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Turbo-Charge your Tarot Readings by Creating your own Tarot Card Meaning Cheatsheet

By April 7, 2011 March 19th, 2024

Whether you are learning the Tarot card meanings for the first time or you are already a seasoned Tarot expert, using Tarot cheatsheets and Tarot keyword charts can turbo-charge your Tarot card reading ability. Using your own Tarot card meanings cheatsheet is much faster than having to stop with each card to consult the booklet that came with your deck. So, in this post, I want to share with you some tips and techniques on how you can create your very own Tarot card meanings cheatsheet.

Why Bother with Creating a Tarot Card Cheatsheet?

Creating your own Tarot card cheatsheets can require a considerable time investment, particularly as you work through each of the 78 Tarot cards. So, why would you even bother? Well, rest assured, the benefits are HUGE!

For Tarot newbies, preparing your own Tarot card cheatsheets helps you become instantly familiar with each of the Tarot cards. Once you have created the cheatsheet, you then have a quick-reference card which you can easily refer to when you are doing your Tarot readings. This is so much faster than having to flick through all of your favourite Tarot card meanings books and websites to find the right meaning.

For Tarot experts, creating your own Tarot card keywords is an excellent way to refresh your memory of each card and perhaps even learn something you didn’t already know about a particular card. Plus, if you start to work through the keywords for different types of readings, Tarot decks or spreads, you expand your Tarot knowledge even further and it proves to be a very valuable exercise.

I have been working on developing my own Tarot cheatsheets as part of my new Tarot eBook (due to be released mid- to late-2011) and have found the process to be immensely beneficial in further developing my understanding of each card. It is also a fun challenge to relate each Tarot card to different scenarios such as romance, career, and spirituality.

Convinced? Well, let’s get started!

How to Make a Tarot Card Meaning Cheatsheet

First, decide how you want to group the Tarot cards. For example, you may set up your Tarot card cheatsheet using some or all of the following categories:

  • Major Arcana Tarot cards
  • Minor Arcana Tarot cards
  • Each Tarot Suit (e.g. Cups, Pentacles, Swords and Wands)
  • Numbers (i.e. from Ace to Ten)
  • Court cards (Page, Knight, Queen and King)
  • Symbols and/or colours that are common across the Tarot cards

Choose whatever groupings make sense to you and that will be easy to refer to as you interpret each Tarot reading.

Second, consider adding different categories of Tarot keywords for each Tarot card. What I mean here is that in addition to listing the common Tarot keywords for each card, you may also want to consider other categories of Tarot keywords such as the following:

  • Reversed Tarot card keywords
  • Keywords for different types of readings, such as relationships and love; work, career and finances; spirituality; and health and well-being
  • Keywords for different Tarot decks (e.g. Rider-Waite, Goddess, Thoth, etc.)
  • Keywords for different positions of your favourite Tarot spread. For example, for the Celtic Cross, list the Tarot card meanings keywords for each position of the spread

Again, choose whatever groupings make sense to you. If you are just starting out with learning the Tarot, then start with general keywords before moving on to more advanced categories.

Next, create a Tarot cheatsheet template so that you can easily populate it with your selected Tarot keywords. You could use a table format in Word or Excel, create a hand-written cheatsheet, or even use a mind map such as the FreeMind mind mapping tool (I LOVE this free mind mapping tool for its flexibility and effectiveness).

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In your template, you may want to include Tarot card images, numerological or astrological associations and even hyperlinks or page references to your favourite Tarot card meaning websites or books in case you want to review more detailed Tarot card meanings.

Now you are ready to start building your Tarot card cheatsheet!

For each Tarot card, find the actual card in your deck and begin to study it. What words or phrases come to mind? What images stand out? What is your general feeling from the card? If you are still very new to Tarot, read through a couple of different books or websites and look for common words or themes in the card meaning interpretations.

Start jotting down every thought, idea, word, phrase or sentence that comes to mind. At this stage, you want to be brainstorming, so any idea is a good idea!

Once you have exhausted your options, then review your list and select 3-4 keywords or phrases that collectively represent your ideas. Enter this into your Tarot cheatsheet.

Continue to work through each Tarot card until you have built your very own Tarot cheatsheet.

You may also like to wait another week or two, just in case you have new ideas on what keywords to include. Once you are happy with the final product, print out your new Tarot cheatsheet, laminate it and keep it with your Tarot cards for a quick-reference tool.

Additional Resources

There are many different ways to present your Tarot card cheatsheets. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Have you developed your own Tarot card meaning cheatsheet or keyword summary? Feel free to post a link to it in the comments to share it with other Tarot enthusiasts.


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