The Two of Swords is an interesting card. In Tarot, twos are used to represent choices and decisions. Swords, for me, represent fire and thoughts.
So what can we see in the Two of Swords? A woman sits on a bench, blindfolded. Behind her is a sea or a very large lake, maybe. It is night time. She holds two swords upright. These are very large swords, as they extend past the border. She holds these very large swords easily.
So what does it mean? The blindfold reminds me of Lady Justice, who is blind but finds the truth. So she must being trying to find the truth or find an answer. Both swords like similar in size, color, and heft. If this card represents decisions, then the swords are the decisions or choices themselves, and they are similar choices.
But we have to remember that the setting is still night time. So perhaps these choices are not about the easy things in life, maybe these choices are more difficult.
So what about when this card comes up reversed? The moon looks like it is just rising at this point, so maybe this is still about difficult choices, but it is the start of difficult choices. Both choices are still equally aloft, so both choices, while difficult, are both viable options.
Depending on the reading and the question asked, this card can mean weighing options carefully and determining whether the choices are equal or whether the choices available are difficult choices.
So when this card is pulled, remember the basics.
Twos represent decisions
Swords represent fire (air in conventional interpretation) and thoughts
In reference to time ,Swords refer to days (fire) or weeks (air)
The Ace of Swords start the last suit of the Tarot. Coinciding with spades, Swords represent thought and wind in Tarot. Connecting back to my previous post Ace of Wands, there’s a bit of confusion about common school of thought and some of the newer interpretations regarding how Wands and Swords represent elements of the Tarot.
Personally, I feel that Swords are connected to fire, but the common depictions in the Rider-Waite deck do have the feeling of Swords connecting to thoughts and the mind. So my interpretations may be a little off, but oh well.
In the Ace of Swords, we can see a sword, held above a mountainous terrain, ringed with a golden crown. So what can we divine from this? Well, Swords are connected with thought, and the crown sits on the head. Aces are beginnings. Perhaps the Ace of Swords is eluding to a new thought, or maybe a new mentality.
So what can we see from the Ace of Swords Reversed? Well, obviously, the sword is now upside down, like the sword is to be sheathed. Perhaps this is signifying the end of a mentality, or that certain thoughts need to be ‘sheathed’.
This card may come up with questions regarding what actions someone may be thinking of taking, or why certain situations may be coming up. So what about when it comes up for other questions? Remember the basics:
Aces signify new beginnings and new journeys
Swords coincide with fire (in my book) or wind (conventional thinking) and thoughts
In reference to time, Swords refer to day (fire burns very quickly, like a match) or weeks (air flows quickly) depending on which school of thought you subscribe to
March has been a busy month for me so I decided to start doing monthly draws before the new month to see what I should maybe keep my eye open for, whether in ways I can change or factors I should pay more attention to.
Since this is the first spread I’ve gone over, I’m going to go over some of the basics of how I set up a spread, how I shuffle, and how to read a spread.
First things first, how do I shuffle my deck? I have small, dainty hands, which makes holding the cards difficult during shuffling, because the Tarot cards are so much larger than a normal deck of cards. So of course, I took to google and forums galore to find if there’s something I can do. The answer?
Do whatever feels comfortable to you. There’s no wrong way to do it. I’ll go into depth later on how to shuffle and all the ways you can read from just shuffling.
So what kind of spread am I using? It’s one of my own making. It’s a 4 by 3 spread. The rows represent the weeks and the columns represent 1) an overview of the week, 2) what to watch out for that week, and 3) what to look forward to each week.
So what does week one hold for April? The weekly overview is represented by the King of Pentacles. Since he is the top of the pentacle suit, he is in charge of the kingdom of wealth. Therefore he represents responsibility. Knowing that payday is this week, I can see why this card came up to be responsible with my wealth.
What should I watch out for this week? The Page of Pentacles comes up, which represents youth and materialism. Perhaps this means to watch out for frivolous spending or immature money handling.
What should I look forward to for the first week of April? The Ace of Swords comes up, and knowing the Swords represent thoughts and aces are new journeys, I think it means that I should keep my mind open this week to new thoughts and new focus.
Week 2 represented by the Knight of Pentacles. The Knight watches over the land of wealth, so this may be a warning to be cautious over the wealth I got in the first week of April.
What should I look out for in the second week of April? The Ten of Pentacles represents material wealth and fulfillment. Perhaps this means I should keep an eye open for easy money or maybe I’ll need to keep my eyes open for wealth coming my way.
What should I look forward to? The Chariot is a warrioress seated in a chariot pulled by two Sphinx. She represents victory. So I should look forward to victory in my life. Maybe a course of action will work out at work, or perhaps I will conquer old habits (from week 1’s reminder to keep an open mind).
Week 3 is represented by the Seven of Swords. The Seven of Swords represents strategy, and deception. Knowing that the third week of April prefaces Easter Sunday and that work will be very hectic, this makes sense that I’ll have to use strategy to complete my work for the week. But the deception? Only I know what I’m withholding ;).
What I should keep my eye out for is represented by the Ace of Pentacles. This represents new money or new wealth. Again, I have a feeling this is a forewarning of easy money or an easy money opportunity coming my way.
So what’s should I look forward to this week? The Six of Cups represents channeling your inner child and nostalgia. Maybe this means I’ll get to do something I haven’t done in years or walk down memory lane.
The fourth week of April is represented by the Three of Cups. The Three of Cups represents friendships and celebrations. Since Easter occurs this week, that makes sense, since I’ll mostly be seeing my friends from work as we all work on Easter Sunday.
What should I look out for this week? The Six of Wands represents victory and celebration. Maybe my victory from the third week will come back to bite me? Or maybe I’ll have a seemingly easy victory over something this week?
And finally, what can I look forward to the last week of April? The Hermit comes up. This card represents pretty much what it is; the Hermit represents solitude. So maybe I’ll get some much needed R&R this week before I start ramping up for my summer semester at school.
Want a reading yourself? Hit me up via my contact page. I can read your day, week or month.
The Ace of Wands is the start of the third suit of the Tarot. Wands coincide with clubs. Wands represent action. But…
Swords and Wands have a bit of a contradiction. It is commonly accepted that Wands coincide with fire and action and that Swords coincide with wind and thought. However some believe that Wands and Swords should be switched (i.e. Swords are fire and action and Wands are wind and thought). Based on the depictions of Swords and Wands, it’s easy to see the conventional thinking behind this.
However, I believe that Wands are more closely aligned with wind, but still represent action as action is what is mostly depicted in the cards. Therefore Swords coincide with fire and thought. It’s a bit backwards sure, but it’s what I feel when I look at the cards. Also some of it is my brain going ‘Sword made in fire, Sword=fire’.
Back to the card at hand.
The Ace of Wands upright represents taking action or taking a new course of action. The hand holds the wand/staff upright, as though ready to hit something. Or maybe to shake the stick at something, as a challenge or admonishment. The landscape in the card depicts a castle on a hill, surrounded by lush greenery and a flowing river.
Reversed, this card is bit harder to interpret at face value. Knowing that the Ace is a beginning, perhaps we can interpret the reversed form as maybe the failure of a new course of action, either as prediction or warning. There’s no obvious signs in the card against anything, just that the kingdom has been turned upside-down so to speak.
Some of the key points for the Ace of Pentacles:
Aces represent new beginnings
Wands coincide with wind and action (in my book at least; in the traditional school of thought wands coincide with fire and action)
Wands in reference to time coincide with weeks, since the air flows quickly (however if you believe that wands coincide with fire then the time frame is days since fire burns very quickly)
The Ace of Pentacles starts off the second suit of Tarot. It coincides with diamonds in a regular deck. Pentacles represent the opposite of Cups. So where Cups represents emotions, Pentacles represents materialism. The tangible and the intangible.
Below the Ace of Pentacles is pictured.
When I see the Ace of Pentacles, I see wealth and abundance. The coin is being held aloft of a well-groomed garden by a divine hand, in a clean blue sky. In contrast to the Ace of Cups, which can also represent abundance and wealth, Cups refers to emotional wealth, Pentacles represents material wealth.
Since Aces (ones) also represent new beginnings, the Ace of Pentacles can refer to new beginnings in business or new wealth.
Reversed, the Ace of Pentacles can refer to the falling through of a new business deal, as it looks like the coin is being taken away by a divine source. However, this doesn’t mean that the gods are against you, it could be just luck, as luck does not have a defined person. It could also mean a lack of wealth or abundance or that wealth is being taken away.
Perhaps it is a warning to watch your finances and spending. Or perhaps it is a warning about a deal going wrong.
Of course, each interpretation relies solely on the question being asked. But the key rule is to remember the basics of each card.
Pentacles relate to materialism and material wealth
Pentacles relate to the element of earth
Aces represent new beginnings
Pentacles in relation to time refer to years, (think of how the earth pushes forth growth year after year, but it still takes time)
The Ace of Cups is the first card in the deck that we’re going to go over.
Pictured below is the Rider-Waite Ace of Cups. Different decks may take artistic liberties and draw the cards in the style of their own particular deck.
There are many ways to interpret this card and every card. According to the Little White Book that came in my deck, this card can represent:
Joy, Contentment, Abundance, Fertility
When I look at this card, I see all the elements differently. Traditionally, the Ace of Cups represents beginnings, as any Ace in Tarot does. (which ties into the numerology of Tarot) I see the Ace of Cups as a cup literally overflowing. I feel this card represents:
Brightness, Hope, Peace, Abundance
So there is some overlap, see? While I appreciate the LWB as being a great guide for helping memorize the cards, I feel that sometimes you have to read the vibe of the card within the context of the question/reading to really get an answer.
Reversed, this card should represent:
Revolution, instability, mutation
When I see the Ace of Cups reversed, I see:
Loss of hope (or hope being taken away), divine intervention, difficulties, loss of abundance
So if this card is showing up in a drawing, remember some of the key points behind the Ace of Cups:
Cups relate to emotions and relationships
Cups relate to the element of water
Aces (ones) in Tarot signify the start of a journey or story
Cups, in relation to time questions, relate to months (think about how the tide ebbs with moon phases, which occur over a monthly period)
What are reversed cards in Tarot? It’s when the cards are upside down in a reading. Seems pretty easy right. You just interpret the cards as the opposite of the regular meanings right?
Let me stop you right there.
Reversed cards can present as many problems as Court cards. Unlike Court cards, reversed cards are completely optional and are added to a deck during shuffling (when you just flip some cards 180 when shuffling). So don’t feel too worried that the cards will come up reversed, and don’t feel pressured to add them to your readings before you’re ready. As much as it works in your favor to add those deeper meanings into a reading, it doesn’t work if something pops up and you can’t interpret it.
Reversed cards don’t mean that the meanings are completely reversed. From what I’ve read, a reversed card can be interpreted just as you would interpret an upright card in a normal reading. So break out your thinking caps and take a long look at the reversed card.
Take a look at the card like you would any other card. Read the scene, the people, the items present, the colors. Read the way the scene is playing out.
Let’s take our Ace of Cups example. Right side up, we can interpret the card as being full of emotion, or having abundance and fertility. However reversed, we see the cup spilling out, the waters running from the cup, so we can interpret the card as losing something or lack of something, like emotion (which is what cups represents), or fertility (which is present on the card face). So depending on the question and the context of the card in relation to the other cards in the draw, you can pick up a little clue here and there as to what a reversed card can mean.
While memorization is important, it’s also important to use your context clues for the question
When you first start reading Tarot cards, many people recommend starting a Tarot Journal.
So what is a Tarot Journal?
A Tarot Journal is basically exactly what is sounds like. It’s a journal where you write out things you learn about Tarot. Many use it as a daily journal, where they have a daily draw and interpret a card for the day, then journal about the day. Many use it as a reference for draws they have done, such as a draw done last week about their cousin’s wedding and referenced now a week before the wedding, to see what the cards may have referenced.
So what’s the significance in a Tarot Journal? Why should you get one?
Think of it this way; would you walk into school without a notebook to take notes about your classes? Would you go to a conference or a lecture and not take something to write notes with? Probably not. So give Tarot the same courtesy you would a teacher or a speaker at a presentation.
Maybe you won’t get anything from a reading, just like sometimes you walk into a class and it’s a movie day. And sometimes it’ll go over your head because you’re diving in too deep without understanding the basics, like trying to do calculus with only 3rd grade multiplication tables. But that’s where your journal comes in.
I been using mine for daily draws, to help interpret cards, to jot down interesting spreads I see on Pinterest, or to jot down notes on cards I haven’t drawn yet or difficult cards I’ve had to delve deeper into. And if nothing else, you can use your Tarot Journal just for the witchy aesthetic. Use it like a regular journal to help keep track of how you feel before and after a reading, to track which cards keep showing up for you, complicated spreads broken down for easy of use, deck you want to buy later, or neato little things you figure out along the way.
There’s no wrong way learn and Tarot Journals are a sure bet to help you keep your new knowledge in line and organized so you can actually reference later if you need to, or keep it around for friends or family to reference down the road. If you don’t know where to start, look into Bullet Journalling and just come up with your own spreads to suit your witchy needs.
Reading the cards is the most daunting part of the Tarot. You can buy deck after deck and read book after blog after forum, but you have to actually pick up the cards to learn it.
Tarot is as much about feeling than it is memorizing the cards.
I like to draw back to all those years in school when your English teacher would try to get you look at a book and draw some kind of meaning from the book. The same is true of Tarot cards. Each time you look at the card you have to draw some meaning form it.
For example, if you read the Great Gatsby in school, you know that the central plot is about a man reconnecting with his childhood sweetheart that ends in a tragic fate for many involved in both of their circles, as narrated by the man’s neighbor. But with each reading and each critical analysis, you can draw so much symbolism and meaning from the scenes depicted within the book, like the famous symbol of the green dock light being a beacon of hope, or the symbolic line between old money and new money.
The same is true of Tarot cards. You can memorize that the Two of Pentacles is a man holding two coins with pentacles on them bound by a loop of rope. But depending on the context, this card takes on many different meanings, So not only does intuition play a a vital part of reading Tarot cards, but so does critical thinking to help delve into a card and it’s secrets.
But you still have to learn what the cards mean as well. You can’t dive into Harry Potter without having read Dr. Seuss first. You have to take baby steps first before you run a marathon.
So where to start?
Well, practice makes perfect. So all those blogs and books you’ve already read are great. They’re going to give you a solid foundation to start learning organically.
So start with Daily Draws, where you draw a card a day and interpret the card.
Learn how to do spreads and document how the cards and your results turn out. (I’ll talk more about Tarot Journals later)
And when you get stuck, turn to the handy dandy little guide within your deck. The Little White Book.
Now, I’ve come to understand from numerous sources that the Little White Book, or LWB, can be a handy guide for fresh-faced beginners like myself, but many advise that the LWB should be taken into consideration with a grain of salt. Many long-practicing Tarot readers swear by learning the deck from heart and allowing the intuition to grow with the deck as you develop your own meanings. But we’re not experts yet. So reference the book all you want until the card makes sense or reach out forums and ask others within the community what they see.
So to sum it all up:
Practice makes perfect
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance (this is a really nice community and people are ready and willing to help guide us young naive witches)
Write it down (look at some of my study tips in my student life category)
The Courts have special properties in Tarot. While every other Minor Arcana card does depict people, the Court cards depict one particular person.
The Court cars refer to the monarchy within each Suit. Each Suit has 4 court cards; page, knight, queen, and king.
Each card rules over a different aspect of the Suit itself. The King is the King of that particular Suit and so on. For example, the King of Cups is the king of emotion, which Cups represent.
From what I’ve read across the many forums and blogs, Court cards can be difficult to learn because interpreting what they represent in a reading can lead to difficulties. Many of these difficulties reside in how the Court cards are used to represent a person in the reading. For example, the reading may revolve around family issues and the Queen of Cups may represent a female figure within the family, like a mother or grandmother.
But some of the difficulties also reside when the Court cards do not refer to a person within the reading. When a Court card doesn’t refer to a person you can always check the LWB included with the deck, or you may have to use intuition to try to try to divine the meaning in relation to the question.
While Court cards can be difficult, without them however, the deck is incomplete. Perhaps they just need some extra study work to understand. Or maybe their point is to be a bit fluid, to allow them to fill the roles needed in a reading, whether that means portraying a person or sending a message.
Because of this difficulty with the nature of the Court cards, I’m going to delve into each individually when the time comes. Hopefully we can crack the code on these pesky cards.
This is simultaneously the hardest and easiest part of Tarot.
Why is it easy? With all the resources available, it’s easy to find stores in your area that sell Tarot deck, as well as find them online. You also have the resources available to here what other people think about a certain from reviews and forums, which can help make you an more informed buyer, especially if you order them from Amazon or what not.
But now the process becomes harder. With all these resources at your disposal, it’s going to feel overwhelming just from the decks available at your local shops.
In this sea of beautiful artwork, differing content, different sizes, and loads of customer reviews, how do you know if you can work with this deck?
While this may be the right question, I want to elaborate for a moment on this particular question. If you’re a beginner like me, I wouldn’t worry about breaking the bank with the most beautiful deck you can find because your materialistic heart says you need it. I know this seems like a call out, but this is the main question I want you to focus on when you look at a deck, can you REALLY work with this deck? Can you picture yourself handling the cards over and over? Is the finish glossy enough for traditional shuffles (since if you’re like me, you haven’t quite picked up the hang of shuffling the standard sized Tarot which is larger than an average deck)? Is the deck a good size for your hands (I have very small child-like hands, which makes this an issue for me)? Can you imagine doing spreads and readings with these cards?
I know this seems like a lot to consider, but it’s helped me get two good decks off Amazon without ever touching them in person.
But my favorite little piece of advice, I found from Marie Kondo on her new Netflix series. Although her series is about organizing your home using the KonMari method, she asks her clients something very important about their stuff. ‘Does this spark joy?’ It totally floors me every time I use it, because some things you have to keep around (say a hammer for emergency repairs) but other things, you don’t have to hold onto (like a dress from your 8th grade Sadie Hawkins dance). So ask yourself this when you look at a new deck, especially if you’re online shopping. If you can’t see yourself holding this deck, working this deck, feeling joy and growth from this deck, then don’t bother to get it.
Unless you’re going to start an art collection of Tarot cards. Then go for it, I suppose.
I’m not trying to scare you off buying a deck. But I don’t want you to pick a stunning deck for you to work with it twice and realize it just isn’t for you. It would be like investing in a Ferrari for your first car only to find out you only like driving Civics (nothing wrong with either vehicle just a comparison of how even though the luxury is there, you may be comfortable with something that you can beat up a little since you’re still learning). But just take the time to research and investigate before you decide on a deck to save yourself from having decks piling up in your house, pouring out of cabinets and drawers, overflowing closets, spilling from under the beds and piled in the sink.
So this is one of witchcraft’s more commonly portrayed aspects in modern media. Everyone knows of the crazy old gypsy woman reading Tarot cards and palms at her velvet-covered shop with a big ass crystal ball and jars filled with unmentionable items.
While some of this is true for witchcraft (looking at all those memes about mason jar hoarding), Tarot is way more basic than that.
Tarot decks are made up of 78 cards. These cards are split into two main categories, Major arcana and Minor arcana. Major arcana makes up 22 cards of the deck and have all the most famous cards, like The Lovers and Death. The Minor arcana cards make up the remaining 56 cards of the deck and are split into four suits, like a standard deck of cards.
However, the suits are different than a standard deck. Where a standard deck is made up of Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, and Clubs, a Tarot deck is made up of Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands. Now the Tarot suits do coincide with regular suits, so if you’re trying to be sneaky or looking for a new Tarot challenge, you can use a regular deck just as you would a Tarot deck. Cups coincide with Hearts, Pentacles with Diamonds, Swords with Spades, and Wands with Clubs.
An interesting note about the Major arcana is that although they are numbered, they are numbered from 0 to 21, instead of 1 to 22. We’ll go over more of the Major arcana later on.
Tarot is a form of divination magic, like reading tea leaves or casting oracle bones. Another form of card divination is using oracle cards, which are different than Tarot cards because oracle cards can come in different kinds of deck sizes and content, whereas Tarot is normally based on one set standard.
Tarot decks are usually illustrated and based off the Rider-Waite Tarot deck structure. Most decks use their face illustrations off the standard Rider-Waite deck that’s been in print since 1910 and are considered the standard for Tarot decks. Nowadays, there are many illustrators creating their own stylistic face illustrations for their own Tarot decks, drawing from the Rider-Waite deck as the foundation.
Speaking of the Rider-Waite deck, many pros agree that to start learning with a deck based on the Rider-Waite deck since it is such a common and accessible deck. As well as being the most common deck available, since everyone uses it basically, the resources online are countless if you need help interpreting a card or learning a new spread. Besides online, Tarot has been around since the Middle ages, meaning that there are books upon books you can reference, although some books reference how Tarot was used as a simple card game before it was used for divination purposes.
That’s just some of the basics involving Tarot. With a topic this old and rich, there’s always more to explore and discover and learn.
To start off my new series of Tarot posts, I just want to go over some basic stuff with you.
For starters, this is more of a way to document my learning of the Tarot deck than to be used as an absolute guide. One of the best study methods is to teach the concept to someone else, so by writing it all down and teaching the internet about it, it should help me learn it all better too.
Secondly, I’m not claiming I’m an expert. Yet. So if you see something wrong, shoot me an email or comment on the post. I’m open to learning anything and everything.
Thirdly, I plan on posting every few days, so I’m not going all out all at once.
Any comments or questions, please let me know. This is definitely a group journey at this point!