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The Minor Arcana

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The Minor Arcana

(Tarot Course - Lesson 5)

The Minor Arcana, comprising a total of 56 cards, deals with minor secrets and was added to the Tarot deck at a later stage. The Minor Arcana cards complement the Major Arcana cards and provide more detailed explanations. Their meanings aren't as profound or extensive as the Major Arcana cards. Instead, they offer specific insights and delve into numerological details, making them easier to interpret.

In the Tarot deck, there are four fundamental realities: thought, emotion, creativity, and material reality. Each of these four fundamental realities is addressed by one of the series within the Minor Arcana. Thoughts are represented by Swords, emotions by Cups, creativity by Wands, and material reality by Pentacles. Even someone new to Tarot, with no prior knowledge, can gain an understanding of which aspect of life is being explored by simply categorizing the cards into these four groups. Therefore, knowing and familiarizing oneself with these four series is crucial.

The reason for calling it the Minor Arcana is not because they are unimportant or insignificant. The Minor Arcana cards act as supplements to the main story and serve as guiding factors in readings. While they may not carry as high energy as the Major Arcana cards, the Minor Arcana can provide small yet impactful details and insights that can have a significant impact on our lives.

It's essential to understand this: if we think of Tarot as a giant wheel, just as a missing piece affects the wheel's rotation, misinterpreting or overlooking Minor Arcana cards can negatively influence a reading.

The Minor Arcana is also believed to represent the medieval social classification of Nobles, Clergy, Merchants, and the Working Class or Serfs. Wands represent the commoners, Pentacles the wealthy or nobility. Additionally, these groups shed light on different aspects of life.

The Minor Arcana is divided into four main groups: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Depending on which group has the most cards in a spread, a Tarot reader can quickly discern whether the event is emotional, financial, or mental in nature. For example, Pentacles focus on physical or financial aspects of life, while Cups are emotional cards. Wands and Swords shed light on the battles and struggles we face.

Starting with Wands and ending with Pentacles, these four groups progress from abstract to concrete. Wands represent events that take place solely in the mind and do not have a tangible, physical presence. On the other hand, events depicted in Pentacles are real and tangible.

The Minor Arcana cards are grouped within themselves. Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles make up the four primary groups, each starting from 1 and ending at 10. Beyond these numbers, there are also the Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings, known as Court cards. The series begins with the Page and culminates with the Kings. The Kings represent the pinnacle of these court cards, symbolizing the highest goals and ambitions. I will delve into these series and Court cards more explicitly in future lessons, so I won't go into too much detail in this section.

Ace Cards in the Minor Arcana:

Ace cards always represent new beginnings, sudden inspirations, or significant opportunities. However, each of the four Aces in the Minor Arcana brings news of a different beginning related to different aspects of life. For example, the Ace of Cups signifies an emotional start, while the Ace of Pentacles represents something more physical, tangible, or financial. The Ace of Swords suggests the beginning of a new battle or struggle in our lives. The Ace of Wands can point to intellectual beginnings, sudden inspirations, or new ideas.

Numbered Cards 2-9 in the Minor Arcana:

These numbers represent the processes within events. The process initiated by the number 1 evolves and takes shape with the other numbers. The single-digit number 9 is, in fact, the pinnacle in the Minor Arcana and the step before the two-digit number 10, which marks the beginning of a new series. Therefore, nine represents the last hurdle and the final step to take before starting a new series with the 10s.

The Tens in the Minor Arcana:

The single-digit numbers come to an end here, giving way to the two-digit numbers starting with 10. The 10s represent the transition from the first series to a new system resembling the old one. Therefore, the 10s signify the passage between two different systems and can also indicate what will happen on the verge of entering the palace. The 10s can represent new beginnings that follow the conclusion of something. Each 10 provides insight into a different aspect of life. The 10 of Cups may signify emotional, while the 10 of Pentacles could signify physical or financial beginnings.

Next - The Suit of Wands


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