A basic tarot card deck has 78 cards. The deck is divided into the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. Arcana means the secret of the mysteries. The Major Arcana represents archetypes/stereotypes/ideals of universal life experiences which myths and legends are based on. Whereas the Minor Arcana focuses more on the decisions and influences of everyday life.
The Major Arcana has 22 cards which is a master number and represents the souls’ journey to enlightenment. There are 21 numbered cards and one unnumbered card which represents the Fool or the uninitiated starting out on their journey, learning life lessons and meeting new teachers along the way.
The Fool is represented by the number 0 which is the beginning and the end of a cycle. The Fool is carefree and happy to venture out into the world totally in the present moment because he/she is naive and is totally unaware or unafraid of what lies ahead. The journey takes him/her through all the numbered cards which represent different human, psychological and spiritual aspects of themselves. On this journey the Fool finds perspective and maturity by learning how to deal with both the internal and external influences in his/her life. At the end of this particular journey, the Fool has gained knowledge, understanding and wisdom of the world. The Fool now knows that life is an endless cycle that is learnt by experience.
The Fool on his/her journey to enlightenment also has to engage in activities, interact with people, thoughts, feelings, ideas and projects that make up his/her everyday life. This is personified by the Minor Arcana which has 56 cards that are made up of four suits of 14 cards. In each suit the cards are numbered Ace to 10, plus four court cards: Page, Knight, Queen and King.
The suit of Wands represents energy, motivation and passion.
The suit of Swords represents mental thoughts, actions and words.
The suit of Cups represents feelings, emotions, intuition and creativity.
The suit of Pentacles represents physical manifestation, money and practical things.
Tarot card reading is more than just memorising the meaning of the cards. Each card comes with its own unique characteristics, rich in imagery and symbolism that goes deeply into the human psyche, assimilating the lessons, joys and challenges of the human/soul journey. A gifted tarot card reader creates a meaningful reading by intuitively linking the cards together to create a story.
Written by Verna