Major versus Minor Tarot Cards

By: VICTORIA WILSON on February 10, 2017

Rider-Waite_Smith Tarot

A standard tarot is divided in two major categories. The Major Arcana is comprised of the first 22 “trump” cards of a tarot deck, and the Minor Arcana are the remaining 56 cards that include the Aces, Pips/”Numbered Cards,” and Court Cards. Stylistically speaking, there isn’t much difference in how these cards look. But there is a big difference in how we interpret them.

Generally speaking, MINOR ARCANA cards describe mundane-level events that play out in our everyday lives.

The TWO OF CUPS, for example, denotes the principle of togetherness and the harmonious union of opposite energies. Translated into “real life” terms, this card could mean anything ranging from going out on a date, working with a partner, or simply spending time with your significant other or a close friend. It can also describe the experience of falling in love. As a “two” card, it denotes the beginning of a relationship, versus a long-term intimate bond.

MAJOR ARCANA cards generally describe the higher-order life lessons that follow from the mundane-level events. They describe the internal shifts that occur within us as a result of having been through those experiences.

So, where the Two of Cups is about the act of being together with someone, THE LOVERS encompasses the personal, emotional, and spiritual growth that comes with the territory of having relationships and being in love. The nature of that growth is different for everyone. Some of the meanings that I associate this card underscore the importance of knowing yourself well enough to choose a good partner, emotional intimacy, learning how to trust and be vulnerable, and how to cope with heartbreak when a relationship does not work out. These are all opportunities for internal growth.

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

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