About Tarot Cards.
The Tarot consist of 78 cards - 22 of the Major Arcana and 56 of the Minor Arcana. The word "arcana" is derived from the Latin word "akanum" meaning secret. Therefore, the cards of the Major Arcana are those that deal with the "Big Secrets" and those of the Minor Arcana are those that deal with the "Smaller Secrets."
The Major Arcana cards are recognizable as individual models or archetypes, such as The Fool, The Magician, or The Devil. These cards seem to represent the different stages in life we all experience in our own unique ways. The Minor Arcana cards are divided into four suits much like modern playing cards. However, the suits have different names - the Cups, the Wands, the Swords, and the Pentacles. One other difference is that each suit has an extra court card - the Page.
Each of the four elements of the Earth is commonly assigned to the four suits of the Minor Arcana:
Wands represent the element of fire. They stand for action, creativity, and growth. Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are the astrological signs assigned to the suit of Wands and the element of fire.
Cups represent the element of water. They stand for feelings, spiritual experiences, and the unconscious. Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are the astrological signs assigned to the Cups and water.
Swords represent the element of air. They stand for the mind, knowledge, and the intellect. Libra, Aquarius, and Gemini are the astrological signs assigned to the Swords and the element of air.
Pentacles represent the element of earth. They stand for the body, physical experiences, and practical skills. Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo are the astrological signs assigned to the Pentacles and the element of earth.
The Minor Arcana cards are in no way inferior to the Major Arcana cards, but rather add detail to the Major Arcana. The Major Arcana give information and guidance to an individual's psychological state of mind and inner life. The Minor Arcana gives details of relationships, creative ventures, and adversities and successes. The Major cards are thought to be more spiritual, and the Minor cards are seen as more earthly, with the Court cards acting as a bridge between them.
Read more: Library Index, How Tarot Cards Work.
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