Open Reading Pip Cards

I’ve been thinking for a few days now to open this topic, so here it is. We can discuss anything about open reading the pip cards.

I, as a beginner in Tarot de Marseille, find it hard to read the swords and the wands in open readings. One of the reasons might be that I don’t see them in my daily life, as I do for cups and coins. I find it hard to relate with these cards. All I see is long braided things with some planting here and there. I can interpret the blossoming of course, or the lack of it. But other than that, all I can do is connect them with male energy, air and fire elements and numerology. Or follow the playing cards theory which says reds are good, blacks are bad. But I feel there is a lot more than that when it comes to an open reading with a different question each time.

Does anyone feel the same way?
I would much appreciate it if you could share any tips or examples that helped you have a better understanding of the swords and the wands.

Or you could talk about the coins and the cups. There is a lot more to learn there, too.


@Anna_Sibylla Sometimes the more abstract images of the pips make it easier to connect the cards to the subject of the reading. I remember receiving an 8 of coins and a 10 of cups in a reading about the installation of solar panels which made perfect sense to me in this context: several little suns captured are pouring their energy. If you connect that to the common association of coins with money and cups with love. One could see this also as an investment that brings well-being.


@Anna_Sibylla Extend all baton pip cards, from 1 to 10, in front of you over the table.
Look at them, not just see, but Look, Pay Attention to them. Then reorganize them by odd and even numbers (1-3-5-7-9 and 2-4-6-8-10). Look for patterns, flows, continuations,… And look for the exceptions. In the Tarot de Marseille the exceptions are always most important.

Then do the same with the Swords suit.

Then compare together Cups and Coins.

Look for similarities and differences, and ask yourself what this might imply. The context (question) is crucial is to understand the message of the cards. But what I wrote above is a good starter.

Later on you can do somthing similar with the Court Cards, first by suit and then by range.

Enjoy your journey of discovery! :rose:


With TdM, I see the Wands as Earth and the Swords as Air. This makes Coins, Fire.

This corresponds to the playing card system, where the black suits (clubs and spades) are passive and and the red suits (cups and diamonds) are active.

Swords and Wands are long (passive) and Cups and Coins are short (active).

Add Swords (masculine/passive/air/spades) and Wands (feminine/passive/earth/clubs).
And Coins (masculine/active/fire/diamonds) and Cups (feminine/active/water/hearts).


@m.cremer I see what you mean. The more abstract the images the more endless are the possibilities.
In your example it is very easy to connect round coins with round sun. I often relate shapes as well. But if it has to do with swords and wands, I’d have asked about pencils, straws or chopsticks. Just kidding!
Thak you very much for sharing your example.


@78puertas I have watched a couple of your videos and follow your page on facebook.
This is a great tip actually. I have seen it before on youtube and read it in a book but haven’t tried it myself, yet. This is exactly what I should do to get a better understanding and connection with the pip cards. I will definitely follow you advices and pay much attention.
Thank you very much for your answer and your kind wishes!


I’m pretty new to the TdM (and Tarot in general). I like the openness of the pips. I consider the suits in light of what they represent. For me, its Cup = emotions, Swords = intellect, Coins = commerce, Wands = effort. I then later the suit with my slightly idiosyncratic numerology and then ponder the relationships of the cards in the context of the spread to squeeze some meaning out of them.

Since the Tarot is a visual art, I will also take into account graphical flourishes (such as the weave of swords, geometries on a card, or the tipped 10th cup) as meaningful in a reading. For example I find the 7 of coins unstable (with an inverted triangle precariously balanced on a square)…but if a different pip deck did not chose that arrangement, I would not incorporate it into that day’s reading. (I’ve been doing daily 3 card open spreads for myself)

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