Η ΔΟΜΗ ΤΗΣ ΤΡΑΠΟΥΛΑΣ ΤΑΡΟ
Structure of the Tarot - Major & Minor Arcana
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A Tarot deck is made up of 78 cards. These cards are seperated in two groups: there are 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards. The word "arcana" is the plural of "arcanum" which means "deep, secret wisdom". Many Tarot decks feature extra cards and even extra suits, and the way I see it, this is yet another indication that Tarot has undergone - and is still undergoing - changes through its use by various readers, teachers and deck creators. I use the standard deck of Rider-Waite (78 cards, as described in this article) or decks of similar tradition. 

The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards. These all have Roman numerals (0 through XXI) and each has a name. They are also called "Trumps" and they are the most important cards in a Tarot deck. You can use them on their own, without using the Minor Arcana, but it doesn't work vice versa. The Major Arcana cards are illustrated with archetypical images like Mother, Father,  Devil, Death etc and their heavy symbolism connects them to universal energies and notions such as creativity, sacrifice, redemption etc. The sequence of Major Arcana cards, this royal path to wisdom,  is a symbolic journey of man's soul towards his divine consciousness. Thus its use for divination must be done in the most respectful way. 
 
The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards. There are four suits with an Ace through ten of each, plus four court cards per suit. The Minor Arcana cards are connected to more mundane issues of everyday life (for example: work, relations, family, disputes etc). 

When Major Arcana dominates in a spread, it is certain that the person is faced with major influences and energies in his life and extra caution is needed in order to go through this period of profound change successfully. A moajority of Trumps could also indicate that the issues troubling the person are of a more philosophical nature, concerning his worldviews and they are affecting the deepest aspects of his personality. 
    
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The Four Suits of Minor Arcana

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The Minor Arcana of the Tarot is organized in four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. Each suit has numbered cards from 1 to 10 plus four court cards: the Page, the Knight, the Queen and the King. 

There are many variations to this, for example Aleister Crowley replaced the Page with "Princess" and named the Kings "Knights" so you need to study the deck you use.  
 

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Minor Arcana - The Four Suits

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The Minor Arcana (or Lesser Arcana) are the 56 suit cards of the 78-card deck of tarot playing cards. The Minor Arcana comprise four suits with 14 cards each. Although there are variations, the Minor Arcana commonly employ the Italo-Spanish suits: Wands (alternatively, batons, clubs, or staves), Cups (or Chalices), Swords (or Knives), and Pentacles (alternatively, Coins or Disks). In contrast, the French suits are spades (♠), hearts (♥), diamonds (♦) and clubs (♣).
 
Each Minor Arcana card in a suit is numbered one (ace) to ten, except for the court cards (or courts)—page, knight, queen, and king—which are comparable to face cards. In one variation, the Toth deck, princess and prince cards replace the page and knight cards. Some Italian decks add two more court cards: the maid and the mounted lady. Since contemporary decks of French playing cards replace both the knight and the page with the jack or knave, such decks only have 52 cards. The remaining 22 cards in a tarot deck are the Major Arcana. Minor Arcana cards in contemporary tarot decks are usually illustrated—a convention popularized by the Rider-Waite tarot deck. Non-illustrated cards bear symmetrical arrangements of pips.
 
When reading the Minor Arcana cards, you must bear in mind that the qualities each suit has can neutralize or or influence the surrounding cards. In particular:

Wands (Fire) -- opposite to -- Cups (Water)
Swords (Air) -- opposite to -- Pentacles (Earth)

This practically means that when you get a Cup, for example, surrounded by many Wands, then the Cup loses its strength (for better of for worse). On the other hand, when a card is surrounded by other cards of the same suit, its energy grows stronger.

The Major Arcana cards are also influenced (for better or for worse) when surrounded by at least three minor arcana cards of the same suit. For exmaple, if you get Empress (growth, creativity) along with three Cups (no matter which) the extra information you get - besides reading the cards individually - is that you need to focus your creative endeavors in the field of relationships. 

 
  
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The Court Cards
Read more...The court cards of the tarot (Pages, Knights, Queens, Kings) may be hard to iterpret, as they may stand for:

1) People
2) Situations
3) Qualities

In general, Queens and Kings are usually people while Pages are messages and Knights indicate movement and travel but there is no rules that applies to all cases. 

For example, the Knight of Cups may be a new lover coming into your life or simply an indication that you need to express the romantic side of you more openly. 

The more you practise with the Tarot court cards, the easier it will be for you to tell which interpretation is appropriate in a reading. 

 
  
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Wands

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Wands are associated with the element of Fire and are related to creative endeavours, expansion, aspirations and taking action. They very often indicate success or problems in the professional field. 

When the Wands are the predominant suit in a spread, they indicate that the issue at heart is related to our passion to conquer and excel. They also advise to adopt a more dynamic or assertive behaviour, so as to get what we're after. 

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Cups
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Cups are associated with the water element, meaning they represent the feelings. They indicate not only love and romance but also they way in which we emotionally connect to others. 
 
Cups also indicate sexual desire, emotional abundance or deprivation, emotional victory or loss, the ability to show empathy or lack of it, joy, sadness, apathy and confusion.
 
When Cups prevail in a spread, it is an indication that we are dealing with a higly personal matter or that the individual bases his decisions more on feelings rather than intellect. 
 
 
 
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Swords

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Swords are the most complicated suit of the minor Arcana. One thing we should always have in mind with the Swords is that they are double-edged. This either means that success comes with a price to pay, or that even in pain, there can be gain in knowledge and wisdom. 

Swords are associated with the mind, wit, intelligence, logic, ideas and speech. They are also connected to beliefs, prejudice, aggression, violence and abuse (physical, mental or pcycological). Finally, they indicate the way we communicate and assert our rights. 

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Pentacles
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Pentacles are about the material side of life. They are associated with money, fortune, estates, income, the body and anything tangible. On their downside, they stand for lack, not having or missing.
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