Essence of the Tarot (Minor Arcana)

Minor Arcana: Numerological/Astrological Attributions

The Hermetic key to understanding the Minor Arcana is knowing the Elemental  and Numerical associations. The Astrological associations will also provide meaning for many Minor Arcana cards.

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The Key to the Elements (Suits)

The elements

Element (Suit)


Qualities, Signification



Tree of Life

Fire (Wands) expansion creative, energetic,  inspiration, projects Intuition   Atsiluth (Archetypes)
Water (Cups) reflection (flowing) emotional, relational, responsive, connectedness, intuitive, psychic, un/sub-conscious Feeling   Beryah (Creation)
Air (Swords) distinction
mental, reason, rational, change, conflict, strategizing, communication, wit, cunning Thinking   Yetsirah (Formation)
Earth (Pentacles, Disks) manifestation (skills) material, pragmatic, factual, traditional, form, body, results/rewards Sensation   Asiyah (Action)

The Key to the Numerological Meanings

Numbers have meanings/properties of themselves. When these combine with the Elements they form the basic meaning for each card. With the Elemental and Numeric energies, we can create a matrix of the energies represented by each card. "The Key to the Minor Arcana" presents a grid showing the cross-relationship between The Elements and the Numbers.



The Elemental/Numerological Key to the Minor Arcana

The first word of meaning is the most general consensus of traditional decks. The second work is the Occult (Golden Dawn, Thoth) meaning. When there is disagreement between the two systems, it is usually explainable by examining the Astrological attributions (below) which carry more weight in the Thoth.





Wands Cups Swords Disks
1    Potential, initiative Opening:  project, initiative Beginning/Opportunity for emotional, inspirational, spiritual Epiphany, Communication, Focus Invitation, opportunity, improvement
2    Duality, Polarity Assessment / Dominion Partnership / Love Balance / Peace Juggling / Change
3     Expression, Creativity, Synthesis Seeking / Valor Celebration / Abundance Upset / Sorrow Skillful work / Works
4    Foundation, Solidification Celebration / Completion Discontent / Luxury Retreat / Truce Holding, covet / Power
5    Strife, Crisis Competition / Strife Loss / Disappointment Loss, dishonor / Defeat Poverty / Worry
6    Harmony, help Victory Happiness, childhood / Pleasure Movement, healing / Science Generosity / Success
7    Trial, Seeking, Mystery Perseverance / Valour Whimsical, fantasy / Debauch Deceit / Futility Seeking / Failure
8    Mastery, Manifestation, Expansion, Action Progress, Communication / Swiftness Seeking, moving on / Indolence Frustration / Interference Dedication / Prudence
9   Inward, composure Reserve / Strength Joy / Happiness Grief / Cruelty Abundance / Gain
10 Culmination, Abundance Burden / Oppression Contentment / Satiety Failure / Ruin Stability / Wealth

The Astrological Key to the Minor Arcana

Next we can map out the Astrological attributions for each card. Notice the patterns:





Wands Cups Swords Disks
1    Potential, Beginnings Aries -- Leo -- Sagittarius Cancer -- Scorpio -- Pisces Libra -- Aquarius -- Gemini Capricorn -- Taurus -- Virgo
2    Duality, Relation, Antithesis Mars in Aries Venus in Cancer Moon in Libra Jupiter in Capricorn
3     Expression, Creativity, Synthesis Sun in Aries Mercury in Cancer Saturn in Libra Mars in Capricorn
4    Foundation, Stability, Completion Venus in Aries Moon in Cancer Jupiter in Libra Sun in Capricorn
5    Strife/Change, Conflict Saturn in Leo Mars in Scorpio Venus in Aquarius Mercury in Taurus
6    Harmony Jupiter in Leo Sun in Scorpio Mercury in Aquarius Moon in Taurus
7    Limitation, Seeking, Mystery Mars in Leo Venus in Scorpio Moon in Aquarius Saturn in Taurus
8    Mastery, Manifestation, Expansion Mercury in Sagittarius Saturn in Pisces Jupiter in Gemini Sun in Virgo
9   Completion/Integration Moon in Sagittarius Jupiter in Pisces Mars in Gemini Venus in Virgo
10 Culmination Saturn in Sagittarius Mars in Pisces Sun in Gemini Mercury in Virgo





Attributes ---- Astrology Step 1

Sun energy of life

the Reigning needs of the Personality; how the Sun's energy is expressed in Personality

Mercury Mind; Nervous System, Movement, Communication
Venus Romantic, Relational, Social, Aesthetic Concerns
Mars Applied energy, assertion, aggression
Jupiter Expansion, enthusiasm, and optimism (benefits) [higher mind]
Saturn Ambition, Necessary Controls
Uranus Intensification, Eccentricism, Individualism
Neptune Creative Visualization; Camouflage
Pluto Perspective; Empowerment (transformation rebirth)

In the Sign planetary associations:: Positive (+) is often described as Masculine;   Negative (-) described as Feminine

Signs of the Zodiac

  Aries -- Leo -- Sagittarius Cancer -- Scorpio -- Pisces Libra -- Aquarius -- Gemini Capricorn -- Taurus -- Virgo  
Cardinal Aries  +Mars Cancer -Moon Libra +Venus Capricorn -Saturn  
  Aries - Ego importance, assertive, exerting force, being number one [adventurous, perceptive, personal focus to life]

impulsive selfish

Cancer - emotional and domestic security [seeks popularity]

tenacious, sensitive, clinging

Libra - to please and gain appreciation socially; being popular, fair, attractive[reformers, prophets, idealists; sensitive, humanitarian, truth, beauty]

co-operatively, lazy

Capricorn - making things happen; organizing, strategizing and deploying resources, ambition, worldly
[power, hardworking, serious...but an ascent is possible into spiritual/householder]

prudent, cautious, suspicious

Fixed Leo  +Su n Scorpio -Mars, Pluto Aquarius +Uranus [+Saturn ] Taurus -Venus  
  Leo - seeks recognition, respect, love and honor, ego triumph, Will

generous, proud, theatrical

Scorpio - control by knowing; get to the bottom of things; research; being significant, self-sufficient, right
 [mysterious ++ occult, yoga (Tantra) >> profound insight]

passionate, sensitive, anxious

Aquarius - Innovation, social outreach, humanitarianism
(mw)  [self-negation or sacrifice; no charisma]

democratic, unconventional, detached

Taurus - Keeping things as they are, or making them as they should be, to maintain structure, organization and security
 [stable, enduring, strong sense of relationships, happy homelife]

resourceful, thorough, indulgent

Mutable Sagittarius +Jupiter Pisces (mw) Neptune [-Jupiter] Gemini +Mercury Virgo -Mercury  
  Sagittarius - Opinionation; self-assertion to know what is proper; affecting thought; idealistic
 mutable [harmony, moral or higher mind disposition, conventional]

freedom, straightforward, careless

Pisces - Feeling, understanding, having compassion and identifying the ideal; working with the intangible
[intuitive, mutable, sentimental, past, ceremony, music, amorphous, weak confidence]

imaginative, sensitive, distracted

Gemini - diversity, communication, cleverness, inquisitive, wit, and the idea of being scintillating, clever

logical, superficial

Virgo - refinement, discrimination, being exact, cerebral, correct, accuracy

practical, efficient, critical


The Astrological Houses




1st The self, one's appearance, the body, physical characteristic etc. The Ego. The start of anything. Self            
2nd Money and Possessions, values and priorities. Growth of anything Possessions            
3rd Communications, siblings, neighbors and neighborhood matters, local travel and transport, education, everyday matters Communication            
4th The home and family, the mother or mother figure, caring for someone or something. Conservation. The beginning and end of life. Home            
5th Pleasures and leisure, holidays, games and gambling. Children. Creativity. Love affairs and sex for fun rather than a deep relationship. Pleasure            
6th Work, duties and chores. Employers, employees and one's job. Health and well-being. Health            
7th Relationships, marriage and business partnerships. Agreements and treaties. Also open enemies and war. Partnership            
8th Birth, death, beginnings and endings. Sexual relationships and deeply committed relationships of all kinds. Joint monies, taxes, legacies, and corporate finances. The occult and psychic matters. Sex            
9th Foreign travel and foreign countries and cultures. Religion, the law and higher education. All things which seek to expand one's experience. Freedom. Philosophy            
10th Aims and ambitions, direction in life. Your status in society, your career. The house of celebrity. Social Status            
11th Detached relationships such as friends and acquaintances. Groups, clubs and societies, especially with a charitable or humane aim. Friends            
12th Mysticism, the occult, psychic matters. Places of seclusion such as hospitals, prisons and institutions. Retreat and reflection and self-sacrifice. Unconscious