Nothing inspires me like a deadline, so in preparing for my Tarot for Mindfulness event tomorrow night, I made an exceptionally brief handout as a sort of Tarot 101, including an easy 3-card tarot spread, which I’m happy to share here! (For a PDF copy, please see the link at the end of the post.)

The tarot is comprised of the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. The Majors focus on the greater forces at work in our lives, while the Minors center on the “nitty gritty” of our day-to-day lives.  

Within the Major Arcana, there are 22 cards numbered 0 (The Fool) through 21 (The World), that are generally considered to be divided into 3 cycles: 1-7 as a “birth” cycle, giving the reader prompts to better understand their egoic self; 8-14 as a “death” cycle, in which the reader sheds what no longer serves; and lastly 15-21, a cycle of “rebirth,” in which the reader explores their connection to the divine. The Fool, numbered 0, is generally believed to be our spirit traveling along in this journey of birth/death/rebirth.

While the Majors explore the greater forces at play in our worlds, the Minor Arcana should not be seen as inconsequential—they are, in fact, powerful tools for self-care in our day-to-day lives. Divided into four suits, the cards are similar to a deck of playing cards in that they have 1 (the Ace) through 10, with four court cards each: Page, Knight, Queen, and King. The four suits (Cups, Swords, Pentacles, and Wands) correspond with the four elements (Water, Air, Earth, and Fire, respectively), giving some insight into their meanings:

Cups = water = our emotions and intuition
Swords = air = our mental state and communication
Pentacles = earth = our physical selves and our environment
Wands = fire = our passions and creativity

A note on Pentacles: these are misinterpreted as being related to our finances. However, this interpretation does a disservice to the reader, offering only a narrow understanding, and excludes those with less. The self-care offered with tarot is universal, and if the message of the tarot cards is not accessible to everyone because of some perceived financial barrier, we need to expand our understanding of the message.

A note on the court cards: while the “fortune telling” approach to tarot often identifies the court cards as other individuals along gender lines (ie, a Queen as a woman in your life, a King as a man in your life), this interpretation is flawed, and does a disservice to those in your life and to the reader. First and foremost, tarot cannot predict the future or clarify the inner workings of another individual. Each of the cards, even when it appears as the “wrong” gender, is here to support YOU.

A more helpful way to explore the court cards, then, is to consider what each of those “jobs” would represent within a royal court. The Page is a novice or a student of the energy within that suit. The Knight is a messenger, focused on movement and communication. The Queen is the “knower,” possessing a clear understanding of the energy of the suit. Lastly, the King is the leader, or one who is in alignment with the highest energies of the suit and conducts themselves thusly.


  1. What in my past is influencing or may support me in the present?
  2. What may I see more clearly about the current situation? 
  3. What am I being invited to step into? Where may I focus my attentions going forward?

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