Thursday, May 15, 2008

Minor Arcana Meanings By (apolcalyptic) sg CLUB

The Minor Arcana

In this article I cover the Minor Arcana, and try to give structure to something I have long considered the most tedious part of learning the Art of Tarot.

IcyBlue7, the idea for this article spawned from our conversation last weekend.

Hence I dedicate this work to you.

My point of view on the Minor Arcana comes from Paul Fenton-Smith.

His book, “The Tarot Revealed” has been companion to my Rider-Waite deck since I picked up the Art.

It is his wisdom that I tend to defer to, and his interpretations that I have taken as my own.

Do take this article with a grain of salt, as the views expressed here are my own and may differ from each practitioner to the next.

Numbered ace to ten, with four court cards, the Minor Arcana cover fifty six of the seventy eight cards of the Tarot.

I shall cover the non court cards separately from the court cards, addressing each as a theme and by their individual suits.

The Four Suits

Each of the four suits represents an element, which is tied to a concept.

This element and concept is also used in the court cards.


Wands/Fire/Action, Passion

Cups/Water/Emotions, Relations

Swords/Air/Thoughts, Ideas

Pentacles/Earth/Material wealth, CareerRelations

above refer to any connection between two or more people, not necessarily limited to the romantic variety.

The Non Court Cards

Each of the four suits has ten non court cards, with each of the suits telling a different story. However, the numbers on each card represent a theme.












Putting the theme together with the concept of the suit, it becomes easier to get a grasp of each of the forty non court cards of the Minor Arcana. E.g. the Four of Swords according to the two charts above would mean “consolidation” of “thought”.

The Court Cards

There are two ways to interpret court cards.

Firstly, each of the cards may represent people. In this case, it is possible that each of the cards represent a certain Zodiac. Alternatively, each of the cards may represent qualities of people.

Secondly, the court cards may also represent an element very much like the suits.

However, they all share a certain theme as well. Since the former is in contention between different schools of Tarot, I shall focus on the second method.


Page/Air/News, Ideas




Putting the theme of the court cards together with the suit, I usually interpret each card as an elemental expression of an elemental concept. E.g. the Knight of Swords would mean the “fire of air”; that is to say thoughts or ideas put into action.

1 comment:

SHIMURE said...

Good article. But i would want to give my interpretation of the minors which is a little different from Wen's

Ace/Beginnings or the highest strenght of any of the suits.

Two/ choices, decision, time to think
2 of wands, is choice and analysis and also dominion.
2 of cups is communication, love and understanding prior to choice
2 of swords is truce and choice based on logic unbias by love
2 of pentacles is balance of work and any other matters of the heart.

Three/ normally means a the first high point for the minors. it would signify the strongest power of each of the suite. For instances, the 3 of cups is abudance or celebration of emotions, the 3 of swords is clear and firm decision with no emotions hence the word sorrow, the 3 of wands is virtue or the perfection of passion, the 3 of pentacles is work or perfection of material by hands,

Four/Consolidation ( this i agree)

Five/Bad stuff, change for the worse.

Six/good stuff change for the better

Seven/warnings and advice

Eight/barriers and obstructions

Nine/Foundation of the suites. remember 9 is 1 step from completion. In order for a building to be completed, the foundations must be laid.

Ten/Completion i agree. or full and highest mansifestation of the suite in appearance.