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Discovering the Suit Cards

Despite the fact that they are supposedly "minor" arcana, the numbered suit cards are just as common as the Major Arcana in our day-to-day lives, if not more so. After all, while the Major Arcana deal mainly with major life changes and spiritual issues, the suit cards focus on the more mundane triumphs and challenges we experience every moment of our lives. Learning to see trends in the appearance of these themes is a valuable exercise.

Every event in life, from the seemingly miraculous to the mundane, has a correspondence in the Minor Arcana. Sometimes this correspondence is obvious, and there is little room for dispute. Most people would see a painful break-up as a Five of Cups, and a happy reunion, a Ten. (If your interpretations vary, by all means, use them instead of mine.) Sometimes the event falls under the jurisdiction of more than one card. Sometimes it may appear to have no connections at all. But the links are always there, waiting to be found.

Perspective is a critical factor when searching for these connections. Notice that most newspaper stories are Swords or Pentacles in nature; there are few Wands stories and even fewer Cups. This is not because Wands and Cups events are unimportant, or because they do not exist at all - it is a matter of perspective. As a whole, the media does not care about the things that happen to other people, so they view things with the purpose of the Pentacles and the detachment of the Swords.

But what matters in this exercise is the way you see events in the world around you. In theory, there should be about equal numbers from each suit. In practice, the number of events you perceive is usually skewed by your current perspectives. By examining the events in your life and the relative amounts of the four suits, not only will you learn to see the influence of Minor Arcana, you will learn a little about yourself as well.

Starting tomorrow morning, make a list of what types of things happen to you. Classify them into either Wands, Cups, Swords or Pentacles. (Do not list what specific card they fall under. Don't put down Five of Wands if you get into a fight with several friends, just put down Wands.) Do not mark down a single event under two or more of the suits, just pick the one that feels best. Be honest and don't leave anything out. Do not count things that you read about or hear about. Record only the things that you experience.

At the start of the next day, count up how many events of each suit happened. Do not be surprised if one suit dominates over all the rest. All this means is that, at this moment in time, you are perceiving things along the lines of that particular suit. This can often show you what your priorities are and what things you are neglecting. If you have a lot of Swords but only a few Cups, that should be telling you something right away! You may be overlooking the missing energy or you may be pushing it away without thinking about it.

As an optional but logical extension of this exercise, on another day, classify the events that happen to you according to the number of the corresponding Tarot card rather than its suit. Again, you will likely find that there are more of certain numbers than others in your final tally the next morning. What do you think this means? Is your life filled with one type of energy, to the detriment of the rest? Are you seeing only bad times and missing out on the good ones?

Take as much time as you need to do this exercise. Not only will you enrich your connection to the Minor Arcana by seeking out their energy in real life situations, but at the same time, you'll be getting a better look at yourself and your priorities. Now, whenever you feel out of balance you can map the energies near you and see exactly what is needed to set things straight.

Copyright 2000 James Rioux