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Do Tarot Cards Need To Be In Order? FAQ Guide

One of the fundamental questions that might come up is about the order of the cards.

Do they need to be in a specific sequence to make sense, or can they be read out of order?

Let’s delve deep into this topic, understanding both the traditional structures and the room for flexibility in tarot readings.

Lets talk about:
🌕 The Simple Answer
🌔 Traditional Order of Tarot Cards
🌓 Correct Major Arcana Order
🌒 Correct Minor Arcana Order
🌑 Reading Tarot Out of Order
🌘 How To Know When You Own Too Many Tarot Decks
🌗Conclusion: The Balance Between Structure and Intuition

The Simple Answer

In tarot readings, cards don’t need to be in a specific order: their meaning and insights depend on the reader’s interpretation and the context of the spread, not on a predetermined sequence. The practice is flexible, allowing for both traditional structures and intuitive approaches.

For a more comprehensive answer read on!

Traditional Order of Tarot Cards

The Two Arcanas

Tarot decks are traditionally divided into two main sections: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.

Each has its place and purpose within the deck.

  • Major Arcana: Comprising 22 cards, the Major Arcana follows a specific sequence, usually numbered 0 through 21. This sequence represents a journey—the Fool’s journey—depicting major life lessons and archetypes.
  • Minor Arcana: Consisting of 56 cards, the Minor Arcana is divided into four suits, much like a regular deck of playing cards. Each suit has 14 cards, including ten numbered cards and four court cards, typically reflecting the daily aspects of life.
correct order of 6 major arcana tarot cards

The Importance of Order in the Major Arcana

The sequence of the Major Arcana is considered significant in tarot readings, often representing a progression or a storyline.

For instance, the Fool beginning at 0 signifies the start of a spiritual or life journey, while the World as the last card signifies completion and wholeness.

The correct order of the Major Arcana:

  1. 0 – The Fool
  2. I – The Magician
  3. II – The High Priestess
  4. III – The Empress
  5. IV – The Emperor
  6. V – The Hierophant
  7. VI – The Lovers
  8. VII – The Chariot
  9. VIII – Strength
  10. IX – The Hermit
  11. X – Wheel of Fortune
  12. XI – Justice
  13. XII – The Hanged Man
  14. XIII – Death
  15. XIV – Temperance
  16. XV – The Devil
  17. XVI – The Tower
  18. XVII – The Star
  19. XVIII – The Moon
  20. XIX – The Sun
  21. XX – Judgement
  22. XXI – The World

The correct order of the Minor Arcana:


  1. Ace of Cups
  2. Two of Cups
  3. Three of Cups
  4. Four of Cups
  5. Five of Cups
  6. Six of Cups
  7. Seven of Cups
  8. Eight of Cups
  9. Nine of Cups
  10. Ten of Cups
  11. Page of Cups
  12. Knight of Cups
  13. Queen of Cups
  14. King of Cups


  1. Ace of Pentacles
  2. Two of Pentacles
  3. Three of Pentacles
  4. Four of Pentacles
  5. Five of Pentacles
  6. Six of Pentacles
  7. Seven of Pentacles
  8. Eight of Pentacles
  9. Nine of Pentacles
  10. Ten of Pentacles
  11. Page of Pentacles
  12. Knight of Pentacles
  13. Queen of Pentacles
  14. King of Pentacles


  1. Ace of Swords
  2. Two of Swords
  3. Three of Swords
  4. Four of Swords
  5. Five of Swords
  6. Six of Swords
  7. Seven of Swords
  8. Eight of Swords
  9. Nine of Swords
  10. Ten of Swords
  11. Page of Swords
  12. Knight of Swords
  13. Queen of Swords
  14. King of Swords


  1. Ace of Wands
  2. Two of Wands
  3. Three of Wands
  4. Four of Wands
  5. Five of Wands
  6. Six of Wands
  7. Seven of Wands
  8. Eight of Wands
  9. Nine of Wands
  10. Ten of Wands
  11. Page of Wands
  12. Knight of Wands
  13. Queen of Wands
  14. King of Wands

Each card, Major or Minor, holds its own unique symbolism and place within the tarot system, contributing to the rich and varied interpretations that make tarot a dynamic tool for divination and personal reflection.

Reading Tarot Out of Order

Flexibility in Spreads and Readings

While the tarot has a traditional order, especially within the Major Arcana, the actual practice of reading tarot is much more flexible.

  • Random Draws: Most readings involve shuffling the deck and drawing cards at random. This means that the order of the Major and Minor Arcana gets mixed. Each reading is unique, and the order of cards is determined by the shuffle and draw.
  • Intuitive Readings: Some tarot readers rely heavily on intuition. They may draw cards randomly but place them in positions or orders that feel intuitively right during the reading.

The Meaning Remains

No matter the order in which the cards are drawn or read, the essence and symbolism of each card remain.

What changes is the context and the narrative that the cards create together.

A card’s meaning can be deeply influenced by the cards that come before and after it, whether in a traditional spread or a more intuitive, free-form reading.

When It Happens

Sometimes, especially in larger spreads or more complex readings, cards might be read out of the traditional sequence.

This could be due to the reader’s style or simply a more fluid approach to the reading.

What to Consider

  • Contextual Meaning: Pay attention to how the out-of-order cards interact with each other. The surrounding cards can significantly alter or emphasize the meaning of a card.
  • Narrative Flow: Even out of order, the cards can tell a story. Look for the narrative or the flow in the reading, and see how the cards might be guiding the querent’s journey or reflecting their current situation.

Conclusion: The Balance Between Structure and Intuition

In conclusion, while tarot cards have a specific traditional order, especially within the Major Arcana, readings are typically more fluid and adapt to the shuffling and drawing process.

Each tarot reading is unique, and the cards’ order in a specific spread is less about following a strict sequence and more about interpreting the narrative and energies of the cards as they appear.

Whether you stick strictly to traditional spreads or allow a more intuitive approach to guide the order of cards, the power of the reading lies in the interpretation and the meaningful dialogue between the reader, the cards, and the querent.

As you continue your journey with tarot, embrace both the structure and the flexibility it offers, and let the cards speak in the order that they come.