Minor Arcana

Definition of Minor Arcana

The tarot cards are divided into two segments, called arcanas. The 56 minor arcana cards are meant to complement the major arcana, or trump cards. The minor arcana is divided into four suits (similar to playing cards). These suits are wands, pentacles, swords, and cups.

The suit of cups corresponds to the suit of hearts in playing cards, and is related to feelings. The suit of swords corresponds to the suit of spades in playing cards, and is related to thoughts. The suit of pentacles corresponds to the suit of diamonds in playing cards, and is related to material success. The suit of wands corresponds to the suit of clubs in playing cards, and is related to action.

Each suit in the minor arcana has ten numbered cards and four court cards. These are similar to the jack, queen, and king of the playing cards. The queen and king are usually still called the queen and king in the tarot. The jack is called the knight or the knave, and a fourth lesser valued card, the page, is added in each suit. Sometimes the page and the knight have different names, like the princess and the prince, for example. While these cards feature people on them, in a tarot reading they are more likely to represent archetypal energies, although sometimes they can point to an actual person.