27 Feb Tarot for Beginners Part 3 – The Structure of The Tarot Deck
Hi Tarot Tribe, today we are going through the third part of my Tarot for Beginners series – The Structure of The Tarot Deck.
Before I begin, as with everything I share, take what resonates with you and simply leave the rest.
For this blog post and video, I am using the Rider Waite Smith system. I believe that the way we experience and view the Tarot is personal and is evolving. This is how I work with the deck.
I believe that each Tarot card has a multitude of meanings to it, they are multifaceted and deep. I view each of the Tarot cards as important even if the hierarchy of the deck places it in a certain order.
One of the great things that is there is so much information out there on the Tarot. You may come across another Tarot professional’s breakdown of the deck and really dig that too.
So here’s how I break down the Tarot deck and how I view the different elements of a Tarot deck.
The Major Arcana
The first is the Major Arcana. These are the cards in the deck that have proper noun title such as The Fool or The Star and have a roman numeral in front of their title.
There are traditionally 22 cards in the Major Arcana. It begins with 0 – The Fool and completes with XXI – The World (a quick note some people see The Fool as outside the Structure of the Major Arcana, but it’s often included).
I see the Major Arcana as Archetypes of the Divine. These are the BIG lessons that we may never fully understand. They have massive amounts of collective energy and are cross-cultural in energy, if not by name. They are bigger than we are and in our lifetimes we are probably never going to know every element of all of them.
What I mean by that is, for example, take The Empress. One of the aspects of this Archetype is motherhood and not everyone on the planet in their lifetimes are going to have the experience of being a mother. Motherhood, as an archetype is so big that we are not going to fully understand all of it. The same goes with Death, Justice and all of the Major Arcana cards.
The Minor Arcana
The Minor Arcana usually take up 56 cards in a Tarot deck. They are split into four suits. The cards are numbered from Ace to Ten.
I see the Minor Arcana as how we learn and experience the Major Arcana in our everyday lives. This is the manifestation of the spiritual in our lives. It is bringing the divine, the big picture, down to our daily life.
The Minor Arcana show us that everything is sacred, there are lessons we can learn in everything. They show us the material world, love and relationships, work, spirituality, health, thoughts and ideas. They are reflection of our daily experiences as human beings.
The Tarot Court
I see the Tarot Court as the people and personalities of the Tarot and in our lives. They are also aspects of our own personal archetypes.
In some texts, the Tarot Court may get included in the Minor Arcana. Despite this, I do see them as their own unique group, even though they are part of the elemental structure of the Minor Arcana.
The Tarot Elements
The Tarot Elements come into play with the Major Arcana (the dignitaries will change depending on the Tarot system you are working with), Minor Arcana, and the Tarot Court.
They are an added element to each Tarot deck that you will find puts the cards in their own elemental group. How the energy of the Tarot card interacts with the element will tell you a lot about the meaning and energy of a card. Different Tarot decks have different elemental associations.
A few basic elemental associations are:
- Swords – Air – covering aspects of the mind, thoughts, communication, inspiration, mental health, clarity, morals and words.
- Wands – Fire – power, change, challenge, willpower, creativity, work, career and our work in the world.
- Pentacles – Earth – The material world, our physical bodies, health, home, money, finances and family
- Cups – Water – the realm of emotions, healing, psychic and intuitive energies, love, relationships, grief and loss.
These are just a few of the base meanings and functions of the suits and elements in a Tarot reading.
There you have it. A look at the sections of a Tarot deck. I hope you found this helpful and I will see you for Part 4 of my Tarot for Beginners series soon.