Minor Arcana

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The Minor Arcana of occult or divinatory tarot is a deck of 56 cards, divided into four suits, derived from the older Latin playing card suits most commonly named Wands or Batons, Cups, Swords, and Coins (also called Pentacles or Disks), although there are a wide variety of different names and suit symbols used. The cards can be used for divination by occultists. The deck is related to the deck of 52 playing cards used in most modern card games.

Contents

Symbolism

Often, the suits are associated with one of the four classical elements, with a common set of associations being Wands with fire (or air), Cups with water, Swords with air (or fire), and Coins with earth.[citation needed] Other associations are possible.

Each suit has 14 cards, being Ace (One), two through ten, Page, Knight, Queen, and King. The last four are called court cards, and may have different names in different decks. One common variation is the replacement of the page and knight with a prince and princess. There are Italian playing card decks which have a page, maid, knight, mounted lady, king, and queen.

Modern minor arcana decks often have the numbered minor arcana cards (Ace to 10 of each suit) named and numbered, although many resemble early decks in that there are no titles or numbers on those cards. The numbered minor arcana 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 divination decks, especially if based on the Rider-Waite tarot deck (circa 1910), will have a symbolic scene depicted on the numbered minors, although this was generally not the case before the Rider-Waite deck was published. Before this, with the exception of a handful of decks, the numbered cards of the minors showed a geometric arrangement of the suit symbols.

Cards

Wands

Ace of Wands

Two of Wands

Three of Wands

Four of Wands

Five of Wands

Six of Wands

Seven of Wands

Eight of Wands

Nine of Wands

Ten of Wands

Page of Wands

Knight of Wands

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