What is the Minor Arcana?
Whether or not the Major or Minor Arcana were created together, or were two separate traditions which were later fused is open to debate, but the two components of the modern tarot work together to give a complete picture of the question at hand; whereas the Major Arcana reflects the inner workings, the Minor Arcana sheds light on the everyday reality of people, places, things, actions and emotions.
The Minor Arcana is divided into four suits (upon which decks of common playing cards are based). The four suits represent the four elements that make up our world-
Wands represent the element of Fire- the traits of daring, drive, ambition and initiative are emphasized. Wands represent our imagination, and our ability to turn ideas into reality. The element of fire within us is our Kundalini or Chi energy, that animating life force that fills every living thing with vitality, and without which, nothing could live. Through the suit of Wands, we can become aware that our very thoughts, desires and goals are also animate, and as we breathe life into them, they become reality.
Cups represent the element of Water- the psyche and emotional life, dreams, and fantasies are the aspects of the Inner Life ruled by Cups. From great heights of ecstasy, down to the deep pit of grief, Cups touch our heart, and reveal our close emotional and spiritual ties. Cups reveals all the ways in which we can be moved by our empathetic, sensitive and intuitive natures.
Swords represents the element of Air, and reveals the world of our mind, the realm of thoughts and ideas in which we frame our beliefs and values, personally and socially. Swords is the rational mind, the part of our brain that compares, contrasts, balances, and labels. It indicates a need for sharp analysis, dispassionate decision making and fair and impartial judgments. In a relationship situation, the suit of Swords is often a disruptive energy, indicating strife, conflict and imbalance.
Pentacles represent the element of Earth, and reveals our status in the physical world; our health, prosperity, possessions, our work. Pentacles also can represent our talents and abilities; our natural capacities and gifts often can translate into our best path towards prosperity and independence. The element of Earth can also reveal how well we attune to the rhythms of Nature; our attunement with the inner and outer natural rhythms of the Universe will dictate our physical, mental and emotion health, as well as our ability to manifest prosperity into our reality.