Tarot card groups

Tarot card groups in a reading help you to interpret for your clients. The information here is independent of spreads – the skill of pattern recognition. These have a particular divinatory meaning which you can use in your interpretations. The advantages of this method is that you get a ‘feel’ for the overall picture.

The two pattern recognition methods are:

  • Interpreting similar
  • Elemental Balance

The list below gives typical meanings for tarot card groups.

Three or four tarot card groups for Minor Arcana

4 Aces

Great power and force

3 Aces

Riches and success

2 Aces

Change in work, property move

Tarot card groups for Court cards

4 Knights

Swiftness, speed

3 Knights

Unexpected meetings, news

4 Queens


3 Queens

Powerful and influential friends

4 Princes

Meetings with the great

3 Princes

Honour, rank

4 Princesses

New ideas and plans

3 Princesses

Young society

4 Tens

Anxiety and responsibility

3 Tens

Buying, selling, commerce

4 Nines

Added responsibility

3 Nines

Much correspondence

4 Eights


3 Eights


4 Sevens


3 Sevens

Treaties, contracts

4 Sixes


3 Sixes

Gain and success

4 Fives

Order, regularity

3 Fives

Quarrels, fights

4 Fours

Rest and peace

3 Fours


4 Threes

Resolution and determination

3 Threes


4 Twos

Conference and conversations

3 Twos

Re-organisation and recommencement

Elemental categories

By now you should know the elemental associations of the Minor and Courts:

  • Wands – Fire
  • Cups – Water
  • Swords – Air
  • Disks/Pentacles – Earth

The Major Atu are slightly more complicated, as the elemental associations are the astrological attributions:

Air Group

Water Group

Earth Group

Fire Group

The Planetary Major cards have no elemental attribution

  • Magician
  • High Priestess
  • Empress
  • Fortune
  • Tower
  • Sun
  • Universe/World – Earth

Majority: elements


Energy, quarrelling, opposition, active


Pleasure, enjoyment, passive


Problems, illness, sorrow, worry, active


Practical, solid, passive



Powers beyond the Querent’s control


Many people, undue influence from other people


Events in the control of the Querent

There is a ratio between the Trumps, Court and Minor Arcana: 22 – 16 – 40, an easy rule. Half are Minor, while the other half is roughly divided between the Trumps and Minor Arcana. An equal number of Courts to Trumps suggests influence from the courts.


These exercises will develop your ability to spot and interpret patterns. For all these exercises, ignore the divinatory meanings.

Exercise 1

Deal out around 10-15 cards face up on the table in front of you (it does not matter if some are upside down). Ignore divinatory meanings as you  note the ratio between the Major, Minor and Court Arcana.  If the ratio follows the 22-16-40 rule, you have a balanced spread. Try to state the imbalance of each type. Vary the number dealt out, and notice the difference in the ratios. Get a feel for what the ‘spread’ may be saying based purely on the Major/Minor/Court ratio.

Exercise 2

Repeat the above, dealing out the tarot. This time, quickly count up the elemental balance, ignoring whether they are Major, Minor or Court Arcana. State the elemental balance, making a note of excess or missing elements. Vary the numbers. With practice you will judge the elemental balance by eye.

Exercise 3

Once you are comfortable with seeing patterns using the Major/Minor/Court and elemental ratios, combine the two previous exercises. See if you can calculate the balance of the two ratios, what this could mean, again ignoring the divinatory meanings.

Exercise 4

By now you will be thoroughly familiar with the elements and type balance. The next stage is to deal the Tarot out as before. Spot if there are any three or four of a kind. You may have to use a larger sample to do this. Remember the divinatory meanings of the categories – you may find that the balance and elemental ratio will help you.

By doing these exercises you will be comfortable with looking at the patterns and sense of what the Tarot  is trying to tell you.   Congratulations! Even without knowing the details of the Tarot, or having a formal spread, you will analyse and say something of what is going on. Now that you have the ‘big picture’, you can start to look more closely at the interpretation.

Working with a partner

If you want the extra challenge of doing readings, you can repeat the exercises with a partner. You deal out the Tarot, and your friend will interpret just by looking at the patterns. The reading will be a summary of the Tarot laid out – missing, or excess elements etc. With practice you should be able to summarise in less than 30 seconds. Does the other person agrees with your assessment?

Speed Readings

You can turn this into a game, seeing how fast you can deal out and make an instant assessment. As soon as you have pronounced your judgement, the other person has time to check your accuracy. This could also be a competition.

Article Name
Meanings of groups of cards in Tarot readings for extra insight
Meanings of tarot group of cards such as three Queens, four aces, etc can be used in your tarot readings for deeper insights and extra information.

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