How to Select a Tarot Significator

How can you select a Tarot significator? Do you even know what a signifier is?

In Tarot, a significator (sometimes called a signifier) is a card that is selected to help you give more detail in your Tarot readers. Basically, this card is supposed to represent your seeker and wherever it falls in the reading can give you details on the seeker’s life.

Significators are used for most forms of Cartomancy divination. Compared to Tarot, selecting one for playing cards and Lenormand is pretty straightforward. There are a couple of ways to select one for Tarot readings so the selection process can cause most readers become confused. Therefore, I am going to give you a couple of methods for selecting a significator so that you can pick which is best for you.

Before I even begin to tell you which card to use, I should say that for most spreads, if a significator is required then you must pre-select it from your deck. You have to go through your deck, pick out the significator, and place it to one side. To some readers, that may sound obvious but most Tarot books and blogs don’t make this fact clear, and that is where readers get confused. (Look here for the actual ways in which you can use a significator).

So, which card should you use? You decide. I am going to explain four ways to select a significator, and you can pick which one you want based on your requirements. Depending on your situation, you basically choose which one you feel has the biggest pros or least cons. There are possibly other ways to select a significator, but these are the ways that I have used.

Method One: Back to the Old School 

A timeworn fashioned way to read is very simple; The Magician is used as the significator for a male seeker and The High Priestess is used as the significator for a female seeker.

Method Two: Significators Based on Looks

Most commonly, significators are selected based on the seeker’s physical appearance. In this method, the reader usually always selects a significator which is a court card. Here is a general list;

Kings: Represent older, established men.

Queens: Represent established older women.

Knights: Represent men in their prime. In modern times it can represent women in their prime. A.E Waite used Knights to represent men older than Kings but this is an incredibly uncommon correspondence to select.

How to choose a Tarot significator
Traditionally, The Magician is used by diviners as a significator for a male seeker. However, now-a-days, it is more common for Court cards to be used as signifiers.

Pages: Represent young men and women and/or children.

Wands: The suit of Wands represents lighter-skinned individuals. Usually, they will have red or blonde hair; those with a Nordic type appearance fall into this category.

Cups: The suit of Cups represents light skinned individuals but who are not as pale as Wands. They often have darker blonde or light brown hair.

Swords: Swords represent those who have dark hair and usually dark eyes.

Pentacles: The suit of Pentacles represents those who have dark skin, dark hair, and dark eyes.

Going by the above technique, someone like Heidi Klum would be represented by a Queen of Wands because she is pale-skinned and older. Another reader may read her as a Knight of Wands because they view her age differently. Therefore, when it comes to age, you pretty much decide who you view as being “older” or “younger”.

Method Three: Significators Based on Personality

If you know the seeker personally then you can select a significator based on their personality. Here’s how to select a Tarot significator based on personality:

Page of Wands: Individuals who are keen to learn and discover new things.

 Knight of Wands: Individuals who are energetic and enthusiastic.

Queen of Wands: Individuals who are good friends.

King of Wands: Individuals who are innovative and leaders.

Page of Cups: Individuals who are emotionally unstable or immature.

Knight of Cups: Individuals who are your Knight in Shinning Armour type. Also, those who stand out from other people.

Queen of Cups: Individuals who follow their heart. They often put others first.

King of Cups: Individuals who live their life based on their emotions but which are in control of their feelings. These people really know themselves.

Page of Swords: Individuals who are sly; they often play both sides of the fence in an argument.

Knight of Swords: Individuals who are aggressive.

Queen of Swords: Individuals who are cold and distant. They are often naturally very defensive.

King of Swords: Individuals who think only with their heads. They place a high value on intellect.

Page of Pentacles: Individuals who have fantastic prospects but have not manifested anything substantial yet.

Knight of Pentacles: Individuals who are hard working.

Queen of Pentacles: Individuals who balance work and home life well. They are often big on ‘priorities.’

King of Pentacles: Individuals who have good, strong, traditional values.

Remember, the is not an exclusive list of the significators I would use in this case, but it gives you an idea of how this system works.

Method Four: Significators Based on the Situation 

In this category you use any Tarot card, it doesn’t have to be Courts cards. Here is how to select a Tarot significator based on your situation:

Wands: Readings related to work and business.

Cups: Readings related to love, family, or relationships with other people.

Swords: Readings related to strife with others or where the use of logic is necessary.

Pentacles: Readings related to finance or health.

The Fool: Readings related to new beginnings or if the seeker is feeling stuck in their life and can’t move forward.

The Magician: Used in readings related to trickery. Commonly, it is also used in readings related to new enterprises.

The High Priestess: Obviously used in readings related to psychic ability and spiritual development. Can be used in readings related to secrets.

How to select a Tarot signifier
The High Priestess can be used as a significator for readings which are about psychic development and spirituality.

The Empress: Used in readings related to parenthood and anything which may need to be nourished to be developed.

The Emperor: Used in readings related to business. Can also be used as a significator if the seeker is at the height of their job (a CEO for example).

 The Hierophant: Used in readings related to tradition or the opinion of parents, religious leaders etc.

The Lovers: Used in readings related to lovers and soulmates. Can also be used in readings related to choice.

The Chariot: Used in readings related to fame, glory, and achievements.

Justice: Used in readings related to law, equality, and morals.

The Hermit: Used in readings related to self-discovery. I also have used this significator for readings related to studying.

The Wheel of Fortune: Used in readings related to luck and the turn of the seeker’s fortune.

Strength: Used in readings related to courage and strength. Strength can be used in readings where the seeker may be a career for someone else due to their health.

The Hanged Man: Used in readings related to health. Can also be used in readings related to sacrifices. For example, this significator could be used for housewives going back to work who wonder what will be the effect of their time away from their families.

Death: Used in readings which involve life-changing decisions or situations.

Temperance: Used in readings related to the seeker’s peace and happiness.

The Devil: Can be used in readings related to addictions, obsessions, or breaking patterns of behaviour.

The Tower: Used in readings related to sudden shocks.

The Star: Used in readings related to hope and wishes.

The Moon: Used in readings related to uncertainty; I recommend using The Moon as a significator for a man or woman who is having a relationship with someone who is also involved with someone else. It is common for readers to use The Moon when they are using Tarot to interpret their dreams.

The Sun: Used in readings related to holidays and the happiness of a family as a whole.

Judgment: Used in readings related to someone’s calling and destiny.

The World: Used in readings related to travel and trips around the world.

Like method three, this is not an exclusive list. If you’re interested in using this method you may wish to expand this list or come up with your own list it is entirely up to you.

Closing Thoughts on How to Select a Tarot Significator

So, that’s it folks that’s how to select a Tarot significator! If you wish to learn some methods for actually using one in a reading, then head on over to How to use a Tarot Significator.

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How to select a Tarot significator using the Major Arcana cards from Rider Waite deck