Significator Cards in a Tarot Reading
Tarot Significators: What are they? Who uses them? How are they chosen?
What Is a Significator?
In a Tarot reading, a Significator is a card that stands for the subject of the reading.
Do All Readers Use Significators? Why or Why Not?
Some readers always use them, believing they help focus the energy of the reading.
Other readers don’t use them at all, believing it’s not good to remove from the deck a card that could appear and add meaning.
I personally don’t use them. I believe that the first card drawn in a traditional Celtic Cross spread indicates the nature and tone of the reading.
What Exactly Does the Significator Represent?
Sometimes the Significator stands for the person who requested the reading.
Other times, it denotes the question behind the reading. For example, if someone has an upcoming court case, the Significator might be the Justice card.
How Is the Significator Chosen?
Most readers who use Significators choose them based on the age and appearance of the subject.
· Kings and Queens stand for older men and women, usually those above 40
· Knights and Pages signify younger subjects
The Significator suit is often chosen based on the querent’s appearance:
· Blonde hair; fair skin; blue eyes—Cups
· Ginger or auburn hair; fair skin (possible freckles); green or blue eyes—Wands
· Brown hair; medium complexion; brown, hazel, dark blue, or grey eyes—Swords
· Black or dark brown hair; dark or olive complexion; dark eyes—Pentacles
So if the subject is a 50-year-old female redhead with blue eyes, her Significator will be the Queen of Wands.
Are Alternative Methods Used to Choose the Significator for a Person?
Yes. Some readers select the suit based on the subject’s sun sign element:
· Water Signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces)—Cups
· Fire Signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius)—Wands
· Air Signs (Aquarius, Gemini, Libra)—Swords
· Earth Signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn)—Pentacles
Any Other Methods?
Sometimes a card may “jump” or fall from the deck at the first shuffle, and the reader might feel this card has jumped because it stands for the subject.
I always acknowledge a “jumper” card but not necesarily as a significator; it wants to be read, and often fits in to the overall story at the point at which it leaps out. I don’t select a specific card – it selects itself!!
Sometimes the Tarot reader may get a feeling about a subject and select a card based on clairvoyant intuition. For example, perhaps the King of Pentacles captures the essence of a wealthy CEO.
Most Tarot experts agree that using or not using a Significator is simply a personal preference. The important thing is the talent within the reader!
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