Sometimes called a querant card, power card or significator card, this is a card Tarot Readers will use in a reading to add perspective to the overall read. A Significator card is a reminder of a person’s personality and by setting this off the side, a Reader can look at it and think about the qualities that card (and the querant) have and how they would react to the situations the cards are presenting in the layout. Some spreads even ask for a Significator card to be represented.
They are useful because they can add insights about the person receiving the reading and keep the reading focused on the querant. A querant card can also be used in conjunction with the other cards in the spread.
Knowing your card might seem difficult, especially to those just starting out, but there are several methods for selecting a card A card of this manner can be chosen in one of several ways (as seen in the prompts below) and either becomes part of the reading and used in conjunction with the other cards or used as a sort of focal point for the reading in which it summarizes the person or their situation.
The following methods can be used to choose cards either for your self or for others but for others; choose whichever ever method you prefer. When doing readings for others these methods are good to use since they are based on things such as birthdates, zodiac signs, or appearances.
Date of Birth Method with Major Arcana
To determine your Significator card with a birthdate you need to reduce your full birthdate to a single digit or a two digit number between ten and twenty-one. For example, a birthdate of 06/23/1983 would be added up like this: 6+2+3+1+9+8+3 which is 32; since there is no card numbered thirty-two the sum is further reduced to number five (3+2). If the sum is a single digit or if it is a number between 10-21 then no more needs to be done (The Major Arcana is numbered up to twenty-one). This number is compared to the Major Arcana and that card-even if not a person card-is the card that holds similar qualities to the person. In the previous example, the number five is the Hierophant in the Major Arcana. And in this example: 05/01/1940 (which adds up to 20) the Significator card is the card of Judgment.
Date of Birth Method and Elemental Sign with the Minor Arcana
The above method can be used with the Minor Arcana too. To determine your suit in the Minor Arcana choose either a suit you feel a kinship with or that corresponds to your zodiac sign. For example, my birthdate when reduced is the number three. I am a water sign in the zodiac so I would look at the 3 of Cups for my Significator card. For numbers greater than fourteen you would need to reduce them since there are no cards higher than that (the courts may not have numbers but are typically thought of as the Pages being number 11, Knights are 12, Queens are 13, and Kings 14).
The Gender Method
There is a more base and generic method of choosing a Significator card based simply on using opposites in the Major Arcana. For example: the High Priest /Hierophant for males and High Priestess for females or the Emperor for males and Empress for females. This works as they each bear stereotypical and archetypal attributes of each gender. This could also be done with the Court Cards by using the King and Queen out of whatever element the person’s zodiac sign represents. Again, my sign is water so I would be the Queen of Cups.
Significator cards can also be used based solely on a person’s zodiac sign and a random draw. For example, Wands are the signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius; Cups is Cancer, Scorpio, and Pieces; Swords are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius; and Pentacles are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Separate the suits and using just the suit of the person’s sign shuffle the cards and draw at random (or have the querant draw a card) to determine their Significator card.
As stated earlier, you can also combine this method with their birthdate and the card will not be randomly drawn but chosen by a number.
Court Appearance Method
The suits have been described as having different physical attributes and the gender method of using the King and Queen for male and female can be used but the suit will be chosen based on appearance and not elemental correspondence.
Wands are people that are paler skin, blue eyes, and blonde or light-colored hair. Cups are for people with light to medium skin tones, brown hair, and green or hazel eyes. Swords are anyone with an olive skin tone, dark hair, and any light colored eyes. Pentacles are people with dark skin, dark hair, and dark eyes.
However, you can use the below method of choosing which court card you are based on age and then selecting which suit with the above method of physical traits.
Court Appearance Based on Age
Even in readings the courts tend to have age categories associated with them and these can be used to determine which Court Card you are.
Pages and knights are typically youthful, up to about age twenty-five with pages being female and knights are male; Queens are mature women and Kings are mature men.
However, remember that none of this is a steadfast rule: a female might be in a “male-oriented” career or might be the disciplinarian and connect more with a King card, and a twenty-year old might be more mature than others of their age and associate more with a Queen.
To determine which suit to draw your age-based court card fro use the method for personalities associated with suits or zodiac associated with suit. For example, based on zodiac I would be a Queen of Cups but if physical description I would be Queen of Swords.
Court Appearance Based on Personality
Each of the court positions have different personalities and you can determine a court Significator card by what personalities they imbue rather than age (and, again, choosing the suit by zodiac or physical description). A page is a messenger, a go-to person, does errands and tasks for other people, doesn’t question authority and is basically a follower, not a leader. Knights are chivalrous, heroes, a go-getter, and always in the mix of the excitement. They do not shy away from adversity or a challenge. The Queen is a person who is matronly, motherly, and nurturing, she stands beside her King but can be a ruler as well and she cares for her people. The King is a disciplinarian, sometimes fair and sometimes not, and is a ruler. He likes chaos and views it as a challenge to make it right. He is a ruler and a leader.
Suits can also be chosen by emotions, so with any of the above methods in which you need to determine the suit to pull your Significator card from, base it on emotional aspects of the suits.
Wands are people who are passionate and energetic; Cups are emotional and creative; Swords consider themselves intellectual and logical; and Pentacles are practical people.
The final method gives you free reign to choose a card, any card, based on personal choice. Sort through the entire deck, perhaps pulling out only those with people in them, and choose one that you feel fits with you the best either based on intuition or by reading up on what the card means. This is not easy to do with a querant you are unfamiliar with, but for choosing a Significator card for yourself it is an acceptable method.
Remember, nothing is set in stone: If you try one of the methods above and just don’t really feel like you are like the card that is selected then try another method until you are satisfied. If that still doesn’t work, use the Personal Choice method and just select a card you feel you most represent.
As you work with the cards more and more you will get to understand their little nuances and personalities and it will be easier to select a card based on personal choice.
To use a Significator card in a reading, pull that card out first and then shuffle the deck and lay the cards out. Read the card in conjunction with the other ones. For example, that card might be telling the querant that they need to focus on the unique qualities that make them who they are in order to resolve the situation. If they are the Empress then they may need to be nurturing, motherly, or creative. Or, use the card as a reminder as to how that person would or should deal with a situation. For example, if they are a King card then you will know that they would deal with the situation at hand with a stern, but fair, hand.
This is a revised and excerpted version of a chapter in Anderson’s “365 Tarot Activities.” To read more about Significator cards or other ways to connect with decks, to learn to read Tarot, or group activities check out her book on Amazon.