Talk:Minor Arcana

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This is one set of correspondences of the minor arcana. Feel free to integrate it with the main page if it ... er ... suits. --FOo

Yay, puns! Rob 13:13, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
I integrated your table. Rob 13:15, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Tarot suit Playing-card suit Element Gender Faculty
Wands or Staves Clubs Fire Active masculine Emotions or passions
Cups or Chalices Hearts Water Active feminine Reason or intellect
Swords Spades Air Passive masculine Will or soul
Pentacles or Discs Diamonds Earth Passive feminine Material body or possessions


It'd be nice if someone would write up descriptions of each card of the Minor Arcana as we've got for the Major Arcana, and what they "mean" if that's possible. Rob 13:12, 18 January 2006 (UTC) very much agreed.

Individual Minor Arcana cards[edit]

I´ve uploaded those cards to wikimedia commons and I´m creating the individual links to set a basis so we can improve that later. Ok? - Don León Cavalero

Expanding minor arcana[edit]

I've been thinking about how we can go about adding more information about the MinorA. Currently, there're 50 odd stub articles (e.g. Nine of Coins) for each and every card in the MinorA.

I don't see these articles ever being expanded beyond the 'stub' level (i.e. to a detailed article such as The Fool (Tarot card)).

I think it would be best to create a few 'central' MinorA articles, instead of trying to make one article for each and every card.

I was thinking, we either have four MinorA articles - one for each of the suits. Or have 14 Minor A articles - one for each four cards of the same number.

Of course, it doesn't mean these articles can't later be split into single card articles again, when someone who can be bothered writing detailed articles for each card comes around.

So what do other people think? Articles for suits or articles for card number? --`/aksha 04:26, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Any idea why someone's put 'NPOV' and 'unbalanced' tags onto every card? While the pages for each card are at present pretty dull, I can't quite see how something as factual as 'The Ace of Wands is a Tarot Card' could possibly be unbalanced.--Nickpheas 08:31, 13 February 2007 (UTC) Parsa and myself have been have been placing the NPOV tags on the cards. See the talk page at The World (Tarot card) Since tarot cards were not designed for the occult, the placement of "occult" stub tags does constitute POV and ignores tarot's gaming heritage. These individual card pages offer nothing more than occult speculations and perhaps should be deletedSmiloid 21:59, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't really think this is a case of NPOV violation. The stub tags can be replaced by a more general stub tag - but i don't actually see what's wrong with having an occult stub tag since Tarot cards are a part of occult (Even though they do serve other purposes). I think as far as stub sorting goes, it doesn't really matter which stub tag we have because they aren't really a part of the 'completed' article (as in we should be working to get rid of all of them period.)
As for the article content - it needs to be expanded, but what's there is not POV. Speculation is bad only when it's not verifiable. occult 'speculations' are speculations in the sense that they're not true (well, unless you really believe in psychic powers and the kind), but i think you'll find that most of the stuff on what tarot cards mean in divination can be verified just by picking up any tarot reading book at a bookshop. At least, i don't really see anything new and original and POV laiden in what's been said about these cards. --`/aksha 05:23, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

POV issues are now being handled. Also I agree with you that there should be only four "minor" card articles for each suit. You and I are not the only ones who think it absurd for each card of the tarot deck including pips its own article. Aside from POV issues, you are correct that such articles would not ever be anything more than stubs. I would consider them to be candidates for deletion for the reason that you have citedSmiloid 05:35, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

I suggest you not bother. Articles that get nominated on the "permanent stubs" reason rarely ever actually come through as delete. At best, you'll end up with a merge. So we may as well just merge them without the hassle of an AfD. I said i'd do it ages ago (O.o in november...seems like such a long time ago) but i always seem to have more i want to do on wikipedia than what i actually have time for. Anyway, i don't see anyone here on the tarot articles oppossing merges, so if you have time and can be bothered, fire away! --`/aksha 11:15, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

I think a merge would also be workable. It's quite possible to spread the topic of tarot too thin. This appears to be the case with all these stubs devoted to individual pip cards. Do parts of tarot cards warrant their own articles? Does the dog on the Fool card get his/her own article or what about an article devoted entirely on the ribbon which appears on the two of coins?LOL Smiloid 02:33, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Suits/Elements Table[edit]

This is an example of unsourced information. From what sources are such correspondences derived? Smiloid 05:38, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

The first two columes (playing card suite and element) are not unsourced. I don't remember whether or not the element column is correct or not off the top of my head, but i know there're defintely established elements associated with the suites. The stuff in the faculty column is correct (i have no idea why the column is titled "faculty" though). But it's a bit of a generalization - as in if you read through a tarot divination book and read the meanings of each card in the minor arcana, those are the generalization you'll reach pretty easily. But i guess it's original research until we have a source for it, and i've never seen them explictly stated liked that before.
The stuff about gender...i've never seen it before. Although that doesn't really mean much, my interest in tarot reading is a fairly casual one. --`/aksha 11:29, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

"defintely established elements associated with the suites" established by whom? Smiloid 02:28, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

By people who read tarot cards? I dunno...but you can find them in most books about tarot reading, or books about tarot cards in general, basically anything about tarot cards and fortune telling do describe the suites as being associated with elements. And it's always the same ones (as in, it's not a matter of every author having their own version of associations). I'd assume there's some reason for it, but i have no idea. It's verifiable though, i guess that's what counts. --`/aksha 03:21, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, i've gone and added an reference. The book that i'm referencing actually only has stuff for the suite/element/class columes. I removed the bit on gender, but i'm open to putting it back in if we can find a source for it. I kept the faculty colume, because i personally think what's been said in it is obvious enough to fall under the category of "observation". But perhaps that's just because i'm already familiar with tarot cards myself. I'm open to suggestion on this one though.

Here's a quote of the text from the book i'm sourcing in case anyone's interested. Also to note, this is considered pretty basic stuff - as in it's information you should be able to find in most books about tarot in the divination sense.

Despite its name, the 56 cards of the minor arcana actually comprise the majority of the cards in a Tarot deck. It is these cards that are most closely related to everyday playing cards. Here we find cards numbered from ace to ten, and Kings, Queens, and Knaves or Pages, with the addition of another court card, the Knight. Like playing cards, there are four suits: Rods (also known as Wands, Staves or Batons); Cups (also called Chalices or Cauldrons); Swords, and the suit of Pentacles (Discs or Coins). These directly correspond to the Clubs, Hearts, Spades and Diamonds of a normal deck, and indeed the rules of interpretation of the Minor arcana can be easily applied to reading playing cards.

The Origins of the Suits - By tradition, each of the four suits is identified with one of the four classical elements. The suit of Rods is usually ascribed to the Fire element (although some claim that it is Airy in nature), Cups to Water, Swords to Air (some say to Fire) and Pentacles to Earth. Their symbols may also relate to the four classes of medieval society, Rods being used to describe the peasantry, Cups the clergy, Swords the nobility and Pentacles the merchants and shopkeepers.....


--`/aksha 11:57, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Here's a good example of an edit I did for the Antoine Court de Gébelin article "An essay by The Comte de Mellet included in Court de Gebelin's Monde primitif is responsible for the mystical connection of the Tarot's Major Arcana with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet." What this does is establish how tarot cards became associated with Kabbalah. I think something similar should be done regarding alchemy and astrology and other associations. How did these associations came about? It may be a tradition but who started the tradition? Also, how did the terms "Major Arcana" and "Minor Arcana" originate. These are facts we should include in our articles.Smiloid 08:25, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

I was searching online on what arcana means. Arcana is actually a plural word for Arcanum, a Latin word that means "secret" because they reveal secrets. I went on and had a read on their opinion about minor and major arcana. Here is what I found, "Where the Major Arcana cards are thought of as the "power" cards or big players in a reading, the Minor Arcana serve in supportive roles and augment the reading with further insight and detail of circumstances." Does this help answer your question? Shall I find a more encyclopaedic type of reference that states this, and then add it in the article? :) Sweetsoul (talk) 07:40, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

a reader April 18, 2017: There could be a dispute. Diamonds (being lightful) do not relate to the earth element but to fire. Clubs (being "darksome") should relate to the earth element instead. You may corroborate such difference in opinions easily, for you can find different approaches to element assignation by merely performing an internet search. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:45, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

Divinationary and non-divination tarot cards[edit]

"Modern decks often have the numbered minor arcana cards (Ace to 10 of each suit) named and numbered, although many resemble early decks in that there are no titles or numbers on those cards. The numbered minor arcana cards usually have the appropriate number of symbols for the suit depicted, and the court cards usually have the corresponding person depicted holding the symbol of their suit."

What's said applies for all tarot cards. In fact, what's said is almost a circular statement. We say modern cards "often" have numbered and named cards, but "many" are also not numbered and named.

So if this applies to only divination tarot cards, then what about non-divination tarot cards? Aren't they also either "numbered and named" or have "no titles or numbers"?

Similarly, the minor arcana "usually" having symbols on the numbered cards and people on the court cards applies to tarot cards not designed for divination too. The non-divination tarot cards aren't exactly....blank cards.

--`/aksha 08:24, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

"Pentacles" instead of "coins"[edit]

I'm not an expert on Tarot cards, but in my experience, the name "pentacles" is much more commonly used than "coins". Would anyone object if I moved the 14 minor arcana card pages from "X of Coins" to "X of Pentacles"? I'd leave the redirects, of course. --jwandersTalk 21:47, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

They are also referred to as "Disks," for example in the Thoth tarot deck
I did a quick survey on Google to see which is the most common usage and was not able to find anything definitive. If you want to make that change, perhaps it would be best to first do some research to find references that support the idea that one or the other is the more common usage. Changing all those pages will take some work and will likely be noticed - especially since this discussion is happening now: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Ace of Coins. So to support your position, it would be useful to have sources to cite.
Either way, if you decide to do it you should probably wait until the AfD is closed (likely will be soon) or you could cause confusion in the process. Parzival418 23:36, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
"Pentacles" would be an example of recentism. See the discussion raised at the Major Arcana talk.Smiloid 01:20, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

hmm... I totally agree we need to avoid recentism within articles, but for article titles, is it not an advantage? I mean, the only people using wikipedia are from the modern era, so should we not have the articles titled as they would expect, and then explain the historical differences within the article? Or is better to have the title be the most common name throughout history and the modern term redirect to it. I'm inclined to lean towards the former over the latter. Thoughts? --jwandersTalk 07:34, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

The convention in most cases (as per our naming conventions and MOS) is to use the most common, most widely recognised/used name. Although this is really addressing the issue of things with alternate names (e.g. scientific name vs. common name), i think we can safely apply it here as well and use the name which is most widely recognised/used today.
However, that still leaves the problem of determining whether or not "Pentacle" is more widely used/recognised than "Coin". --`/aksha 08:28, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

I did a bit more digging on this:

  1. the first page of google links for "tarot suits" has 6 sites using Pentacles (mainly) and only 2 using coins
  2. googling "coins or pentacles" returns only 239 hits whereas "pentacles or coins" returns 592.
  3. The Tarotpedia ([1]) uses "Coins" (and, notably, "Batons" instead of Wands)
  4. The Rider-Waite Tarot deck (the currently the most prevalent and recognised deck) uses pentacles and in fact has the word written out on each card of the suit. (ie Ace of Coins).

I'm obviously biased on this, but this seems to me like enough evidence that moving the articles would be worthwhile (and I am volunteering to do it). The forth point seems especially relevant as we have the card from the Waite-Rider deck as the lead image on each article; calling a card that has "Ace of Pentacles" written on it the "Ace of Coins" seems strange. The only evidence I found that coins was more in use was the Tarotpedia site (but can we really trust a site that allows just anyone to edit its content? ;-) But, as I said, I've a vested interest here, and admittedly have not dug into the issue all that deeply. I'll wait a couple of days before making the change so people can see this an make comments. --jwandersTalk 10:04, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

"Coins" and "batons are the more accurate names for these suits. Pentacles is confined to the Rider Waite and its many clones. If you must redirect to Waite terminology, then it would behoove us to explain how "coins" came to be called "pentacles" and that "Coins" is a more traditional name and "Disks" are also used in some decks, Thoth being one example. All Waiteisms such as "pentacles" "The Magician" and the like should all be identified as such in these articles. The Rider Waite deck is at once a tarot artifact and a Golden Dawn artifact. This makes it a sort of themed deck, much like contemporary decks based on Eastern religions or neo-Paganism are also themed decks. Smiloid 03:55, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree with the above statement. The traditional tarot suits are coins, cups, swords and batons. The latter could also be called clubs as it appears as such in many decks. Readers of this article should look at the articles that already exist on card suits, and on the individual French suits which give the analogous terms in other counties. The western French suits developed from these as a cheap way to print in single colors using wood blocks... cards for the masses rather than just the elite.
Suit (cards), Hearts (suit), Diamonds (suit), Clubs (suit), Spades (suit).
--Parsa (talk) 09:06, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Navigation template for minor arcana pages[edit]

I've thrown together this template do go at the bottom of the minor arcana pages. Thoughts?

--jwandersTalk 21:51, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

I like it! Parzival418 23:37, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

It's good! However, one of the suit signs does have an article Suit of Coins (tarot)Smiloid 01:25, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

I love it! I've been thinking these articles need a navigation table. My only change is the suggestion of a possible link over to a major arcana navigation table (and vice versa) so that one can move easily between major and minor too.--P Todd 03:10, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you have in mind by "link over to major arcana"; sounds good, but I can think of a good way of doing it, besides the link to the Major Arcana article at the bottom of the template. I tried combining the two Arcanii tables into one, but I think you'll agree it's too monstrous to but on every page:

If someone's adept at doing the hide/show thing I've seen around WP, perhaps the other section could begin concealed (ie the Minor cards concealed for Major articles, Major cards concealed for Minor articles) --jwandersTalk 07:27, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Looking at where the AfD is heading, the Minor Arcana articles will most likely be merged. Either completely merged or merged into four articles for each of the four suites. So perhaps we don't need such a large infobox at all? --`/aksha 08:27, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

By my count, the AfD has 14 users supporting keeping each article with 10 supporting a merge, which doesn't suggest an overwhelming majority either way. I'm hoping that with a little work, we can get these article up to a standard which supports them having individual articles on its own—I grant, though, that working on the template is not the most crucial step in that direction. It's just fun! ;-) --jwandersTalk 15:17, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Considering the state of the minor Arcana articles now, we're better off merging them regardless of the AfD result because there doesn't seem to be anyone willing to spend much time improving/lenghtening them. That's not to say they won't be split and expanded again in future if someone can be bothered to do them. Merging isn't as 'permanent' as deleting - it doesn't make much sense to wait around with a few dozen stub articles. Unless someone here's volunteering to start some major expansion work on all the minor arcana articles, i'm planning to have them merged the next time i have time off. --`/aksha 00:50, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, yeah, I'm volunteering to work on expanding them; whether or not I get through them all before real life tears me away, I can't say. But I'd ask you to hold off on the merge for at least a few weeks, and then reevaluate the state of the articles at that point. --jwandersTalk 10:08, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Heh... as expected, real life has indeed interferred, and I'm not going to be getting to this anytime soon. Feel free to do the merge if you feel it's best :-) --jwandersTalk 06:33, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Del. of Minor Arcana articles[edit]

I am a tarot player, but my AfD proposal has nothing to do with it. Nor has it anything to do with my skeptical worldview. It was proposed as a labor saving device. At least three other Wikipedians, most of whom are more sympathetic to divinatory tarot than tarot games, have found it absurd to have all these articles on individual cards. My views on divinatory tarot have nothing to do with it. I consider a debate over whether these stubs should be kept to be a fundamental first step to be taken before any labor is wasted trying to fix them.Smiloid 01:18, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

I already replied to your comment here: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Thelema. Maybe it would be best to keep the discussion in one place - either here, on the AfD page, or on the Thelema talk page. We could refer to the other pages as needed. If we discuss in all the places separately, I think it will get confusing. I recommend either moving the discussion to a new "Discuss the Merge Idea" section at the bottom of Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Ace of Coins, or keeping it here and adding a link to this page on those other two pages. What do you think?
Also, a question - are you suggesting one article for all the minor arcana, or one article per suit?
By the way, I agree with you, this choice has nothing to do with "divinatory", "skeptical" or "magickal" - it's just about the best way to organize the work and access to the info. Parzival418 01:40, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Exactly! I would favor having a merge into 4 articles as per suit. Smiloid 15:59, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Using templates across minor arcana articles to maintain consistancy[edit]

I've just refactored the lead in the Ace of Wands article, and had what I think is a good idea. As we'll want a fair amount of consistency across all the minor arcana articles, especially the leads, we could use a template which accepts variables for the card and suit.

For example, we would have a template which said:

The [RANK] of [SUIT] is Tarot card of the Minor Arcana. Tarot cards are used throughout much of Europe to play Tarot card games in which the cards are similar to the playing cards more common in English-speaking countries. In these regions, where Tarot games are largely unknown, the cards have come to be used primarily for divinatory purposes. Modern Tarot readers interpret the [RANK] of [SUIT] as a symbol of [BRIEF INTERPRETATION].

This way, not only would we avoid having to type out the same lead on each page, but if anyone thinks of a way to improve the lead, it would immediately cascade across all the minor arcana pages. Thoughts? --jwandersTalk 15:52, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

sounds good to meSmiloid 03:44, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Improvements to the template.

RANK of SUIT is a card used in Latin suited playing cards which include tarot decks. It is part of what tarot card readers call the "Minor Arcana" Smiloid 05:30, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Different Ranking[edit]

We should mention the difference between rational and irrational ranking that is found in both tarot games and regular card games. Most tarot games use irrational ranking in the regular suits. That is that whilst the Swords & Batons / Spades & Trefoils(clubs) are ranked K,Q,C,P,10.....Duce,Ace, the Cups & Coins / Hearts & Diamonds are ranked K,Q,C,P,Ace,Duece.....10. The French game uses the rational ranking where the 'red' cards are ranked as the 'blacks'.

We should also note that shorter Tarot packs, omitting some of the suit cards, as with regular packs, are often used. The games that used reduced packs all use irrational ranking. The shorter packs are all of the German pattern (ie. those with French suits) with one exception - the Bolgonese pattern used for Ottocento. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Philebus (talkcontribs) 12:33, August 25, 2007 (UTC)

Copyright infraction[edit]

All the images on this page are in possible infraction of US Games copyright. If you go and look at the image page for any single image you will see it refers to the original artwork for which copyright has expired. However these are not scans of the original artwork; they are scans of US Games' recolouring of those images, and contain various other small changes dating from the 1971 US Games edition. We cannot legitimately use these modern images. One little hint might be that if you look closely, each of these images contains a little copyright warning in the bottom right corner!

There was a plan to re-colour the cards, and that's one possibility, but I believe the most attractive solution would be to use scans of one of the original decks, the so-called "Pamela A" decks. These seem to be widely regarded as the most attractive of the various versions, and I consider them more attractive than the recoloured versions in Wikipedia, in which the quality of the line-work has suffered considerably from the Photoshopping.

Scans of a Pamela A deck (made by Holly Voley) are currently available on the net at with a few cards in higher resolution at These scans are, as far as I can make out, no longer under copyright either in the US or Britain, and despite the lower resolution of some of them and the fact that the borders are occasionally slightly cropped, we should replace all the existing images with these. Otherwise the current images should be deleted from Wikipedia.

For more information, see The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Card Copyright FAQ and Holly Voley's Rider-Waite Tarot page. Cheers, Fuzzypeg 21:51, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

OK, I just went ahead and did this myself. No more little copyright notices in the bottom right hand corners of the cards! The other differences are extremely minor, and are mainly differences in colour (the colours on the original deck are a bit more muted). Fuzzypeg 00:58, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Symbolism dispute template[edit]

This section needs source citations from proper secondary source material. There is a tendency in the tarot related articles to use primary source works, especially ones giving divinatory interpretations. Such use is original research, and is a personal synthesis of primary source material. It is not encyclopedic. There are some academic texts and journal articles on both tarot games and the history of the occult or divinatory uses of the tarot. These types of sources should be used for citation. One person's interpratation of the symbolism of a card or suit of cards, or even one person's synthesis of what they believe several sources give as an interpretation is not encyclopedic content, it is original research. --Parsa (talk) 08:35, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Hi Parsa and everyone! I'm a newbie here so please be nice to me. I just want to say that I was looking online for Tarot Books and most of them are based on the writer's personal interpretation of the card and also based from other books as well written by astrologers etc. So if an astrologer writes their own personal interpretation of the symbolism of a tarot card in their website, won't it be similar to someone writing a book about their own interpretation of a card? Sweetsoul (talk) 07:24, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
I have found a useful source for divinatory meanings. Occult tarot as we know it originated in France and it was imported to us by English occultists such as Waite and Mathers. A good source for the early English language literature on the divinatory meanings is on the Sacred Texts website. It's unfortunately confined to this English school and with the exception of Papus the website neglects the earlier French writers.

Sacred Texts website Smiloid (talk) 22:13, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Merge the pip cards[edit]

I know it was suggested that the suit cards be deleted. They should at least be merged into the suit articles. I can't imagine that there is any verifiable and reliable source that's going to discuss all these individual cards or that they will ever be anything more than stubs. The sources cited, such as Dummett, are only for the short intros found on every article. I actually own Game of Tarot and most of Dummett's other tarot books as well, and I have even had a heck of a time finding information on the individual trump cards. The information on interpretations for occult use is either original research or taken from primary sources. If book "A" gives one interpretation, book "B" will give another, and they are just the opinions of the individual authors. Nothing scientific or factual can prove these various interpretations. If there was some specific use in game play for a certain pip card, or some historic connection, then I could understand the existence of the articles. However, none can really be found. Prior to occult use by Waite, these cards were simple European suits with pips (coins, clubs, swords, cups). With modern divinatory tarot cards, the symbolism on the card will vary from deck to deck, and the use and interpretation will vary from author to author. — Parsa talk 07:32, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Very very belated, but 5 years later, I agree. Normally I'd want to honor the AFD result of merge, but so much of the specific minor arcana cards are either unreferenced, or referenced very poorly. There's *some* consistency among authors about what the major arcana mean, or at least common themes, but it's a free-for-all for the authors that deign to talk about what the Eight of (Suit) means, and something I doubt many tarot practitioners have much consistency on either. So I'm not sure there's even anything worth merging in the vast majority of the individual pip cards. They're just cards. SnowFire (talk) 00:36, 15 July 2017 (UTC)