Curiosités Arcanes::Divination::Tarot

According to Wikipedia:  “The tarot…is a pack of playing cards, used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot. In the late 18th century, it began to be used for divination in the form of tarotology and cartomancy.”

There are 78 cards in a Tarot deck which is divided into two parts:  Major Arcana and Minor Arcana – with the Court Cards being a subset of the latter.

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Major Arcana
The Major Arcana (also called Trumps) consists of 22 cards, each of which represents a classic Archetype, and shows one’s journey beginning with The Fool and ending with The World. In a reading, these cards portend of situations or events that are unavoidable and will have to be dealt with.

Court Cards
There are 56 cards in the Minor Arcana. Sixteen of these cards are the “Court” cards (sometimes referred to as The Royal Court). There are four personalities in each suit (Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles) – King, Queen, Knight, and Page. Although this is not a hard-and-fast rule, in a reading these cards usually represent an individual.

Although Queens never seem to vary from deck to deck, the other three may be referred to by different names. For instance:  Kings may be Princes, Lords, Masters, Fathers, or Knights (which can be terribly confusing); Knights are also called Princes (!) in some decks; and Pages can go by Knaves, Princesses, or Daughters.

Minor Arcana
The other 40 cards in the Minor Arcana consist of ten cards per suit, numbered 1 (Ace) through 10. In a reading, there are more options associated with Minor Arcana cards; different ways to respond, think, or proceed. Aces are considered “controlling cards”, as they indicate the path you’re headed towards.

The suits are as follows:

  • Wands (also Batons, Rods, Staves, Staffs, or Scepters) – associated with the element of Fire, they represent movement, the spark of creativity, self-expression, and adventure.

  • Cups (Grails, Chalices, Goblets, or Cauldrons) – tied to the element of Water and symbolizing emotions, intuition, creativity, and relationships

  • Swords (Knives, Athames, Blades, or Daggars) – linked to Air, this suit represents mental activity, ideas, communication, and spiritual and psychological matters

  • Pentacles (also called Coins, Skulls, Discs, Pentagrams, or Stars) – aligned with Earth and embodying the material realm:  money, possessions, resources, business or job, and health

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