Cups, Wands, Swords, And Pentacles: What The Suits Of Tarot Represent

A tarot reading can give you insight into the questions you're asking. It doesn't matter if a fortune-teller or your friend does your reading. The cards that are dealt will tell you what you need to hear — although it won't always give you the answer you want to hear. Reading tarot is all about interpreting which of the 78 cards you get. Sometimes the one that is meant for you will simply fall out of the deck while it's shuffled, or you may blindly choose it yourself.


In the deck, 22 major arcana cards tell you why something is occurring, while the 56 minor arcana tell you what happened. When you get a suit, it's part of the minor arcana. You may see a suit of cups, wands, swords, or pentacles during a reading. Depending on the tarot deck, they may also go by the names hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds, respectively. They each have their own element, astrological signs, and overall theme. Each suit has four court and 10 number cards that dive into the topic with their own meaning. Once you understand each suit, it'll be easier to interpret what the cards are trying to tell you.

Cups for emotions and relationships

The suit of cups is connected with the water element and the associated astrological signs; Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. It's one of the most fortunate suits to get during a tarot reading. Cups represent how people truly feel. This is not only how you view yourself, but how others feel about you too. When you get one of these cards, you should think about what's in your dreams and your heart. Listen to your intuition to connect with your feelings.


Since the suit of cups aligns with summertime, it brings joyful feelings to the recipient of the reading. Most of the time, these cards will give you a good insight into your love and connections (romantic or otherwise). This is because they appear when you're confused or unsure about these areas of your life. The Ace of Cups is an excellent example. This card recommends that you open your heart to deepen your relationship or pursue the new connection you've been holding back from. On the other hand, the Five of Cups reassures you to move on from your broken connections and see them as lessons — rather than focusing on your disappointment or regrets.

Wands for creativity and action

The suit of wands is connected to the fire element. It's associated with three astrological signs: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Instead of focusing on relationships, this suit is about action, power, and creativity. When you get a wand card, it's meant to inspire you. Depending on the exact card you get, it may urge you to do something new in your day-to-day life. Wands are all about intuition, desire, and willpower.


The direction your cards face during a reading can reverse their meaning. This can take the insightful action and motivation they report and change it to something dangerous. Rather than filling you with inspiration and courage, they may signal danger and recklessness. An upright Six of Wands means the recipient is confident in themselves and making progress in their interests. Meanwhile, if this card is upside down, it suggests that they are feeling defeated and not getting the recognition they've earned.

Swords for mental strife

The suit of swords appears during a tarot reading when you're dealing with something in your mind. It's connected with the air element and the astrological signs of Aquarius, Libra, and Gemini. Since it's centered around your inner thoughts and intellect, it may bring up the mental struggles or decisions you need to make. These cards will call you to action, encouraging you to follow your beliefs to find solutions to issues in your life.


Like the other cards, it has an inspiring meaning when read facing forward, but this can feel sinister when it's upside down. When this happens with the suit of swords, courage and power can turn into judgment, anger, and verbal or mental abuse. Don't be scared when these cards pop up. They are often a warning to pay attention to what's happening around you, so you can take action toward the outcome you desire.

Pentacles for prosperity and the material world

The suit of pentacles is part of the earth element and the astrological signs Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Like its signs, it represents the attributes of femininity, passiveness, coldness, and dryness. This suit displays what you're experiencing with your senses. It provides advice and indicates that you need to pay attention to the physical things in your world. Depending on your personal situation and what you want to know from your tarot reading, the suit of pentacles can indicate the direction you need to go.


Pentacles symbolize security and prosperity, but it is not strictly about money. Anyone can be rich with beauty or intelligence. They could also be full of kindness towards the people around them. However, when the card is at its worst, it shows people as becoming greedy and lazy. While paying attention to the physical world is essential, it's not good to become materialistic. The suit of pentacles may also be read as someone becoming stubborn and refusing to change — even if it will benefit them.