The Signifier Card

The Signifier Card
Tarot Reading and The Importance of The Signifier Card

In Tarot, the signifier card (also sometimes referred to as the “significator card") serves as a representation for someone or something in your current life. In most cases, people use the signifier card to represent themselves. In this respect, the signifier card is the central figure or question posed during a tarot reading. This is done by incorporating a person’s signifier card as a specific key card in a tarot spread. As the key card, the signifier represents the person or central issue being read with the surrounding cards relating back to it.

The beauty of signifier tarot cards is their ability to aide the tarot reader in remaining focused on a specific person or issue during a tarot reading. In essence, they are ensuring that the tarot reading stays on course. In most tarot readings, signifier cards are centrally positioned within the tarot spread. This helps the tarot reader to identify they key challenges the subject who is being represented by the signifier card is faced with.

Signifier cards can also influence the design or pattern of a tarot spread. Depending on the needs of the subject, tarot readers will often incorporate spreads that are quite specific in nature. Signifier cards play an important role in determining the type of spread a tarot reader will choose to utilize during a tarot reading.

Typically signifier cards are identified through one’s astrological association to the tarot cards. Both the Major Arcana and the Court Cards have astrological associations. It’s really up to the individual to choose their own personal preference. Major Arcana cards tend to focus on developmental stages in a person's life while Court cards focus on personality types and physical attributes. In general, most people prefer to work with the Court Cards because they tend to be more descriptive in nature.

When working with the Court Cards, one’s age can also play an important role. As a general rule, the Court Cards can represent various ages. Pages are associated to children and adolescents. Knights are associated to young adults. And Queens and Kings are associated with mature adults. Obviously, there is a great deal of flexibility in identifying signifier cards based on chronological age. Take, for example, the 50 your old man who still acts like a teenager.

The most important thing to remember when identifying a signifier card is your own personal associations to it. Signifier cards are really tools for the tarot reader. In the end, they are there to deepen the experience of the tarot reading.

Astrological Associations of the Major Arcana

  • The Fool: Uranus
  • The Magician: Mercury
  • The High Priestess: Moon
  • The Empress: Venus
  • The Emperor: Aries
  • The Hierophant: Taurus
  • The Lovers: Gemini
  • The Chariot: Cancer
  • Strength: Leo
  • The Hermit: Virgo
  • Wheel of Fortune: Jupiter
  • Justice: Libra
  • The Hanged Man: Neptune
  • Death: Scorpio
  • Temperance: Sagittarius
  • The Devil: Capricorn
  • The Tower: Mars
  • The Star: Aquarius
  • The Moon: Pisces
  • The Sun: Sun
  • Judgment: Pluto
  • The World: Saturn

Astrological Associations of the Court Cards

  • Aries: King of Wands
  • Taurus: Queen of Pentacles
  • Gemini: Knight of Swords
  • Cancer: King of Cups
  • Leo: Queen of Wands
  • Virgo: Knight of Pentacles
  • Libra: King of Swords
  • Scorpio: Queen of Cups
  • Sagittarius: Knight of Wands
  • Capricorn: King of Pentacles
  • Aquarius: Queen of Swords
  • Pisces: Knight of Cups

Please also visit our Tarot Astrology section to learn more about your Tarot sign.

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