How the Major and Minor Arcana cards of the Tarot Interact
The 78 cards of the Tarot deck are divided into two sub-groups - the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. Given their titles, you would be forgiven for thinking that one sub-group is more important than the other. However, the truth is that each Arcanum has its own significance and weight. More important is the relationship between the two, and understanding how they interact is fundamental to using the Tarot Cards.
From Major to Minor
The Major Arcana is preoccupied with the grand themes of our existence. If we were to liken life to being in a play, then the Major Arcana could be said to represent the backdrop in which the play is set, including the joys and sorrows that each person is likely to experience in their lifetime. They are representative of the broad spectrum of energies and feelings that come into play on our journeys through life, but are identifiable only on a general level.
Continuing the play analogy, the Minor Arcana represents the characters. These cards are concerned with the people who are living against the backdrop of the Major Arcana. Rather than representing grand themes, the cards of the Minor Arcana represent specific influences in our lives. These can be personal thoughts or feelings or even people and events that are soon to enter our lives.
A Complementary Relationship
The two Arcana work together in a complementary fashion. The Major Arcana represent the themes that are most predominant in the questioner’s life at that moment. They are like a graph, charting our position. The Minor Arcana act as a focus for those energies, concentrating them so that they can be made specific to our individual existences. A grand theme of impending happiness represented by the Major Arcana may be related to a specific person or event indicated by the Minor Arcana. While the Major cards paint in broad brushstrokes, the Minor cards are the fine details.
For a reader, the nuances offered by each Arcanum must be learned in order to give accurate readings, pertinent to the person asking the questions. This way, the Tarot can help people to understand their responsibilities to others through highlighting the forces at work both within them and around them.