Tarot card reading delves into an individual’s psyche and thus depends largely upon the energy that person generates, whether consciously or subconsciously. And because human beings are complex creatures with all kinds of major and minor issues – not only negative, but positive as well – the Tarot must duly address them all. So, although the Major Arcana bring to light the larger issues in life, there also exists the Minor Arcana – which serve the purpose of illuminating the “secret and closed” events, feelings, needs, and everyday details of our existence.
Fifty-six cards constitute the Minor Arcana within these suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. And just as with the Major Arcana, the interpretation of these cards lies not only the face-value meanings of the cards, but also in how they are laid (the “spread” – whether they are upside down, the positions they take in your chosen pattern, etc.), the mindset and emotions of the interpreter and of the person being “read,” and the very questions themselves. Reading Tarot cards successfully takes time, and with that comes experience – the key to giving a good reading.
But one must start at the beginning, learning the meanings of each of the individual 56 Minor Arcana. As mentioned above, these are divided into the four suits of Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. And each suit encompasses the Ace, then 2-10 numeral cards, and finally the court cards: the Page, Knight, Queen, and King – very similar to an ordinary deck of playing cards in some ways, yet powerfully different in others!
Each suit in the Minor Arcana represents distinctive characteristics, and these combined qualities create an image of our day-to-day lives. The suits and a very abbreviated listing of some of their characteristics include:
Wands – ingenuity, accomplishment, change
Cups – feelings, spirituality
Swords – intelligence, contemplation, logic
Pentacles – pragmatism, safety, physical and material needs
Cards within suits correspond to the theme of the particular suit to which it belongs. An Ace declares the overall quality of whatever suit it is in. For instance, the Ace of Cups represents affections, feelings, intuitiveness, and personal familiarity – all the most positive aspects of the Cups’ characteristics. A Ten of Cups may signify the fruition of those qualities with, for example, the peace and joy one finds within the atmosphere of a happy family. One by one, the meanings of each card must be committed to memory. When the Tarot novice becomes comfortably familiar with the 56 Minor Arcana representations, he or she should then be ready for the next steps toward understanding the subsequent – and deeper – aspects of the art of Tarot.
Learning the art of Tarot can be a challenging – and rewarding – endeavor. But the student must realize Tarot is not easy, and Tarot is not quick. As with all things in the secret and hidden arts such as Tarot, one must be willing to persevere, to continue resolutely down the path toward enlightenment – and rejoice as the mysteries of the journey unfold.