card meanings & reading
Tarot Minor Arcana
The Four Suits of the Tarot Card Deck and Their Meaning
The Tarot card deck consists of two parts - the Major Arcana (also called Trumps) with 22 cards and the Minor Arcana with the remaning 56 cards in four suits: Wands, Pentacles, Cups, and Swords. Here the four suits are presented, with links to all their cards and what they mean in divination.
The four suits of the Tarot differ from regular playing cards in one more way: they deviate slightly in names, although they are historically connected. Wands of the Tarot are Clubs in the normal deck of playing cards, Pentacles are Diamonds, Cups are Hearts and Swords are Spades. Their similarities are still evident, also in the symbols used for them.
In playing card decks, only the court cards have images whereas the pip cards only have the appropriate number of the symbol of the suit. That's actually true for most of the historical Tarot card decks as well. But for the last hundred years or so, many Tarot card decks have images on all the cards. So does the Rider-Waite deck that I use on this website. The images are symbolic representations of what the cards mean in divination.
Here are the four suits and what they mean in Tarot card divination (Click the image for the meaning of each card in that suit.):
Wands correspond to Clubs in a regular deck of cards. Their Greek element is earth. They stand for everything earth-bound and concrete. In the four classes of feudal society, this suit is linked to that of agriculture, the peasants.
When a Wands card appears in a reading, its message is concrete: something to do or something done, work and struggle but also their reward in palpable results.
Pentacles correspond to Diamonds in a regular deck of cards. Their Greek element is air. They stand for monetary matters, everything about economy, but also thought, communication and other things of the mind. In the four classes of feudal society, this suit is linked to that of trade, merchants and businessmen.
When a Pentacles card appears in a reading, its message regards matters of economy, but also thoughts, study, plans - anything abstract, present in the mind but not yet in one's hands, either not yet or because of its nature never.
Cups correspond to Hearts in a regular deck of cards. Their Greek element is water. They stand for everything emotional - what we feel, whether or not we actually live it. In the four classes of feudal society, this suit is linked to that of the clergy, since the church and religion is all about emotions.
When a Cups card appears in a reading, its message is always about things of an emotional nature: Worries, delights, temptations, hopes, affections, disappointments, and so on. Events or situations that primarily affect the heart.
Swords correspond to Spades in a regular deck of cards. Their Greek element is fire. They stand for forceful action, power, and firm decision. In the four classes of feudal society, this suit is linked to that of the aristocracy, the warriors and rulers.
When a Swords card appears in a reading, its message is about action needed or already commenced, drastic change because of necessity or circumstance, ambition, competition, defense, and other things that demand resolve and bold activity.