The Tarot Minor Arcana: A Journey
The excitement of owning a new tarot deck is quickly replaced by apprehension: how does one start a divination journey with a tarot deck? How do you pick a deck that is suitable for you? When I set out to purchase one for myself, I found myself drawn to Thoth Tarot, designed by Lady Frieda Harris according to Aleister Crowley’s instructions, the founder of Thelema. The card’s illustration was the main reason for my attraction to the Book of Thoth, as Lady Harris had incorporated many useful symbols and had thoughtfully designed each card to tell a story about the minor arcana.
The Tarot Minor Arcana
The Tarot Minor Arcana, sometimes known as the Lesser Arcana, is the fifty-six suit cards; four suits correspond to the four elements: earth, fire, water, and air. The Major Arcana is the twenty- two cards featuring a person or a symbolic element; for example, the well-down Death card in Major Arcana does not signify death but change. In divination, you can use the Minor Arcana or both Major and Minor Arcana to seek advice, depending on the severity of matters.
The Minor Arcana suffice for minor day-to-day questions; although using the whole deck would present a clearer picture for life-altering events and questions, the Minor Arcana can give a short-term clear picture. The Major Arcana Tarot card could reveal events that will naturally occur due to the laws of the Universe. In contrast, the Minor Arcana Tarot card meanings reveal events that will occur due to human nature laws. So the Minor Arcana highlights practical aspects and can refer to current issues that have a small or brief influence on a situation, like at a crossroads of life.
Each of the Min2 Arcana’s four suits has fourteen cards and represents an element: wands for fire, pentacles or disks for the earth, cups or chalices for water, and swords for air. Some Wiccans use suits to represent the elements during spell casting, as it is easier and takes up less space compared to traditional methods. In fortune-telling, Ace to Ten holds meaning and reflects everyday life situations or decisions; four court cards (varying in names depending on the type of Tarot deck) would be King, Queen, Knight, and Page.
The Court Cards
The Court cards represent a person or a personality, so when Major Arcana is not being used, becomes the Querent card. Before a fortune-telling session, the Querent card can be picked out before the deck is shuffled, depending on the spread. Some tellers would require a querent to pick one of four cards randomly to have a Significator card in some spreads. This is not routine as most Minor Arcana spreads do not require a Significator card.
Deciphering tarot cards takes practice. It is not just remembering the meaning behind each number but also trying to see the bigger picture by reading the spread as a whole. The illustrations on the tarot card have symbols and meanings, and by looking at them and understanding the meaning of the cards, the answer can be clearer.
Symbols within the Cards
In fortune-telling, symbols within the cards are as important as the meanings behind them, and if the answer does not reveal itself clearly on the surface, then it would require careful interpreting before the results become clear. Once you have understood your deck’s nuances, reading and interpreting it becomes a lot easier.
Understanding your deck is crucial if you want to tell people’s fortunes, particularly if you would be performing elaborate spreads depending on the situation. Minor Arcana might not be a full deck, but it can yield valuable results that will direct you to a more desirable position with a suitable spread and question.
In general, the four elements also represent different aspects of a person’s life. The suit of cups or chalice may house the water element, but it also reveals an emotional and conscious state, linking to relationships, feelings, or imagination. Those who picked court cards of this suit tend to be ruled by emotions rather than logic.
The Suit of Pentacles
The suit of pentacles/disks or coins covers material aspects such as possessions and work, aside from earth elements. It is also used to indicate a person who is practical and dependable, a hard worker. The sword suit is of action and conflict: it can mean constructive or destructive depending on its location in the spread. It represents a conflicting personality, a person who will either be your ally or wreak havoc in your life depending on how the spread is laid.
The Suit of Wands
A suite of wands signifies the spiritual side: ego, self-doubts, or inspiration from the outside world. The suit characterizes a person who has positive energy and strength, the symbol of fire. Thus, once you are comfortable with your tarot, you will find that you know yourself better, as you have to identify who you are, and what you are after in life.
When I bought the Book of Thoth, my tarot deck, there was a lot of information and tips on how to tell a fortune with tarot. Over the years, I have learned that many things did not matter: a special tablecloth or a specific setting, the most important thing to do before a reading is to keep a clear head. If you are telling someone else’s fortune, it will be more helpful to help them visualize their question before shuffling the deck.
Answers supplied by the Minor Arcana are only good if the question is related to a short-term situation: job search or romance, it is vital to remind a person that nothing is absolute, and any decisions could affect the outcome positively or negatively. The Tarot could only reveal what might be affecting a person’s decision and the outcome, but it is not an accurate tool to tell the future. The nature of the question will determine the spread or the way you arrange the cards. The most common spread is the three-card spread.
The three-card spread can have different meanings to different questions: past/ present/ future or situation/ action/ outcome, depending on the question you posed to the tarot. It may not be the most accurate reading, but it will provide a general hint for a more specific question that may require a full deck.
In summary, the Tarot Minor Arcana can help you decide by lending insight to you in terms of people and events that might affect the outcome of the event. But in the end, you still need to be alert to your surroundings and those around you, noticing the presence or absence of personalities or situations that may lead you down a different path.
Those who want their fortunes told via tarot cards have to accept who they are as a whole. They should have a clear picture of their query, or at least an obvious path that they want to take only then that the tarots can guide them through in their journey. I see using Minor Arcana as a guide to navigating my way through tricky waters, but it does not dictate my decisions nor influence who I am, for my journey is still my own.