Reader Q&A: Can I Use Only Part of the Tarot Deck for a Reading?

by Brigit on August 19, 2011 in Real Life Tarot

Today’s Reader Question: Can I Use Only Part of the Tarot Deck for a Reading?

Suit of Cups
Today, we have a question from Alwin in Malaysia…

“I would like to inquire whether it’s alright to just use the Cups suit together with the Major Arcana cards? I’m doing relationship readings for myself, and I think it’s more straight forward and easy to relate to by just using these two suits.”

Answer:

The short answer, Alwin, is that you can do anything you like! If it feels inherently ‘right’ for you, then go ahead and try it out!

However, since you asked, here are my thoughts on using only part of the Tarot deck in a reading…

I am definitely an advocate of using only the Major Arcana cards in a reading, particularly when the reading is about a significant, life-changing situation or you are searching for deep and meaningful answers. The Major Arcana are incredibly powerful cards that, used in the right way, can shed light on some of life’s most important questions.

I am also open to using only the Minor Arcana cards, particularly when the reading is about the ‘here and now’ or the more practical aspects of life.  While the Major Arcana reveal events that naturally occur due to laws of the Universe, the Minor Arcana reveal events that naturally occur due to laws of human nature. Therefore, the Minor Arcana can refer to current issues that have a temporary or minor influence but that still require your attention. Oftentimes, the Minor Arcana present the actions that can be taken in order to overcome an obstacle or achieve a goal.

Now, the concept of using only one Suit (i.e. Cups, Pentacles, Swords or Wands) in a Tarot reading is new to me. What’s also new to me is using a selected Suit in combination with the Major Arcana. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, just that it is something I personally haven’t heard of.

Let’s break it down a little further to understand whether this is the way you want to go.

If you are doing a relationship reading, it makes sense to use only the Suit of Cups as this Suit relates directly to emotions, feelings and relationships with others. It would also make sense to use the Suit of Pentacles, for example, if you were doing a reading on your finances or career.

If you are looking at longer-term influences that are present around your love life, then it also makes sense to use the Major Arcana. However, I would personally only use the Major Arcana in this instance if you are looking at a longer timescale and you are considering issues of signifance, such as “What do I need to know to bring love into my life?”. I wouldn’t use the Major Arcana only if it was a question such as, “Does she like me?” or “Will she come back to me?”

While it makes sense to isolate the Suit of Cups and the Major Arcana for this type of reading, there are also some downsides to consider. Even though the reading is about relationships, using only the Suit of Cups may skew the reading to look at only the emotional aspects. What if there are some more rational aspects you need to consider (i.e. the Suit of Swords)? What if there are issues with regards to the spiritual or energetic connection (i.e. the Suit of Wands)? What if there are practical or financial issues impacting the relationship (i.e. the Suit of Pentacles)? In selecting only the Suit of Cups, you need to be mindful of what you are excluding from your reading.

Similarly, by using only the Major Arcana, you are tending towards looking at the bigger picture and the Universal energies that are present. This is ok, but it is important to be aware again about what you are excluding from the reading. You may end up with some great insights about life lessons and emotional aspects, but you may have some gaps about what you can actually do to bring about your desired outcomes in your relationship(s).

The Lowdown…

There’s nothing wrong with a little experimentation! If you feel that using the Suit of Cups and the Major Arcana will provide the insights you need, then go for it! See what it feels like and if it gives you the type of reading and advice that you need. If not, then try using the whole deck.

And why not experiment with other types of readings. Next time you’re reading on financial or career issues, try using only the Suit of Pentacles to see what you come up with.

Readers’ Recommendations?

What advice do you have for Alwin? Have you ever read the Tarot with only one Suit or with a combination of Suits and the Major Arcana? What works for you? Leave your comments below…

Got a Tarot Question? Contact me and send in your Tarot questions and I hope to be able to share them with other readers!



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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Aasheesh Kumar August 19, 2011 at 4:23 am

I really don’t think it is a good idea to use part of the deck.After all the cards have to “speak” the truth.How can you select what to choose or ignore .Whatever destiny is hinting at ,will come out anyway.So why limit the cards ? Doesn’t make much sense to me.
Selecting Major Arcana is ok,as you are arriving at life changing conclusions,and they do help you give a clear picture.

Reply

Biddy_Tarot August 19, 2011 at 10:34 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Asheesh. As with many aspects of the Tarot, it really does come down to personal style and what feels right to you.

Reply

Sammy-Rose August 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I actually decided to do a quick Q & A reading on this question. I basically asked the Tarot what the result would be if only the suit of cups and the Major Arcana were used for a relationship reading. The result was really interesting. What turned up was: 8 of Cups, 2 of Wands, 6 of Cups and 3 of Swords. I don’t use traditional layouts etc – but my translation of this story was: Bringing the suit of Cups to the forefront (therefore eclipsing the other suits) and turning your back on the the rest will make your world-view smaller and your choices more unevenly polarised. There’s a risk of the past intruding into the reading causing you to make mistakes in interpretation which may bring about conflict and heartbreak.

Just my two cents worth, based on the symbols and imagery of the RWS…

Reply

Biddy_Tarot August 19, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I LOVE that you did a reading to help answer Alwin’s question! And what great insights. Perhaps I should use a similar technique with future reader questions?! :-)

Reply

Sammy-Rose August 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Why not? It’s what we readers do best! I put the question out there and read the response just like a story, or a series of hieroglyphs- in a very fluid way, with no traditional card positions, because with these kinds of questions, that’s what works for me.

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