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How the Minor Arcana of the Tarot Can Reveal the Major Players in Your Life

by Bernie O'Connor

In the second installment in this series of learning how to use Tarot cards to increase your creative abilities, we discover that the Tarot is actually a living photo album of you, your family, friends and coworkers.


The classic 78 card Tarot deck* is divided into 2 parts. The first 22 cards are called the Major Arcana. These represent the overarching cosmic forces that influence us. They frame and define the life changing moments we all experience

in our journey to enlightenment. John Lennon put it so well in his lyrics “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

There is no probably no better interpretation of this truism then the Major Arcana. If you take a quick random look though these cards, you’ll see why. One image depicts a huge lighting bolt striking a tower and blowing it apart. You’ll feel the pull of the astrological laws that eternally guide the Stars, Moon and Sun. Stand in awe of the power of a master Magician that can accomplish anything. Cautiously avoid the influence of an obsessive Devil and observe the Hanged Man forever suspended between heaven and earth, or is it really hanging between life and death?

Speaking of Death, he’s here too bringing portents of inevitable change with him. Then soothe your psyche by joining in quite meditation with the High Priestess, the guardian of all the occult mysteries. These are the big things in life. These are the archetypes that forever lurk in our shared collective unconscious.

But what about the complete story of life? Where are all the players that fill the stage of life? They are right here, in the 56 cards of the Minor Arcana, waiting in the wings till they are called upon to play their fate appointed roles. These Tarot cards represent the people, and their actions and the events in our everyday lives. Take your deck, draw out the Major Arcana and put them aside. Take the remaining cards and lay them all face up.

You’ll see they are divided into four suits that represent the 4 elements and all the behaviors, traits and attributes that make up a personality. For example, consider the Swords; these are the cards of air and mental activity. Wands are made of fire and action. Pentacles refer to earth and material things. This brings us to Cups, the cards of water and emotions.


Each suit also has four Court cards as well. These cards represent authority figures in your life. They are the King and Queen, a valiant Knight and a young Page. Start with these cards and group them together by suit and place them in whatever order you decide to, King to Page or the other way around.

The remaining cards in each suit are numbered one to ten and depict many different people in many different situations. Again, lay these out in any order you want, from one to ten or visa-versa.

Here before you are all the people you know, have known, or will know in your life. Some mystics claim that our souls travel together in communities through time. These communities are essentially balls of pure creative energy, and depending on the number of souls in each community, these ball could be enormous or very small. With each reincarnation of each soul, the same souls deal with each other over and over again, but always in different bodies and at different times. This process of renewal continues until any and all issues between the souls are resolved, and all Karmic debts are paid or redeemed among the community members. Then the souls condense down and join all their sacred energies together as one, forming a single magnificent “star of conciousness.” This mass of universal love and understanding then rejoins the ultimate first light source, that of the creator. The long, sometimes painful journey of physical life has come to a joyful end.

With this philosophy in mind and all the cards of the Minor Arcana in front of you, relax and let your mind drift. Enter a calm meditative state while you study the cards. Take 15 to 20 minutes to contemplate all the cards.

Do any of the pictures remind you of anybody you know? Do you know someone who is a Wand person? Someone who perhaps is filled with fire and is a self-motivated action person? How about a Cup person? Or do you see yourself? Further still, do any of the scenarios depicted on the cards strike an emotional cord with you?

Do you feel you are looking at a family photo album and that you could tell a story about each picture? Then let’s do just that with the following storytelling and visualization exercise. This is a common practice technique Tarot readers use to

understand the different connections cards create with each other when they appear in spreads. It helps stretch your imagination as well as put you in touch with the many different levels Tarot card imagery may be “speaking” to you.

Collect only the Minor Arcana cards and stack them together. Now shuffle them and think of a situation either in your personal life or at work that needs to be dealt with. Place the deck on the table and fan it out. Choose 6 cards at random and place them next to each other. What cards are they?


Can you create a story around them? Do you recognize anyone you know right off the bat? One important thing to remember is that Tarot cards, even though may depict a female or male image, they can represent either sex, no matter what type of activity is illustrated on the individual cards.

Say for the sake of this exercise that it’s a problem at work that you are troubled with, and you drew the following cards: The 9 of Swords, the 2 of Swords, the 3 of Pentacles, the 5 of Wands, the Ace of Cups and finally the Queen of Pentacles. Go ahead, read your Tarot spread. What type of story can you create around the cards just by letting your intuition take over and let your inner voice speak to you? Let’s see…

First the 9 of Swords portrays a person, in the middle of the night, sitting up in bed worrying about something awful.

The next card, the 2 of Swords shows a blindfolded person holding a sword in each hand, but they are pointed in opposite directions. It seems a difficult decision needs to be made. Maybe that’s why the first card is losing so much sleep? (Swords are air and mental activity)

The third card is the 3 of Pentacles. On this card, a craftsman in a cathedral like setting and two other people are conferring over what looks like plans. Here it looks like some realistic and tangible planning is called for; you need to take off your blindfold to see what needs to be done in order to solve the problem at hand. There is no more time left for thinking, it’s time for action. (Pentacles represent the earth and material things.)

Now comes the 5 of Wands. This card is filled with action, and depicts several people in a jousting match. From the third card you learned you needed

a plan, but this card depicts confusion and a lot of motion but apparently, no progress is being made. (Wands are Fire and action.)

Your fifth card is the Ace of Cups. The water overflows from this Grail cup held by a hand magically appearing out of a cloud. This card represents communication and revitalization. Maybe you need to get everyone on the same page by exerting authority and clearly communicating exactly what needs to be done. Thus breaking up the log jam indicated in the fourth card. (Cups are water and emotions, which are primarily expressed through communication.)

Your final Tarot card and probable outcome of this situation is the Queen of Pentacles. The Queen sits on her throne in a lavish setting gently holding a single over-sized Pentacle.


Would you say that this story has a happy ending? Have you succeeded in accomplishing your goal? And if you a boss have you made them happy? After all, the Queen is an authority figure. Do you think that you have been shown a creative way to resolve a problem?

Go on now, try it yourself. Think of a question or situation and pick six cards. What story can you create around them? Be as creative as you can be while you interpret them. Let the cards guide your storyline. Tune in to your inner voice again and use your instincts. You may even hear another voice helping you write the script. That’s just the muse of creativity talking to you. Ask the voice if you may know its name and then listen very carefully. You may yet meet your spirit guide who will become a coauthor your life’s script.

Look for next month’s Installment:

Exploring the Creative Power of the Magician and the Wisdom of the High Priestess, Two of the Most Important Cards in the Tarot.


The Tarot Shows the Path

Rolla Nordic

ISBN 0-939708-25-6

The Forest of Souls

Rachel Pollack

ISBN 1-56718-533-9

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite

ISBN 1-56619-912-3

Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Carl G. Jung / Edited by Aniel Jaffee

ISBN 0-679-72395-1

Man and His Symbols

Carl G. Jung

1969 – Doubleday

Rev. Dave Clark

Tarot Master, Healer, Guru

Grand Kiva Ministries

Reading, PA.


*T he Tarot deck I refer to in this article is the Rider-Waite-Smith deck (RWS)

To find out more about this popular deck visit: http://www.usgamesinc.com/pages.php?page=riderwaite.html


Bernie O’Connor has been reading and teaching Tarot professionally for several years and in 2007, founded the Pennsylvania Tarot Association. www.patarotassociation.com

Along with the Tarot, he has studied paranormal phenomenon for over 35 years, authored the book: How to Investigate UFOs and was the editor of Official UFO Magazine. Bernie is self-employed as a Marketing / Creative Consultant and conducts online surveys, consumer research and creative projects through his firm: www.armchairresearch.com

He can be reached at: info@patarotassociation.com

Copyright © 2008 Bernie O’Connor

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