The Tarot deck is 78 cards, divided into two parts -
the Major Arcana, and the Minor Arcana. Each card is full of symbols, but what does it
mean? In this document, I review the configuration
of the tarot deck, the elements, the basic numerical meanings of the Minor Arcana, and some thoughts on the Court Cards.
Minor Arcana/Pip cards:
The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards. It is divided into 4
different suits, numbering from Ace to 10, then 4 court cards - similar to a standard
playing card deck.
The four suits of the Tarot deck correspond to four divisions of
energy and activity:
Wands/Rods correspond to the male element of fire. They represent energy, creativity,
passion, and spirit. Wands are also closely associated with career and work situations.
Pentacles/Disks correspond to the female element of earth. They represent money, material
matters, and physical well-being.
Cups correspond to the element of female water. They represent emotions, relationships,
love, and intuition. The shielding nature of a cup also associates it with things hidden.
Swords correspond to the element of male air. They represent the
mind and intellect, communicating, and conflict.
The ace is the earliest, most primordial form of the element, and
the ten of each suit is the maximum manifestation of the quality of the element. Two
through nine are valuable lessons which nurture a slow evolution or ripening, as the
individual gains in control and consciousness within the activities of the element.
* Wands build towards constructive passionate energy.
* Pentacles build towards physical security.
* Cups build through emotional fulfillment.
* Swords build through increased wisdom and knowledge.
* Ace - beginnings, the arrival of something new and untempered
* Two - choices, decisions, early combinations
* Three - planning, preparing, expansion, manifestation
* Four - stability
* Five - challenges, adapting, movement, changes
* Six - realization of patterns, cycles, peacefulness, rest
* Seven - individual efforts, developing one's own style through
* Eight - organizing ideas and efforts, structuring, delegation
* Nine - expansion, development, giving to others
* Ten - fulfillment, maximum manifestation
Thoughts on Court Cards:
There are a few different ways to interpret the court cards if
they come up in a reading. One way is to interpret them as the physiological or
zodiacal representations of people, using the same credentials as choosing a significator
(see below). Another is to interpret the court cards as representing stages in personal
development with regards to the element.
* Page - risking, daring
* Knight - focusing, intensity
* Queen - mature, competent
* King - completion, ready to let go or move on
Choosing or recognizing a Significator:
Some people choose a card to represent the questioner and lay down
the spread around that card. It is not necessary to choose a significator, or to even
restrict your choices to the court cards. Here are a few common methods for choosing a
significator from the court cards.
* Zodiac - The signs of the zodiac are divided along the 4 elements
Determine what sign the questioner is, and then use the court cards
of the representative suit.
* Wands - Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
* Pentacles - Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
* Cups - Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
* Swords - Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
* Physical Appearances - A significator can also be chosen by the
questioner's physical appearance. The correspondence between the suits and complexions is
* Wands - blond hair and blue eyes; red/auburn hair and green/Hazel
eyes; fair complexion
* Pentacles - black hair and dark eyes; dark complexion
* Cups - light brown hair and brown/Hazel eyes, light complexion
* Swords - medium to dark brown hair, brown eyes; medium complexion
* Sex/Age - After selecting the appropriate suit, choose a card most
fitting to the questioner's age and sex. If the sex of the questioner is different than
the sex of the character portrayed on the card, but that card seems to be the most fitting
- go with the card. Use sex only as a guide.
There are two main organization schemes for the court cards:
* King - mature male
* Queen - mature female
* Knight - young adult, usually male
* Page - youth or young adult female
* King - mature male
* Queen - mature female
* Prince - young adult/youthful male
* Princess - young adult/youthful female