Traditionally the Tarot is made of Seventy-eight cards, divided into two main parts, the Major Arcana (twenty-two cards) and the Minor Arcana (fifty-six cards). Arcana means secrets and so the Major Arcana are the big secrets. In practical terms these are the cards that represent important milestones, major changes, events beyond our control, and spiritual growth. The Minor Arcana, “lesser secrets”, generally depicting events, situations, or people related to everyday life. An important thing to keep in mind about the Minor Arcana is that we have the ability to change the way they look – that is, they represent aspects of your life over which we have some control. We have free will and how we choose to handle certain things in our life will inevitably alter the course of our future. So while we may have bigger spiritual lessons to learn, depicted by the Major Arcana, we also have the opportunity to change how that looks on an everyday, mundane level, depicted by the Minor Arcana. Nothing is engraved in stone.
The Minor Arcana of the tarot is associated with the four elements, numerology, and astrology. This helps define the suit’s relation to our daily lives and in which area of our life it fits…emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
The Major Arcana, numbered zero through twenty-one have an elemental association with earth, air, fire, and water. As with the Minor Arcana, the Major Arcana is numerically, astrologically, and qabalistically aligned. The twenty-two Major Arcana cards depict a journey through life, a journey of self-development and spiritual growth. And although our individual journeys are different, we are all born Fools. Learning the Fool’s journey helps introduce us to the Major Arcana. Cards one through seven shows the steps we go through in our basic development from birth to young adult as we learn how to live in society. Cards eight through fourteen illustrates the universal laws or rules of society that we must confront, question, and come to terms with, as we discover who we are. Cards fifteen through twenty-one are our spiritual development. After we learn who we are we strive to figure out how this will lead us to our true purpose.