If you were to base your understanding of tarot cards solely on how they're depicted in pop culture, you'd think there were only 22 cards in a deck, all of which depict mythic archetypes like "The Fool," "The Hanged Man," and "The Devil." In reality, these cards, known as the Major Arcana, make up less than half of a traditional tarot deck. The remaining cards are the Minor Arcana and, at first glance, look a lot like regular playing cards.
Consisting of four suits (Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands), the Minor Arcana are just as valuable in a tarot reading as the Major, though they should be interpreted a little differently, says intuitive tarot reader and author Theresa Reed.
"While the Major Arcana represents the big, fated events in life, the Minor Arcana cards represent the day-to-day life or things that are within our control," she explains, adding that using both in the same reading can give you a better idea of how things are going on both a macro- and micro-level. As Reed points out, why separate your daily life from your spiritual life?
For any astrology fans reading, each Minor Arcana suit shares properties with one of the elements of the Zodiac (fire, earth, air, and water). In turn, each suit is associated with the three signs ruled by their corresponding element. So, since the Pentacles suit is believed to represent the element of earth, its associated signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. This doesn't mean that you have to identify with the suit that represents your sign. If you're still getting familiar with the meaning behind the Minor Arcana cards (but already have the basics of astrology down pat) this parallel may offer some clarity around the suits' realm of influence.
Ahead, Reed leads us on a tour through the Minor Arcana's four suits — the areas of our lives that they rule, their connections to the Zodiac, and more.