Tarot cards are a deck of cards that are commonly known for being used for fortune telling or divination. The fancy word for this activity is cartomancy. A Tarot deck will normally consist of 78 cards, split into two parts. The first part is the Major Arcana (22 cards) and the second is the Minor Arcana (56 cards).
The Minor Arcana is split into four suits (reminiscent of those in a playing deck) running from ace to ten with four royal cards in the form of a page, a knight, a queen and a king. The four suits are named Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles.
Fully understanding the structure of the Tarot cards is a gift when giving readings. Before you even consider the individual cards or the spread position they’ve appeared, you can get a high level glimpse of the tone of the reading and the types of things the customer is experiencing.
At a very high level, the Major Arcana will denote, larger, more significant people and milestone events in life. You’ll often hear people talk about archetypes which basically means, widely recognised characters, characteristics or behaviours.
If the reading is dominated by Major Arcana cards then you can deduce from that alone that the Querant is going through some significant stuff.
The four suits represent the more regular, day to day cycles of life and both the good and bad that comes along with them. They illustrate a range of situations and people across these life experiences or attributes:
Cups – feelings, emotions, relationships of all kinds
Wands – enterprise, achievements, adventures, hobbies
Pentacles – home, stability, finance, foundations
Swords – state of mind, conflict, illness, issue
On from that the numbers associated with the suit cards can be a gauge of the progress that has been made along a chosen path. An Ace, for an example, will depict a situation, relationship, job or whatever that’s imminent or just starting. Conversely, the Tens are the culmination of a situation and facing the outcome, good or bad. You can find more information on the Minor Arcana and its four suits here.
Then you have the Royal cards which generally depict people or characters who are part of, or influence the situation in some way. The Royal cards in our deck are:
- Page – quite a young person, possibly a child or possibly immature behaviour if representing someone older
- Knight – again, a young person but more like an adolescent. They are now trying to make themselves known or understood in some way
- Queen – A young lady or woman
- King – A more mature man
By running through this thought process when you sit down to read, you’ll have some context to start with and attach your Tarot card meanings to. A reader goes on to add further clarity and depth by considering the spread position the card has turned up in.
As you gain experience reading and using Tarot for yourself and others, you’ll develop a relationship with your deck/s and a confidence in your interpretation of their message. Over time, you won’t need the Tarot card meanings, but you’ll have your very own take on the special nuance of a card whenever it turns up.