Learning how to read the Minor Arcana cards is super easy: Simply combine the elemental and numerical energies of that card to generate new keywords. You don’t have to memorize definitions.
Keywords for the four Suits:
Wands (element of Fire): Action, passion, movement
Cups (element of Water): Emotions, psychic, passive, illusion, subconscious
Swords (element of Air): Intellect, thinking, communication, conscious
Pentacles (element of Earth): Physicality, manifestation, earthly matters
Keywords for the numbers:
1 (Aces): Potentiality, opportunity
2: Balance, combine, duality, choice
3: Creativity, generation, foundation
4: Foundation, stability, complacency
5: Conflict, loss, struggle
6: Symbiosis, exchange
7: Challenge, cohesion
8: Transition, metamorphosis, movement
9: Nearing completion, fulfillment
10: Completion, saturation, fulfillment
Seven of Cups = challenge + emotions = Emotions can cause us to see something that’s not really there. The Seven of Cups is about illusion and fantasy.
Hanson Roberts Tarot
Nine of Swords = thinking + fulfillment = Too much thinking yields anxiety. The Nine of Swords shows a distraught woman who can’t sleep at night.
Hanson Roberts Tarot
Two of Cups = combine + emotions = Mutually shared feelings. The Two of Cups is about like-minded people coming together in mutual admiration.
Hanson Roberts Tarot
Using this method will provide you with a basic understanding of each card. From there, you can build on the basics by drawing a daily Tarot card and observing what kinds of experiences you have over the course of that day.
What other combinations do you see? Comment below.
But working with Tarot is also a highly personalized experience. It’s not just about memorizing keywords, it’s about being able to go beyond the traditional meanings and bring a personal touch to your interpretation.The most accurate readings come as a result of applying the card meanings that resonate with you the most. And the only way to know which meanings those are is to experience them for yourself.
When reading for myself or someone else, each card that appears in the spread opens a floodgate of memories. I am not a psychic Tarot reader who channels voices, feels things, or sees visual images in my mind’s eye. I rely primarily on past memories and lessons learned from personal experiences to interpret what the cards are saying. On occasion, I pull a card and a song will pop into my head. I have Mercury in Pisces, so it’s common for me to get messages through lyrics.
We can interpret Tarot cards by drawing upon our memories and personal experiences because Tarot represents archetypal experiences that are universal to everyone regardless of where you hail from. Regardless of whether you are a man or woman, black, white, or brown, Jew, Buddhist or Christian, all human beings share certain experiences in common.
We all know what it means to fall in love and be totally transformed by a partner, an experience captured by the The Lovers. In this card we project our ideal vision of the opposite sex onto our romantic partners, and get to know our inner masculine and inner feminine through relationships.
At some point, everyone has to confront their fears and learn how to control them so that they don’t control us, which is what Strength is all about. Life will call in each and every one of us to face our fears head on, whether that be via learning how to confront people, being alone, or losing something dear to you.
And I’m sure that each and every one of us has made a mistake that eventually came back to bite us in the ass. Justice dishes out lessons, both positive and negative, about karma. Everyone knows what it feels like to be avenged by the Universe, as well as deserving whatever punishment is being meted out to you.
The purpose of the card-a-day practice is to develop a compendium of memories that we can attach to specific cards and draw on when they appear in a reading.
Whenever I see the Nine of Pentacles, I think back on the good times I had when I went hiking with a friend on one of my favorite trails in the city. One of the traditional meanings of this cards speaks to slowing down and enjoying life. That experience taught me to see the ways in which wealth can assume non-monetary forms. Leisure is in and of itself a form of wealth.
The Star reminds me of an old relationship I had several years ago, and the ego wounds that relationship helped me heal. Because it came up repeatedly in my daily draws during that time period, The Hanged Man reminds me of the person whom I had that relationship with, and the hard lessons he taught me about myself when our time together came to an end.
The Hierophant stalked me during my grad school days, particularly when I was butting heads with my advisor about the direction I wanted to take my work. After I graduated, I realized this card was trying to tell me that I needed to take the time to understand and acknowledge the theoretical paradigms of scholars who came before me before I would be in a position to challenge their work.
These are all experiences that inform the interpretation I bring to the cards when I am reading for someone else. During a reading I won’t talk about the specifics of my personal life per se, but I will discuss those experiences in general terms and apply it to the querent’s situation.
To cultivate a personalized rapport with your Tarot cards, do the CARD-A-DAY EXERCISE:
STEP 1 – In the morning or before you go to bed, shuffle your deck. When you feel the time is right, pull a card.
It’s up to you whether you want to ask a question as you do this, which can provide a framework to help you interpret that card. Some questions you can ask are:
What do I need to know about today?
What is the prevailing energy of the day?
What advice should I keep in mind today?
STEP 2 – In your Tarot journal note the date and the card title.
If you have time, note the initial reactions you have to that card.
What is the first thing that you notice?
How do the colors make you feel?
Which symbols stand out to you?
Do those symbols have any personal significance to you?
Does the card trigger any memories?
Writing down the date you pulled that card is important because eventually you’ll want to revisit your journal and note any trends that appear, especially if you have a “stalker” card that appears repeatedly throughout a certain time period. Sometimes we only understand the message that card had for us in hindsight.
STEP 3– At night before you go to bed, come back to your journal and review the events of the day.
Write down anything notable that happened. Do any of these events and experiences speak back to the card you pulled earlier?
If you’re new to Tarot, it can be challenging to figure out what a certain card refers to specifically. Keep in mind that Tarot isn’t always referencing events that happen outside of us. Pulling The Lovers doesn’t mean that you will meet the love of your life that day. It could simply mean that you have love on the mind, or maybe a memory of a past love was triggered.
My rule of thumb is that Major Arcana cards refer to internal experiences, emotional states, and higher order life lessons.
Minor Arcana cards refer to external events that happen around us.
Pulling a card a day will help you connect specific cards to a real life experiences, which will in turn tell you something about the meaning that card has for you. It will also highlight the subtle nuances of that card that you can’t read about in a book. You’re actually living the experience of that card, which is a much deeper understanding.
Alchemical Tarot Renewed
I pulled the Six of Swords from the Alchemical Tarot yesterday morning. Traditionally, this is a card about transitioning from one place to another, and that’s pretty much it. Or at least that’s what I thought. When I revisited my Tarot journal last night, I looked at the Six of Swords and thought about movement. I then realized that it was referencing an encounter that I had with a coyote earlier that afternoon.
During a walk around my neighborhood a coyote appeared from out of nowhere and started trailing me. I realized this when I heard a rustling noise behind me. When I looked back to check it out, a coyote emerged from a grassy field.
As you can imagine, this freaked me out. When I was a small girl a neighbor’s German Shepherd jumped on me, knocking me over. He was friendly but it was a very scary experience. Since then I’m not 100% comfortable around canines, unless they’re toy poodles or wiener dogs.
And I was especially not 100% comfortable with this situation. Coyotes are supposed to be frightened by the sight of humans. But this one clearly was not. To boot, it seemed as if he wanted something from me. Coyote attacks on people are extremely rare, and the one facing me didn’t appear hostile. He was not growling or snarling.
Nevertheless it’s a wild animal, and wild animals are unpredictable. I didn’t feel like taking any chances, so I decided to put my fears aside. I faced the coyote and make eye contact with it. I waved my hands back and forth over my head to make myself appear larger. And then I started jumping up and down. I’m sure I looked pretty stupid, but this caused the coyote to stop in his tracks. Eventually I picked up the pace and zoomed out of there. Walking at a rapid pace, I eventually lost him.
Coyote, Photo credit: Morguefile.com
Later that night as I looked at this particular image of the Six of Swords. Reflecting back on my experience with the coyote made me realize for the first time that this card has a couple more meanings.
First, the Six of Swords a card about moving from Point A to Point B. Look at the sail boat making her way across the water, being pushed along by the wind. The lines it leaves behind suggests that it is traveling at a very rapid pace. This was the strategy that I ultimately adopted to get away from the coyote. I quickly walked away.
Second, Six of Swords is also a card about emotions, as suggested by all the water we see in the image. But it’s also an Air card, which points to the close connection between our thoughts and our emotions. Emotions run out of control can prompt us to take actions that end up undermining our well being.
Third, I learned that the Six of Swords is about moving towards a better place. Many readers attribute a sense of hope to this card, and I agree. I quickly moved uphill away from the grassy knoll that the coyote emerged from, until I looked back and the coyote was no longer within sight. I felt lucky to make it out of there unharmed!
So there’s two additional meanings that I now bring to the Six of Swords as a result of having this encounter with a coyote. Experiences like this illustrate why pulling a card a day is so crucial to enhancing your understanding of Tarot card meanings. They also show us how the Tarot is continuously dishing out life lessons. Now the Six of Swords always brings to mind the benefits of staying cool under pressure, and not allowing my fears to take over in the face of a tense transition.
If you’re feeling stuck figuring out the meaning of a daily card that you have pulled for yourself, don’t fret. Just note the title of the card down in your journal next to the date and sleep on it. Sometimes it can take a few days for the meaning to become clear. When this happens, I find that Tarot responds by giving me the same card over and over again.
Are you having difficulty interpreting a daily Tarot card that you’ve pulled for yourself? Tell me about it in the comments below.
To find out when any event is likely to come to pass, pull a Tarot card for each month of the year until you get a card that resonates with the event itself.
I’ve been single for 2 years now, so the burning question on my mind this Valentine’s Day is when I can expect to meet someone whom I can love, and who will love me back (be as specific as possible when asking your question). I pulled a card for every month of this year until I got one of the “love” cards of the Tarot, specifically the Ace of Cups for the month of June. I hope this pans out!
You can use a 12-card Calendar spreadto do this, with each card representing one month of the year. If you pulled 12 cards but none of them seem to speak to the event you are asking about, it’s likely that this isn’t going to happen anytime soon. In that case, you might want to ask the cards if there is anything you can do to change the timing. If you’re not getting out of the house to meet people, expect it to take a while.
Here are some Tarot cards to keep a lookout for if you are on the look-out for romance:
ACE OF WANDS – Potential for physical passion
ACE OF CUPS – Potential for deep emotional bonding
QUEEN OF CUPS – You’ll meet someone who is receptive to your love
KNIGHT OF CUPS – You’ll meet someone who will pursue you
THE FOOL – Beginning a new life chapter with someone
FOUR OF WANDS – Long-term domestic happiness
TEN OF CUPS – An emotionally fulfilling relationship
PAGE OF CUPS – You’ll meet someone who is romantically inexperienced
TWO OF CUPS – The “getting to know you” phase of a relationship
NINE OF CUPS – Feeling pride in your partner; everything you wished for
THE WORLD – Meeting your other half
THE LOVERS – Meeting someone who transforms you and teaches you about who you are
A standard tarot is divided in two major categories. The Major Arcana is comprised of the first 22 “trump” cards of a tarot deck, and the Minor Arcana are the remaining 56 cards that include the Aces, Pips/”Numbered Cards,” and Court Cards. Stylistically speaking, there isn’t much difference in how these cards look. But there is a big difference in how we interpret them.
Generally speaking, MINOR ARCANA cards describe mundane-level events that play out in our everyday lives.
The TWO OF CUPS, for example, denotes the principle of togetherness and the harmonious union of opposite energies. Translated into “real life” terms, this card could mean anything ranging from going out on a date, working with a partner, or simply spending time with your significant other or a close friend. It can also describe the experience of falling in love. As a “two” card, it denotes the beginning of a relationship, versus a long-term intimate bond.
MAJOR ARCANA cards generally describe the higher-order life lessons that follow from the mundane-level events. They describe the internal shifts that occur within us as a result of having been through those experiences.
So, where the Two of Cups is about the act of being together with someone, THE LOVERS encompasses the personal, emotional, and spiritual growth that comes with the territory of having relationships and being in love. The nature of that growth is different for everyone. Some of the meanings that I associate this card underscore the importance of knowing yourself well enough to choose a good partner, emotional intimacy, learning how to trust and be vulnerable, and how to cope with heartbreak when a relationship does not work out. These are all opportunities for internal growth.