Minor Arcana

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The Minor Arcana (Trumps Minor, Minor Trumps, pip cards) of the Tarot deck consists of 56 cards, which are closely related to the deck of 52 playing cards used in most modern card games. It is comprised of four suits, called Wands, Cups, Swords, and Disks in the Thoth Tarot deck, though there is a wide variety of different names and suit symbols used in different decks. Often, the suits are associated with one of the four classical elements: Wands with fire, Cups with water, Swords with air, and Disks with earth.

Each suit has 14 cards, being Ace (One), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Page, Knight, Queen, King. These last four are called the court cards, and often have different names in different decks. In the Thoth deck, they consist of a Knight, Queen, Prince, and Princess. Other decks have such titles as King, Page, and Maid.

Modern decks often have the card named and numbered, though many resemble early decks in that there are no titles or numbers on the cards. The numbered cards usually have the appropriate number of symbols for the suit depicted, and the court cards usually have the corresponding person depicted holding the symbol of their suit.

Modern decks will often have a symbolic scene depicted on the numbered Minors, though this was never the case before the early 20th century when the Rider-Waite-Smith deck was published. Before this, the numbered cards of the Minors showed merely a geometric arrangement of the appropriate number of suit symbols.


Document Source

  • This page was originally sourced from Thelemapedia. Retrieved May 2009.