The Major Arcana

The Major Arcana reflects the major turning points in our lives: our commitments, triumphs and tragedies. It has 21 numbered cards plus the unnumbered Fool, totalling 22 cards. The cards can be further broken down into three segments, with the first one representing the Material World,

the second one, the Intuitive Mind and the third is the combination of the above two segments and denotes the realms of changing issues. The last segment is the most important one. The twelve signs of the zodiac and the planets of the solar system are also represented in the cards.

The Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana has 56 cards which are subdivided into four suits of fourteen cards: Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles. It closely parallels the common playing cards. The Minor Arcana shows the finer and more ordinary details of our lives such as people, places, events and day-to day happenings. The suit of Cup deals with our emotions like love, the Wand- our physical actions, Pentacles deals with finance, career, home and family and finally the Sword is concerned with moral issues and conflicts. It has association with the four elements: earth, air, fire and water.

Tarot is one of the important forms of Divination, as it is a pictorial system.

Tarot consists of two decks of cards:

The Major Arcana (22 cards )

The Minor Arcana (56 cards).

The Origin of Tarots

In the first half of the fifteenth century, somewhere in northern Italy, someone created the first set of tarot cards. Like the playing cards of the time, the tarot deck included number cards (1 through 10) in four suits, and court cards page, knight, and king. The tarot cards were used to play a new type of card game, similar to bridge, but with 21 of the special cards serving as permanent trumps. This Game became extraordinarily popular and spread through northern Italy and eastern France. As the game spread to new locales, changes were often made in the pictures, and also in the ranking of the trumps. Centuries later, devotees of the occult arts in France and England encountered the tarot and saw mystical and magical meaning in the enigmatic symbolism of the cards. Their fascination with the cards led to the reputation tarot presently has as a divination tool and an occult artefact.

How does Tarot work?

When we commit to a given set of cards - whether by shuffling, or by selecting a series - what we do is to make a kind of 'psychic photograph' of the trends which surround us at that moment. It is this photo which the cards reflect back at the reader. If all trends remain unchanged, then events will unfold as detailed in the photo. If, however, we change direction (perhaps as a result of having a reading done) then we shift the trends. Often in a reading, there will be a pivotal point where, if the questioner takes one course of action a particular set of circumstances will occur; if they take another, different course, then events will change accordingly.

Related Links


• Astrologers Directory - Tarot Reading