Tarot packs are divided into five sections as follows:
The Major Arcana
- 22 Cards that each signify a Major Turning Point in our lives
The Minor Arcana (Everyday Life Emotions/Thoughts/Actions/Finances)
Heart/Cups Suit Cards – Numbered 1 – 10 plus 4 Court Cards – relating to emotions/feelings (the people, places and things we care about. Coins/Pentacles Suit – Cards Numbered 1 – 10 plus 4 Court Cards – relating to money/finances (our material world and finances) Wands/Staves Suit – Cards Number 1 – 10 plus 4 Court Cards – relating to energy/action (usually this is the workplace, it’s where we are active) Swords Suits – Cards Numbered 1 – 10 plus 4 Court Cards – relating to thoughts/perceptions (it’s all in the mind. A powerful place indeed!)
I detail the Major Arcana in a separate section HERE.
This is where we find the real juice in the story. When we lay out the cards in their spread, each position tells its own story based on the card that ‘magically’ ends up there. For example, in a standard Celtic cross, let’s say position 8 reveals their inner viewpoint (how they see themselves). If a Cup appears, it’s awash with emotion, coins – money, wands – work, and swords are mental perceptions. It’s amazing how the power of the mind can influence a person’s self-perception. Here, we can do great work as a Reader if we come across those gnarly old swords by confirming it’s all in the mind! You see how powerful the Minor Arcana can be. However, the Minor Arcana are the bulk of our learning when we begin. I believe that’s why Arthur E Waite and Pamela Colman-Smith created images for the Minor Arcana back in 1909. Previously, they were called ‘pip’ cards, not dissimilar to a standard pack of playing cards to look at. Thanks to their work, each Minor Arcana card displays universally accepted imagery and interpretations, especially if you use a modern deck based on their original symbology.
At first glance, it does seem impossible to remember them all but if you use my simple number & keyword system below, you’ll be off to a flying start. As a general rule all Number 1’s have the same meaning, as does pretty much every number, they just have a different energy for each suit, which I’ve written underneath the keywords and number. If you study the illustration below you’ll see the pattern emerge. I’ve given you four separate diagrams for each suit and you’ll notice I haven’t listed the Court Cards, that’s because I cover them separately HERE.