Understanding the Minor Arcana is made easy when we , each suit must be explored individually, but first know that they all share a similar flow from 1 to 10. The principle energy behind these numbers are very relative to the corresponding energy of each sephiroth on the Tree of Life, which you can learn more about in our Tree of Life series here. While each element has its own characteristics, the general principles of the numerology and the sephiroth stay the same.
The Minor Arcana are divided into four unique categories, based on the four elements. Understanding how each element behaves on its own, and applying that information to the numerology listed above, gives you a deeper understanding of how and why each card has the meaning it does.
This suit represents the spiritual will, and the cycles that we all go through pertaining to our spirituality in life; our creativity, our dreams, and our desires. This would relate to our personal aspirations, and the creative spark behind our every action; when our personal fire is aligned with our higher will, we begin to take deliberate action towards making our dreams come true.
In a higher, more cosmic sense – fire represents the creative energy that birthed the universe; the radiating explosive force of the big bang, the supernova of energy which led to the manifestation of the universe.
It also represents the great fire above and below us – the Sun and the molten core of the planet.
Among the Royal Arcana, the element of Fire is maintained by the Kings (also commonly known as the Knights in other decks), and embody the seed for all potential manifestations which emerge out from the Mind of God at the top of the Tree of Life. The King’s sacred geometric form is the Seed of Life.
This suit represents our emotional bodies; the subtle feelings which run through us perpetually and often dictate or influence many of our actions to some degree. This is the inner sense of nurturing we give to things that we love, whether they are people, places, or material objects.
This suit would embody both the deepest depths of our emotions, and the light hearted feelings which we experience in our day to day lives.
In a more cosmic sense, water represents the fluid like vacuum of space which carries the seeds of fire (the light of creation), and nurtures them, supporting their spin and flow in natural movements so that they may evolve.
Together, the Fire and Water elements dance together to create the whole universe. The suit of Cups also encompasses the water on the planet from which all of life emerges, and the water in our bodies. Among the Royal Arcana cards for this suit, the element of Water is governed by the Queens, whose sacred geometric form is the Tree of Life itself.
This suit represents our mental bodies – our thoughts. All of the countless things we think about throughout our days which govern our lives and how we live them – each individual thought is represented by a Sword. Thoughts are particularly interesting, in that like air itself they have no motion unto themselves but move in relationship to everything that takes place around them!
In Hermeticism they have been described to form a powerful bridge in understanding how creation comes into being from the Mind of God – exactly the same way that our thoughts become speech. Sword = the Silent (or Supreme) word of God; the Holy Spirit of Christ. Even “The Fool” in the Major Arcana is linked to the element of Air, and for a very good reason; the word “Spirit” derives from the word breath, and this movement describes the breath of life – the thought – from which all things emerge from the Mind of God.
In the sense of the physical cosmos, the element of Air represents the oxygen and atmospheres of planets which serve as a protective boundary layer around the planets and allow life to happen at all! (hence why the princes sit upon Tiphareth). Air is that which contains the heat and light from the sun, and supports the Water on the planet to rise into the sky and become clouds. Oxygen is found both in the soil and in the sky, and so Air is seen to combine with other elements as a necessity for life. Among the Royal Arcana cards, the element of Air is governed by the Princes, whose sacred form is the Flower of Life.
This suit represent our physical bodies and everything manifested in physical reality. Anything that can be experienced in the physical dimension, or is a physical creation – lands here.
This would be anything tangible you can see, touch, smell, taste, or hear, for even though sounds and sight are reflections of light and other waves, they are reflected or created by physical things. In Qabalah, this element is represented by the Sephiroth of Malkuth. In regards to the cosmos, Earth represents all of the planets and other matter in the universe.
The land on which we live from which our bodies were constructed, and to which will one day be returned to. It’s important to recognize that all four elements are contained within each element, and so you might discover things like electricity which can appear physical are reflections and representations of the other elements manifesting within the third dimension.
So just as Fire, Water, and Air all represent a much higher dimension of existence, so too do they have their place in the physical, and vice versa. Among the Royal Arcana cards, the Disks are represented by the Princesses, whose sacred form is the Fruit of Life.
The Ace of Wands depicts the Princess evoking the powers of the creative force. How this flame is utilized however, remains to be seen.
The Two of Wands is the purest manifestation of fire, one that goes in all directions and yet has no fixed pathway, but a multitude of potentials.
The Three of Wands implies the pathway of the spiritual will, the purpose is set behind the creative force which is now burning bright within.
The Four of Wands describes the completion of the path which has been walked, the goal achieved and wholeness attained. Celebration is in order!
This card depicts five individuals struggling to form a new geometry. This is a disruption of energy, and one that will need to be resolved.
Success is the order of the day! The struggle has been resolved and a new unified awareness bridges all of the perspectives together.
This card shows a warrior struggling against powerful forces which challenge his position. Having gained status, it now requires defending.
The Eight of Wands embodies a sudden shift or rapid change in one’s flow or direction as a result of new awareness shining intensely in the mind.
This card shows a noble warrior flying downward with the real strength that comes from inner resolve, true power is the power of internal change.
This card represents fire in its most raw and physical sense, removing the old to create the new we integrate our past selves and evolve into new ways of being.
This is water in its unmanifested form. The seed and roots of emotion, the void from which emotions are birthed and experienced.
The Purest Manifestation of Water, the Two of Cups embodies pure unified connectedness, the complete embrace of unity and oneness.
Three souls have gathered together to create a space where only harmonious things can come into being. Friendship, creativity, community, and abundance.
The Four of Cups shows a patch too distracted with his current situation, that the gift behind them goes unnoticed, the water sits still.
The water is gone, the cups have dried out, the anticipation and expectations for pleasure has resulted in frustration and disappointment.
Two embrace each other with childlike innocence; it is sensual and opening. Harmony of energies without effort or strain come naturally with love.
The Seven of Cups depicts a Patch with a multitude of possibilities showing all that can be experienced, from riches to phantoms, but which one is right?
A Patch leaves behind the old and broken as they take with them the sacred and special. Taking only what we need to move onward.
A Patch sits within her aura in a place of complete success and happiness. Here there is perfection of the moment, and the allowance of emotional flow.
This card represents a level of completion to the great cycle, having achieved all that was set out to do, and so a new cycle of life is about to begin.
The seed of intellectual power; the Ace of Swords embodies the essence of the thinking mind from which thoughts spring forth as if from nothing.
Regarded as the purest manifestation of its element, the Two of Swords is the beginning of analysis and the birth of a thought.
The Three of Swords is the realization and acknowledgement of hard truths, the awareness of suffering to gain a clearer understanding of reality.
The Four of Swords rests from mental chaos, a reminder that there is love for you from higher realms, invoke their support with prayer and meditation.
The Five of Swords implies that no one wins when battles are fought with cunning and betrayal. A colossal tidal wave is on its way!
The Six of Swords shows Patch rising in his Merkaba, beneath him the old world is seen crumbling and breaking down, it was only temporary anyway
The six unique swords are all weak on their own while the single sword is strong and enduring; the equation is still balanced in its opposition.
Self-administered confusion is what the Eight of Swords represents, unable to see the way out of this chaos, and yet - the pathway is right there.
The Nine of Swords exemplifies a mind of which continues its descent into a state of cruelty. Here we find depression, regret, anxiety and real nightmares.
The Ten of Swords represents the end of a cycle, while it was not expected this is not the end. Above him his spirit has already moved on.
The Ace of Disks is the notion of a physical creation. Here there is a possibility for something new to come into being, tangible in the world.
The Two of Disks describes the universal truth that change is the only constant; everything is in a constant state of change, nothing ever sits still.
The Three of Disks shows two masters looking over a young architect's work, giving him advice and encouraging him to continue his practice.
The Four of Disks is the most tangible and stable card in the deck, representing the solidness of material reality and the stability of Earth!
The upheaval of strength and stability in the material realm. Loss is experienced, putting a strain on those now facing the destruction.
The Six of Disks shows that the imbalances have been corrected and success has been attained. The scales are balanced, equilibrium has been reconciled.
With the Seven of Disks, we see a barren garden, this might be seen as a failure, however things take time to fully grow into reality.
The Eight of Disks show seeds now grown and developed into flowers, our work has paid off but they still need love and water to live.
In the Nine of Disks we see a bird up in a blossoming and fertile garden. Here we experience the flourishing of material gain and luxury.
The Ten of Disks represents legacy and total completion. In this we see and know the purpose behind all of our efforts, what we pass on.
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