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Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana Meaning

A frequent challenge in reading tarot is to make the connection between the traditional card meanings and your specific situation. Minor Arcana cards are often associated with more mundane and practical matters than the Major Arcana, which can deal with more significant, life-changing events. However, the Minor Arcana can still be very powerful in a reading. In some ways, the meaning of the Minor Arcana can be seen as the foundation on which the more significant messages of the Major Arcana are built. The cards of the Minor Arcana can provide valuable information about your current emotional state, your relationship to the material world, the challenges you are currently facing, and the steps you can take to improve your circumstances. In addition, the Tarot Symbols found on Tarot Cards unlock a lot of hidden and deeper meanings in a reading. Discover some of the most potent symbolism in Minor Arcana Tarot Cards

The Minor Arcana Suit Meanings

There are a total of 56 Minor Arcana cards, divided into four suits of 14 cards each. Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles. The first ten cards in each suit are numbered from Ace to Ten. The last four cards in each suit are called the Court Cards and are named Page, Knight, Queen, and King.

Correspondence of Minor Arcana and the Elements

The Minor Arcana suits can be interpreted in terms of elemental energy. Each Minor Arcana suit has its own element associated with it. 

Cups correspond to the element of Water

Pentacles correspond to Earth

Swords correspond to Air

Wands correspond to Fire

These elemental correspondences can also be helpful in interpretation, providing additional context for the meaning of a card.

The Association of Minor Arcana to the Seasons

The Minor Arcana suits can also correspond to the seasons of the year.

Cups correspond to Spring

Pentacles correspond to Summer

Swords correspond to Autumn

Wands correspond to Winter

These seasonal correspondences can clarify the energy of a particular card and provide an indication of timing when reading a tarot spread.

Minor Arcana Rulership

Each suit has its own areas of rulership.

Swords rule over communication and intellect. If a Swords card appears in a reading, it might represent the need to think logically and rationally about a situation.

Wands rule over personal reputation and career.

If a Pentacles card appears, it might represent the need to be practical and down-to-earth, as Pentacles rule over financial and physical matters.

Cups rule over emotions and matters of the heart. If a Cups card appears, it might represent the need to feel emotions and connect with others.

There can be some overlap in areas individual cards touch, but if you do a reading where there are cards that overwhelmingly come from one suit, take a look at their area of rulership to see if you can fine-tune the cards’ meanings. These associations are not set in stone, however, and there is room for interpretation.

The Meaning of Numbered and Court Cards

In a reading, the numbered cards can offer us specific advice on how to handle a situation we are facing. The Court Cards can represent the different people or energy involved in a situation. By understanding the symbolism of the cards, we can gain insight into the meaning of our experiences and what they are trying to teach us.

Minor Arcana Numbered Card Meaning

One way to interpret the minor arcana is by looking at the numerical value of the card.

The Ace is the beginning of something new, the start of a journey.

The Two is the person or situation we must deal with to move forward.

The Three is the outcome of our actions, whether positive or negative.

The Four is stability, the foundation we build our lives upon.

The Five is change, upheaval, and growth.

The Six is harmony, balance, and justice.

The Seven is a time of reflection, assessment, and preparation.

The Eight is a time of action, a time to take risks and seize opportunities.

The Nine is a time of harvest, a time to reap the rewards of our hard work.

The Ten is a time of completion, a time to reflect on what we have accomplished and learn from our mistakes.

Minor Arcana Court Card Meaning

The Court Cards represent the different aspects of our personality, and the different people or forces we encounter in our lives. 

The Page is the part of us that is curious, inquisitive, and eager to learn.

The Knight is the part of us that is brave, courageous, and always ready for adventure.

The Queen is the part of us that is kind, compassionate, and nurturing.

The King is the part of us that is strong, decisive, and in control. 

Traditionally, people see the appearance of a court card in reading as referring to one specific person who shares physical or personality traits associated with the cards (for instance the King of Swords could be a blond man or a man in a traditionally intellect-driven field, like a lawyer or scientist). But it can also refer to traits you need to develop or find in yourself to deal with the matter at hand.

The court cards can also guide the best way to approach a situation. For example, the Ace of Swords might represent a situation that requires decisive action, while the King of Cups might represent a situation that requires compassion and understanding. Each court card has its own unique meaning, and there is no one correct interpretation. The best way to learn the meaning of the court cards is to study them closely and consult with a trusted tarot reader.

Minor Arcana Upright and Reversed

The Minor Arcana cards can be read in two ways: upright and reversed. When a card is upright, it is interpreted in its traditional meaning. But when a card is reversed, its meaning is more complicated. A reversed card can represent an unexpected obstacle or a hidden challenge. Alternatively, it can represent a path not taken, or a different way of looking at a situation.

By taking the time to explore the Minor Arcana, you develop a greater understanding of the tarot, and of specific areas of your life that may need attention.  Pay close attention to the Minor Arcana in your next tarot reading and see what messages the cards have for you. No matter which way you choose to interpret the Minor Arcana, remember that the most important thing is to follow your intuition. The Minor Arcana can provide valuable insights into our lives, but ultimately, it is up to us to decide what those insights mean.

Tarot Meanings Reference Guide Download!

Use this guide to discover the connections between Numerology, Astrology, and the Minor Arcana Tarot Cards.

Click on each card of the Minor Arcana to reveal its meaning.

The Suit of Wands

The Suit of Cups

The Suit of Swords

The Suit of Pentacles