Lesson Three


The Minor Arcana – an Overview

The Minor Arcana cards represent our everyday lives and the activities and people in them. The first clue to how this part of the Tarot deck works, is in the 4 suits of 14 cards each.

The suit of Wands (Rods, Batons, Clubs) deal with our volition and will to succeed, our ambitions and careers, our creative endeavours and new projects, the seeds and starting of all new things. They are represented by the element of fire in most decks (some decks have this suit as the element of Air) and are associated with the astrological signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. This suit is considered to be Yang or Projective in energy.

The suit of Cups (Chalices, Vessels, Hearts) deal with our intuition, our emotions, love, and relationships and our faith and spiritual beliefs. They are represented by the element of water in most decks and are associated with the astrological signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Cancer. This suit is considered to be Yin or Receptive in energy.

The suit of Swords (Blades, Spears, Spades) deal with our intellect, thoughts, ideas, logic and communications. They are represented by the element of air in most decks (some decks have this suit as the element of Fire) and are associated with the astrological signs of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. This suit is considered to be Yang or Projective in energy.

The suit of Discs (Coins, Pentacles, Diamonds) deal with our material and physical life, including, home, money and the body. They are represented by the element of earth in most decks and are associated with the astrological signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. This suit is considered to be Yin or Receptive in energy.

I also like to assign a direction to each suit. There is more than one system for doing this. I use the one on the left, you may find different assignments than the ones listed below. Use whatever system feels right to you.

SUIT MINE WICCA ALTERNATE
Wands East South East
Cups West West South
Swords South East West
Earth North North North

You will see that in each suit there are Aces, cards numbered 2 – 10, and 4 cards that represent people, traditionally named Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings.

Aces
Generally, Aces represent the most basic or primordial aspect of each suit and how they are manifesting in our daily lives. They are often thought of as gifts in a reading and like the number one that they represent, are considered the beginning of whatever the energy is for the suit they are displaying.

Pips ( 2 – 10)
Generally the Pips represent different aspects of each suit and how they are manifesting in our daily lives. Some decks have pictures with people and scenes on them in the pips (e.g.: Rider Waite Tarot), others have abstract representations of the meanings (e.g.: Thoth Tarot) and yet others have simply the number of symbols for the card number and suit (e.g.: IJJ Swiss Tarot). Decks with scenes on the pips can be helpful in the learning phase of Tarot in remembering what the card is representing.

Court or Family/People Cards
There are many differing views by Tarot experts on the Court or People cards. This is how I have come to views them.

Generally the Court or People cards represent personalities, either our own, or another person or a situation that seems to have a personality of its own. Traditionally they are called, Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings. However, they may have various names from deck to deck, such as Princesses, Princes, Queens, Kings, or Daughter, Son, Mother, Father, or Daughters, Sons, Priestess, Shamans to name a few. You may need to spend some time figuring out which cards in your deck match to each of the traditional ideas of Page, Knight, Queen and King.

Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings may be young or old in actual age, they may be men or women. Age and gender are not an issue with how I view these personalities. I see Pages as talking about things and issues, Knights as taking action concerning things and issues, Queens as advising from the heart concerning things and issues and Kings as advising from the mind about things and issues. (These are concepts I learned directly from the American Tarot Association’s course material and articles in the ATA News).

Page Personalities are child like personalities who give messages and/or talk about (they do not act) the things represented by their suit. They are usually considered to be Yin or Receptive in nature. I associate them with the element of Earth. The more cards in their suit that show up in a reading, the more actively the Pages talk about or give messages about these things. *An extra card can be drawn for the Page to get a very specific message if desired, use your intuition for this. But make sure you are already very clear about how the Page is functioning in the reading or another card will only muddle things.

Knight Personalities are youth/teen/young adult personalities who are active workers (they don’t just talk about it) doing the things represented by their suit. They are usually considered to be Yang or Projective in energy. I associate them with the element of Fire, they are often associated with the element of Air. The more cards in their suit that show up in a reading, the more actively the Knights get involved in the work.

Queen Personalities are mature acting personalities who are loving and caring and emotionally empower one about the things represented by their suits. They are usually considered to be Yin or Receptive in energy. I associate them with the element of Water. The more cards in their suit that show up in a reading, the more loving empowerment the Queens have to offer.

King Personalities are wise acting and elder type personalities who empower and help intellectually about the things represented by their suits. This often involves lots of planning/building and the use of rules, regulations and laws. They usually are considered to be Yang or Projective in energy. I associate them with the element of Air, they are often associated with the element of Fire. The more cards in their suit that show up in a reading, the more intellectual empowerment and help the Kings have to offer.

An exercise to become familiar with the Minor Arcana
Separate you Minor Arcana cards into the 4 piles, one for each suit. Order them starting with the Ace through Ten, then Page, Knight, Queen and King. (This is often called an archetypical ordering). Now starting with the Aces, compare the cards from each suit. Study how all the Aces are the same and how they are all different. Do this for all the 2’s, 3’s etc. Write down your observations in a notebook or Tarot Journal.


© copy right 2011 by Bella Lori Gagnon
all rights reserved

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s