What Is A Tarot Card Signifier

What Is A Tarot Card Signifier

Many tarot readers do not use a signifier while other card readers prefer doing so. It is a issue of individual preference and you might rather to try both methods to see which system suits you the best.

A signifier, also identified as a significator, is one card selected from the tarot deck to represent the querent (individual you are reading for). A signifier is more or less always a major arcana court card (king, queen, knight or page) and represents the personality, age and coloring of the individual the reading is for.

Kings and queens are customarily people over 36 who are, or have been, married. Knights are younger and Pages can signify kids of whichever gender.
Another way of choosing a signifier is to match up only the physical distinctiveness of the querent so, for instance, the King of Pentacles could symbolize an older, dark-haired male. You could match the personality too. The Queen of Swords conceivably could represent an older female who is inflexible and has strong beliefs. Different readers use differing systems. Some use just bodily characteristics, some only age and hair color and some have their own systems completely. The tarot is an incredibly personal thing so no matter what card a tarot reader chooses to be your signifier, that is their preference and will generate the best reading from them. There is a lot of insight involved in selecting signifiers. Occasionally one just “feels accurate” even if it has the wrong color of hair or is in the wrong age group. You ought to always go with hunches when it comes to reading the cards.

The satisfactory thing about using a signifier is that it guarantees the reading will be simply about the individual asking for it, as you concentrate on the signifier at the same time as performing the tarot reading. On the other hand, it does take one card from the tarot deck which could otherwise have been in a key position with a significance. For instance, if in a reading you get the Page of Wands in a spread, that card can signify that there is a creative impatience within the querent and it is time to embark on a venture. If you are using the Page of Wands as a signifier, that card will not be able to occur in the spread. Other cards can express comparable messages but that is one thing to bear in mind (unless you use a second tarot deck for the signifier cards).

There are reasons for and in opposition to the use of a signifier and it does incredibly depend on the reader and what he or she is secure with. Being comfortable and secure with the method of the reading usually ensures the greatest results.


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Tori Weatherington

Tori Weatherington


  1. L.E Scott says:

    There was a time when every spread written had a significator. The most famous of this type of spread is the Celtic Cross. Every reader would either go through the deck and pick a card to represent the seeker, have the seeker choice a card to represent them or let the first card dealt out represent the seeker. But, more and more today we see spreads without this card that once seemed so Important to the tarot spread. Many times today people don’t even include this card in spreads that traditionally have them. So why was this card important to begin with and what has changed to limit its use today?

    The Significator is an interesting card. The card know, matter how you pick it, ultimately becomes the representation of who we are today. Not where we are on the life path as the crossing card in the Celtic Cross spread tells us but who we actually are. You can see it in any card in the tarot it doesn’t just have to be a Major Arcana or Court Arcana card to represent who we are. So why is it not used as much today? The answer is simple. In today’s society we for the most part are not trying to fortune tell but divine the truth of what is happening in our lives. So what’s the difference?

    The difference is that in fortune telling we are set aside from our lives. In essence by removing the significator card from the deck and placing it at the top of your spread, you are disassociating the seeker from the events. Meaning that no longer does the seeker have a say or control over the things that is happening around him. Suddenly instead of being a person with free will he becomes a slave to his fate.

    When performing divination you leave the significator card in the deck. All cards then have the potential of representing the seeker and do represent the seeker. You get a complete view of his life with him smack dab in the middle of it instead of sitting on the side being an involuntary observer he becomes and active participant. Fate suddenly becomes his to command. What you are telling him can come true if he likes that out come and wishes it to come true. If he doesn’t however, he can change the events because those events are based upon his actions not the actions of others inflict upon him without his being able to act or react in kind.

    Based upon this idea is there even a reason to continue using a significator today? I believe there is. But, not in the sense that we use it today. No I believe instead of illuminating the significator all together what needs to be done is to change its use and purpose. I believe that instead of just not dealing the significator we should at the beginning of each reading before the question is asked shuffle the cards and pull a significator card to represent the seeker. We should then look at how this card represents the seeker. What is it about the seeker that this card is trying to tell us? Once we know whom the seeker is, we can return the card to the deck and reshuffle for the question at hand. Keeping in mind always who the tarot believes the seeker to be at this moment in time and how that reflects with the question and spread at hand.

    1. Melissa Martinez says:

      Good write up L.E!

      i agree with you and prefer to use one in my daily reads.

    2. Excellent.
      I am old school as well.
      I believe that traditionally the signifier card is important and I will always have it in a reading and this is why;
      Because the seeker who you do not know, (and even if you do, you NEVER know exactly what is in their heart), this card SHOWS to the reader WHO the person is -and can clarify to to seeker who they are if they are confused – Which is most people lol!
      This card also helps the reader decipher the messages of the other cards in relation to the signifier.
      I would never consider doing a reading without it.

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