Breaking Down the Suits

The Minor Arcana is broken down into 4 suits, much like a playing card deck. These are generally called the “pip” cards and mostly relate to day to day events. When reading I look at which suits are more prominent and which are absent, that will give you the overall feel of the reading. Each suit has its own story and journey. In general the elements stay the same from reader to reader but seasons and “time reading” is really how you interpret it. Time is the most difficult thing to read as the cards are only a snapshot of the path you are on in that exact moment. Consider predictions a bonus instead of a goal. Now onto the suits:


Suits by Seasons: my own interpretation. As you read you will connect to your own.

Wands: Spring
Cups: Summer
Pentacles: Fall
Swords: Winter


Wands: The Idea
With the element of fire this suit relates to knowledge and new ideas. I see this card a lot when relating to learning and figuring out goals in your life path. This can also relate to passions and work growth. When looking at multiples: i see this as not only very firey energy but also big growth, knowledge, and decision making to some extent. Different from the swords, which is cooler energy, this is anything that stokes a fire in your belly. Too much fire and you could get burned out quickly. The new ideas could burn so bright they are out in an instant and you are on to the next.

Cups: The Emotions
The cups are ruled by the element of water. These cards can get really dreamy and into feelings and imagination. In multiples I generally see this as a person’s feelings more so than outward manifestations. This can relate to be emotional shifts and growth in the psyche. Any decisions are going to be decisions of the heart. This is also a super psychic area so prepare for a lot of dreams, deja vus, and altered realities.

Swords: The Mind
Of course ruled by the air element: this suit relates to intelligence, thinking, movement, and decision making. Different from the wands, this relates to decisions that are coming from your mind instead of your gut. These are probably the most challenging cards but it is only because our minds are the most difficult to separate from. If it wasn’t none of us would need meditation. It’s a good thing to remember when working with swords energy. When seeing multiples this relates to big mental activity or swift movements and decisions. Sometimes it points to being trapped in the mind as well with no external decision making. When this happens it’s good to find ways to step back into your body to let the mental chatter dissipate.

Pentacles: The Earth
This suit relates to all things material and is generally looked at as the financial cards. This relates to work for money vs. work for passion (ie. the wands). This suit also relates to the physical and the body. Multiples relate to material growth and manifestations that can be seen and touched. I like to think of it as “this is what I have” or “this is what I’m building”. Too much earth and you could become dispassionate and complacent. You might also get stuck in doing things out of duty or other external pressures instead of your own internal desires.

I bought a deck, now what?

Congratulations!

Welcome to the great world of Tarot.

I promise it is a lot less spooky than the movies and some readers make it out to be. The first order of business depends on how you acquired this deck. If it is brand new from the store it shouldn’t have too much energy attached to it and you can proceed to the 2nd step. If you picked it up from a friend, a used book store, another reader, or lying on the street you probably want to cleanse it the first few nights. Take a clear quartz and place it on top and let your deck hang out for a few days like this. You can also light some sage or a candle and pass the cards through the smoke (just don’t set them on fire). Envision the smoke picking up all the energy residue and taking it away. Do this till you feel the cards become neutralized, as if you could use them to play a good game of gin.

The next thing you want to do is sleep with your deck. You can place it under your pillow or next to your bed. The important thing here is they pick up your energy and you can start to begin to connect to them. You can also start playing with them, shuffling and looking at each card if they pop out. Feel free to ask simple questions like “what will today bring?” and see what pops out. I’ve also read people talk about interviewing their deck, asking questions like what questions can you help me with and what energy do you have?

Every deck has it’s own personality. I’ve owned 4 and they are all very different when it comes to readings. It’s good to know your deck’s personality, especially when it is tired of your questions and starts giving bogus answers. Trust me, they do this. Even the universe gets tired of answering questions.

The thing is to explore with your deck along side reading the booklet. The books can give you the author’s meaning and this can be helpful, especially with more artistic decks. But the way to connect to your deck and your own intuition is by first interpreting what you see and then check with the book.

I would recommend starting a tarot journal of and begin with daily pulls. You can write down in the morning of what you believe the card means and then check back at the end of the day with how the day went down, meanings from the book and how they relate to each other and your own interpretation.

I promise this is going to be nonsense in the beginning but the further you go along the more you will see patterns and start connecting the meanings to the cards. For every card there’s 10,000 and 1 meanings. If you begin diving deep into the meanings you will get lost and suddenly every pull is telling you that you must be pregnant and your partner is cheating on you and you may just lose your job today. All in one card. It is both the joy and pain of Tarot, 78 cards – an infinite amount of meanings. So start small, ask about your day, your lunch, your business meeting, then forget about it.

When you come back at the end of the day you’ll have the power of hindsight to evaluate how the card did or didn’t fit. Intuition is a practice just like playing the piano. If you never done it before you’re going to make a lot of mistakes but if you keep at it you’ll get stronger and more savvy with the keys you have to work with.

What is Tarot anyways?

No one knows where exactly the Tarot deck came but many people trace it back to card games in the 1600s. To say what came first, the card game or the divination, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. We take these past 10-15 years for granted with the age of the internet and the sudden popularization of the occult. Back even when I was young no one talked about tarot. You found many a few decks in Barns and Noble: mostly Rider Waite Tarot for Idiots. Before then it wasn’t even sold in stores. It was passed along from person to person and never talked about. I implore you to start asking the older generation about tarot. There will be a shocking number of people who will reply “Oh yea, I own a deck. I never read it but…” and then they will proceed to tell you how they acquired such a deck. This how Tarot spread, through word of mouth. Then eventually books were written and now there is a full display of tarot cards at Urban Outfitters for anyone occult curious.

So what is Tarot?

It’s in short a card deck made up of 4 minor suits and 1 set of major trump cards. This is referred to as the major arcana and the minor arcana. The major arcana, the 22 trump cards, relate to big picture items in a person’s life whereas the minor suits relate to the day to day. Reading them is a dance between big picture and small picture, just as our lives are a dance between the little things and the important overarching lessons.

There are 3 schools of thought for Tarot: The Rider-Waite, The Thoth Deck, and the Marseille deck. Each deck has its own set of meaning and rules but many overlap. The key to picking a deck is pick the one that speaks to you then go from there.