The tarot deck is made up of 78 cards that are divided into two sections; the major arcana and the minor. Arcana or Arcanum means “profound secrets” according to the alchemists from the Middle Ages. They believe that the tarot cards are a collection of these ‘secrets’ that explains the nature, life, unconscious mind; and the universe.
The Major Arcana consist of 22 cards and they are considered as the “heart of the deck.” These cards also represent sort of the ‘bigger picture’ during reading. It mostly symbolizes some kind of inherent aspect of human experience or patterns that influences human nature. The major arcana is given utmost importance during a tarot reading since these cards represent a person’s most basic concerns; and often times involves the spiritual aspect and inner self. It starts from the card of beginnings called The Fool (0) and ends in a card called The World (22).
The numbers also correspond and are correlated with the numbers of the cards in the minor arcana. The Minor Arcana is composed of 56 cards which are divided into four suits – the Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. Each of the suits also has Court Cards (The Page, The Knight, The Queen and The King) and Pip Cards that are numbered from 1 to 10. The minor arcana deals with a more universal and practical theme;, its concern about the emotions, struggles and events of the day to day life of an individual. In the next section, you’ll see the meanings, words, and interpretations of each card in the major; and minor arcana as well as the general meaning of each suits and court cards.