minor arcana tarot suits explained

Minor Arcana Tarot Suits Explained

Despite being the “minor” cards in the Tarot deck, they make up 56 cards out of the total 78. Their influence is anything but minor too. Before we have the Minor Arcana tarot suits explained, here are the four suits in the Minor Arcana:

  • Suit of Cups
  • Suit of Wands
  • Suit of Swords
  • Suit of Pentacles

The Meanings Of The Minor Arcana Tarot Cards

The Major Arcana deals with archetypal energy and life cycles. The Minor Arcana, on the other hand, covers the everyday issues that we all have to deal with. They can give insight into the situation affecting your present moment, your immediate surroundings, and your environment. The Minor Arcana are also insightful when trying to understand how to take the next steps ahead. 

In contrast to the cyclic nature of the Major Arcana, the Minor Arcana symbolizes more transient events and energy that pass through your daily life. It is important to remember the events can be quite simply adjusted depending on your actions. 

Minor Arcana cards can also shed light on things that happened in the past. Often our present situation is influenced by events from the past, and the Minor Arcana cards can help us understand why we are in the situations we find ourselves in. 

Let’s dig in and see how these cards can help us to make sense of daily life. 

The Four Suits

Four different card suits make up the Minor Arcana: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Every one of these suits contains 14 cards: 10 numbered cards, and four cards called “court cards” that include the Page, Knight, Queen, and King. Each of these four suits represents a different area of your life, so you know where to direct this guidance when one of these cards shows up in your Tarot reading. Here’s what each of the suits means:

The Suit of Wands

The Wands are represented by staves or canes, which are symbolic of good news, happiness, cheerfulness, various activities, and new beginnings. Their bright spirit is full of life and chock full of positive reactions. The Wand energy is very vibrant and strong. They are very active people who have an active outlook on life. If you pull the Wands in a reading, there is always something exciting coming your way!

The Wands are also a magical suit, and will often pop up in readings that involve initiative, your soul’s purpose, a changing mindset, and spirituality. 

What does the Suit of Wands Mean?

The Suit of Wands is all about movement, passion, excitement, and action. They’re the most active of all the suits, and it’s easy to tell that they’re inspired by fire. Let the Wands take you on an adventure in your imagination. Although that may sound like it gets you in over your head, simply allow yourself the freedom to explore your imaginings—there’s no real danger when you do! The power of your mind is what empowers the Suit of Wands, so let this suit guide you in understanding your imagination’s power.

What Do Wands Tarot Cards Mean In A Reading?

The Suit of Wands represents how you live your life. They are the suit of action, motivation, and movement. When you have a dominant hand in this suit, it generally refers to how you approach new challenges, opportunities, and relationships.

Wands are about taking action. In readings, they can show that it is time to take the next step in your life. They represent action, initiative, and motivation. Wands can help you to move forward along with your ambitions and passions.

What Do Reversed Wands Tarot Cards Mean?

The reversed suit of wands is about not feeling safe, or about feeling as if you don’t have the power to face the world. Wands often deal with creativity and inspiration, so when reversed they can signify losing those things.

When the suit of Wands is reversed, expect some disruption to occur. A reversed Wands deck may serve as a warning or be an omen of some kind of delay or setback. A reversed tarot card might also serve to heighten feelings of vulnerability or helplessness.

What Element is the Wands Suit Associated with?

 

Ruled by the element of Fire, the suit of Wands is associated with creativity, passion, determination, initiative, ideas, imagination, strategy, inspiration, and self-confidence. When things are out of balance in our lives, they can also be associated with intolerance, anger, recklessness, and dependence on others.

The suit of Wands corresponds to Fire signs such as:

  • Aries
  • Leo
  • Sagittarius

They represent the element of fire and the qualities of dynamism, activity, and striving that accompany it. Wands are ruled by the planet Mars and share certain characteristics with that planet – most notably their unquenchable drive for achievement.

What Does It Mean When A Tarot Reading Is Mostly Wands Tarot Cards?

A reading with mostly Wands suggests that the querent is looking for fun, activity, and creativity in their lives. If you’re seeing a reading composed of Wands cards then you are dealing with an individual who may be impulsive, adventurous, or creative. The querent is likely to be drawing on their inner strength in times of need.

Here’s our full guide on each tarot card from the suit of wands:

The Suit of Cups

The cup is a suit that symbolizes your intuition, your emotional state, and the relationships in your life. Cards in the suit of cups typically show up when you are dealing with issues in relationships, love, and understanding your emotions. 

What does the Suit of Cups Mean?

In this suit, emotions, feelings, and creativity are strongly represented. Use the suit of Cups to get some direction when navigating emotional matters, connection with the people around you, and your relationships. 

If you are looking to understand your emotions, then use the suit of Cups to get some insight.

What Do Cup Tarot Cards Mean In A Reading?

If you get multiple cups in your tarot reading it is typically a good indication that your heart, and not your head, is leading the charge. 

When we think with our hearts, it means that we are making spontaneous decisions and not thinking through our actions. They can also help us understand our knee-jerk reactions in certain situations- you know the ones.

Something triggers you, and you feel an immediate reaction that is usually accompanied by strong emotion. And when our heart is ruling over the head, we often find ourselves lost in fantasy, disassociating from our reality.

The suit of cups can help us to navigate back to reality. And, hopefully, with an understanding of the inner workings of the emotional realm.

What Do Reversed Cups Tarot Cards Mean?

Every tarot card has an upright and a reversed meaning. We can use a suit to understand the general meaning of the cards within the suit. For the suit of Cups, the reverse indications are associated with being bowled over by emotions, having lofty expectations, and being stuck in fantasies.

The reversed cups also indicate that you might be repressing your emotions. In what way are you repressing your feelings? Sometimes it can be difficult to tackle this question, but it is necessary. Use the reversed cards and accompanying cards to paint a clearer picture of your feelings.

For example, you could feel like your creative energy is dwindling and your flame is burning low. Emotions and creativity are closely linked and reversed cups often tell us that we are unable to express something. The difficult part is understanding why, and understanding what it is you need to face. 

What Element is the Cups Suit Associated with?

 

Every suit is associated with an element. As you can imagine, the Suit of Cups is connected to the element of water. As you might already know, the water element is connected to emotions and the ebbs and flows of our emotional state. But aside from being fluid, the water is also a force to be reckoned with. 

 

It makes sense that water is symbolized with Cups (also known as the suit of hearts amongst playing cards) because of the emotional representation they both have. Water is also cleansing and has a more receptive feminine energy.

Since the suit of Cups is associated with the water element, it is associated with the watery zodiac signs: 

  • Scorpio
  • Pisces
  • Cancer

The cup court cards have a strong connection to people of these zodiac signs. This is how you can use the zodiac and tarot together to get deeper insight from your reading. Check out our article on tarot and the zodiac if you want to learn more!

People that are symbolized by the suit of cups often have the characteristics of these water zodiac signs. It is typical for Cup people to be artists, emotional, and deep feelers. They are typically empathetic and care deeply. 

What Does It Mean When A Tarot Reading Is Mostly Cups Tarot Cards?

If you have a tarot reading that is filled with cards from the Cups suit, then you are most likely looking for answers to emotional matters. These are issues of love, creativity, and conflicts involving emotions, and our relationships. 

Here’s our full guide on each tarot card from the suit of cups:

The Suit of Swords

The Swords represent the challenges we face in life. The swords can also be ominous to receive, as they can let us know that heartache and conflict might be issues that we have to deal with. As you can probably gather by now, the Swords are here to help us through challenges.

Instead of getting fearful when you pull swords, see it as an opportunity to acknowledge your difficulties. They help us to see how to use our mental acuity to get through challenges. 

The Swords are connected to our mental sphere. This includes the words we speak, our actions, and the thoughts we think. But they can also help us to make choices, stand in our power, and speak our ideas into reality. 

What does the Suit of Swords Mean?

The two key components of this suit are the intellect and the mind. How is your mental space? The Sword shines a light on how we communicate our beliefs and how we use our thoughts to change our attitudes. 

Have you heard the saying “double-edged sword”? When something is referred to as a double-edged sword, it often represents how important balance between is. In the case of the Suit of Swords, the double edge represents how intellect and power have a very nimble dance together.

Intellect and power are often associated with selfishness, and ‘evil’. But, they can also be used for good. However, it takes balance to use certain attributes for the greater good, right? Well, in the case of the suit of Swords, we can use our Spirit to sustain this balance, ultimately using our intellect and power for the overall greater good. 

What Does the Sword Suit Mean In A Reading?

Everything related to taking decisive action, a strong show of force, oppression, courage, ambition, power, change, and conflict are connected to the Swords suit. 

But are these always negative? Words like ‘oppression are often seen as negative, especially when coupled with ‘power’, and ‘conflict’. They don’t always have to have a negative connotation- action regarding the suit of Swords can be both constructive as well as destructive. 

But, as we know all too well there are negative aspects to everything. And in the Suit of Swords, the negative aspects cover intense emotions such as anger and guilt, unwarranted and overly harsh judgment, and a lack of compassion.

What Do Reversed Swords Tarot Cards Mean?

Swords Tarot cards symbolize intellectual, mental, and psychic energy. A specific aspect of your life that qualifies as a challenge, as well as an opportunity for transformation, has come to the forefront of your awareness. The intellect is one of the best tools you have to learn about yourself and the world around you.

The Swords Tarot card is one of the Major Arcana cards that come into play when you are experiencing tumultuous emotions. There will be action and change that often feels like it is beyond your control. The message you get from this card is about how to move forward through your inner turmoil and focus on the good in what you currently experience

The Swords card is a “turmoil” for the Tarot. The symbol of the suit is a cross, indicating a crossroad in choice. The contradictory forces of going ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are represented in the imagery of the suit, where one end of the sword is pointing down and the other up. The runeblade itself shows five spokes, corresponding with various events that can alter your course in life; these include Knowledge, Courage, Personal Power, Fear, and Death.

What Element is the Suit of Swords Associated with? 

The Suit of Swords is closely connected to the Air element. And if you can understand the associations of the Air element, then you can understand that the swords deal with the unseen things in constant motion in and around us. It is associated with the mind, reason, logic, and communication. People represented by this suit are rational thinkers who want to understand the world through the power of their minds. They can reach conclusions without being emotional.

Although Air is intangible, it can be strong and a force to be reckoned with. 

Swords people may be very expressive and charismatic as they like to let their voices be heard. They are quick to react but expect others to follow their lead when it comes to ideas. The Swords are the thoughts in your head, an emotional reaction to a specific situation. Due to this, if you are asking for advice from this person you must be prepared for the subject matter.

The Swords Tarot card often represents the astrological signs of:

  • Aquarius
  • Libra
  • Gemini

When you see a Swords Court Card in a Tarot reading, it often relates to a person with an Aquarius, Libra, and Gemini star sign.

The Air element is typically more of masculine energy, and is connected to the following:

  • Power
  • Knowledge
  • Action
  • Change

What Does It Mean When A Tarot Reading Is Mostly Swords Tarot Cards?

Mostly Swords cards in a Tarot reading can be warning you to be more vigilant or cautious of what is around you. There could be arguments or even violence. There are several ways to express this message; the picture on the cards, the actual words that are written, and also by the number of cards that are used. You may also not be seeing what is around you.

Oftentimes, you will see many Swords in a Tarot reading. This means that the Querant is undergoing issues with communication, which can be giving them frustration. The Swords are meant to cause us to ‘ act’ more carefully or think of ways to act more carefully. They can push us into an area of self-reflection that allows us time to explore why we are acting in this manner.

The important element of the sword is that it is intellectual energy, which works on the mind more than the heart. When the cards come up Swords-heavy, you should look at those situations as being positive. But it could also be a good time for deep contemplation rather than taking any action. Another meaning to a reading that is heavy with Swords is that you are dealing with a lot of mental anguish, internal conflict, and other internal struggles that may not have an immediate solution.

This can be very confusing and frustrating to deal with. Probably the best way to tackle a reading where the majority of the cards are Swords would be to look at them as a warning. In other words, Swords intervention means don’t make any rash decisions.

Here’s our full guide on each tarot card from the suit of swords:

The Suit of Pentacles

The Suit of Pentacles is associated with your work, health, and finances. This is the suit of grounding and stability, so if you’re concerned about tomorrow’s possibilities, these cards can help you find the solid ground you need.

You can learn about earning a living, the value of hard work, and being in control.

The Suit of Pentacles is associated with your work, life path, and money. It can indicate what you are building or creating, whether it be a new business or even a new relationship. These cards can also help interpret what is holding you back from reaching your goals.

The Suit of Pentacles cards depicting a pentacle (a five-pointed star inside a circle). The star is symbolic of heaven, the elements, and the mind, while the circle represents earth, nature, spirit, and unity.

What does the Suit Of Pentacles Mean?

The Tarot cards in this suit represent the most practical of the four Suits and represent what you make of your outer world. You can choose to make a success or failure out of your experience, and often both at the same time. The combination of rigid practicality and visionary imagination is a theme you will find in these cards. In many ways, the Pentacles are the most complete of all the Tarot cards although they still concentrate on that which is material.    

The Pentacle stands as a symbol of truth, simplicity, strength, and wholeness. It is solid and dependable, acting as a stabilizing force for the universe. 

The Suit of Pentacles represents the life or physical plane. It focuses on material or financial affairs, work, health, possessions, and the physical body. It also relates to how you handle your external reality – whether you shape it, change it, grow it or accept it as a given.

This suit is just as stable and supportive as its element of earth. It’s the glue that holds the other cards together. The suit of Pentacles will help you maintain a steady, grounded position with your finances, career, health, emotions, and family. Although it’s not flashy like the suit of Wands, the suit of Pentacles is very important to your success.

What Do The Pentacles Tarot Cards Mean In A Reading?

The suit of Pentacles Tarot card meanings shows what the cards indicate regarding how you might feel regarding material aspects of life. The Suit of Pentacles connects to how you feel regarding material aspects of life so if your question involves what your heart is telling you, then watch for any impressions that come into your mind that relate to the material world.

For instance, if your question relates to how you should proceed with a career decision then watch for any impressions that come into your mind that relate to the material success of others.

The Suit of Pentacles Reversed

You may be waiting for something to happen. There could be a feeling of unrequited love, an instance when you are not receiving the attention you desire. When it comes to financial aspects there could be loss or lack of wealth. All of these things can seem insurmountable but in actuality, they present an opportunity for growth and inner reflection.

What Element is the Pencles Suit Associated with?

The Pentacles Tarot cards are associated with the signs of Earth:

  • Taurus
  • Virgo
  • Capricorn

People associated with Pentacles spend time on practical matters. They like to be in control of their world and they like stability. Pentacles people want to see results from their efforts and so they work hard to achieve these things. The nature of the element Earth is stability, balance, hard work, and practical application.

As a personality type, Pentacles people are pragmatic, reliable, and methodical. They tend to be materialistic and work best when they have goals to achieve. They also tend to be the solid foundation of personality types.

What Does It Mean When A Tarot Reading Is Mostly Pentacles Tarot Cards?

 

In a Tarot reading, the presence of cards from the suit of Pentacles in great numbers indicates that you’re presently experiencing an increase in prosperity and it is time to enjoy and reap benefits from this. Many Pentacles represent a thriving economy and good business. Your financial affairs should prosper and you should be able to earn money by fair means or foul. If your concern at the moment is job-related, there may be a promotion in store for you.

 

On the flipside, reversed Pentacles cards indicate that there are problems of material nature. 

The interpretation of the Pentacles’ significance is fairly straightforward, but it is often noticeable by all the different ways that people find solutions to their money problems. There are ways in which people can be creative in addressing their financial challenges when they look to nature for guidance.

Here’s our full guide on each tarot card from the suit of pentacles:

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is a Five of Pentacles reversed a bad omen?

Answer: The Five of Pentacles, also known as The Talisman or Family, shows a young man admiring his reflection in a pool while another is tossed carelessly by the side. The man in the image represents the belief in oneself and an assurance that happiness is obtainable.

The Five of Pentacles tarot card suggests an area of life that has gone out of balance. This may be due to an excess or lack of focus, energy, or even money. Perhaps the Five of Pentacles is pointing to a situation where you are questioning if your finances can support you.

Question: What does the presence of the cups suits represent in a love reading?

Answer: The Cups in a love reading generally represent your relationship with the questioner or someone else you are going to be getting a reading about. For example, in a love reading, they could represent you and your partner, they could represent someone you love and want to know if they will love you back, etc.

Question: What does the Four of Cups mean?

Answer: The Four of Cups shows a man walking away from a cup or a chalice. He is walking away from his ability to choose between good and evil, right and wrong. If you pull this card, it’s time to actively start making choices. It’s time to commit to the future before you rather than living in past regrets.

Four of Cups can represent that you are feeling disillusioned with love. This is because the cups are very much associated with emotions, feelings, passion, and deep connection. The Four of Cups can sometimes show us that we are emotionally detached from our love relationship. It may be that there is a hidden distance or quiet separation between you and your lover leaving you feeling less connected to them. Sometimes the Four of Cups indicates boredom in love

The Four of Cups signifies a period of restlessness; you’re looking for something different, exciting, and new. You’ll be pondering over your love situation and re-evaluating your feelings and needs. You want someone to give you advice and direction, but unfortunately, everyone seems to be closed off to you – so they can’t help.

In a love reading, this card foretells indecision in love, and maybe an overall feeling of discontentment with one’s current relationship. A couple might be going through a period of reevaluation. The thinking part of their relationship reigns supreme in these times, with less emphasis on emotion and the heart. Be careful that a deadlock doesn’t result from endless discussions from all perspectives about what needs to change to better the relationship.

Conclusion

The Minor Arcana represent the foundational forces of the natural world and are charged with emotion, instinct, and primal energy. The Minor Arcana does not convey literal meaning in readings but is typically understood to represent an aspect of one’s personal development.

The interpretation of the minor arcana cards also helps you to access creative resources within, to change challenges and limitations into powerful opportunities.

Scroll to Top