5 Simple Steps to Read Tarot with Confidence

Deciphering the Meanings of the Tarot Suits in Different Types of Readings

By February 15, 2012Tarot Tutorials

Have you ever gone to do a relationship Tarot reading, only to find a layout full of Pentacles cards? Or what about a work-related Tarot reading where half the reading is made up of Cups cards?

Often, when we read on a specific topic, we expect to see Tarot cards that confirm or emphasise certain messages. But what happens when the Tarot seemingly throws a curve ball? What happens when we get a bunch of Tarot cards that just don’t seem to match up to what we’re asking about?

Rest assured, it isn’t the Universe trying to confuse you! Instead, the appearance of ‘unexpected’ Tarot suits in your reading holds special significance and is something which needs your attention.

Back to Basics – The Tarot Suits

One of the first things we learn when we explore the Tarot cards are the general meanings for each of the Tarot Suits. We learn that:

  • Cups = Emotions, feelings, relationships and matters of the heart
  • Pentacles = Career, work, finances and practical matters
  • Swords = The intellect, conversation, truth and matters of the mind
  • Wands = Motivation, energy, inspiration and matters of the soul

So, when we do a relationship reading, it would make sense to see lots of Cups cards. Or when we do a personal development reading, it would make sense to see lots of Wands cards.

But what often happens is that it doesn’t work this way. Instead, we end up with a relationship reading full of Pentacles cards or a personal development reading full of Swords cards.

Deciphering the Tarot Suits in Different Readings

The beauty of the Tarot is that it often highlights issues or concerns that we are not yet aware of. It brings to the surface that which is sitting within our subconscious mind, so that we can then be more consciously aware of what is influencing us and shaping our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

So, when you see a lot of Pentacles cards in a relationship reading, stop and ask yourself how money or career is impacting your relationship. Is there something you have been missing here? Why is money taking precedence over your deeper feelings for one another?

Or, if you see a bunch of Swords cards in your personal development reading, ask yourself how your intellect and your mind may be affecting your spiritual connection. Are you trying to rationalise and critique your life when you really need to be tapping into your inner psyche? What truths do you need to find as you develop and grow yourself?

Don’t be put off when you see an unexpected Suit come up in your Tarot readings. Instead, see it as an opportunity to think differently about your situation. Ask yourself (or your client) some challenging questions about how these unexpected factors may be impacting you. Bringing these issues to a conscious awareness will be very powerful in helping you to make the changes you want and need.

Your Task: Brainstorm the Meanings of the Tarot Suits in Various Situations

If you are struggling with how to interpret unexpected Tarot Suits in your readings, then why not dedicate some time now to mapping out your ideas.

Print and complete the following table and feel free to share your insights with other readers below in the comments.


Need a Helping Hand?

If you want to know what each and every Tarot card means in a specific reading, then you might enjoy my eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings. I include specific Tarot card meanings for each card for career, love, spirituality, health, etc. Learn more here.

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  • Adana says:

    What a great post. This has happened to me in the past, and it can be a real doozy if your trying to stick to the subject you think is at hand. Thanks for the insight!

  • Lucien says:

    Thank you for the insight ,yes that happen to me a lot when I do reading ,and there is definitely a message there to unscramble very big challenge , but tarot always have and answer and that’s the beauty of it .
    Love your post !

  • Priti says:

    Hey Biddy nice share, I usually didn’t think it this way… this is also a way to read 🙂 nice….

  • Pam says:

    I run into this quite often. Today I did a reading for a woman that was all about her relationship and it was full of pentacles. Yes, it was money, but it was also about her desire for a real, grounded relationship.

    • Charleen says:

      I’m with you Pam, I have always interpreted Pentacles as financial matters (money), but also being grounded. Whenever I see a majority of Pentacles in a spread (or LACK of), I’ll look at financial, but also to see if the client is grounded or not.

  • poonam says:

    very informative.

  • Manue says:

    Thank you Brigit for sharing this great post! I really enjoyed the little braisntorming exercice at the end!

  • Elizabeth says:

    5 of pentacles: Relationship wise the couple may be good for love but not for money. They have an affinity toward each other, as well cherish each other even though they are poverty stricken. This reminds me of a Turner Classic Movie. The character name was Heath Cliff. Health Cliff was homeless without parents he knew not. The master had taken Heath Cliff as a part of his family and introduce him to his son and daughter. The master had love Health Cliff as though he was his own. In the brief time he loved and cherished his master. The master had pass on and Heath Cliff mourned so badly for him. He never knew such a kind and gentle man of a father. With the death of the master. the son ruled in his place and treated Heath Cliff so horribly beating him physically, ordering him to fetch his horse, strap his boots. As time move on the son had resorted to debauchery of alcohols losing all of his father money leaving him and his sister destitute and impoverish. As the years went on Health Cliff fell in love with the master’s daughter They would rendezvous at peak of the mountain and would converse in their imaginary minds of him being the duke and her being the princess. Their love was inseparable through poverty but they had love. The 5 of pentacles reminds me of this.

  • Beth says:

    That was a great post. I have had readings like that before. I thought the cards were playing tricks on me because I was asking the cards about relationships and it came up with pentacles, swords and one cup card. Thanks for the insight. It now makes sense to me.

  • Cathi says:

    You must be psychic Biddy! I have been struggling with this very question at the moment so really appreciate your insight and explanation. You always “come through”. I always learn something new from your posts so keep up the good work. Thank you again. xx

  • Brianna says:

    A recent reading from here had turned up 2 out of 3 cards as swords. Question was how someone feels about me currently. Knight swords 9 swords 7 wands. Ace cups as advice .Obviously there is conflict and based on the info above I’d say it has a lot to do with mind matters. I lash out alot I assume this person is playing games lying etc. So I lash out verbally in response.

  • Amy says:

    Great idea Brigit! I never considered doing this! I’ll definitely look and study the tarot more and see what patterns and ideas come up with this type of reading. Thank you!

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