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
Great power and force
Riches and success
Change in work, property move
Tarot card groups for Court cards
Unexpected meetings, news
Powerful and influential friends
Meetings with the great
New ideas and plans
Anxiety and responsibility
Buying, selling, commerce
Gain and success
Rest and peace
Resolution and determination
Conference and conversations
Re-organisation and recommencement
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:
The Planetary Major cards have no elemental attribution
- High Priestess
- Universe/World – Earth
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.