In this post, I’m going to show you how to play tarot solitaire. Yup, you can play solitaire with your tarot cards! Here’s how to do it.
Why play tarot solitaire?
Why might you want to play tarot solitaire? First of all, because it’s fun. But second, it’s a great way to get to know your tarot cards and really bond and familiarize yourself with a new tarot deck.
(Related: How to Bond with a New Tarot Deck)
The point of solitaire is to arrange the cards in order, both descending on the board and ascending in your four stacks for each suit. So in order to play solitaire, you not only practice recognizing the chronology of your tarot cards but also the suits (and which two tarot suits mirror the red suits in a deck of playing cards and which two tarot suits mirror the red ones).
Think about how you play solitaire now with a regular deck of playing cards. You don’t think twice about which card can be laid on top of another card, right? You know the order and suits of the cards like the back of your hand! Now, imagine having that fluency and proficiency with a deck of tarot cards! I don’t know about you, but that sounds awesome to me!
So, playing solitaire will give you an intimacy and confidence with your tarot cards that will really serve you in your tarot readings.
(Related: How to Break in Your New Tarot Cards)
Want to watch instead? Here’s a video showing you how to play tarot solitaire!
I want to play tarot solitaire! How do I do it?
There are some key differences between a tarot deck and a deck of playing cards. We need to deal with those first.
So, what are the differences between tarot cards and playing cards?
First, a tarot deck, at 78 cards, is a lot bigger than a 52-card deck of playing card. What accounts for this difference? The tarot deck has 22 trump cards (aka the Major Arcana) that are missing from a basic deck of playing cards. Tarot card also have an extra court card for each suit, which means each suit in a tarot card’s Minor Arcana has 14 cards instead of just 13 like in a standard deck of playing card.
This means we need to take out a bunch of cards from our tarot deck before we play tarot solitaire. Here’s what you need to remove.
Step 1: Remove all Major Arcana cards from your tarot deck.
Solitaire only involves the four suits, or the Minor Arcana, of your tarot deck. So first and foremost, remove all Major Arcana cards from your tarot deck since you will not be needing those to play tarot solitaire. Just put them aside.
Step 2: Remove all four Knights (or Pages – your choice) from your tarot deck.
Both playing cards and tarot cards have four suits, each of which include a set of court cards. However, while a standard deck of playing cards has three court cards (Jack, Queen, and King), a tarot deck has four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King).
This means that we have to remove one of the court cards from each suit to play tarot solitaire.
Since the Queen and King are obvious mirrors, this means you need to decide between the Page and the Knight. I personally think the Page is a closer equivalent to the Jack, so I remove all Knights. It doesn’t really matter though. You can choose to ether get rid of all four Knights or get rid of all four Pages.
Just put them aside with the Major Arcana cards you removed earlier.
Step 3: Shuffle and deal!
You should now be left with only 52 cards in your tarot deck, just like a standard deck of playing cards. This means you are ready to shuffle and deal your cards!
You use the same exact rules as regular solitaire for tarot solitaire. I won’t go into those instructions in this post. If you need a refresher, check out these basic solitaire instructions. And if you want to brush up on regular solitaire, here’s my favorite way to play it for free online.
Step 4: Remember which suit is which!
If you recall, the way you move cards around in solitaire is red on black on red. This means you can’t lay a red card on top of another red card even if it is in the correct descending order. Same goes for black.
So, which tarot suits count as red and which tarot suits count as black? You’ll need to know that because that will restrict how you can move your cards.
Here are the correspondences along with little tricks for how I remember them.
- Cups = Hearts (Cups have to do with relationships and emotions, which are commonly symbolized with hearts.)
- Pentacles = Diamonds (Pentacles look like coins, which indicate money and expensive things, like diamonds).
- Wands = Clubs (Wands and clubs are both wooden objects – think Bam-Bam’s club in The Flintstones).
- Swords = Spades (This one might be personal, but Swords strike me as the most negative deck, and spades seem to have negative connotations s well – “call a spade a spade”).
And finally, since Wands and Swords look similar (long, thin tools), it’s easy for me to remember that those go together as the two “black” suits. Cups and Pentacles are both shiny and gold, which makes them easy to associate together as the two “red” suits.
As you play tarot solitaire, just as you wouldn’t be able to lay a heart on top of a diamond since they’re both red, you thus wouldn’t be able to lay a cup on top of a pentacle, since they’re also both “red.” Same goes for wands and swords.
Step 5: Let’s play!
There you have it! If you try your hand at tarot solitaire, let me know how it goes in the comments below. Have fun!