How to incorporate tarot into your spellwork

Like candles and pretty jars, divination tools seem to find their way to witchy folk. If you’re a magickally minded person, chances are you have a tarot deck or some oracle cards laying around. When you have a relationship with your cards, you’ve got a collection of magickal, resonant images at your disposal, and you may be wondering if there are other uses for them. Conversely, you might not be into tarot, but you feel bad that your deck is collecting dust. 

Either way, you can always get more mystical bang for your buck. Tarot cards are an efficient way to raise and direct energy, making them perfect for spellwork. 

In this article, we’ll be exploring spellwork with the Rider-Waite Smith tarot. This deck has a major and minor arcana with four suits, each representing an element. That said- you can always bend these ideas to suit your deck of choice! Remember- you are the spell. The tools are secondary.


Take a little tour through your deck. You may have looked at these cards 100 times or more, but there’s always something new to discover. Ponder each card. Does it remind you of a specific person or event? What feelings come up when you look at it? Which cards feel visceral, compared to the ones that don’t elicit much reaction at all?

Take note of these meanings. They’ll come in handy when it’s time to write a new spell.

Something to think about…

Spellwork can be messy. If you like to keep your cards pristine, you may want to look into some options such as:

  • Buying a second deck.
  • Printing out copies of your favorite cards.
  • Getting clear plastic sleeves (usually available at the dollar store.)


  • Add Them to an Existing Ritual- Choose 1-3 cards representing your spell’s intention. Place them where you can see them while you work. That’s it! Now the universe knows what you’re after.

Example: You’re ready for romance, and you’ve designed a beautiful love drawing spell. You’ve got red/pink candles, rose petals, and affirmations at the ready. A tarot card can help you focus on the specific characteristics you want in a partner. 

  • Infuse Your Tools- Some practitioners like to place a card under a ritual candle as it burns. Like carving and/or dressing a candle, this serves to reaffirm your intention. 

If you’re a kitchen witch, you may want to tuck a tarot card beneath your next culinary creation.

  • Glamour Work- A glamour spell can’t change your hair color, but it can change how other people perceive you and, more importantly, how you perceive yourself. What are you looking to manifest? Maybe you want to be mysterious and wise like the High Priestess or bubbly and optimistic like The Fool. Put a card on a mirror you use regularly. Now you have a daily reminder of your goals and something to gaze at when you brush your teeth.
  • Go Digital- Social media can be a compelling way to make your intentions known. When putting together promotional materials, consider “hiding” an appropriate tarot card in your imagery. It’s a simple process, even for non-designers: Just hop on some free editing software like Canva, add an image of your favorite card, and make it transparent. Voila! It’s your little magickal secret.


Need to do a spell in a hurry, but don’t know much about the tarot? Here’s a quick and dirty guide.




  • The Fool - Optimism, blind faith, taking risks, and getting messy.


  • The Magician - Taking control, manifesting your own reality.


  • The High Priestess - Spiritual and/or esoteric knowledge, wisdom, mystery, intuition.


  • The Empress - Natural cycles, fertility, a nurturing presence, being at one with nature.


  • The Emperor - Authority, rules, claiming your power.


  • The Hierophant - Traditional beliefs, religious communities, ritual, order.


  • The Lovers - Choices, the higher self, leading with love, balance.


  • The Chariot - Taking action, harmony in opposing forces, masc/femme balance, travel, forward momentum.


  • Strength - Assertive rather than aggressive persuasion, taming wild impulses, inner strength, choosing kindness.


  • The Hermit - A wise guide or teacher, looking within, taking time to figure things out, reflection.


  • Wheel of Fortune - Fate, a change in direction, what goes up must come down, a new path.


  • Justice - Legal matters, the truth being revealed, getting a just result.


  • The Hanged Man - Making sacrifices to gain a new perspective, finding tranquility in a unique position, surrendering to the universe.


  • Death - Endings, letting go, allowing yourself to transform, leveling up.


  • Temperance - Alchemy, taking time to make it perfect, having patience.


  • The Devil - Earthly pleasures, addictions, indulgences, working with the shadow self.


  • The Tower - Burn it to the ground to start fresh. Unexpected shake-ups, trauma, the storm before the calm.


  • The Star - Restoration, rejuvenation, hopefulness, living in balance and tranquility.


  • The Moon - Illusion, the unknown, mental health, mysteries, shadow work.


  • The Sun - Celebration, youthful vitality, optimism, outgoing/active energy.


  • Judgment - Finding your calling, being your best self, seeing what this has all lead up to.


  • The World - Celebrating an accomplishment, something extraordinary has come to fruition. Travel & accomplishments.







  • Wands: Fire energy. Creation, sexy time, passion, enthusiasm. Grabbing the bull by the horns, so to speak.


  • Swords: Air energy. Communication, ideas, asserting yourself. “That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.”


  • Cups: Water energy. Emotions, dreams, artistry, intuition. Netflix and stay up all night talking about our feelings.


  • Pentacles: Earth energy. Feeling safe and grounded, having more than enough, and taking care of yourself and others. Putting uber eats on the table.


Combine the following traits with the elements above, and you’re starting to understand the court cards. They can represent a person or an attitude.


  • Page: A young person, student, or beginner. Enthusiastic, but needs to learn some lessons. May be scattered at times but dedicated to the craft. 


  • Knight: Young adult energy. This person has studied, and they’re ready to put their knowledge into action. The Knights represent movement.


  • Queen: A community leader of any gender. This person is collaborative, charismatic, and has a powerful maternal quality. Every little thing they do is magic.


  • King: A person of any gender who has mastered their craft. Mature, a leader who people look to as an example—a ruler.



Again, there are subtleties within this structure for each element, but here’s a crash course in numerology to get you started:


  • Ace: A new opportunity to grow in this area of your life.


  • Two: Starting out. Balancing your raw potential with knowledge and maybe a new collaboration.


  • Three: It’s all coming together. Phase one is complete, and you can move forward. Something new may have entered the situation and changed it.


  • Four: You’ve got a solid foundation. Keep pushing forward. In some cases, this may be a point to take a little rest before the next phase begins.


  • Five: Change, for better or worse. Fives can be challenges, contractions, explosions, or expansions.


  • Six: Finding your footing again, adjusting to new situations, finding solutions.


  • Seven: Introspection, letting your knowledge sync in. Reflecting on how far you’ve come. Re-assessing your strategy.


  • Eight: You’ve reached a new level of stability, but it’s not without its challenges. You’ve got to do something. Shit or get off the pot, nose to the grindstone, and all that.


  • Nine: It’s all coming together, bigger and better this time. You’ve come so far from the small successes of the 3. What felt impossible then feels like nothing now. You’re so close to your goal you can taste it.


  • Ten: The cycle is complete, for better or worse. This is done. You’re on a new journey. Take some time to appreciate how far you’ve come. 


And there we have it! Everything you need to add a twist of tarot to your next magickal cocktail.

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