How Many Cards Are There in a Standard Tarot Deck?

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How Many Cards Are There in a Standard Tarot Deck?

When it comes to divination and spiritual guidance, tarot cards have long been a popular tool for seekers of wisdom. These mystical cards have been used for centuries to gain insight into the past, present, and future. But have you ever wondered how many cards are in a standard tarot deck?

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the history of the tarot deck and delve into the specifics of its composition. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of the number of cards in a standard tarot deck and their significance in the world of divination.

The Origins of Tarot Cards

The history of tarot cards is fascinating and spans several centuries. While the exact origins of tarot cards are ambiguous, it is widely believed that they were first introduced in Italy during the 15th century. Originally, tarot decks were used for playing card games similar to modern-day bridge or poker.

Over time, however, individuals began to recognize the symbolic nature of the cards and their potential for divination and spiritual guidance. Tarot decks evolved into a powerful tool for unlocking hidden knowledge and exploring the depths of the human psyche.

The Structure of a Tarot Deck

A standard tarot deck consists of 78 cards, each carrying its own unique symbolism and meaning. These cards can be divided into two main categories: the major arcana and the minor arcana.

The Major Arcana

The major arcana is comprised of 22 cards, numbered from 0 to 21. Each card depicts a different archetype or significant life event, taking the reader on a journey through the realms of consciousness. These cards offer profound insights into the human condition and represent the major stages and challenges we encounter in life.

Below is a table outlining the 22 cards of the major arcana:

Card Number Card Name
0 The Fool
1 The Magician
2 The High Priestess
3 The Empress
4 The Emperor
5 The Hierophant
6 The Lovers
7 The Chariot
8 Strength
9 The Hermit
10 Wheel of Fortune
11 Justice
12 The Hanged Man
13 Death
14 Temperance
15 The Devil
16 The Tower
17 The Star
18 The Moon
19 The Sun
20 Judgment
21 The World

The Minor Arcana

The minor arcana makes up the bulk of the tarot deck, consisting of 56 cards divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles.

Each suit contains ten numbered cards (Ace through Ten) and four court cards: the Page, Knight, Queen, and King. These cards represent various aspects of life, including creativity, emotions, intellect, and material abundance.

The following table illustrates the structure of the minor arcana:

Suit Numbered Cards Court Cards
Wands Ace to Ten Page, Knight, Queen, King
Cups Ace to Ten Page, Knight, Queen, King
Swords Ace to Ten Page, Knight, Queen, King
Pentacles Ace to Ten Page, Knight, Queen, King

Significance of the Number 78

Now that we know the structure of a standard tarot deck, you might be wondering about the significance of the number 78 – the total number of cards in the deck.

The number 78 holds significant spiritual and symbolic meaning. It is believed to represent completeness, as it combines the energy and influence of the number 7 (representing spiritual growth and introspection) and the number 8 (representing material abundance and manifestation).

The combination of these energies in the tarot deck allows for a holistic understanding of the human experience, encompassing both the spiritual and material realms.


A standard tarot deck consists of 78 cards, dividing into the major arcana (22 cards) and the minor arcana (56 cards). These cards hold profound symbolic meaning and offer guidance and insight into various aspects of life.

Whether you are a seasoned tarot reader or a curious beginner, understanding the composition of a tarot deck is essential for unlocking its mystical power. So next time you engage in a tarot reading, you’ll have a deep appreciation for the 78 cards that hold the secrets of the universe.

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How Many Cards Are There in a Standard Tarot Deck?