by Carol Herzer, © 1996

(This text is also available in PDF format.)


Chakra Tarot readings bring in information about the energy body and where it needs balancing, growth and change. The chakras function as an interface between the physical body and the subtle energy body, likewise the Chakra Tarot is a bridge between the physical world and one's inner world. There are many ways to use the chakra cards and I encourage you to be creative and find your own path.


An easy way to begin using the Chakra cards for readings is to place the 7 individual chakra cards face down on the table. Pick two cards, one with the left hand and one with the right. Then look for the corresponding Chakra Tarot card with the two chakras you have chosen. Place it in between. For example, if you have the Root and Heart (chakras 1-4) you will get the Emperor, who has both.

Read all three cards. Start with the chakra on the left as the area needing attention and work, perhaps it is weak or out of balance. The chakra at the right can help balance and heal the issues represented by the card at the left.

You can continue and build a kind of tree like layout. A third chakra can be selected from the face-down seven on the table. Place it above the first two, and find two more corresponding major arcana cards. You decide how to attribute the cards, they could represent deeper sources , or they can be past and future. I am sure there are many possibilities you can come up with how to build a more in depth reading here.


Another way to use the Chakra Arcana is to supplement your reading with the regular 78 card tarot. When a major arcana comes up find the corresponding chakra Arcana and add the understanding it gives about energies.








The Magician is here to learn. The element Earth is the physical body, Water is the emotional body. The Magician must master both, becoming aware of himself, ordering and organizing his everyday world, knowing that he has power, taking responsibility for using it wisely. This power includes sex and use of the life force energy. The Magician is in touch with emotions and feelings (Water element) and at the same time is stable and grounded (Earth element). Creative (and sexual) energy can be directed to a chosen purpose, including all the arts, healing, imagination, self expression, writing, communication.





The High Priestess is calm and serene. Her power is hidden within. She is well grounded (Root Chakra) and acts as a channel for mental energy and the activity of the intellect

(Power Chakra). The intuitive "body brain", as represented by the Solar Plexus, is grounded and manifests in the physical world. Through her the inner Sun and spirit of Cosmic love is given form. She is the Cosmic Mother, the Virgin Mary, Isis, Maya, the fabric of the universe. The second chakra and emotions are bypassed, the Priestess suggests a time to pull back within oneself, a need for peace and quiet, to reclaim ones power.





The Empress is seated upon a throne by a waterfall, she wears a crown of stars (fire). This is the earthly mother, combining Sex Chakra (emotional body) and the Power Chakra (bonding and attachment, the mental body). Fire and Water are considered to be opposite elements. Most mothers are both intuitive and emotional (irrational) when it comes to their children and families. The Empress is about nurturing, physical birth, mothering, and emotional attachments. Mother love is unconditional and complete. The 3rd chakra is about both making and breaking attachments. Control, dependency and over attachment are problems that may have to be considered.




The Emperor's throne is high upon a mountain (Earth element), surrounded by clouds (Air). Earth and Air, like the Fire and Water of the Empress, are opposite elements. The Emperor combines the Heart and love with the Root and practicality. As the father figure, the Emperor is concerned with security and survival; his job is to see it maintained and supported by love rather than fear. Issues arising with this card include authority, control, work, and acceptance of disapproval or criticism without being emotional or feeling threatened. Another lesson here is about giving. Giving must not only come from the Heart, it also must be grounded and well based in a practical sense. Giving must be without expectation, and not done for the purpose of dominating or controlling others.





The Initiate is about inner growth. The emotional body as life force (2nd Chakra) is linked to the Heart and love with openness and expansion. The Initiate sits on a throne somewhere in a tropical jungle with a waterfall at his feet, an image suggesting lush growth and beauty. Issues central to the lessons here are centered around nurturing, healing, creativity, sex and love. There may be a need to re-direct creative and sexual energy, to re-connect with one's inner child, innocence and purity. Giving guidance about sex and love in relationships is a major portion of the job of the Initiates or High Priests of both real life and the Tarot archetypes. The elements here Air and Water, suggest communication about love and feelings in personal relationships, which themselves provide a mirror into our inner selves.





Fire breathes Air, without it it dies. Fire can be sacred, and it asks for respect. The Lovers share the responsibilities of personal interactions, attachments, bonding and growing together. Love partnerships burn brightly when there is an equal balance of fire and air. Love must never be used as an egoistic tool of getting what we want without respect for the other. A predominance of Fire consumes the love and destroys it. The heart cannot be bound, and love only survives if the heart is truly open and free in it's expression of love. Falling in love typically involves actual physical sensations of energy in both the Heart and Solar Plexus areas. To be successful there needs to be an open and balanced exchange of energy. An angel appears on this card, it is our higher selves uniting in love and openness with each other. Love relationships are where we learn our hardest lessons about power, sharing, bonding with and opening to others.





This is the first of the Chakra Tarot cards to include the Throat Chakra. The Tarot image is of a warrior in action, to ride his chariot he must keep fully in touch with the Earth (Root Chakra) while at the same time encompassing a totally open field of possibilities. The Throat Chakra is at the threshold of other dimensions and infinite possibilities. The Chariot is one's physical vehicle of self expression, communication and creativity; through focused action both the physical body and the energy body are developed. The Throat Chakra is linked to sound, and if we align the 7 basic Chakras with a 7 note musical scale the Chariot as 1-5, is the perfect fifth of musical harmony. This is the most harmonious combination of sounds possible, and gives a sense about the power and energy of the Chariot and Root-Throat connection. The colors, red and sky blue, are likewise powerful, the combination is flashing and intense. Moving forward in life requires a balancing of opposites, and achieving harmony.





Justice requires a balancing of creative energy. Blockages in the Sex Chakra are often reflexively felt in the Throat Chakra. Both chakras relate to creativity and the inner flow and expression of life force energy. Opening the Throat Chakra and communication can release and resolve tension and blocked energy in the Sex Chakra. Sex Chakra issues include money, financial involvements with others in relationships, everything related to sex and sexual involvements, use of creative resources, food, healing, and healthy expression of emotions. Emotional energy can become attached to these issues, and not talking about it can create pain, especially in the Throat area. Emotional energy is related to the Water Element and the life force. Justice in society deals with life and death issues. It is said that Justice can be blind, that it follows natural laws. Life force energy wants to flow, if it is cut off it will emerge somewhere else.

Sexual repression coupled with blocked communication (Throat Chakra) leads to confrontation, sometimes there is an inner demon which needs to be challenged and killed with love, to then become a friend. This demon can be a failure to see the other person, misplaced passion, addiction, dissatisfaction, or feeling sorry for oneself. Justice re-aligns the energy and it becomes a positive force as a creative expression of the life force.





The Hermit's light is Fire, it is the Inner Sun of the solar plexus and 3rd Chakra Power Center. Standing on a mountaintop, he lights the path to illumination, to awareness of the subtle inner worlds. The Aetheric element and Throat Chakra linkage open us to underlying patterns and vibrations, to awareness of the energy body and different levels of existence on up to communication with inner guides, spirits, masters and angels. Aether, the fifth element, is the origin and source of the first four, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The Hermit reminds us of our source and leads the way to being open and feeling connected to the universe. The Hermit is our inner teacher and guide as we learn to express ourselves as creative individuals. When the Power Chakra is imbalanced we can find inappropriate expression of Ego, personality and individuality. The Hermit card suggests a time for guidance, education, and inner work.





Creative expression (throat) and love (heart) make the world go around, turning the wheel of life and karma. The Heart Chakra is about opening oneself to growth and expansion, being open to both pleasure and pain, happiness and sadness, to the full range of life experiences. The throat Chakra tells us about The underlying patterns and potentials around us. Success comes when yes is the answer when asked "do you love your work?". The element Air suggests expansion and movement, The Wheel indicates a time for change and action. It also may be a time of dealing with the consequences of patterns that have previously been set into motion, linking it to karmic or past patterns and events, which have left an imprint on the heart.





This is the first of the Inner Eye cards. The Root Chakra is where Kundalini resides. Kundalini awakens with the opening of the Inner Eye. The Inner Eye is about introspection, about being able to step outside one's fears and emotions and to gain an objective look at oneself. It is developed through reflection upon oneself, through meditation and inner-self work. Tarot card 11, Strength, shows a woman embracing and subduing or taming a lion, it may be one's passions, uncontrolled power and the potential dangers in immature or premature opening of psychic powers. First you must master yourself on the physical dimension , the Root Chakra, Earth element. Strength is about overcoming fears, especially primal, root chakra fears about security and survival. This card represents the first step in the process of creating a link between the higher self (upper two chakras) and the lower (Root to Heart). In a reading this card suggests a time to look within and find inner strength, to access one's higher potential, or to put mind over matter.





The Hanged Man is oneself digesting inner experiences, especially emotional ones, reversing perception, looking at the inside of oneself and processing one's unconscious, emotional patterns. The Hanged Man is a Shaman, pushing deeper into hidden levels of awareness, with dreams, trance, and the Inner Eye visions. At issue is the clearing and healing of the Sex Chakra, and all it

represents, including sex, pleasure, emotions, healing, money, art, and creativity. Art can be very shamanistic, a way of reaching in to the inner depths, even the spirit worlds, dreams, and the unconscious psyche of the whole of humanity (planetary consciousness). As the ghosts of our inner world emerge we find out what we need to work on in ourselves for personal growth. Behavioral patterns can be recognized and understood through reflection upon planetary patterns and the art of Astrology. This card can mean that your world is turned upside down, and that it is time to get a better perspective on yourself.





The inner eye is like a gateway to inner worlds. Through it we become objective and detached, observing and accepting life as a flowing and changing process. Linked here to the third chakra, it is about death and letting go of the limitations of the personal ego, the body and a sense of separation. In life we need to both make and break away from attachments.

Unhealthy physical bodies are more limited, less able to create oneself. A truly healthy Power Chakra allows a feeling of connectedness to the whole universe, this is why it is so important to learn how to cultivate, generate and store Chi (life force energy) in our 3rd Chakras. Death is a transformation and release of energy. If the Power Center is depleted or weak it is harder to withstand the pressure of big changes in one's life, including death itself. Look to the previous Power Chakra cards to understand the fears that need to be overcome; fears about being alone (Priestess), mother love (Empress), romantic love (Lovers), and a spiritual quest for meaning (Hermit).





The path of the Inner Eye-Heart is one of beauty. It is where one clears and opens the Heart Chakra, cleansing it of dark shadows, bringing in a flow of rainbow light. The colors of this rainbow emphasize pink, green and blue. Rose and a clear green are Heart Chakra colors, deep space blue is the Inner Eye. Temperance in the Tarot is about inner balancing, it can indicate a time of sensitivity, openness, compassion, and opening to universal love. An Angel appears on this card, life force energy flows from one cup to another, a metaphor for inner transformations which create a stronger connection to one's higher self, accomplished by allowing a flow of love upward from the lower self to it's creator, spirit. The bridge between the heart and third eye is one of finding one's center, becoming aware of oneself through life's lessons of the Heart. The first Heart Chakra lesson was found in issues of the Father (Emperor-4), and responsibility, followed by The High Priest with Sex-Heart, The Lovers with power-Heart, and the Wheel with Throat and Heart. and karma. Temperance can indicate a time of confusion, and a need to become clear. It opens the path to the Sun, the final card of the Heart Chakra series which had Heart and Crown, enlightenment and clear consciousness.





This card marks a transition point in the Tarot major arcana journey. The Devil of the Tarot represents a testing or initiation into higher dimensions. In the Chakra Tarot it also marks a transition, as it is the final card before the Crown Chakra sequence begins (16-21). In initiation the energy body is awakened and the aetheric dimension is experienced. It is a time to look within and accept ourselves, even if we feel inadequate, inept and stupid. The only real stupidity is blinding oneself to one's mistakes instead of gratefully learning from them, thanking life and the universe for a chance to do real inner work and grow through experience. Self-mastery comes when we stop projecting our fears out into our world. The Inner Eye is about perspective, attitude and point of view, and the Throat is linked to communication and creative self expression. Together they suggest a need to see ourselves better, to confront ego, arrogance and the desire to control; to focus on attitude and communication problems.





The image of the lightning struck tower fits very well with the Root-Crown chakra connection. A tremendous release of energy takes place when the energy of the Crown chakra is grounded. It can be swift and surprising, changing everything in a moment. Going from the base of the spine to the top of the head, the Root and Crown is your own inner tower, and it will fall if not well rooted and grounded. As the final card of the Root Chakra series, this is one possible goal for the Magician, destroying stuck patterns and opening the way for the new. (The other place the Magician can go is the Star, with the completion of the Sex Chakra series). The Root Chakra cards relate to inner power, authority, motivation and will power; the Tower is the potential outcome.

The Tower links security issues with the not always cooperative agenda of the higher self.

Accidents and other setbacks can be the result of an imbalance. If the material self takes over and neglects the higher, "Tower experiences" may be the result. Sometimes a shock awakens, it can be transformed into an impulse toward a more spiritual life. The Tower can mean a need to get back to one's roots, to love and respect their physical body and material world as a vehicle of spirit.





Water is symbolic of life force energy, here it flows freely as a channel for spirit. This is a card of healing, of trusting in the universe, and knowing that there is enough to go around, freedom from fear, insecurity and holding on. Energy blockages in the Sex Chakra can relate to sex, money, food, pleasure, healing, art, beauty, vitality, and physical well being. Through the Sex Chakra energy is absorbed into the physical body. Blockages prevent the processing or digestion of experience and consequently produce a feeling of lack. The

Star knows no limitation, the universe is experienced as being complete and whole. Love and freedom are connected, and the doors are opened to a soul-mate relationship.





The Moon card is about memory, dreams, the past, akashic records, past lives, and other stored experiences. The solar plexus/3rd chakra is a center of mental energy, it is the body-brain, and it is here that attachments are both formed and broken. This card is preceded by Death in the Power Chakra series (power and inner eye), revealing a deep connection between the Moon and Death archetypes. If this card appears in a reading look to see if there is a spiritual crisis that has its roots in attachments, memories, and other power chakra issues. Emotional attachments based on fear may need clearing and releasing. There may be anger, projection and acting out of negative feelings with confusion between the fiery ego self and the spiritual self





There is a natural link between the Heart and the Crown chakras. The Heart chakra has 12 petals, the Crown of 1000 has a 12 petal center. Through the Heart and love there is a direct path to spirit. The heart is the doorway to the soul. The Sun card is about enlightenment, a free and open heart in touch with the higher self. When it appears in a reading a question to ask is "do your heart and your mind agree with each other". Fears and shadows in the Heart may create a blockage to communication with the higher self.

The image of a child upon a horse is symbolic, the horse is the body and the child is spirit, Spirit is carried by the body in the same way that the child rides the horse. This card can be about finding and re-connecting to innocence, purity, and the child within. It is the gift of love from the lower, physical self to the higher self and spirit.





In this card we have gone beyond the limitations of the physical body and have awakened into spiritual life. A process of rebirthing using breathwork and sound is practiced by some healers; shamanic voyages bring transformation through traveling on unseen pathways in the aetheric realms. Here we meet our ancestors, power animals, angelic guides, and other expressions of the patterns and energies of our inner lives and self. The cards with Throat Chakra linkages tell about the development of the aetheric realm in human life. It begins with Root and Throat,the Will or Chariot followed by Justice, 8, The Hermit 9, The Wheel 10, and The Devil 15. Awakening, arcana 20, follows the initiation and testing of card 15, The Devil. The image of the Angel on the card is Cosmic Consciousness, and the horn he blows is the Throat Chakra and sound, the channel through which higher consciousness flows.





This is the awakened light-body. The dancer on the card has balanced all inner energies through opening the Inner Eye to Cosmic Consciousness. This card represents a fulfillment and completion of the self, manifesting one's potentials, opening and clearing all the chakras. Nothing is hidden, the dancer is naked, with a rainbow scarf entwined around her body. The colors of the rainbow are the colors of the chakras. The crown chakra is radiating, giving energy in abundance back to the universe.

Just as card 20, Awakening, directly followed the Devil as the completion of the Throat Chakra sequence, The Universe. Arcana 21, directly follows the Devil and completes the Inner Eye linked cards. In initiation it is possible to go directly into the clear light or, if one is not prepared, to first go through the inner worlds of card 20 and awakening. In a reading this card suggests a need to focus on spiritual development and a sense of meaningfulness and purpose in one's life.


0. THE FLYING MAN (The Fool)


The seven chakras are superimposed over the image of a seated human figure, legs crossed in the lotus position. Imagine it is yourself, looking inward, to inner space. The third eye is in place of the head, with the crown radiating above. The Root Chakra at the base gives a sense of stability and being grounded.

Like the Fool card of the Tarot, the Flying Man, with all 7 chakras, represents the complete cycle of life experience. Look at the chakras as they fill the space within and around the Flying Man. White energy streams and dots are of prana and are everywhere, like stars. There is an electric, charged look to them. Each chakra relates to an element or aspect of the universe.

The Fool's journey through life is depicted step by step in the 21 cards of the Tarot. In the Chakra Tarot each of these 21 steps is related to the energy of two chakras interacting with each other.



Basic information given includes:

Chakra, Element, Colors, Number (of petals as a lotus flower), body connections, senses, and interpretations.


EARTH, RED, YELLOW-GOLD, BROWNS, 4 , Physical body, base of spine, spinal column, bones, Adrenal glands and Adrenalin, sense of smell.

Stability, physical power, groundedness, survival, balance, alertness, courage, stress, aggressiveness, anxiety, fear, anger, defensiveness, loyalty, security, traditions, beliefs, logic, structure, order, group consciousness, patriotism, family, moral codes, honor, lessons about the physical world, Kundalini.



WATER, ORANGE, PINK, 6, Emotional body, glandular organs, sex organs, sense of taste.

Vitality, absorption, pleasure, giving and taking, harmony, cyclical movement, love, physical and emotional contact, healing, relating and interacting with others in a

personal way, sex, desire, money, food, art, beauty, creative energy. Soul connections, sacred union, procreation. Self expression.



FIRE, YELLOW, SMOKE GREY, 10, Mental Body, solar plexus, pancreas, immune system, sense of sight. Inspiration, intuition, mental energy, self esteem, personal power, personality, ego, assertiveness, confidence, courage, strength of character, truthfulness, self respect, fear of rejection, attachment, ties, bonding, boundaries, resistance, immunity.



AIR, GREEN, ROSE PINK, 12, Astral body, Thymus, heart and lungs, circulation, hands, sense of touch. Openness, expansion, peace, acceptance, divine love, universal unconditional love, compassion. harmony, growth, being a child of the universe, sense of belonging, relatedness, forgiveness, trust, hope, healing, emotional health, soul connection, marriage.


AETHER, CLEAR BLUE, RED, 16, Soul body, voice, neck, mouth, thyroid, sense of hearing.

Will power, creativity, verbal expression, music, communication, sound, vibrational patterns, non-physical space, unseen underlying forms, archetypes, power of choice, faith, trust in and alignment with divine will, divine mercy and justice, honesty, self control, confession, speaking

one's truth, being non-judgmental, acceptance of life, self and others without seeking or needing justification or excuses.




INDIGO, WHITE, 2, Causal body, Pineal and Pituitary glands, eyes, ears, nose, brain, body rhythms and cycles.

Concentration, meditation, detachment from fear, contemplation, attaining wisdom, being open minded, introspection, self awareness, insight, objectivity, freedom from preconceived attitudes and beliefs, a sense of one's place in the universe. Recognition of personal patterns, astrological patterns, understanding of duality, experiencing unity. The causal body is a storage place for all information, including past lives, possible future, and reasons for the present incarnation and karma. The pituitary is light sensitive, Inner Eye issues include body rhythms, hormonal balance, life cycles, connecting to day and night, sleep patterns and schedules.




VIOLET, GOLD, WHITE, PASTEL RAINBOWS, 1000 petal lotus, Angelic body, Divine mind, the light body, prana, sense of meaning and purpose in life.

The Crown Chakra is outside the physical body, just as a crown rests upon the head. Your timeless ageless eternal soul lives outside of space and time. Clear consciousness, the higher self, spiritual insight, cosmic consciousness, enlightenment, eternity, transcendence, soul retrieval, completion, being in the here and now, living in the present, divine union, eternal self, mysticism, a sense of life purpose, spiritual transformation.

Creation of the Chakra Tarot

In 1990 a dream about the inner eye led to the creation of the Chakra Tarot. The dream was psychically connected to the man who could become my future husband , who then lived on another continent. We were only writing letters at that time and had not yet met in person, that would not happen until 1993. I told him the dream and he said it was amazing. I had described his private mediation. How could I know? Then he made a painting based on this and mailed it to me. I was inspired by it made a direct copy by tracing and transferring a drawing, then I painted one for myself. This was initiated exactly on the time of what was being called “the Harmonic Convergence”. Later I made a different version of the Inner Eye that had some elements of his original piece, and that version evolved even further to be part of the Chakra tarot cards. I love to paint, and decided to paint all of the 7 chakras. These are large paintings on full sheets of watercolor paper with acrylics.



Inspired and wanting to continue with more paintings, I started a new series of paintings, each one showing two of the seven basic chakras together. The underlying idea is that all parts are related to the whole and to each other. Like a partnership, each pair is an entity itself, and has a particular quality of it's own. There are 21 possible chakra pairs. By the end of 1993 all 21 paintings were all done, and in December I was married to one who would make it possible for me to fully manifest my work. When there is a deeper purpose to a connection life will support it, the love is powerful, and can not be denied, it only takes some courage and daring to recognize it and go with it.

The idea to make a Tarot did not come until after all the paintings had been done. Using photography I made a set of cards, and carried them around for at least a year or more looking at them, like a puzzle. Since there are 21 images of the chakra pairs and there are 21 major arcana in the tarot, excluding the Fool, I thought to link them to the Tarot, but did not know the order. After some searching, the concept of a natural order was discovered in a book of what was being called tantra sexual energy exercises based on moving energy through the chakras. There is a gradual progression starting with the Root and working up to the Crown. The exercises did not include all of the 21 combinations of my paintings, I adapted the concept to include all 21 combinations. The basic process is like a weaving, and includes all possible links. The Magician is the first two chakras, Root and Sex. The Universe, 21, is Inner Eye and Crown. I made one more painting showing all 7 chakras, it corresponds to the Fool, and represents the complete cycle.



The process of creation was not yet finished with the completion of the 21 mandala paintings. At that time I was replacing photography with laser printing as a way of making decks. I needed smaller images, and decided it also would be good to emphasize the tarot connections. So another smaller set of paintings was made using laser prints of the mandalas I cut out and pasted onto them partial images from my version of the RWS deck, the Illuminated Tarot. Then I integrated them by painting into them with acrylics. If you compare Chakra Mandala and Chakra Tarot you will see the differences. This created a whole new set of paintings, the Chakra Arcana Tarot. Later, with Chakra Mandala yet another new set of paintings was made to make it possible to make card sized prints. I photographed the very large original mandala paintings which were too big to scan and print from directly on the color copier and made smaller copies which I partially over-painted and adjusted to enhance the colors.



Over time several variations of the printing of the Chakra Tarot evolved with card making. At first I had a set with multi colored borders. Later, most of the decks I made were with white borders and titles. Presently I have only a very few remaining of these and when they are gone there will be no more. Instead I now have a borderless version, it has small inconspicuously placed numbers to identify the cards, no titles otherwise. The decks are being printed at a new printer, and the quality of the image is super fine, the colors are totally what they are meant to be, and the card stock is thicker.