Tarot Card Suits

The Minor Arcana of the Tarot are divided into four suits, each containing ten numbered cards and four court cards. As with all aspects of the Tarot, the exact naming and interpretation of the Minor Arcana suits varies between different decks, different readers and different reading contexts. Here are some of the most common:

Wands
The suit of wands, also called “staffs”, “rods” or “staves”, is associated with the element Fire. As such it represents action, power and the creative impulse. It is a suit of “doing”.

Pentacles
The suit of pentacles, also called “coins” or “disks”, is associated with the element Earth. As such it represents mundane, worldly matters. It is often associated with finances. It is a suit of “being”.

Cups
The suit of cups is associated with the element Water. As such it represents the internal world, and the emotions. It is a suit of “feeling”.

Swords
The suit of swords is associated with the element Air. As such it represents the mind, the cutting force of the intellect which often results in strife. It is a suit of “thinking”.

As always with the Tarot, the suits work best when they work together. Everything in the universe contains all four suits to a greater or lesser degree.

As an example take the concept “love”. This would often be associated purely with Cups, however consider the following possible associations:

  • Wands: burning passion
  • Pentacles: physical lust
  • Cups: romantic love
  • Swords: platonic fascination

If the querent is asking about relationships then a spread with an abundance of pentacles will clearly give quite a different reading than one with an abundance of cups.