Major & Minor Arcana
The tarot deck is divided into these two sections for a variety of reasons, among them the fact that they are respectively the bones and the flesh of the tarot.
The 22 major arcana cards are archetypes that are familiar and representative of cultures all over the world; from The Fool, just starting out in life and blindly stumbling along a new path; to The Hermit, who is seeking solitude, perhaps to find himself or answers to life’s fundamental questions.
The major arcana is most often considered to be cards of destiny, representing those ‘big things’ in life that are going to figuratively smack us alongside the head and get our attention. You cannot escape the major arcana, anymore than you can change the karmic lessons you must learn in this life. They will take you on a journey through your psyche that will metamorphose from a rocky over-grown cow path, to a wide cobbled road of your own unique design.
Good luck on this journey.
The minor arcana share similarities with our modern deck of playing cards. There are four suits—pentacles, cups, swords, and wands, which correspond with spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs respectively.
Each of the four suits of the minor arcana also correspond to the four elements: 1) Pentacles—Earth: deals with money, materialistic concepts, and those issues rooted in the physical aspects of life 2) Cups—Water: deals with matters of the heart, relationships, intuition, psychism, and the emotions 3) Swords—Air: deals with mental endeavors, communication, creativity, issues centering around the mind and the abstract 4) Wands—Fire: deals with passion, fertility, destruction/renewal, and also with issues centering around business, finances, partnerships, success and failure.
The minor arcana enhances the major arcana by fleshing out the details, giving you the fine points, the highlights, and possible outcomes—‘possible’ because, unlike the major arcana, the pips are mutable, subject to your decisions and your influence. In the minor arcana you discover that your future is not predestined, but is molded by your own choices. The details and possibilities are laid out before you in the here and now; you can manipulate the outcome by the path you choose and the decisions you make today.
The greatest gift the minor arcana give us is the knowledge that we are responsible for our own destiny.