Operational Tarot: Majors and Minors without Limits
Tarotists all learn that the Major Arcana cards contain the “Greater Secrets” of the Universe, and the Minor Arcana contain the “Lesser Secrets”.
When we learn tarot, and teach tarot, we discuss the Fool’s Journey through the Major Arcana as a journey toward spiritual enlightenment and attainment. We typically discuss the Minor Arcana from a more basic perspective.
The seeker may get the idea that, within a reading, Major Arcana cards speak only to larger, more spiritual issues. They may believe that the only function of the Major cards is to remind us of our spiritual nature, or to instruct or correct us in our thinking and attitudes.
Likewise, they may see the Minors as the only cards that can provide detailed information about practical happenings.
Many tarotists (even experienced readers) come to the cards with a very didactic sense that the Majors can only mean a certain type of thing, and Minors can only mean a certain other type of thing.
Often, you will hear and read statements like the two following.
Major Arcana cards indicate situations of fate which you can’t change; Minor Arcana cards indicate areas in life where you have control.
Major Arcana cards indicate spiritual matters; Minor Arcana cards indicate mundane matters.
It’s true that, when we learn the lessons of the cards and understand their archetypes, the Major Arcana cards offer deep and universal spiritual lessons. However, so do the Minor Arcana cards, if you look deeply enough.
Tarot is a book of spiritual wisdom to be studied and embraced. Tarot is also a tool of divination. Our relationship to the cards as messengers of wisdom may be radically different than our use of the cards in divination.
Everyone’s tarot practice is unique to them. There is no one correct way to read tarot, and no one correct way to interpret any particular card.
However, I’ve recently noticed that many tarotists seems to artificially limit what information they can receive from their cards by strictly defining the function of the Major and Minor Arcana.
In my experience, all seventy-eight cards are able to perform multiply duties, depending on what is needed. All cards, both Major and Minor, are capable of giving practical information about daily life and great spiritual wisdom, sometimes in the same reading.
If a reader can look beyond a dogmatic understanding of each card and be open to the context of the reading, the reader will notice that sometimes the Major cards will speak of mundane, practical things, and sometimes the Minor cards will reveal grand spiritual insight.
A similar thing can happen within the suits of the Minor Arcana. A reader may believe that Pentacles can only speak about money, or that Cups can only speak about love, or that Swords are always unwelcome.
The reality is, any card might appear to comment on any aspect of life. As readers, we need to be able to interpret any card in any situation.
Sometimes it’s helpful in a reading to forget the rules of tarot structure, and simply read the cards.
For example, the Magician may remind you of your power, and instruct you to take an accounting of your personal tools. The Magician may also speak to attending a school.
The Hierophant may counsel you to seek higher spiritual knowledge. The Hierophant may also tell you to seek a medical doctor and begin a standard course of treatment.
The Ten of Pentacles may predict that you will be buying or selling a house. The Ten of Pentacles may also instruct you to connect with your ancestors in spirit.
The Page of Cups may indicate your daughter. The Page of Cups may also be a directive to speak from a place of love, and to be a channel for the high vibration of unconditional love.
Learning about tarot structure helps us incorporate the wisdom of tarot into our lives. Sometimes, though, in a reading, it is best just let the cards speak without the limitations of structure.
Tarot only has seventy-eight images with which to describe every possibility of human existence. The less we limit what each card can and cannot do, the more information we can derive.