An Explanation Of The Minor Arcana Tarot Cards

The 56 cards of the tarot’s Minor Arcana are also known as the “Lesser Arcana.” They aid in divining the more commonplace mysteries of everyday life. They consist of four suits: wands, pentacles, cups, and swords.

Variations of names and symbols occur among different traditions of the tarot. Each suit has over-arcing symbols, including the four elements, fire, earth, water, and air.

 The Wands

wands tarot

Representing the element of fire, the wand suit is associated with enthusiasm, passion, new ideas, and good luck.

Ace of Wands

A wand of creativity emerges from a cloud of mystery. The mountainous goal in the background can only be reached by action, by crossing a flowing river.

Two of Wands

One with the world in his hands looks towards the horizon. Now is the time to strike out on new endeavors.

Three of Wands

Looking forward to a new venture or journey with optimism.

Four of Wands

Four wands stand on their own as a stage for celebration, denoting stability, harmony, and prosperity.

Five of Wands

Five youths play at combat, readying for the real struggles ahead. This card is considered a card of gain. Money is coming.

Six of Wands

Wearing the laurel wreath of triumph, a mounted horseman readies to lead others forward in an organized fashion.

Seven of Wands

With courage and tenacity, a strong footing enables one to maintain a position in the face of opposition.

Eight of Wands

Eight wands in flight denote swift action or new information.

Nine of Wands

Protected by a barrier of well-organized wands of courage, one finds stability and an unassailable position.

Ten of Wands

Carrying a burden of ten wands that block his view, a man still moves forward. His goal is attainable if he can see past his obligations.

Page of Wands

Clothed in garments adorned with symbols of fire and agility, a youth looks up at his wand with fresh optimism, ready to embark on a journey through a fiery desert to reach his goals.

Knight of Wands

As long as the knight continues traveling upon his swift-moving horse, he will not be consumed by the heat.

Queen of Wands

Surrounded by symbols of fire and sun, the Queen is otherwise portrayed simply, representing the basic, independent, natural self, empowered by fiery passion.

King of Wands

Like the salamander depicted near him, the King is able to walk through fiery trails with calm decisiveness, emerging triumphant.

The Pentacles

Pentacles

Some Tarot traditions refer to this suit as coins or discs. Associated with the earth element, pentacles symbolize worldly matters, commerce, possessions, wealth, and the physical body.

Ace of Pentacles

A hand holding a coin floats before a garden of plenty, indicating an improving financial situation.

Two of Pentacles

A man juggles two coins, denoting a struggle to maintain balance, while the seas of fortune toss a ship upon the waves.

Three of Pentacles

Patrons watch approvingly while a master craftsman exhibits his skill, indicating fame through artistic achievement.

Four of Pentacles

Clasping coins in his arms and under his feet, this card denotes hoarding and excessive love of wealth.

Five of Pentacles

The crippled man’s bell around his neck insistently calls for succor, indicating a prolonged period of suffering. The two figures in the snow also represent relationships in distress.

Six of Pentacles

After weighing his wealth, a man gives money to the needy, denoting charity combined with careful deliberation.

Seven of Pentacles

A man’s garden blooms with wealth, yet he still appears unsatisfied. A message to recognize when fortune is increasing and to keep a commitment to continue forward.

Eight of Pentacles

A craftsman at work, proudly displayed. This card denotes employment and achievement.

Nine of Pentacles

A refined, aristocratic woman is surrounded by plenty, free to pursue her own interests. She is unaware of the snail nearly under her feet, denoting self-absorption.

Ten of Pentacles

A scene of an active family engaged in the responsibilities of everyday life. Often denoting a mix of family and financial matters.

Page of Pentacles

Pages often represent youth, and this card is commonly associated with students.

Knight of Pentacles

The knight sits on an unmoving horse, denoting stubbornness. A decision must be made to move forward.

Queen of Pentacles

Surrounded by wealth and abundance, the Queen can be gracious, denoting shared wealth.

King of Pentacles

Seated within his castle, the King denotes both power and wealth gained through diplomacy and practical knowledge.

The Cups

cups tarot

The suit of cups is most often associated with matters of the heart. Love and passion flow through the element of water.

Ace of Cups

The Ace indicates that love is the answer to a difficult situation

Two of Cups

This card is usually connected with lovers, but can also represent any two forces coming together.

Three of Cups

The lack of background of this card depicting three women dancing indicates a degree of superficiality and immaturity in an otherwise harmonious or celebratory setting.

Four of Cups

A man sits in meditation, contemplating whether he should accept something that seems undesirable.

Five of Cups

A figure stares at three spilled cups, failing to appreciate that he still has two filled cups, denoting unwarranted despair.

Six of Cups

A young child offers a cup to another child, indicating innocent affection and unquestioned love.

Seven of Cups

Seven symbolic cups appear in a cloud of mystery, representing self-delusional ideas about desire, wealth, love, power, status, fantasy, and ego.

Eight of Cups

A bent figure walks away from eight cups, indicating disillusion with a situation.

Nine of Cups

A smiling man sits before nine cups, denoting satisfaction, contentment. This card may indicate that a dream is about to come true.

Ten of Cups

A family rejoices before a rainbow of cups, denoting a happy marriage, contentment in love and friendship, as well as fortunate outcomes.

Page of Cups

A happy youth enjoying home and the arts. This card can indicate psychic abilities.

Knight of Cups

The mounted knight marches forward to bring ideas, invitations and offers to someone in need of new challenges and stimulation.

Queen of Cups

The Queen’s throne sits at the shore of a sea of passion. She contemplates a lidded cup, a symbol of loyalty, denoting one who is satisfied with love, marriage, and family.

King of Cups

The King’s throne is adrift on a sea of passion, yet he appears accustomed to riding the waves of emotion, denoting a character that can find success despite being subject to sways of feeling.

Swords

sword tarot

With air as its element, the suit of swords represents freedom and change, as well as violence and turmoil.

Ace of Swords

The single sword rising from a cloud of mystery indicates an ability to cut through issues to the truth and take decisive action.

Two of Swords

A woman sits blindfolded, holding two weighted swords, indicating doubt over a difficult decision.

Three of Swords

Three swords piercing a heart denote suffering that cannot be avoided ahead.

Four of Swords

One sword lies beside a tomb, while three more are displayed on a wall, indicating surrender when faced with unfavorable or overwhelming odds.

Five of Swords

A man gloats over his victory, conveying bullying, betrayal, and belligerence.

Six of Swords

A mother and child are slowly punted to safety, indicating one who responsibly takes steps to resolve a difficult situation.

Seven of Swords

A thief takes five swords, looking back at the two swords he left behind, denoting inept, covert acts that will be exposed.

Eight of Swords

A blindfolded woman is surrounded by swords. This card applies to situations with no easy solutions. Fears must be faced and consequences must be endured to get to the other side of a situation.

Nine of Swords

A figure wakes from a dream about trouble and suffering. This card is often interpreted as a premonition of an ominous event.

Ten of Swords

This card may be the darkest card in the tarot, representing utter defeat, hopelessness, and despair, yet the golden sky in the background offers some hope.

Page of Swords

A decisive, alert, and sure-footed youth who has a knack for spying out secrets.

Knight of Swords

A knight on horseback dashes headlong into battle, denoting reckless bravery, as well as a rush to war.

Queen of Swords

A crown of butterflies symbolizes the freedom of thought that the Queen enjoys. One hand beckons, while the other holds an upright sword, indicating one who has found freedom through discernment.

King of Swords

The King sits on his throne with his sword at the ready, denoting achievement based on ruthless judgment.

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