Learn tarot‎ > ‎

Minor arcanas




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, swords, and pentacles (alternatively, coins, disks, or rings). 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, princess and prince cards replace the page and knight cards. Some Italian decks add two more court cards: the maid and themounted 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. Traditionally, the Major Arcana are more significant, but the Minor Arcana are what allow Tarot readers to understand the subtleties and details that surround the major events and signifiers in a Tarot spread; in general, the Major Arcana represent large turning points and the Minor Arcana represent the day-to-day insights.[1]