Among the 78 Tarot Cards in a standard Tarot Card Deck, there are a few Tarot Cards that have similar or common meanings. Just as the imagery of each card differs from one another, these meanings carry subtle but important differences within them that affect the interpretation of that Tarot Card in a Tarot Card Reading.
In a Tarot Card Reading…
In a Tarot Card Reading, within the context of the question asked, a card may show up depicting a specific meaning / interpretation as the answer. Over time, as I noticed the similarities and differences within cards bearing similar meanings, I began to wonder.
Why is it that a particular card shows up to tell us that answer? Why not (any of) the other card(s)?
And the subtle differences began to take on a new meaning for me. Within the context of the client’s question the scope of the answer began to become colored by that slight shift in the way the interpretation would come through.
Based on the specific imagery within each card, the core meaning takes on a slightly different shade, which then shows us the story in a bit of a different light.
Let me illustrate this with a few examples.
4 of Wands. 10 of Cups. 10 of Pentacles.
Within the context of a romance or relationship related question, each of these cards can be interpreted as a happy marriage or a happy family card. And yet, as we observe the imagery, there are important differences.
The 4 of Wands card shows the harmonious flow of the fiery and passionate energy of the couple that is now becoming steadier and stabler (the energy of 4), and able to sustain ups and downs of everyday life.
The 10 of Cups shows the deeply emotional bond that exists within the family members. This bond has gone through its various shades (like the rainbow colors) and is now become a colorful tapestry of feelings and emotions, strengthening their bonding with each other. The 10 of Pentacles shows a family that is happy and joyful, and at the same time materially prosperous. Their joys and connections and passions have solidified, as it were, into something real and tangible.
Each card thus, carries within its imagery, an important shift in the meaning and perception of the reading story.
For instance, if the question were about the outcome of a romantic relationship, each card would give the overarching answer of a happy life together. But with the 4 of Wands it would be driven by passions that stabilize over time, and the with the 10 of Cups it would be an emotionally connected life that goes through ups and downs in feelings, and with the 10 of Pentacles it would bring in material blessings and a bonding that is more practical or grounded. Each subtle change shows us the way the relationship will develop and progress into fulfilling the “happy life together” interpretation.
4 of Wands. 3 of Cups.
Another interpretation for the 4 of Wands is ‘celebration’ or ‘party’. The 3 of Cups also carries a similar meaning. And yet, there is a difference.
The 4 of Wands is a party that is fueled by fiery passions — it could be a wild party, with dancing and singing. The 3 of Cups is more of a get-together between friends who have a deep, emotional bond. They may sing and dance too, but it is more of an emotion fueled experience rather than a passionate scenario.
So, in a question that asked about how an upcoming event would look like, the 4 of Wands could show a boisterous party where everyone gets charged up and passionate, while the 3 of Cups could show a party where people connect and bond deeply over their drinks and conversations.
Before writing this post, I made a video where I’ve talked about a few more examples. Check it out.
Some More Examples
In the video I’ve spoken about these cards with similar meanings. And here’s the list that I came up with whilst brainstorming for this video + blog post. I’ve talked about some in the video, while I haven’t talked about a few.
- 4 of Wands (Fiery Passions) and 10 of Cups (Emotionally Connected) and 10 of Pentacles (Material Abundance) = Happy Marriage
- 4 of Wands (Passionate Party) and 3 of Cups (Emotional Gathering) = Celebration / Party
Justice (Decision with Full Awareness) and 2 of Swords (Decision with Intuition) = Decision / Choices
- Devil (Trapped by Material Desires) and 8 of Swords (Trapped by Negative Mind Talk) = Trapped
- Death (Gradual Change with Emotionally Cleansing) and Tower (Sudden Change with no Emotional Preparation) = Change
- Ace of Pentacles (Suddenly Getting a Chunk of Money) and 6 of Pentacles (Getting Money that is Owed or Due) = Income
- Lovers (Spiritual Connection) and 2 of Cups (Emotional Bond) = Relationship
- Chariot (Deeply Meaningful Journey) and 6 of Swords (Moving House, Trip or Vacation) = Travel / Movement
- 4 of Swords (Seclusion while Dealing with hurt and pain) and The Hermit (Seclusion for Deeper Understanding of Life Experiences) = Thoughtful Seclusion
- Ace of Wands (Passionate or Desire-based Beginning) and Ace of Swords (Logical or Idea-based Beginning) and Ace of Cups (Emotional or Joyous Beginning) and Ace of Pentacles (Materially Blessed Beginning) = Beginning
I’m very, very sure that there are more such combos!
Go through your Tarot Card Deck. What other pairs / combos do you see? Share your card pairs / combos along with the similarities and differences in meaning, in the comments section below and let’s get talking!
More From This Series...
- Tarot Cards with Similar Meanings but Subtle Differences
- Framing Tarot Card Reading Questions
- Reading Tarot Cards For Yourself
- Reading Tarot Cards For Your Friends and Relatives
- Reading Tarot Cards for Total Strangers
- The Power To Say ‘No’
- When Clients Don’t Believe Your Tarot Card Reading
- What You Can Learn From A Tarot Card Reading
- How To Increase The Accuracy Of Your Tarot Card Reading
- Doing a Tarot Reading With Two or More Tarot Decks