Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Suit Meanings and Reading Runs

Part of the Down Home Tarot approach is not to overburden beginners or casual tarot enthusiasts with tons of hidden or esoteric information; I've said before that just knowing one meaning per card can lead to plenty of quality interactions with your deck.  However, if you're reading a blog about tarot cards, you probably enjoy learning a bit more about them, even if you choose not to incorporate every detail into your own practice. Personally, I don't use sacred geometry or much astrology in my readings. But I do incorporate suit meanings, which allows me to read runs of minor arcana.

A run of a suit means that you have three or more cards of a given suit in your spread.  For example, if I read a Celtic Cross--which has ten cards--I could end up with, say, five different sword cards.  That means I had a run of swords in that spread.  You can, of course, have runs of more than one suit if your spread is large enough.

So what does that mean?  Well, each suit is associated with not only its own domain, but a cardinal direction, a season, and a classical element.  I especially like incorporating the seasons into my reading.  You can totally pick and choose what works for you!  Probably the most significant and frequently-used associations are the domains of each suit.

Swords are the domain of intellect, and govern communication, truth, objectivity, and logic.  If you get a run of swords in a spread, it could mean that the querent is preoccupied with finding out the objective truth of a matter.  Perhaps it means that the querent is a particularly strong communicator.  The classical element associated with swords is air.

Cups signify emotions, and often indicate dreams, fantasy, intuition, and the subconscious. A run of cards could indicate that the querent relies heavily on their emotional reality, or that they often make decisions based on intuition.  Water is the cups' classical element.

Pentacles traditionally signify the domain of work or commerce, since they are originally literal money (coins).  More and more often, though, they are read as the physical aspect of reality, structure, and tangible existence.  A run of pentacles may mean that the material needs of the querent are prominent; it could also mean that the querent has a very practical, down-to-earth approach to life.  Pentacles are linked to the classical element of earth.

And finally, wands refer to the somewhat ill-defined domain of spirit. In this context, spirit refers to passion and creativity, energized action, and sometimes sexuality.  A run of wands may mean that the querent is eager to use their creative energy, or excited about changes and progress in their life.  Wands' classical element is fire.

When I am reading runs, I use these domains as a starting point for interpretation.  If you want to give it a try, I recommend not reading it too literally; allow these suit meanings to round out the narrative that is already present in the cards.  If that seems too intimidating, but you still want to work on reading runs, you can always just point out the run to the querent.  Saying something as simple as, "You have four wands in your spread; that usually indicates high creative energy," can be enough to add depth for the querent.  As always, it is up to you!

Do these domains resonate with you?  Do you think you will try to incorporate runs in your readings?  Would you like to here more about different associations with each suit?  Let us know in comments!

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