. You can use any method you want to choose a card to be the signifying card of that reading. Alternatively, you can even shuffle and pull a card randomly out of the deck and let that be your significator. You can also choose a court card based on its physical characteristics or resemblances or any other reason really.
When and Where to Use a Tarot Significator
The historical teachings tell us to use a significator in the Celtic Cross. To choose the card and lay it down in the center of the spread, and then do the reading on top of that. Some people feel that using a significator will "ground" the reading.
You can use a significator in any reading. You can place it above the reading or off to the side, to draw that cards energy to the reading, or in the center of the reading as a focal point if it helps you. If you place it around your reading, it's interesting to see what cards show up next to it.
Personally, I do not like to pull my significator card out of the deck and place it deliberately. I find it more relevant and insightful to leave all of the cards in the deck and have them all available to turn up in the reading, particularly the card that best represents me or the card that represents the energy chosen for that reading.
Why and How I use a Tarot Significator
Here is where we get to the good parts! I'm going to let you in on a little secret. You can choose a tarot significator and NOT pull it out of the deck and set it out separately. Here's what I do, and why. I choose the card based on my age and sun sign that best represents me. As a Cancer, a water sign, that's the Queen of Cups. I don't change significators for different situations. That card is me. I leave her in the deck. When she turns out in a reading, it signals to me that this reading is important! I look to see who she is near, and who she is facing. I also note who she has her back to.
So I'm not constantly choosing a significator, I just know, in general, who my long-term significator is, and watch out when she turns up in my readings. When I do a reading for a client, I assign a significator to them mentally. Then I do the same thing, I watch and take note if that card turns up in the reading. If it does, I know this topic is extra important, and I look to see who they are interacting with.
Bonus Tarot Significator Secret
Now here is something else I do that has proven to be EXTREMELY helpful to me. I assign tarot significators to all of my friends and family, anyone who is close enough to me that they may show up in one of my readings! My mom is an Aries, so for her, I have chosen the Queen of Wands. My father is a Taurus, and for him, I've assigned the King of Pentacles. Each of my kiddos is assigned one of the pages. It makes it super easy for me to identify when they show up in my readings!
Most often when we hear about significators, we hear about only using them to signify ourselves, but this little habit of going the extra mile to use them to signify those closest to you can be one of the most helpful and powerful ways to use significators in your readings! And if you want to learn more about each of the four Court Card ranks to help you choose the right signifcators for yourself and those in your life, take the FREE 5 Day Mini Email Court Card Course featured below! You'll be well on your way to discovering yourself and those around you through a new lens!
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...
- Winter truly is a time of pulling inward. It's a period of contraction. Winter is where we create the space for the amazing seeds we are soon going to plant. This is our period of DEEP REST. I find Capricorn season to represent the true stillness, contraction, and deep rest that winter brings. And knowing these things can help us plan out our time, our projects, and allow us to give ourselves permission to rest. Rest is...Read More »
- Winter is supposed to be about rest but Sagittarius and it’s ruling planet Jupiter are all about luck and expansion- so how do we best thrive in this season? Join me in this week’s episode to learn how to take advantage of this very auspicious energy right now, including our Sagittarius new moon falling on the 12/12 portal, at which time we also entered the 3rd decan of Sagg, a day before Mercury Retrograde begins- whew!...Read More »
- We’re now in the window of the true Samhain portal. Tune in to this week’s episode and pickup the ritual I left out of last week’s episode (oops!), as well as why you might want to do these rituals again (or for the first time), this week! But hurry- the portal won’t be open long. I also share a few announcements for the podcast for the coming month!...Read More »
- Halloween and rituals go hand in hand. Although we have turned Halloween into a night of spooky fun, complete with costumes and candy for children, it is really a special night to honor those who are no longer with us, and based on the much older pagan sabbat of Samhain. It's a great time to communicate with those who have passed over, or any of our spirit guides, as the veil is much thinner not only during Scorpio season in...Read More »
- Death, rebirth and letting go, these are the themes that let us know that Scorpio season has arrived! This is the time of year that we are prime to look into the deepest darkest corners and excavate the things that are no longer serving us. The things that are holding us back. Things that have long outlived their usefulness. Some of these things go all the way back to our childhood, and some are just outdated and outworn patterns of...Read More »
- The Shadow Self, what is it and where does it come from? How is it formed, and how do we heal it? Why do we have it in the first place? These are all questions that come up when we begin discussing the shadow. No discussion about the shadow is complete without a dive into mythology, as all things related to the shadow are naturally related to the Underworld, which is the domain of Pluto (who in the Tarot, rules the...Read More »