This is a very basic written explanation of how *I* read the Tarot. Please bear in mind this is MY way, not the only or ‘one true’ way, this is simply how I have learned both from past teachers, books, many years of reading Tarot and with what directly works for myself. Obviously this is serious shorthand, there is much more to be said with regard to instinct and spiritual beliefs. For example I pick up additional information and messages not just from the cards themselves, but from a shared, universal consciousness, and/or spirit world, and/or spirit guides that the cards help allow me to access. These are things I have learned through my own ‘time served’ as it were, but this guide shall have to suffice as an outline. Feel free to skip this section and go to your own interpretation; however it may help to clarify things afterwards.
NOTE: I do not sugar coat, I say it like I see it, so please don’t be offended; I just read them, please don’t shoot the messenger!
Firstly we begin with the Minor Arcana, made up of four suits just like normal playing cards except that the basic suits of the Tarot are Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles.
Cups represent youth, innocence, naivety, optimism. Wands are the teen years, enormous learning and growth. Swords are adulthood, struggles, battles but also pruning the wheat from the chaff of our life in order to finally get to Pentacles, representing maturity, riches and richness of life, having our metaphorical ‘garden’ of life the way we would wish and in the way that makes us truly content.
NOTE: It doesn’t always work as simply as we might like or this may indicate; we may go through these phases time and time again to truly reach Pentacles in a good way, we may get ‘stuck’ at one of the phases, or need to learn a particular lesson in order to move on. Most of us take at least a few times slipping backwards, having to learn and re-learn lessons from each phase again before moving on. It’s merely a guide.
So to super simplify Phases: Cups = childhood. Wands = teenage years. Swords = adulthood. Pentacles = maturity.
…represented by the Suits. Cups represent all that is beautiful in life, love, art, beauty, music, nurturing and caring. Wands represent all the lessons that we learn as we go through life. Swords represent all the struggles and battles, but also periods of pruning, where we have to decide who or what is healthy for us, or not, and be ruthless in our pruning for our own well-being and growth. Pentacles represents the garden we create in life for ourselves, the ‘end dream’ of how we would wish to live, full of abundance, happiness, health and riches… however we as individuals may see that for ourselves.
So to super simplify Ideals: Cups = love. Wands = growth. Swords = battles. Pentacles = riches.
…of the suits. People reflecting the characteristics of the suits, both positive and negative
- Cups are either the soft pushovers who can’t escape the search for love, or the greatest, truest loves of them all, inspirational, intuitive, truly deep of heart, caring and nurturing of all the other suits. Sometimes psychic themselves.
- Wands is the eternal student, always willing to learn and pursuing knowledge, becoming the guides and the teachers, mentors and wisdom seekers. They can also be the ones who never grow up, stuck in unwitting or determined refusal to grasp swords, unable to move forwards therefore to pentacles. Strong, passionate, sometimes hasty.
- Swords can be the fiercest, staunchest supporters, fighting for the underdog, great to have in your corner. They can be witty, charming, very intelligent and charismatic. However they can be sharp tongued, cruel or aggressive and you don’t want one as an enemy. Fiery and attractive, intellectually supreme.
- Pentacles can be wise, all knowing, having learnt all the lessons this life has to teach them. They can have achieved wealth, happiness, riches and richness of life for themselves and all those around them. The spiritual made material, noble, warm hearted and a tower of strength. They can also be the dreamers, the idealistic, who know their dreams but haven’t the tenacity to get through wands and swords to make them real. They can also be scheming, work addicted, focused on business and money, missing the point that riches lay in all aspects of life, not merely possessions or achievement.
ADDITIONAL NOTES on MINOR ARCANA
- The four suits contain cards 1 to 10, 1 being the beginning of a phase of that suit, 10 being the end or cumulation of it.
- Each card has an ADDITIONAL specific meaning of its own, as well as it being a progress marker through the phase.
- There are of course at the head of each suit, the Character Cards (King, Queen, Knight, Page). Personally I have found that generally these represent people in your life. Sometimes there are exceptions and the separate meaning of that card is more relevant.
Characters tend to (but not always) adhere to the following: Cups = fair haired, fair eyed. Wands = fair to medium hair and eyes including redheads. Swords = medium to darker hair and eyes. Pentacles = darker hair and eyes. NOTE: a cups (blond, love) or a pentacles (dark, maturity) inherent character may of course progress through all the phases, so a blonde-cups-type being in a phase of pentacles, doesn’t change their innermost nature or their hair colour.
In addition we have the 5th suit, otherwise known as the Major Arcana. Whereas the Minor Arcana tend to deal with the day-to-day of our existence, the things we deal with right here, right now, the common and regular things we can relate to as everyday… the Major Arcana are a big red flag. There are Major Arcana cards that are beautiful and terrifying, brilliant and sublime, sparse and abundant. When you need guidance that is somehow more deeply rooted, more important in ‘life’ not in right now, more important for ‘you’, not just your daily grind… there you will find the Major Arcana card to wave a flag or slap you around the metaphorical head!
There are also character cards within the Major Arcana. They often represent a person in the client’s life; they are Kings and Queens who have surpassed the everyday, matured to a wisdom and level that they can be represented by Major Arcana cards themselves.
NOTE: It’s uncommon to have more than one or two major arcana cards. Generally speaking our day-to-day lives are what come out to be told in readings. The more Major Arcana cards there are (certainly more than a couple) then the more important the reading is for the recipient. Big flags, important messages, those are the reason for the Major Arcana.
NOTE RE EMAIL READINGS
Please read along through my email/written whilst looking at the photograph I send you, it will show you the cards as I speak of them and hopefully give you a better feel for them and help you to find your own interpretations through my words, individually. It’s not easy to discuss the cards by text, so please do feel free to give me a call should you want to go through them with me. Naturally in person this problem doesn’t exist, you can see the cards right alongside me.
I hope this has helped you to understand where I’m coming from in reading the Tarot for you. Obviously there is so much more to it than can be explained in such a brief introduction, for example the spiritual side of it would be an article in itself, but my hope is that this will suffice and encourage you in having a reading from me.