Monday, September 28, 2009
The value of Minor Arcana
People have been discussing the Major Arcana very thoroughly and ignoring the Minors, as if they don't mean as much. I have been pottering with Divination for some 30 years now, and I know the Minors are just as important and influential as the Majors. Very much of it has to do with the "High Magicians" who frown at witches and other "low" magic practitioners. Gypsies read playing cards, REAL Divinators read Major Arcana. Now, I happen to have very much respect to the Gypsy Divination. With the dozens of "oracles" being published every year, people should have understood the concept of reading cards.
Minor Arcana cards are not "more general". They are exactly as general and specific as the Major Arcana. "Lesser Secret" doesn't sound as nice as "Greater Secret", but believe me, that's just wizardry.
It has also been said that as the Major Arcana presents the Universal Influences in one's life, the Minor Arcana presents the small everyday problems. But, frankly, if you look at your life, you don't give a damn about whether your problems are shared by no-one else or millions of other people. I am really rather upset about this minimizing of the home sphere, spin side, domestic values and influences. In the end, it all comes to whether you sleep well, eat well, breathe well and exercise. Wars have been fought because of minor problems in homes.
Another problem I see is the connection to Astrology. Sure, it helps - sometimes - but is often an obstacle to understanding the cards. I know I had a lot of problems, because people disagree very much on which element to connect with which suit, and if you are used to think "wand=fire", you will have problems in using a deck where wands are connected to air or earth. One of my favorite decks connects Cups with air, while 99% of other decks connect Cups with water.
Wands, Staffs, Clubs or what ever you wish to call these, are connected to trees.
Coins, Pentacles, Diamonds or what ever you call these, are connected to stones and minerals.
Cups, Bowls, Chalices, Hearts... are connected to heart.
Swords, Blades, Spades are connected to sharp tools.
Wands talk about drive and ambition. Wands can be as quick to grow as willow, as steadfast and mighty as oak-trees, as vulnerable as any forest to fire and axes and plows, as relentless as the forest that covers the ancient cities in South America and Asia. Look at wands and see weeds. Look at wands and see rose garden. Look at wands and see a field of golden wheat.
Coins talk about possession, economy, stability, security. Coins are not only about gold, silver and jewels, it's about salt of life, nutrition and minerals necessary for life. Coins are also about the ground you are standing on, the mountains and cliffs, granite deep under your feet that supports you.
Cups are about emotions, ideals, wishes and dreams; what your heart is filled with. It's not only about love and relationships, it's about your dreams and desires, ideals and ideologies, what you believe in, what you enjoy, what you envy, what you reach for. It's about dreamwork, castles in clouds and wishing wells, Fairy Godmothers and magical reality.
Swords are about battle and obstacles. Some times you must fight your way through the thicket to get to the castle to awaken the princess. Some times you must use the spade and dig the ditch to irrigate the field so that something might grow. You must plow the field to be able to sow and get a crop. You have to cut away the dead and rotten so that the wound can heal, otherwise it will poison the whole body. People are usually very afraid of Swords, as they tell you to stop, they warn you from heartbreak, obstacles, problems and fears, they say something you want is impossible, at least right now, in this form and manner. No-one wants to hear that.