Tarot cards are one of my favorite magical tools to use on-the-go. They’re powerful, they don’t make a mess, and they contain an amazing variety of energies to use in your witchcraft!
There are 78 cards in a traditional tarot deck and each card holds a distinctly different energy to support your magical intention. Additionally, you can combine your tarot cards—calling on the power of each individual tarot card to support a different aspect of your intention. This method gives you an even wider selection of energy to work with when you’re performing spells with your tarot deck. A third way to use your tarot cards for magic is to use divination to guide you towards certain cards for your magic.
All three ways are equally powerful, and I invite you to explore all three methods as you feel called to! If you want to learn how to perform powerful magic with a single deck of tarot cards, as well as how to create your own tarot spells, this article is for you!
How Does Tarot Magic Work?
The magic of tarot happens when you are interacting with your cards. I believe something special happens when you look at the image on the card. Thoughts, feelings, and images will flit through your mind the moment the card is revealed. Those impressions that you experience when you look at that card are based on many elements such as the colors on the card, the scene being depicted, the characters on the card, certain objects featured on the card, as well as the traditional meaning of the card.
All of that information is helpful to know when you’re using your tarot cards for spell work. Yes, the traditional meanings of the cards are great, but if you are looking at a card and you don’t feel a strong connection to it, choose a different card. Energetically, there is a lot going on when you’re interacting with your cards, and the traditional card meanings are just one way to ascribe energy to each card.
Single-card spells are simple but effective. One card can convey an entire story through the imagery and the intention you place on it.
Positive Habits Tarot Spell
Perform this spell when you’re creating new habits for your life.
Suggested tarot card: The Emperor
Other cards with similar energy: Queen of Swords, King of Swords
In the Rider-Waite deck, the Emperor is a stern looking man with a long white beard. He’s a man who believes in order, structure, and rules that were created for the highest good of all. For this reason, the Emperor card is an excellent card for magic whenever you’re trying to create new habits, release negative patterns, or gently increase your willpower.
Place the Emperor card somewhere that you associate with the habit you are trying to take on or release. For example, if you’re wanting to release your habit of late night snacking, attach the card to the refrigerator. If you’re trying to save up for a special vacation, you can slip the Emperor card in your wallet to remind you of your goal and curb your spending.
Next, decide how many days you’d like your spell to go for. I recommend starting with a shorter length of time and reactivating the spell if you’d like the magic to last longer.
To activate the spell, whisper your intention to the card. At the end of the day, if you’ve stuck to your habit, use your finger to draw an invisible “1” on the card. Each day, draw the number equal to the amount of days you’ve upheld your new habit.
No matter how many days you’ve stuck to your habit, be sure to congratulate yourself when your spell is complete. The Emperor is a man who sees the bigger picture. He rules over his empire with fairness and understanding. It’s not about perfection. He’s a wise old man who knows that creating new structures isn’t about perfection—it’s about the overall progress. Each day you complete your habit is one step in the direction you’d like to go.
Create Your Own Single-Card Spells
You can create your own one-card tarot spells by thinking about your intention and choosing a card that you feel best supports that intention. Go by the traditional meanings of the tarot cards, or just look through them one at a time until you find one that you intuitively feel drawn to.
Then you can activate your spell by whispering your intention to the card and placing it on your altar or somewhere you think it will have the greatest impact.
If you want to get more creative, you can try activating your tarot spell by burning the card, burying the card outside for one lunar cycle, or sleeping with the card under your pillow. If you want to try one of these methods, but you don’t want to destroy any of your cards, print an image of the card that you find online or you can purchase a deck to use only for spell work.
Sanctuary Tarot Spell
This spell is perfect for those days when your life feels chaotic and you need to manifest a moment of quiet and clarity for yourself.
Suggested tarot cards: The Hermit, Temperance, Strength, and either the Tower or the Five of Wands card
The Hermit holds the energy of inner peace and solitude. Temperance carries the energy of balance and flow. In the Rider-Waite deck, the Strength card depicts a woman gently holding the mouth of a lion. The lion has his tongue out, which some tarot readers take to mean that the lion is relaxed and trusts the woman. For this reason, the Strength card is associated with a gentle courage. Together these three cards have the power to create an energetic sanctuary that you can rest in no matter what is going on around you.
The other card will represent your external circumstances.
The Five of Wands holds the energy of people fighting amongst themselves. Use this card if you feel like the chaos in your life is due to a conflict with one or more people.
The energy of the Tower card is basically “Murphy’s Law”—anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. If that fits your current circumstances, use the Tower card in this spell.
Set the first tarot card down on a flat surface. This will be either the Tower or the Five of Wands—the card you’ve chosen to represent what is currently going on.
To activate this card, state your intention aloud. Create your own or use this one:
“I now retreat from this chaos.”
Then flip the Tower or Five of Wands card over.
Next, stack the other three cards (Strength, the Hermit, and Temperance) in any order on top of the first card. As you do this, call on the power of each card.
Use this statement or create your own.
“I call on the power of Strength so that I can protect my energy firmly, but lovingly. I call on the power of the Hermit so I may have a moment of restful mindfulness. I call on the power of Temperance to help any unwanted energy flow out of my body.”
Then close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths until you are ready to carry on with your day.
If you don’t have your tarot cards with you, try performing this spell by visualizing each card in your mind’s eye.
Create Your Own Multi-Card Spells
Creating multi-card spells is a wonderful way to explore how the different energies of the cards can interact with each other. Some cards have contrasting energies and you can use several cards to counteract the energy of one card like in the Sanctuary tarot spell. Other times, you’ll want to only use cards that compliment each other.
Try thinking about a specific vision you’d like to manifest in your life. Then make a list of all the qualities, skills, and energies you’ll embody when you’ve manifested that vision. Select tarot cards that represent everything on your list. Keep the cards on your altar until you feel like your intention has been received by the universe.
Divination-Based Tarot Spells
Another way to perform magic with tarot cards is to use divination as part of your spell.
From Here to There Tarot Spell
Select one card to represent your current situation or current energy. Select another card to represent a goal you’d like to manifest.
Place those cards on your altar with the “current situation” card on the left and the “goal” card on the right.
Shuffle the rest of your tarot deck as you ask four questions. Draw one card for each question.
- “What is one thing I can do to move closer to my goal?”
- “What energy should I embody to manifest this goal easily?”
- ”What obstacle might I face as I move closer to this goal?”
- ”How do I overcome that obstacle?”
Journal about your answers and leave your cards on your altar until you feel your intention had been received by the universe.
Create Your Own Divination-Based Tarot Spells
To create your own divination-based spells, start by picking a few cards to represent you, your intention or your situation. Then think about some questions you have for your higher power, your intuition, or your guides regarding that spell. You can ask as many or as few questions as you’d like. I recommend asking between two and five questions, and drawing one card for each question. That will give you enough information without getting too overwhelming.