What are Tarot significators used for? How do you actually use a Tarot card signifier in your Tarot readings? Do they even add to your readings?
Often, when Tarot educators talk about significators (often called signifiers), they discuss how to select one. However, most Tarot readers who are interested in significators, want to know more about how to actually use them in a spread, not about how to select them. Here, I explain how to actually use a significator in reading so that you can decide for yourself if this is something you fancy trying (if you don't know how to select one, click here!).
I should say that these methods work best when you use a free form or ‘table’ style spread. However, some of these techniques can be applied to regular spreads with only a select amount of Tarot cards. So, here are the methods for using a significator in your Tarot readings.
Method One: The Focus Method
Some readers select a significator to give themselves or their reader something to focus on. As you shuffle you can look at this card and it will keep you focused on your seeker or their question, if they have one.
The focus method of selecting a significator can also help you and your seeker (if you’re reading someone else) set your intentions for the reading.
If you would like to try this method, go through your deck and select the significator you want to use. Then, place the card on the table and look at it as you shuffle. Concentrate on the card as you shuffle and think of the seeker’s question. Perform your reading as normal.
Method Two: The Old School Method
In old fashioned spreads, you are required to use a significator. Traditionally, you would use the High Priestess for females and The Magician for males and take the direction which this card faces into account.
If you would like to try this method, then select the High Priestess you are female and The Magician if you are male. Take this card out of the deck and shuffle the deck as normal. Next, without turning the cards over select enough cards to form a square minus one (so, for a 9 card square you need 8 cards). Now, place your significator into this pile, shuffle them and form a square as shown (I know I said you should form a square but this was easier to photograph);
Anything behind the way which the significator is facing is the past, the column which it lands in is the present, and anything towards the significator is the future:
Anything in front of the significator is the future which, in the above reading, features in blue. The column which the significator lands is the present (gold). Anything behind the way the significator is facing is the past, which appears in black in the above reading.
Method Three: Court Card Method
A similar method as the one above, also requires you to take the direction which the significator is facing into account. However, with this method, you generally select a Court card to represent the seeker, not a Major. So, in this method if the Queen of Cups was selected, not the High Priestess, this table of cards would be read like this:
So, if the Queen of Cups was selected, because she is looking towards the future, there are three predictive columns (in blue). The column she lands in appears in gold, and the past is in black.
Or, if the Knight of Cups was selected as the significator, your reading would look like this:
As you can see, there is no past in this reading because the signifier is on the edge. There is only the present to read (in gold) and the four future columns (in blue).
If you ever find yourself wanting to perform a reading and the significator is on the 'edge' with no past or future, you can say that they are not concerned with the past (if there is no past) or they are living the past (if there is no future). Alternatively, you can just pull more cards if its a Tarot reading but if it is a Lenormand reading and you're doing a Grand Tableau you're stuck!
Method Four: The Boxed Method
In this method, you read what is around the significator as a way to determine what is in the seeker’s general surroundings. So, all of the cards which ‘box’ in the seeker’s Tarot card, are their main concerns, things on the seeker’s mind, etc:
With this method, you can go further and actually read the cards around the cards which signify other areas of the seeker’s life. So, if The Lovers comes up, you can read the cards which ‘box’ it in to tell the seeker things about their love life:
So there you have it, how to use a Tarot significator. If you want to learn more about how to select a significator, check out this post.
Do you struggle to tell the difference between whether a Court card represents you, your lover, or an outsider person? Do you pray that Court cards won’t show up in your Tarot readings?
This Saturday the 23rd of February, I am running a 100% free, online Tarot workshop which will show you how to interpret Court cards, not just memorize their meanings. The workshop will go live at 8pm UK time (3pm New York, Noon LA) and will be accessible on mobile, tablet and computer! You can find out more here, or sign up below.