How to Learn to Read Tarot Cards

Step 6

First up, the minor arcana. Cups, associated with water, is the suit that deals primarily with emotions, openness and imagination. Wands, associated with fire and passion, represent energy, movement and creative force. Swords, associated with air, represent your mind; how you think, communicate and solve problems. Pentacles, associated with earth, explore the physical world and how we interact with it, representing topics like money, the home and careers.

Next, the court cards. Just like in a regular deck of cards, each suit has face or court cards — usually called king, queen, page and knight.

“You can think about them as individual entities that stand alone, or you can think about them as a sequence or a progression,” Ms. Dore said. The page and the knight can represent youth or inexperience, while the queen and king can convey adulthood and mastery.

Major arcana cards, like the Star or the Lovers, refer to bigger events in your life. Though these cards can be intimidating at first, just make sure to take your time with them and read up on all the different ways they can be interpreted. They’re always more nuanced than they seem at a glance: For example, while pulling the Death card may feel like a bad omen, it could be interpreted more innocently — that something in your life could end.

Keep a tarot journal.

“Go with your own instincts, try to shut your brain off and write as much as you can about what you’re picking up for that card in that moment, and compile a list of definitions over time,” Ms. Morales said. “That list will become your own encyclopedia.”

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