The Minor Arcana is the term used to describe the last 56 cards of the tarot that follow the major arcana. These 56 cards help to define the initial 22 cards in specific detail. The minor arcana mirrors the setup of a traditional set of playing cards in that there are four suits and 14 cards to each suit.
The four suits of the tarot deck are the Wands, Cups, Pentacles and Swords. Each Suit corresponds to a particular element: Fire, Water, Earth and Air. They also correspond to the different seasons of the year: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.
Each of the suits has 14 cards, including 4 'face' cards: Queen, King, Knight (or Lady) and Page (Or Princess). The remaining cards, numbered from Ace to Ten, can be illustrated or plain (just showing the a geometric grouping of the suit's symbols).
If a Tarot deck is described as having 'illustrated pips', it means that all of the Minor Arcana will have full pictures.
*Hint* Having a deck with illustrated pips is ALWAYS much easier and intuitive to read. Most newer decks created after the Rider-Waite deck (approx. 1910) have illustrated scenes of the card's meaning.
Bellow are the Four Suits Of Minor Arcana explaining some of their meanings and their symbols. Please click on the images for you to get comprehensive and thorough meaning of each suit and thier list of tarot cards
This suit is remarkable in its ability to give insight into the emotional landscape of ourselves, as well as give insight into our love relationships and the relationships to our family. Because this suit is interconnected with the soul and the soul journey, their tarot card meanings can reveal past traumas that infiltrate our everyday lives and our perceptions of the world.
Water is a symbol of the unconscious, the dream world, and the intuitive natures of our psyches. Water is also a mirror. This mirror reflects our emotional natures, the wounds we have endured, and the gifts we can emotionally give to others. The cups also symbolize the "nurturing" qualities that have influenced our lives and can often reveal where we have struggled with a lack of this. In a tarot reading, the suit of cups can reveal the areas in our lives that our fluid as well as reveal the areas that are stuck. Their tarot card meanings can reflect our overall emotional well being.
In a tarot reading, the suit of pentacles typically represents all that resides in the physical world. This includes material gain, financial security, emotional stability, and the fruits of our labor. It is the suit of manifestation and realization. It is also the suit of health and the “physical body”. It is not surprising that their element is earth. Depending on the deck that is used in your tarot reading, pentacles can also be depicted as disc, coins and diamonds.
Pentacles can also symbolize the mother earth, growth, and fertility. It is the suit of material resources and can refer to all that this earth can give us. On a more practical level, their tarot card meanings can refer to matters of real-estate, property, and industry. Often, the suit of pentacles may represent anything that may have to due with the exchange of money. This includes situations relating to banking matters, inheritance, and financial management. Their tarot card meanings may also refer to issues of trust, generosity, commitment and egalitarianism. They may propose actions of charity, kindness, and the defending of those who are being treated unfairly.
The command of the swords references the current life challenges and obstacles of those being read. It is the suit that “cuts” through to the truth regardless of the feelings associated with such life challenges. With that in mind, their tarot card meanings can be unsympathetic and can deal great blows to such defense mechanisms like denial or repression. It is the suit that requires the most willingness, with spiritual inferences that demand a new awareness and perception, regardless of the pain associated in making such a massive transition of consciousness.
When the swords are drawn in a tarot reading, it is important to recognize that they represent the realm of the mind and not necessarily the facts of a situation. The swords preside over the intellect, and solicit new wisdom and clarity. Their tarot card meanings can serve as a warning for over aggressive behavior and situational miscommunication. In a tarot reading, this suit can foretell an illness, emotional turmoil and even death. The element is air and the symbolism is that of truth. Like the sword, truth can be double-edged. It can be both enlightening as well as heartbreaking. In either case, this suit calls for new clarity and action.
The Suit of Wands is the suit of action and direction. It is a creative suit and often reflects the imaginative and resourceful components to our natures. The element is fire. Fire is associated with passion, creativity, and spirituality. The suit of wands also is associated with the career. The wands indicate a time to look at your options, evaluate and then move forward with force. Wands, in general, tend to be warm and enthusiastic. They value tradition and want their environment to be harmonious.
Their tarot card meanings also can include issues of sexuality and fertility. In a love tarot reading, the wands represent the sex drive, love intentions and a call to action or initiation. However, they can also represent loss of interest, infidelity, and a low sex drive. These are powerful cards when associated with love tarot. They can offer tremendous insight into the nature of someone’s relationship or relationships to come.
To fully understand tarot reading and tarot card meanings, we first need to begin with the part of the tarot deck known as the minor arcana cards.
If you are at all familiar with a modern playing card deck, then you shouldn't have too much difficulty learning how the cards of the minor arcana in a tarot deck are organized. Both types of decks have four suits, but instead of the suits of hearts, diamonds spades and clubs, the tarot deck features the suits of wands, cups, coins and swords. Both modern day playing cards and the cards of the tarot are numbered in numerical order. In both decks you will find aces and numbered cards from two through ten.
One significant distinction between the modern playing cards and the Tarot is the number of court cards represented. While in a playing card deck you'll find three court cards: jacks, kings and queens, a tarot deck has one extra court card series which is referred to as the pages. While a playing card deck has a total of 52 common cards, the cards that make up the minor arcana in a tarot deck contain a total of 56 cards given the addition of the extra cards that represent the pages.
While both decks may be similar in the way they are organized, the meanings of the individual cards contained within the decks are not. In the minor arcana, different tarot card meanings are attributed to each card which may represent various situations that are going on in your present day to day life. They can represent how you interact with people, your work, your emotions, your finances, and your personal relationships. They can also represent the influences of the four elements: earth, sky, water and fire.
Although many people believe the minor arcana tarot cards are not as significant as the major arcana tarot cards, I tend to disagree. The minor arcana are incredibly powerful due to their specific nature. In a tarot card reading, the minor arcana reveal the who’s, how’s, and what’s. There is no sense of permanence. If there are a number of minor arcana suit cards in your spread, know that you can make changes, work through blocks, and understands where you are emotionally.