The single card draw and the three-card Tarot spread are simple reading spreads. There will be more complex situations where it becomes important to understand who the significant person is in the tarot reading. For the selection of the significator, and of the complexion assigned to the Court Cards, here are some guidelines developed from the Golden Dawn:
Wands (generally)- Fair and red-haired person
Cups (generally)- moderately Fair
Swords (generally)- moderately dark.
Pentacles (generally)—very dark.
Kings— Mature or elder Men.
Queens—Mature or elder Women
Pages—younger women, can be younger men too, or children.
We can now see, for example, a dark-complexioned middle-aged man, could be the King of Pentacles, making the King of Pentacles card the Significator. A fair young woman would be a page card, making the page card the significator.
In the actual reading of the tarot cards, these descriptions can be modified by those which are on either side of them, thus: The Queen of Cups, which indicates a fair woman with golden-brown hair, if between cards of the suits of swords and pentacles, would show a woman with rather dark hair and dark eyes. As before stated, the Knights and Queens almost invariably represent actual men and women connected with the subject at hand.
However, the Kings sometimes represent either the coming on or going off of a matter; arrival, or departure, according to the way in which they face. The Pages show opinions, thoughts, or ideas, either in harmony with or opposed to the subject.
On the general Significance of the Majority of a particular Suit and of the Particular Significance of either three or four cards of a sort in a Tarot Reading:
A majority of Wands—Energy, quarrelling, opposition.
A majority of Cups—Pleasure and merriment.
A majority of Swords—Trouble and sadness, sometimes sickness.
A majority of Pentacles—Business, money, and possessions.
A majority of Keys (Major Arcana)—Forces of considerable strength, but beyond the enquirer’s control.
A majority of Court Cards—Society, meeting with many persons.
A majority of Aces—Strength (generally); the aces are always strong cards.
4 Aces—Great power and force.
3 Aces—Riches and Success.
Kings (generally) show news.
4 Kings—Great swiftness and rapidity.
3 Kings—Unexpected meetings.
4 Queens (generally)—Authority and influence.
3 Queens (generally)—Powerful and influential friends.
4 Princes or Knights—Meetings with the great.
3 Princes or Knights—Rank and honor.
4 Pages (Princesses or Knaves)—New ideas and plans.
On the Signification of the Tarot Cards
A tarot card is strong or weak, well-dignified or ill-dignified, according to the cards which are next to it on either side. Cards of the same suit on either side strengthen it greatly for either good or evil, according to their nature. Cards of the suits answering to its contrary element, on either side, weaken it greatly for good or evil. Air and earth are contraries as also are fire and water. Air is friendly with water and fire, and fire with air and earth.
If a tarot card of the suit of wands falls between a cup and a sword, the sword modifies and connects the wand with the cup, so that it is not weakened by its vicinity, but is modified by the influence of both cards; therefore, fairly strong. However, if a card passes between two which are naturally contrary, it is not affected by either much, as a wand between a sword and a pentacle which latter, being air and earth, are contrary and therefore weaken each other.
Using your Intuition in identifying a person from a Significator
The Book of the Golden Dawn gives this piece of advice on using your intuition:
You should, in describing any person from a Significator in the actual reading, should endeavor, by clairvoyance and using the card in question as a symbol, to see the person implied using the rules to aid, and restrict your vision. In describing an event from the cards in a reading, you should employ your intuition in the same manner. Personal descriptions are modified by the cards next to them; e. g., the Page of Wands usually represents a very fair girl, but if between cards of the suit of Pentacles, she might be even quite dark, though the Wands would still give a certain brightness to her hair, eyes, and complexion.