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One of the reasons that tarot cards are a great tool for anyone is that they can relate to anything that is a part of life. They relate to anything that is a part of your struggles, triumphs, events, situations, and even part of things that you simply encounter on a daily basis.

How Can the Tarot Help with Depression?

Complex feelings around depression can be represented in the tarot. Indeed, depression tarot spread helps make sense of negative emotions and insidious habits. Learn how to do a tarot reading for any situation if you are interested in the concept of your mental state. The cards can also have implications for physical health.

The fact of the matter is that mental illness plagues a lot of people. Even though there are is a lot more awareness around mental illnesses that have reduced a lot of the stigma it used to have, the stigma is still there. As someone who struggles with depression, I want to do what I can to smash it. Therefore, I bring awareness about it in other ways. And I will be blogging about it here as well. Let’s first talk about what depression really is before delving into things further.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a term used to describe a wide range of feelings. It is a state of emotional pain that often overlaps with feelings of sadness, guilt, helplessness, and frustration. If you feel like nothing will ever get better, and you feel hopeless about the future, these are some of the symptoms of depression. When you are depressed, your world can seem like a cold, unforgiving place and everything that used to give you joy can seem unimportant or nonexistent. At best, it can be difficult to perform even basic daily activities such as brushing your teeth or getting dressed.

Depression is characterized by:

  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Loss of enthusiasm in things you once enjoyed
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight changes
  • Low libido
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Problems with concentration
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive issues
  • Suicidal ideation or when it is severe, attempts

These symptoms would have to be present for at least two weeks for there to be a diagnosis, and the treatment for depression is medication and therapy, and sometimes medication cannot help if you are resistant. Either way, if you have these symptoms of depression, you need to seek treatment right away. Especially if you are starting to have suicidal thoughts. There are different degrees and types of depression. Mothers that have given birth that exhibit these symptoms have postpartum depression.

Those that are undergoing a lot of stress and are dealing with a stressful period such as the situation regarding the pandemic, that is situational depression. If you are depressed from caregiving, then that is caregiver depression. However, if none of those things are happening and you are struggling with depression due to chemical imbalances, then that is clinical depression which is what I struggle with or Major Depressive Disorder.

Using the Tarot to Understand and Move Through Depression

A Tarot reading can be used as a tool to gain insight into the present situation and future of the individual, based on the person’s question. The reading helps in clarifying situations and facilitating insights that lead to a better understanding of self. In fact, what I want to do today is to go over the seven tarot cards for depression. Let’s go over those cards right now.

Which Tarot Cards Represent Depression?

Do you want to know what tarot cards represent depression? If you do, you’ve come to the right place. The cards listed below should help shed a little light on your situation or that of someone close to you. And remember: if someone you know is truly suffering from depression, it’s best that they seek the advice of a trusted medical professional for accurate diagnoses and treatment.

There are seven cards that best represent depression:

Five Of Cups

Five of Cups

Five of Cups

Five of Cups is the tarot card that represents disappointment and sadness. This card generally comes up in readings that have to do with relationships or friendships that have ended.

The Five Of Cups is a card of loss. It signifies the passing of something or someone from your life, but there is an air of bittersweetness to the card.

There are feelings of sadness and remorse that cannot be released and are taking up the mind and heart.

This card often comes up as well whenever someone is sad about something they had their hopes on not working out.

Eventually, under normal circumstances, those feelings of sadness do fade when it comes to disappointment from a lost love, a friendship that went bad, or hopes and dreams being dashed.

What happens when those feelings of sadness and disappointment are persistent and won’t disappear? That is one major aspect of depression.

Queen Of Cups Reversed

queen of cups reversed

Queen of Cups Reversed

When the Queen of Cups Reverses it can mean that the woman is in a very bad place emotionally. Perhaps she has been betrayed by someone close to her or she is struggling with the death of someone she loved very much. This card reversed can also mean that a woman is struggling with depression and feeling rather low on life in general. The Queen of Cups Reversed means that these feelings are very strong at this time and will affect almost everything in her life

The Queen of Cups represents someone who is very nurturing, compassionate, as well as sensitive, and being motherly. However, when this card is in reverse, this represents someone who is detached and isolated from something or someone.

They are unable to face up to reality and will remain in denial of the situation they are in.

When this happens for a prolonged period of time, it causes one to bottle up their feelings and they begin to feel hopeless. They feel like the victim.

They don’t address their emotions, and it can definitely represent falling into a serious depression.

This card can also represent caregiver depression as well as postpartum depression.

Five Of Pentacles

Five of Pentacles

Five of Pentacles

The Five of Pentacles stands for a variety of things. It can be a reminder that sometimes we have to take what we can get, even if it isn’t the best situation. It can also represent the need to give up on something or someone.

The Five of Pentacles is a tarot card that represents ill health, poverty, and debt. You don’t generally tie emotions to this earthy suit. However, your physical and financial well-being will have an impact on your mental health.

This card represents a time in which we need to accept that nothing is perfect. We have to accept that there will be setbacks and disappointments in our lives and learn how to cope with them. This card may be telling you that you have to give up your hopes and dreams for something or someone in order to move forward.

As you see the Five of Pentacles is represents financial hardship and debt as well as ill physical health. Therefore, it can easily represent neglect on an emotional level and a feeling of helplessness.

When you are in serious financial hardship and there is no one who can help, and if you are dealing with a chronic illness, you are going to feel quite helpless.

As the situation keeps worsening and there is no light at the end of the tunnel, you cannot help but end up in a depression. This card, therefore, is also linked to situational depression.

However, even if there are no financial hardships involved, depression is a chemical imbalance that represents mental illness. That is an illness that can be represented alone by this card.

Three Of Swords

Three of Swords

Three of Swords

The Three of Swords is the heartbreak tarot card and it represents sadness, heartache, pain, and grief. This card can represent pain after facing a heartbreaking loss. The Three of Swords is a card of loss, sorrow, and grief. It is the card of betrayal, where someone has left you or turned against you. This could be a breakup between lovers or even a relationship with your family.

The Three of Swords can also represent having to make a decision between two different options and the resulting emotions that follow. The card may also indicate an addiction or substance abuse problem, which is why it is often associated with the color black and the Ace of Cups in a reading.

This card is all about pain: physical pain if there has been physical injury; emotional pain if there has been betrayal; mental pain if there has been a change in direction; and/or spiritual pain if there has been a loss in faith or a crisis of meaning in your life.

You may feel as though your heart has been ripped out and displayed on a plate for everyone to see. The Three of Swords is usually considered to be one of the most difficult cards to read in Tarot because it signifies such intense emotional pain. Yet this pain can ultimately lead us to our greatest lessons and our greatest growth.

And it can be indicative of not having the ability to become free of the pain that is self-inflicted.

Therefore, it is very true that you can worsen a situation if you ruminate over it as it will keep reminding yourself of the sadness around it. You will then feel there is no escape from the sadness and pain. Therefore, this card can certainly be indicative of any type of depression that you could be suffering from as well. There may be no loss that had occurred. But if you are persistently heartbroken within, then that is depression.

Eight Of Swords

Eight of Swords

Eight of Swords

The Eight of Swords represents believing you are imprisoned as the card has the subject blindfolded as they are surrounded by eight swords. There is the belief that you are trapped, restricted, and there is just no way out of this prison.

This prison is within when it comes to the Eight of Swords, and that is exactly what depression is about. You feel completely trapped in so much sadness and pain.

The Eight of Swords represents a person who is stuck in their current situation, unable to move forward to whatever awaits them. They are bound by outside forces and the feeling that they are not in control of the situation.

What is interesting about this card is that it can be seen on many different levels. It represents the bondage of depression and other mental illnesses, as well as the bondage of addiction and other controlling behaviors the card also represents being unsure of your direction in life, being uncertain where you are going or what your future holds. Sometimes it even represents feelings of being unappreciated at work or home.

To some degree, it is one of those cards that means different things to different people, even though those meanings are often connected. For example, someone who is depressed will often feel as if others around them can’t see how bad they feel, so this card could represent how everyone else seems to be able to see past their pain and suffering. On the other hand, someone with an addiction might feel as if everyone else sees their addiction except for them, so this card would mean something different for them.

Nine Of Swords

Nine of Swords

Nine of Swords

The Nine of Swords is the nightmare card. The subject is awake at night with the hands covering their face, and you can say this card is more related to anxiety. Yes, this card would be one that represents anxiety as well as a deep depression.

The woman in the card is in an extremely vulnerable position: she is blindfolded, bound, and kneeling. Her shoulders are slumped forward and her hair is loose, falling down around her face. This shows that she is at the end of her strength. The most important thing to know about this card is that it represents an ending — a release from something or a letting go.

The nine of swords can be interpreted as an ending of pain and suffering or as a sudden change for the better — either way, there’s no turning back. This card usually appears when you’ve reached the end of your rope, and you’re ready to move on to bigger and better things.

The meaning of this particular card can be slightly different depending on which other cards surround it in a spread. If you get this card along with the hanged man, for example, it could indicate that you will have to let go of someone who has brought you down with them, whether that person is dead or alive. This can also mean that you must let go of some heavy emotional baggage in order to move on with your life.

However, the thing that comes to mind with the Nine of Swords is the inability to sleep at night due to negative thoughts going through your mind. Insomnia is a common symptom of depression. You have these unpleasant thoughts about yourself and your situation that are keeping you up at night. This is exactly what this card represents which is why it is also associated with depression.

This card also represents feelings of grief, regret, and sadness which are once again associated with depression. Especially if these feelings consume you.

Ten Of Swords

Ten of Swords

Ten of Swords

The Ten of Swords shows a person kneeling on the ground with nine swords piercing through their back. Their posture and expression on their face show great defeat and despair. There are two more swords above them in the air as if they were falling from the sky. The background is cloudy and gloomy showing that this situation will not get any better anytime soon.

The Ten of Swords represents depression, betrayal, loss, and stagnation. It can also represent a turning point in your life and an indication that you must change something.

The Ten of Swords is the card that represents endings to the point that there is no return. Someone who has fallen deep into a depression will feel that they are so lost that they can never go back to being who they once were before they fell into a serious depression.

However, because this card really does represent the loss of something, this card is more tied to both grief and depression. And one of the five stages of grief is depression.

Try This: DIY Depression Tarot Spread

The spread for depression is a reflection on the tarot card deck. On one hand, you can use the deck to reflect on your emotions and your perspective. On the other, you can use it to gain insight from another person’s point of view. This spread isn’t necessarily meant as a guide as to what will come to pass, but more insight as to how you may be feeling. This is a spread that can be done on a single card, or for more detailed answers you can do it on several cards. Anyone can do it! Just follow the simple instructions below.

What you need:

  • A tarot deck you feel comfortable with. Try my Penguin Tarot, if you like, or use one you already have on hand. (Here are a few more suggestions for you).
  • A quiet, safe place to do your reading
  • A little free time where you can work uninterrupted.

What you do:

When you first pick up your deck, prepare for your reading as you normally would. Be sure you’ve decided in advance how many cards you’ll read. Go through each of the cards in turn, and simply ask for advice about your issues. This spread is about the present time. Now, lay out up to five cards.

  • Card 1: This card represents your current situation. It is the most prominent influence on your life at this time.
  • Card 2: This card represents what is influencing you at this time.
  • Card 3: This card represents how you feel about your current situation.
  • Card 4: This card represents what you are feeling now (i.e., right now, not necessarily this moment.)
  • Card 5:  This card represents how others perceive you at this time. (They may be holding back their feelings or trying to be supportive.)


Depression is a terrible mental health condition, but the good news is that there is a lot of help around for treating it whether it is through therapy and medication, or therapy alone. No one should ever suffer in silence, and if you are suspecting that you are struggling with depression, please speak up. Don’t suffer in silence anymore and help break the stigma.

More Resources for Learning to Read Tarot

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