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The Lessor Arcana
http://www.tarotreadingsecrets.com/articles/13/1/The-Lessor-Arcana
By 
Published on 10/22/2005
 
The Four Suits - The Lessor Arcana

The resources of interpretation have been lavished, if not
exhausted, on the twenty-two Trumps Major, the symbolism of which is unquestionable. There remain the four suits, being Wands or Scepters—ex hypothesi, in the archaeology of the sub­ject, the antecedents of Diamonds in modern cards: Cups, cor­responding to Hearts; Swords, which answer to Clubs as the weapon of chivalry is in relation to the peasant's quarter-staff or the Alsatian bludgeon; and, finally, (Pentacles—called also Deniers and Money—which are the prototypes of Spades. In the old as in the new suits, there are ten numbered cards, Cut in the Tarot there are four Court Cards allocated to each suit, or a Knight in addition to King, Queen and Knave.


The Lessor Arcana or The Four Suits

The Lessor Arcana

The resources of interpretation have been lavished, if not exhausted, on the twenty-two Trumps Major, the symbolism of which is unquestionable. There remain the four suits, being Wands or Scepters—ex hypothesi, in the archaeology of the sub­ject, the antecedents of Diamonds in modern cards: Cups, cor­responding to Hearts; Swords, which answer to Clubs as the weapon of chivalry is in relation to the peasant's quarter-staff or the Alsatian bludgeon; and, finally, (Pentacles—called also Deniers and Money—which are the prototypes of Spades. In the old as in the new suits, there are ten numbered cards, Cut in the Tarot there are four Court Cards allocated to each suit, or a Knight in addition to King, Queen and Knave.

The Knave is
a page, valet, or damoiseau; most correctly, he is an esquire, presumably in the service of the Knight; but there are certain rare sets in which the page becomes a maid of honor, thus pairing the sexes in the tetrad of the court cards. There are naturally distinctive features in respect of the several pictures, by which I mean that the King of Wands is not exactly the same per­sonage as the King of |Cups, even after allowance has been made for the different emblems that they bear; but the symbol­ism resides in their rank and in the suit to which they belong. So also the smaller cards, which—until now—have never been issued pictorially in these our modern days, depend on the par­ticular meaning attaching to their numbers in connection with the particular suit.

I reserve, therefore, the details of the Lesser Arcana, till I come to speak in the second part of the rectified and perfected Tarot which accompanies this work. The con­sensus of divinatory meanings attached both to the greater and lesser symbols belongs to the third part.