First things first, lets start off with a few Tarot basics. Chances are, you already know all of this since you’re here – but just in case, here is a rundown of tarot cards.
Tarot Card Decks
Most standard Tarot decks are comprised of 78 cards. The cards are divided into two parts: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.
Further, the Minor Arcana are divided into four suits – cups, wands, pentacles, and swords. These suits correlate with the four elements. In each suit, there are numerical cards and court cards, comprised of the Page, the Knight, the King, and the Queen.
The Major Arcana cards represent the key moments in our lives. They are important and denote a life lesson of some sort. When they show up in a reading, it typically indicates that we are in a period of growth or change, or that we are being asked to look deeper at a situation.
There are 22 Major Arcana cards in a deck. These are sometimes referred to as the ‘Fool’s Journey’ and they depict universal themes and stages that we go through during our lives.
The Minor Arcana, on the other hand, represent the day to day experiences of life.
The 56 Minor Arcana cards are divided into four suits, which in turn, are divided into numerical cards (Ace through 10) and court cards.
The court cards represent people or qualities. When they show up in a reading, it can be indicating a specific person in your life, or it could be indicating that you need to take on some of the qualities of that card.
Suit of Cups 🌊
Cups are symbolic of the Water element. Water is constantly moving and flowing. It can be gentle, but it can also be a powerful force. Thus, cups represent our emotional realm. Like water, our feelings can constantly change and shift. They can be gentle or fierce and overwhelming.
Suit of Wands 🔥
Wands represent the element of Fire. They symbolize the creative and social realm – our passions in life. Fire is energetic and fierce, so Wands represent our creative and passionate ideas in action.
Suit of Pentacles 🌱
The suit of Pentacles is associated with the element of Earth. They represent the material world. As pentacles are literally coins, this suit symbolizes money, resources, and potential. They are closely linked with work as well as with the home, security, and nature.
Suit of Swords ☁️
Swords are associated with the Air element. They represent the realm of the mind, symbolizing thoughts, intellect, and objectivity. Swords have two sides – they can be used as weapons to hurt others, or as tools to create.
A number of the sword cards in Tarot have more negative meanings, so often, this suit represents the challenges we face in life.
Court Cards 👑
There are four court cards in each suit – the Page, the Knight, the Queen, and the King. Each one represents a different stage of development. This doesn’t always translate to age, of course, but rather the development within each suit.
As the “youngest” court card, the Page represents those who are just beginning on their journey. They are enthusiastic and full of energy and are discovering a new side of themselves. They also tend to be a symbolic messenger – they often indicate a new opportunity or a new idea.
They are more mature than Pages and further along on their journey, but they haven’t fully developed. Knights are highly action-oriented and enthusiastic. If the Page represents an idea, the Knight represents carrying that idea out.
The Queen is a symbol of the feminine. She has reached a high level of mastery within her suit. She has a deeper understanding of herself and others, so she is considered a master of the internal realm. Thus, the Queen of Cups has mastered her own internal emotions, but she might not be as authoritative at expressing herself.
As the “oldest” member of the court, the King represents complete maturity. He has mastered the realm of his suit and is now in full control. The King of Swords, then, would be seen as someone who has mastered their own intellectual abilities and is able to be objective and clear-thinking.
Now that you know a bit about the tarot basics, we can get into the fun stuff! Each card has a specific meaning – while that heavily depends on the reading (the question asked, the situation, the spread used), there is a general meaning associated with each one.
I’ll be pulling a card each day that I post to write about as well as some example readings I do for others (permission depending, of course).
Thanks for reading! Let me know your tarot experiences in the comments below!