When you are learning to read tarot, you might come across a tarot card spread that requires you to lay a Signifier Card for the person you are reading for.
The Signifier Card is at the center of a Celtic Cross Tarot Spread, for example.
How do you choose a Signifier card? What would you base your choice on?
It seems that there are a few different ways in classic tarot reading to choose a signifier. Both use the Court Cards, but they do so in slightly different ways.
Simple Age Associations for Tarot Signifier Card Choice
Both use the age of the querent (questioner) as a basis for choosing a signifier card. Some people prefer to use Pages for younger people who identify as female, Knights for younger people who identify as male, Queens for mature females, and Kings for mature males. Of course, the person’s gender association should influence the choice of a court card signifier in this format.
Otherwise, you can use the following associations when choosing a signifier card for your tarot readings:
Pages – Very young/young (pre-pubescent)
Knights – Puberty through early adulthood
Queens – Mature/middle-aged
Kings – Senior citizens
Using Zodiac + Age Association to Choose a Signifier in Tarot
The different suits in tarot (Pentacles, Wands, Cups, Swords) represent the different Zodiac Elements (Earth, Fire, Water, Air). You can use the questioner’s zodiac sign as a basis for choosing a signifier for their tarot reading.
Pentacles are for Earth Signs
Taurus (April 21 – May 20)
Virgo (August 23 – September 22)
Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)
Wands are for Fire Signs
Aries (March 21 – April 20)
Leo (July 23 – August 22)
Sagittarius (November 23 – December 21)
Cups are for Water Signs
Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
Scorpio (October 23 – November 22)
Pisces (February 20 – March 20)
Swords are for Air Signs
Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
Libra (September 23 – October 22)
Aquarius (January 20 – February 19)
Based on this formula, if I were choosing a Signifier Card for a tarot reading for myself—a female-identifying, middle-aged Scorpio—I’d choose the Queen of Cups. If I chose one for my husband’s dad, a 75-year-old guy whose birthday is the 13th of April, I’d choose the King of Wands.
Does that make sense?
Using Personality + Court Cards to Choose a Signifier
Personally, I resonate much more with the Queen of Wands (or would like to) than the Queen of Cups, so I choose her for my signifier when I need a signifier for myself. (After writing this, though, I think I resonate pretty well with both. But anyway!)
You can use the personality or energy related to the different court cards to help you choose a signifier. For example:
Page of Pentacles – someone who is intellectually grounded and perhaps always learning something new. They might also be “green” in business or life and they are learning to grow their fortunes and take advantage of opportunities.
Knight of Pentacles – someone who is really earthy and stable. This is a good friend to everyone who has their feet on the ground. They might be hippies or people who are focusing on environmentalism and or protecting the world around them. They are also learning how to manage their money, instead of letting it slip through their fingers.
Queen of Pentacles – Suzy homemaker, for sure! This one is house-proud, organized, and has their feet firmly on the ground. People who identify with the Queen of Pentacles have their finances in order and LOVE to cook, clean, and make their money work for them.
King of Pentacles – This one has the Midas Touch. King of Pentacles people are good with money and real estate. They are successful bankers, Real Estate Agents, and their wealth seems to multiply with every breath they take. They are also people who take pleasure in food, clothes, possessions—material things are their focus.
Page of Fire – This person is creative, passionate, but also very innocent and not fully in touch with how to fully express or rein in all of their passionate energy so that they can take full advantage of it.
Knight of Fire – This one is a bit of a Casanova – more passion than commitment, for sure! But LOADS of passion and enthusiasm to spare. This person is sexy and confident, but still naive and searching for “something”.
Queen of Fire – People represented by the Queen of Fire are passionate, confident, and smouldering. They know what they want and how to get it, and they know how to follow through til the end.
King of Fire – This is the CEO, the self-help guru, the one at the top of the game who is encouraging everyone around to do their best and succeed as well. The ultimate cheerleader and organizer, with passion and prowess to spare.
Page of Cups – A person just starting their spiritual journey or working with intuition. Also, a person who is in love with love. A bit naive and not at all cautious with their heart, this one might fall in love with everyone they meet or be taken advantage of because of their kindness.
Knight of Cups – A person who is way more into people who are hard to get or even one who prefers crushes to actual romance. This one can be very vain or into looks and one who loves to share love without others without truly getting close. A novice magician or one who is far enough along on their spiritual journey to be seeing things, but might not know how to fully apply the guidance or insight into their live.
Queen of Cups – This one is totally at home in love. People represented by the Queen of Cups are healers and counselors (as are King of Cups). They embody and share love, and are just as happy connecting with love as they are with giving it. And they are really in touch with their intuition and connection to Spirit.
King of Cups – They are the people with broad shoulders and big ears (not literally, but figuratively). They listen, console, advise from the heart, and make everyone around them feel cared for and loved. They might be a little bit overly emotional, though, because EVERYTHING is emotion/intuition to them. Highly intuitive and often finishing the sentences of everyone around them.
Page of Swords – This person is like a breath of fresh air, but might not have as much real-life experience as others around them. Intelligent, insightful, and a bit bookish, Page of Air people don’t mind being nerds and love to read, chat, and explore new ideas.
Knight of Swords – These people LOVE to talk and talk and talk. LOL! They might not have all of the details right, but they will run off into battle defending their ideas against the masses. This might be a good thing if their ideas and logic is sound, but if it isn’t, they are more like Stormtroopers.
Queen of Swords – This one has enough information at their disposal and knows how to use that information. Some people might think they are heartless, but it’s just that they make decisions based more on information and facts than on feelings.
King of Swords – These are the high-level scientists, lawyers, doctors, and statisticians – people who work with their intellect and let the data drive their decisions. They aren’t out for themselves; generally speaking, they are just, but they do follow the rules, for sure!
Magician or High Priestess
Another simple way of choosing a signifier card for your tarot reading is using the Magician for a person who identifies as male or the High Priestess as a stand-in for someone who identifies as female. If the person you are reading for is gender-neutral, you can use the World card.
These tips should make it easy for you to choose a signifier card for your tarot reading. I’d love to hear your input or any tricks you use to pick a signifier card for your tarot readings.
Ready for a tarot reading? Sue Ellis-Saller has been reading tarot for 30+ years and gives empowering readings with a focus on the client’s greatest good. You can find her information here: Sue Ellis-Saller profile