When you see people asking for pictures of the querent (also called inquirer, client, or seeker) for tarot readings, they may be trying to determine which card to use to represent in the reading. This is often called a significator card.
A significator card is the card that represents the querent in the reading. This helps some of us tune into the energies of that person and focus in on them.
Some people swear by using a significator card. Others choose not to for many reasons, but some are they don’t need one to tap into the energies, or they don’t want to lose out on having that card available in the reading.
One tip that I like to do is use a separate deck for my significator card than the deck that I read with so I don’t lose out on not having the card available for the reading.
You don’t actually ‘read’ the significator card, but it represents the person that you are reading for and sits on top of the reading or under the first card in a reading.
For example, in most Celtic Cross layouts they tell you to lay the first card on top of the significator card and this is the beginning of the reading.
So how do you choose the significator card?
There are a few different choices. You can choose from using the astrological sun sign, by complexion, or by gender. Or you can use the simple method. In my general readings, on the blog I typically use the Fool because the energy can be anything, it doesn’t fully have a direction yet.
The Simple Method:
A final method would be the simplest one to use and that is to use The Magician for a male and The High Priestess for a female.
For all other methods, we need to first determine the Court Card that will be used to represent the age of the querent.
Page: Child or young female
Knight: Young male 18-30
Queen: Woman 18+
King: Male 30+
Once you have determined their age, you can then either choose the suit by the sun sign, or the complexion of the person.
Based upon their astrological sun sign:
Cups: Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Wands: Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Swords: Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Pentacles: Earth: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
By the complexion or their appearance is also viable:
Cups: blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin
Wands: Red hair, fiery complexion, blue or green eyes
Swords: Grey or light-colored hair, blue or green eyes, light complexion
Pentacles: Dark hair, dark eyes, dark complexion
Some tips to keep in mind when choosing a significator card:
Not everyone fits nicely into one category. Sometimes gender roles have to be reversed or completely omitted.
This can also be dependent on how the seeker acts. An older male who acts like a young, immature male may be better fitted by a Knight or a Page instead of a King.
A Court Card may not be the best fit. Ultimately, you can choose whichever card you feel best represents the seeker. If the person is a workaholic, then the Eight of Pentacles may be a good fit, if a pregnant female then maybe the Empress. Do not fear using any card that you feel drawn to because it does not fit into the categories above.
I hope this has helped you decide whether or not to use a significator card or not.