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Needs seen in the Tarot Cards

Most of us have heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The tarot cards show a similar and strikingly insightful hierarchy of needs seen many places in its 78 cards. The first six Major Arcana cards have a strikingly similar structure to the needs seen in Maslow’s pyramid.

Maslow’s Hierarchy

Maslow was an American psychologist who studied the healthiest 1 % of the college student population as well as exemplary people in society. He described on his paper the motivation of human needs seen in the Hierarchy of needs.

The Tarot’s Hierarchy of Needs


The first six cards in the Major Arcana can be used to see where you are at in your own life when it comes to needs. Look at the picture below and see how the tarot correlates to Maslow’s theory.

The Fool: The Fool signifies the birth of the soul as well as the birth of the body. If you get the Fool when you ask where you are at in the Tarot’s Hierarchy of needs it means you might find life a hard struggle. There might be a lack of sleep, food and the basics of life. There might be a fear of death. Work on your fear of the unknown and on death and you will spiral up the hierarchy.

The Magician: The Magician signifies safety. You have a place to live, you have employment and resources. If you get the Magician when you ask where you are at in the Tarot’s Hierarchy of needs you have provided safety for yourself, however, there might be a need for more intimate friends and family.

The High Priestess and the Empress: The High Priestess and the Empress signify love and belonging. There is intimacy and love in your relationship with family and friends. You know what it feels like to be loved and appreciated. The next step for you now is to master yourself and your emotions.

The Emperor: The Emperor cover esteem needs. People that are operating on this level are interested in self-development and bettering themselves. They are investing in themselves. Education and work are in focus. Being in control over one’s life is covered here.

The Hierophant: The Hierophant is at the top of the hierarchy. People on this level are empowered to the point where they now start looking around them and recognising other people’s needs as greater than their own. They start to work towards empowering other people to get higher up their hierarchy of needs. Unity and acceptance are found here. Spiritual enlightenment is in focus.

The suits in the Minor Arcana and Maslow Hierarchy of needs

The four suits in the Minor Arcana can also speak of where you are at in the Hierarchy.

Low: Many pentacles in your reading can denote the seeker is operating from a lower position in the Hierarchy. The seeker is concerned with safety on a physical level.

Medium: Further up on the Hierarchy the swords will show up. Many swords in a reading will denote you are working on your relationships. Your beliefs about yourself will determine if you feel you are loved and have a sense of belonging. The swords are often in conflict between their ideals and reality and can feel unloved as a result. They are seeking mutual connections and when they find them; they make friends for life.

High: Higher up on the Hierarchy you will find many wands. The wands speak of self-realization and esteem. The wands are not yet comfortable being at the top of the Hierarchy and many are pushing forward with a fear of failing in their mission; which can make their journey exhausting. People here are often following their passions and have strong will and determination.

Top: At the top of the Hierarchy you find the Cups. There is true peace, longevity and self-actualization seen in the cups. Cups denotes true and lasting happiness. The Cups have the ability to reach out and make a huge difference in many peoples lives. The Cups know that helping others is where true happiness lies.

Tarot and healing

To find out where you are in the tarot hierarchy follow these simple instructions:

Use the Major Arcana deck only. Ask the cards to show you where you are in the hierarchy while you shuffle. Cut the deck. Turn the cards over 1 by 1 until one of the cards mentions above shows up. The first card from the Tarot hierarchy that shows up for you is where you currently are on the Tarot hierarchy of needs.