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BTP90: How to Use Significator Cards in Your Tarot Readings

significator cards


On today’s episode of the Biddy Tarot Podcast, we’re talking about significator cards and how you can start using them in your Tarot readings.

Now, I have to be honest: I do not use significator cards in my readings unless I’m doing maybe the Celtic Cross, where it’s actually part of the reading, because I find that the Tarot reading in and of itself gives me enough information. However, I know that for a lot of people who are learning to read Tarot or doing some more work with Tarot, this whole idea of significators certainly comes up at one stage or another. And I know many of you have questions around what they are, how you can use them, how you choose them, who chooses them, and so on.

Today’s episode is really about giving you all of that information, so you can play around, have a go with it, and decide if using significator card is right for you.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • All about significator cards
  • Why you’d want to use a significator
  • How to choose a significator
  • How to connect the significator in a Tarot reading

Additional Resources

Podcast Transcription

You’re listening to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, and this is Episode 90: How to Use Significator Cards in Your Tarot Readings.

Welcome to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, where you'll learn how to connect more deeply with your intuition and live an empowered and enlightened life with the Tarot cards as your guide.

Listen as Brigit and her guests share their very best tips and strategies to help you read Tarot with confidence. Now, here is your host, Brigit Esselmont.


Hello, and welcome back to the Biddy Tarot Podcast. Today, we’re talking about significator cards and how you can start using them in your Tarot readings. Now, I have to be honest: I do not use significator cards in my readings unless I’m doing maybe the Celtic Cross, where it’s actually part of the reading, because I find that the Tarot reading in and of itself gives me enough information. However, I know that for a lot of people who are learning to read Tarot or doing some more work with Tarot, this whole idea of significators certainly comes up at one stage or another, and I know many of you have questions around what they are, how you can use them, how you choose them, who chooses them—all sorts of things. Today is really about giving you all of that information, so you can then play around, have a go with it and decide if using significator cards is right for you.


Now, before I get into today’s episode, I want to say a big thank-you to everyone who sent in a review on iTunes and shared their feedback and their comments. I have two folks I particularly want to express my gratitude towards.

The first one is PinkMartini from the U.S. This person (I’m assuming a lady—who knows? It might be a man) says, “Brigit explains how to find love in this podcast episode with 7 simple steps. Even as a beginner, I can understand what she’s talking about. Thank you. I can’t wait to start my spiritual journey with what I’ve learnt.”

The second one comes from LaurenSamantha from the U.K. She writes: “I’ve always been interested in Tarot but dismissed it as a spiritual tool because I told myself I just couldn’t get it, that it was too hard, and that my memory just wasn’t that great to possibly memorise all of those card meanings, spreads, and more.” I feel you, that’s for sure! “How I wish I had started my journey here sooner! This is a great place to start on your Tarot journey. Brigit gets me through the day at work, and now I have started reading, and I have plans for a future Tarot business. Thank you so much for your magic!” Yay! I’m so glad I can help you.

So, remember, you can leave your reviews over at iTunes, and you can subscribe so that you get all of these podcast episodes direct to your iPhone.


My brain keeps telling me this is going to be a short episode mostly because I find significators… To me, they just don’t add a great deal of value. But again, I want to give this information to you because I want YOU to try it on and ask, “Is this working for me or not?”

A little bit of a side note: I think what often happens in Tarot and Tarot books is they’ve got to fill the pages with techniques and things you should be doing with the Tarot cards. Often, this concept of significators comes up because we want to have more and more techniques that we can teach people. But I always ask myself with anything that’s a technique or a certain way of doing things:


Is it going to give me the intuitive insight that I need, or can I just do it in a more simplified way and get to the heart of the matter in that way? As I talk about significators today, I just want you to have that in your mind: How is this going to add value to my Tarot readings? It’s definitely about choices, and it’s definitely about what works for YOU. Let’s just get into it.


Look, typically, the significator card is one card that represents the client or whoever is asking the question for that reading. Now, on some occasions, it can actually represent the situation that you're asking about. So, maybe you're about to go on a big overseas trip, and you might choose the Eight of Wands. Or if we’re choosing it for the client, maybe they are starting a new creative project, and they choose the Page of Cups to represent them. I’ll talk more about how you actually choose the cards in a second.

So, you typically choose the significator card before the reading.

It’s not usually part of the reading. It’s chosen before the reading. Now, it can be chosen randomly, or it can be chosen quite consciously. That’s usually the intention of a significator card—you will choose that card with the client or the situation in mind so that that card then represents them for when you go and do the actual Tarot reading.

Now, sometimes, there may be a significator in the actual reading.

For example, in the Celtic Cross, the very first card is typically the significator or the present situation. You could treat that card in a Celtic Cross as just another card, and you just choose it randomly. Or (and I think this was actually the original intention) you consciously choose that card, place it in the middle, and then go from card 2 to card 10, choosing it randomly from the deck, and you have your spread. Good to know these things, isn’t it?


Very good question! OK, so, look, there are good reasons for using significators.


And it could actually be very grounding for the client, particularly if someone is quite new to having a reading done for them. If you’ve got a new client who hasn’t had a Tarot reading before, sometimes it can be a good idea just to go through the deck together and choose out a card that represents them because then they’re starting to see a part of themselves in the Tarot deck, and they’re starting to create this connection. “Oh, these cards actually have some meaning for me. I can see myself in the cards.” So, on a sort of deeper subconscious level, it can have a lot of benefit in that way, and it allows for the client to see themselves there in the reading. It’s this visual cue that they are part of this reading. Once you lay down all of the other cards around the significator, they’re like, “Oh yeah, that’s me! That’s me right there.” So, some people need these visual cues to connect them back into the reading. It’s more tangible.

Possibly, you lay out the cards without a significator, and the client might just go, “Well, that’s just a bunch of cards there—what are they?” So, it could be a good technique if you need to kind of ground your client into that reading and represent them in the reading.


So, for example, if you actually have your client choose their significator, it can be interesting to see which card they choose and what extra information that gives to you as a reader about your client and what’s going on for them. It could be a good way to gather that kind of information.

It can also be a good way to kind of go deeper into a client and where they’re at at that time. Even if you make more of a logical choice of which card to choose, you can then expand more about that card and dive into and say, “What more information does this card give you about where you’re at in your life right now?”

The intention is really just to heighten that focus of the reader and the client as you're going through the reading so that, again, you're seeing the client in that reading.


No, you do not! As I mentioned before, you really do need to assess whether it’s going to add value to the reading or it’s not. There will be times when it makes a lot of sense, and other times when you’re just like, “No, not feeling it.” So, it’s completely up to you.

Now, as I mentioned earlier as well, in some spreads—particularly the Celtic Cross—you will have a significator as part of that spread. Again, you can choose whether it’s a random draw as part of the usual card layout or if you consciously choose that significator.


Let’s get into how you choose a significator card if you decide to go down this path.


One of the most common ways of choosing a significator is to simply look at the court cards and then choose a court card based on the age, gender and the element of the client.

Let’s say you have me, a 38-year-old woman and a Taurus—earth element. What I might do is say, “OK, well, let’s choose then a Queen because that’s about my age range, and then for the earth sign, then that’s Pentacles, so I would choose the Queen of Pentacles.”

If it was my husband, we have a… What is he now? A 41-year-old male who is a Libra. We would say maybe a King—he’s certainly stepping into that king role. And Libra is an air sign, so swords—King of Swords. That could be very interesting to have that as his significator.

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That’s more of that logical way of choosing what significator card will go in the reading.


Now, you could also choose a Major Arcana card as a significator.


Now, this might be in relation to the archetype that this person represents. Maybe the person wants to step into more of a mothering role, so you might choose the Empress. Or maybe they already are in that mother role, the mother archetype, and you choose the Empress to represent them. Maybe they’re in a manifestation stage, so you choose the Magician. Maybe it’s more of the father figure, so an Emperor.

Current Stage of Life/Life Experience

It could also be that you're choosing the Major Arcana card to represent the stage of life that they’re in or the life experience that they’re having.

Maybe if they’re in a state of chaos and disruption, then the Tower card may be appropriate. Or if this has something to do with a relationship or how they’re relating to others, then the Lovers card might be appropriate. You see where we’re taking this.

There are no strict rules around it.

It’s kind of you feeling into it as the reader about what’s going to be the most appropriate representation for the client in the reading.


Now, these two techniques I’ve just talked about are more reader-led. The reader would be choosing the card based on the information that they’re getting from the client, but it doesn’t have to be that way all of the time. You could actually have your client choose the significator card, and I think this is where things actually get a little bit more interesting. I’m so interested in people’s choices in their subconscious minds. Seeing the card that they choose gives you all this extra information in the reading.

You might ask them simply to go through your Tarot deck and choose out the card that represents them right now. They might say, “I know nothing about Tarot!”

You can say, “That’s OK—they’re all pictures. Just choose a picture that represents what you're going through right now or who you are in this present moment.”

And then they flip through. They might start choosing five cards. “Choose one—which one will it be?” And then they choose it, and then you're getting that additional information. “Hmm, why have they chosen that card, and what more interesting elements are available in that?”


Beautiful. Now, these are more consciously chosen significators. The other way is to do more of a random pick. You might shuffle your cards, pick out one card, asking for the significator.

To me, that’s more just like doing an ordinary reading. I don’t really see that as much as using a significator with intent, but it might be something that you want to experiment with and see how that feels.

You do have quite a few different options there that you can use when choosing a significator. As always, I recommend that you try it out a couple of times first. Try choosing the court card that represents the client from an age, gender and birth sign. Then try a few times choosing a Major Arcana card that represents them in their present moment. And then there may be another instance where you're choosing it based on their situation. Try another few times where the client is choosing the card, and just see what happens as a result. Try some without a significator at all as well! You’ll find where your flow is.

In terms of who you choose as that significator, it can be you, or it can be the client. Again, you're going to get different kinds of information depending on who ends up choosing the significator.


I guess this especially the case if you are reading for yourself, and you want to choose a significator. If you're using that court card method, then yes, typically, you’ll have the same court card, unless you're starting to get older, and you're moving from your Knight to your Queen or your Knight to your King and so on. But ultimately, that method would give you a consistent card.

You might also find, say with the Major Arcanas, that the Empress just continues to represent you, and so you'll wish to use that in every reading. Or you might find that you're a little bit more in flow, or you're associating your significator more with how you are in relation to a situation. In that case, that significator card will change from reading to reading. Again, there are no hard and fast rules here. I know that that can be a little bit daunting to have choice, but it’s also giving you that freedom and flow to choose what feels good for you.


Now, the final thing that I want to cover today is how you actually use this significator in your readings. Again, if you cannot answer this… If you’re like, “I’ve chosen the significator, but I’ve got no idea what I’m going to do with it in my reading, then I would get you to question whether having that significator is the right thing for your readings. Ultimately, it needs to have a purpose. I never see any point in just doing something because the book said to do it.

Here are a few ideas for how you can use that significator in a reading. It does depend on where you place the significator. Some people will just put it to the side. Some people will put it smack bang in the middle of the reading and draw the cards around it. It really depends.

However, what it can be really interesting with your significator is to look at how the card interacts with the other cards within that reading.

So, if you’ve ever noticed if there’s a figure in the card, it might be facing to the right or to the left, and then you might lay down cards around it, and it might be almost as if it’s talking to the card next to it. Or maybe it’s trying to talk to the card next to it, and that one has got the back turned to that person. So, this all gives you additional information around how this client is interacting with their current situation. Are there harmonious relationships going on here? Are there difficult, challenging relationships? What does that interaction look like? And, of course, it really depends on what cards you're getting and how they’re laid out as well.

Now, another piece with using the significator in the reading is it offers you as the reader a very central point.

As you’re explaining the reading, you can keep bringing it back to the significator, which is essentially the client, and creating those connections.

“This is you, so if you're in the Empress state, and you're in this place of creativity, and yet here I am seeing the Eight of Swords, where it’s as if all of that is shut down and locked up, tied and bound, how do you get to be creative? If this is you, how do you get to be creative when you're experiencing this Eight of Swords energy?”

You can see that you can start to bring that significator into the reading. “If this is really you, how are these different scenarios playing out with who you really are? Do you need to make some changes in order for you to be fully expressed as a person in this situation?” It’s drawing the reading back to the client and making it relevant for them.

Finally, another way to bring it into your readings is to actually use the significator card and get stuck into it.

“We chose the Empress because you're in that mother space, and you're creating things, and you're enjoying being that creative mum perhaps. What else does this card tell us about you and where you're sitting and what’s important to you?”

Then, maybe you start to notice even the fruit, and you think, “Oh, I haven’t had fruit for so long! Maybe that’s how I can enhance my sensory experience!” It might be something as simple as that. Again, diving deep into that significator card will give you additional information for the reading.

Well, my goodness! I started this podcast episode thinking: “Significators? So not my deal, but I’ll do an episode anyway because I know that it comes up for people!” But, as I’ve done a little bit more research, and as I’ve been having a bit of a chat here, I’m thinking maybe, just maybe there might be something in this. Maybe for my next reading, I might, in fact, draw a significator card and see how it plays out.

Perhaps you're also feeling inspired or, hopefully, this is just giving you the clarity that you were looking for in terms of how can use significators in your next Tarot reading.

Now, if you want to learn how to read Tarot with confidence, it can all begin with just five simple steps. Make sure you get my free workbooks, which is The 5 Simple Steps to Read Tarot with Confidence. It will take you through literally these five simple steps to make Tarot part of your life. I really believe that Tarot should be fun, enjoyable, and integrated into your daily life. This workbook will show you exactly how. You can sign up for that, and you’ll get the free download and the steps all the way to your email.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast episode. I very much look forward to chatting with you again next time. Let me see… Wow, yes! We have Lauren Aletta in our next episode. She is the creator of the Lumina Tarot. The Lumina Tarot is officially my newest favourite Tarot deck, that’s for sure—a beautiful modern deck. You are going to love it. It’s so beautiful talking with Lauren. Watch out for that episode—that is coming up next.

Now, have a great week! Goodbye for now!


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