cloisters tarot guidebook



For hundreds of years, Tarot cards have fascinated people with their quiet energy and informative insight. They provide us with a key to the unknown, a guide to carry us along through our personal paths towards the future, allowing entry into higher evels of consciousness.

The reverence and design of thirteenth century rose cathedral windows and the imagery of stained glass, combined with the timeless symbolism and mysticism of the Tarot, creates the Tarot of the Cloisters. Individual Tarot cards, when used in a reading, form symbolic combinations that provide the Seeker with knowledge that is pure and directly communicated.

TheTarot of the Cloisters pack contains 78 cards in total, 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana. The Minor Arcana is divided into four suits - Staves, Vessels, Swords, and Pentacles. Included are the interpretations of the cards and suggested spreads for readings.


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Tarot of the Cloisters

Divination is the practice of foreseeing the future by means of interpretation through signs and symbols. It is these elements that make up a Tarot deck, giving the cards their strength and meaning individually and as a whole.

A Tarot reading is conducted by a Diviner (or Reader). A Reader must be able to recognize the cards and comprehend their meanings. It is a particularly good idea to study the cards in depth, as this will benefit the Reader when interpreting spreads. It is perfectly acceptable to refer to the card meanings at any time The Querent (or Seeker) is an individual who questions the Tarot on a specific matter.

Choosing a Significator

A Significator card must be chosen prior to a reading. Following are three methods for selecting a Significator:


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1) The Astrological Method: The Significator card is chosen according to the Astrological sign of the Seeker (or Subject). All twelve Zodiacal signs correspond to twelve cards of the Major Arcana:

ARIES March 21-April 19                                                                     SUN

TAURUS                          April 20-May 20                                      HIEROPHANT

GEMINI                           May 21-June 20                                      LOVERS

CANCER                          June 21-July 22                                      TEMPERANCE

LEO                                July 23-August 22                                     STRENGTH

VIRGO                            August 23-September 22                                      HERMIT

LIBRA                              September 23-October 22                                      JUSTICE

SCORPIO                        October 23-November 21                                      JUDGMENT

SAGITTARIUS                  November 22-December 21                                      CHARIOT

CAPRICORN                    December 22-January 19                                      DEVIL

AQUARIUS                      January 20-February 18                                STAR

PISCES                            February 19-March 20                                      MOON

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2)     Numerology: Add together the year, month, and date of the Seeker s birth. If the number is over twenty-two, reduce this sum to its lowest form. The final number, between one and twenty- two. will match one of the Major Arcana cards, one to twenty-two (the Fool represents the twenty-second card).

Example: Subject's Birthdate - June 5.1965

6+5+1+9+6+5 = 32

The total sum is over 22, therefore it must be reduced.

32 reduces to 3+2 = 5

The number corresponds with card five of the Major Arcana - The Hierophant. This method of choosing a Significator through Numerology provides the most personal description of the Subject - their actual soul number.

3)     Matching a Court Card to the Subject: You can select a Court Card to represent the Subject of a reading by the following descriptions:


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KINGS                                 Men. 35 years of age and older.

QUEENS Women. 15 years of age and older.

KNIGHTS Young men. between the ages of 15 and 35.

PAGES                                Children up to age 15.

HAIRCOLOR (To match a physical characteristic)

STAVES                              Blond hair

VESSELS                             Light brown or red hair

SWORDS                            Dark brown hair

PENTACLES                        Black hair

Having chosen a Significator to represent the Seeker or Subject of the reading, the card is placed faceup in its designated position of the spread. A spread is a series of cards laid out in a patterned sequence, that helps to explain and clarify a situation on many levels as they fall into juxtaposed positions.



A spread actually allows the Seeker to analyze his or her question at a particular moment in time. Three spreads for the reader to use are: the Astrological Method, the Celtic Cross (a traditional card spread), and the Relationship Spread.

1) THE ASTROLOGICAL METHOD: This spread is good for depicting the Seeker's situation in various life matters. The Reader relates each card to the appropriate house.

Card 1) Aries                                              Personality, appearances,

beginnings, outlooks

Card 2) Taurus                                           Finances, what the Seeker is

capable of building

Card 3) Gemini                                           Communication, brothers and


Card 4) Cancer                                           Home, old age, the father

Card 5) Leo                                                Love affairs, artistic expression

Card 6) Virgo                                             Personal health, the work place


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Card 7) Libra

Card 8) Scorpio

Card 9) Sagittarius

Card 10) Capricorn

Card 11) Aquarius

Card 12) Pisces

Partnerships in business or marriage, can also represent enemies

Death and rebirth, sex, occult experiences

Dreams, journeys, the mind

Fame and fortune, social status, the mother

Wishes and hopes, the peer group

Secret desires, emotions, restrictive places

2) THE CELTIC CROSS: The Celtic Cross is probably the most ,sPreads, for it is well known for its simplicity and y. t is a very good spread for beginner Readers.


Card 1)

Placed under Card 1

The present atmosphere surrounding the question.


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Card 2) This card represents the opposing forces (these forces can be good or bad - they either act for or against the matter).

Card 3) The desired outcome the Seeker has for the question.                                                                                                            •

Card 4) The basis or foundation of the question, experience the Seeker has had with the matter.

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Card 5)

The past - an experience that has just ended in relation to the question.

Card 6)

The future - an event that will happen in the future relative to the question.

Card 7)

This card represents the Seeker’s true feelings on the matter at this moment in time.

Card 8)

Friend’s and the immediate family’s views about the matter.

Card 9)

The Seeker’s personal hopes and fears about the question.

Card 10)

The outcome on the matter. This card may be used as the Significator in a future reading, if the Seeker wants to learn more information on the matter.


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3) THE RELATIONSHIP SPREAD: This is a good spread for gaining insight on a relationship - personal or professional.

Significator) Choose a card here to represent the theme of the question.

Card 1)                                Vour ideal self in the relationship.

Card 2)                                Your ideal partner in the relationship.

Card 3) How you communicate with your partner.


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Card 4) How you respond to a negative circumstance within the relationship.

Card 5) Your ability to create the desired relationship.


0 THE FOOL A young man embarks upon his journey through life with a bundle tied to a staff over his shoulder. Divinatory Meanings: A choice being offered to the Seeker. The ability to communicate.

/ THE MAGICIAN The Magician stands at a table where the suit symbols of the Minor Arcana rest: a Stave, a Vessel, a Sword, and a Pentacle.

Divinatory Meanings: Immortality. The power to create.

II        THE HIGH PRIESTESS The intuitive High Priestess wears a golden banded crown and holds a sacred scroll while standing between a black and white column.

Divinatory Meanings: A deep secret. Spiritual enlightenment.

III       THE EMPRESS The fruitful figure of the Empress is seated on a throne with a scepter in her right hand surrounded by a rich forest.


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Divinatory Meanings: Contentment in life matters, marriage and birth.

IV       THE EMPEROR The regal figure of the Emperor is seated on a throne holding a scepter of power in his right hand and a golden sphere in his left hand.

Divinatory Meanings: Guidance, reason, law and punishments.

V        THE HIEROPHANT The Hierophant bears the crook of religious power in his left hand and offers his blessing with his right hand.

Divinatory Meanings: To seek social approval. Blending in with society.

VI       THE LOVERS Lovers join hands in love and commitment as the angel, Raphael, blesses their union.

Divinatory Meanings: Symbolizes true love. Caught between two attractions.

VII       THE CHARIOT A strong man in armor commands a chariot drawn by a white and a black horse.

Divinatory Meanings: Success and victory. A journey towards perfection.


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VIII STRENGTH A young woman strokes and embraces a lion without injury.

Divinatory Meanings: Composed of all elements the Seeker denies or thinks unimportant. Balancing both sides of human nature. Believing love conquers all.

IX  THE HERMIT A wise old man holds a lantern to guide others toward enlightenment.

Divinatory Meanings: Wisdom offered to the Seeker. Accepting help.

X   THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE A lion, bull, eagle, and man symbolizing the four gospels and fixed signs of the zodiac revolve around a wneel.

Divinatory Meanings: The ups and downs of fate. Change and development.

XI  JUSTICE A woman contemplates balance while holding a pair of scales in her left hand and a sword in her right hand.

Divinatory Meanings: Maintaining an overall balance in matters.

n THE HANGEDMAN A man with a halo around his head hangs upside down from a tree suspended by his right leg.



Divinatory Meanings: Looking toward a higher wisdom. A sign of truth. Something the Seeker cannot face.

XIII         DEATH The cloaked figure of Death carries a black pennant with a white flower on it as he rides a white horse. Divinatory Meanings: Predicts a total change, but not without experiencing a loss. Physical death is never predicted.

XIV        TEMPERANCE The winged angel of Temperance holds a silver and a gold chalice in her hands.

Divinatory Meanings: A waiting period. The ability to adapt.

XV         THE DEVIL A man and woman are chained and cower beneath the figure of a horned Devil.

Divinatory Meanings: A negative force denying possibilities. Greed. A disregard for the spirit.

XVI        THE TOWER A stone tower by a raging sea is struck by a bolt of lightning causing fire and destruction.

Divinatory Meanings: An unforeseen disaster. Bringing enlightenment in its wake. The chance to start over.

XVII       THE STAR A naked woman surrounded by stars empties two containers of water.


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Divinatory Meanings: The Star of hope. To be given another chance.

XVIII        THE MOON A lobster crawls onto the land by the light of the full moon with a light and dark tower in the distance.

Divinatory Meanings: Dreams. Change and growth. Someone may be deceiving the Seeker.

XIX          THE SUN A smiling child riding a white horse and carrying a banner basks in the brilliant light of the sun.

Divinatory Meanings: Creativity. The attainment of a goal.

XX       JUDGMENT A man and a woman holding a child rejoice as the angel, Gabriel, blows the trumpet of Judgment Day.

Divinatory Meanings: To have many points of view. A life well lived. A feeling of completion.

XX/ THE WORLD A young woman with a flowing skirt holds a wand in each hand while encircled by a wreath with a bull, a lion, an eagle, and a man.

Divinatory Meanings: The Seeker has come full circle in life. Receiving all that is deserved.


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ACEOFSTAVES A new beginning involving career. The start of a creative project.                                                                                         “

ACE OF VESSELS The beginning of a romance.

ACE OF SWORDS The start of a struggle.

ACE OF PENTACLES Starting on the path. Path towards a financial goal - material attainment.

TWO OF STA VES Waiting for a response.

TWO OF VESSELS A genuine union between two people.

TWO OF SWORDS A decision to be made by the Seeker.

TWO OF PENTACLES The ability to balance several financial/material situations.

THREE OF STAVES The arrival of good news. The ability to express oneself.


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THREE OF VESSELS A celebration of joy and love.

THREE OF SWORDS Emotional anguish. Preparation for a disappointment.

THREE OF PENTACLES A financial/material reward.

FOUR OF STAVES An easy mind. Happiness at home.

FOUR OF VESSELS An unexpected offering or gift.

FOUR OF SWORDS A break from pain and strife.

FOUR OF PENTACLES Stinginess. A miser. Selfishness.

FIVE OF STAVES A struggle in the Seeker’s field of activity.

FIVE OF VESSELS An emotional letdown. Sorrow. Refusal to see that there is still hope left.

FIVE OF SWORDS Obtaining power over others unfairly.

E,VEOFPENTACLES Lack of finances. Loneliness. Poor health. Loss of inner spiritual light.


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SIX OF STAVES Accomplishment and success in all that the Seeker has undertaken.

SIX OF VESSELS A renewal of friendship. Possibility of a marriage.

SIX OF SWORDS A temporary subconscious journey away from pain and a decision that must be made if the Seeker is to have peace of mind.

SIX OF PENTACLES Learning to give freely in order to receive.

SEVEN OF STA VES Standing up to competition and opposition in financial/business related matters. Defending what is rightfully owned.

SEVEN OF VESSELS Selfish indulgence in dreams. Things that may or may not exist.

SEVEN OF SWORDS To be on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Taking what is not rightfully yours.

SEVEN OF PENTACLES Waiting to receive financial reward for good work and effort.


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EIGHT OF STAVES New thoughts and situations rushing at the Seeker too fast.

EIGHT OF VESSELS Turning your back on an emotional matter of the heart. '                                                                 “

EIGHT OF SWORDS Caught through indecision.

EIGHT OF PENTACLES Good workmanship. Receiving a financial reward.

NINE OF STA VES Standing up for what you believe.

NINE OF VESSELS Fulfillment of a wish.

NINE OF SWORDS Mental anguish over a matter of great concern to the Seeker.

NINE OF PENTACLES What the Seeker is capable of making happen, and responsible for.

TEN OF STAVES Burdened with responsibility.

TEN OF VESSELS A family based on true love principles.


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TEN OF SWORDS k painful conclusion to a matter (not a card of death).

TEN OF PENTACLES Wealth stabilized. Upholding family traditions.


KING OF STAVES Guidance from someone/something good and positive.

KING OF VESSELS To manipulate through self-defense.

KING OF SWORDS To be emotionally cold toward a matter. To have an aura of intimidation.

KING OF PENTACLES To organize life and responsibility.

KNIGHT OF STA VES Thoughts of sudden departure from difficulties.

KNIGHT OF VESSELS Someone making the Seeker an emotional offer; there may be something slightly obscure about it.

KNIGHT OF SWORDS To be mentally obsessed with a matter.

Refusing to listen to others.                                                '


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KNIGHT OF PENTACLES To be practical minded concerning money or material matters.

QUEEN OF STAVES To receive criticism, good or bad.

QUEEN OF VESSELS To be dramatic. Open to new experiences. Tobe imaginative.

QUEEN OF SWORDS To stand up to an issue or people of concern to the Seeker.

QUEEN OF PENTACLES To be happy and organized in the material world.                                                                                   

PAGE OF STA VES Represents what the Seeker can attain through the reading.

PAGE OF VESSELS Realizing hidden talents. A tag-along.

PAGE OF SWORDS Receiving a verbal message. Someone being watched from a distance.

PAGE OF PENTACLES Receiving a written message.


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