If you have never had your tarot cards read or you’ve only watched tarot on TV, you might be asking, “What’s inside a tarot deck?”

I’ll break it down for you in this post.

We’ll be talking about the Rider-Waite-Smith system.

This is the system I teach with because it is the most popular and you’ll be able to find the most material on the internet.

78 tarot cards??!

A Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck has 78 cards.

You might freak out and think, “Oh my gosh! Do I have to remember all 78 meanings?”

Don’t freak out. There’s a system to you to remember the cards easily than pure memorization.

Among the 78 cards, we have 22 of the Major Arcana cards. The rest of the 56 are Minor Arcana cards.

Major Arcana

The Major Arcana are major events in life. And when they appear, the topic being read is important to the querent now.

This is how I like to lay out my Major Arcana when I’m just resetting them.

major arcana tarot

Resetting just means that I arrange cards from the start to the end. It’s a way to sort of refresh the cards or it’s a way to check whether I’m missing any cards.

I do have some cards missing from some of my decks, but I’m cool with that.

Minor Arcana in Tarot

Minor Arcana image from Moon Path Tarot

After taking out the Major Arcana, we have the Minor Arcana.

The Minor Arcana is divided into four suits:

  • Cups: Heart-based, emotions, feelings, intuition.
  • Swords: Mind-based, logic, reasoning, pain
  • Wands: “Loins-based”, passion, energy, ambition.
  • Pentacles: Pocket-based, money, stability, work

Minor Arcana cards represent the tiniest parts of life that we need to go through. They will appear most of the time because they make up most of the deck.

When minor arcana cards appear, it’s a situation that’s more “This too shall pass.” And it’s a minor blip in your life now.

The Court Cards in Minor Arcana

Each suit in the minor arcana is divided again into cards from 1 to 10 and four Court Cards.

The court cards are divided into Page, Knight, Queen and King.

These four different archetypes represent different stages of learning and implementation. And different personalities too.

tarot court cards

Court card image from Moon Path Tarot

Categories: Learn Tarot


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