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What are Tarot Cards?

Written by Kerri-Ann Sheppard


Posted on October 05 2020


What are Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards are a traditionally structured deck consisting of 78 cards. Usually the deck is divided into two sections – the Major and Minor Arcana.

The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards and these cards are number 0 to 21.

The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards and these are divided into 4 suits of cards. Historically the suits were wands, cups, swords and pentacles. In more recent times the names may occasionally be changed, however this is not very common.

What is the Major Arcana?

The Major Arcana examines the big themes of life through the lens of collective experiences of the journey we call life. The cards in the Major Arcana tell the story of the fool and his experiences as he makes his way through life. The story draws parallels and connections between the journey of the Fool and our own journey as he navigates setbacks and lessons, trials and tribulations and accomplishments. These cards talk to the long term direction and big picture of our lives.

What is the Minor Arcana?

By contrast, the Minor Arcana is the details of our lives including the interactions, thoughts, ideas, feelings, projects and relationships.  These cards represent the energy moving through our lives.

The Minor Arcana is made up of 56 cards in four suits. The suits are:

  • Pentacles
  • Cups
  • Swords
  • Wands

Each of these suits has 14 cards including a Knight, Page, Queen and King and number cards from Ace to 10.  The suit cards represent the four elements of earth, air, fire and water.

The Suits

Pentacles represents the earth and encompasses elements of the physical world. It is linked to sensuality, material possessions, career and financial wealth.

Swords represents air and the intellectual aspect of our lives. Swords are associated with the thoughts in our heads including our fears, insecurities and doubts. Communication is a key aspect of this suit.

Cups represent water and the more fluid aspects of our lives such as a matters of the heart and our inner most feelings and emotions.

Wands represent fire and the more active aspects of our lives including themes around obstacles and challenges and projects. It also looks at creativity, examining our life purpose and new ideas.

 This article serves as an introduction to the rich symbology, imagery and history of the Tarot. It is not possible to provide an in-depth detailed discussion and analysis of the Tarot. Expert practitioners spend many years learning how to read the cards with insight and awareness.


If you would like a reading with a highly experienced reader, click here to book a reading with Aimee.