The Order of the Tarot Cards: Understanding the Structure of the Deck

The Order of the Tarot Cards: Understanding the Structure of the Deck

A standard Tarot deck has 78 Tarot cards. 22 cards make up the Major Arcana, 56 cards make up the Minor Arcana.

The Major Arcana

The Major Arcana is made up of 22 cards that represent major life events or themes. These cards are numbered 0-21 and include The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, and The World.

The Major Arcana is considered to be the most important part of the deck, as it represents the major events and themes of a person's life. It is also linked to the spiritual journey of life.

rider waite tarot card- the world on a gold and blue background

The Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana is made up of 56 cards in total (40 general Minor Arcana cards and 16 Court Cards) that represent everyday events and situations and are linked to the individual’s physical journey.

The Minor Arcana is divided into four suits: Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles.

The different suits are associated with one of the four natural elements: Cups with water, Wands with fire, Swords with air, and Pentacles with earth.

Each suit also has a specific meaning and represents a different aspect of life, Cups represents emotions and relationships, Wands represents creativity and inspiration, Swords represents intellect and communication, and Pentacles represents material matters and finances.

The minor arcana consists of 10 cards for each suit (numbered 1-10) and 4 court cards (see below).


minor arcana cards- rider waite


The Court Cards

There are 16 Court Cards which are part of the Minor Arcana. They follow the same suits as the Minor Arcana i.e. Cups, Wands, Swords & Pentacles and are made up of Kings, Queens, Knights, and Pages.

Each Court Card represents a specific aspect of personality. The King represents maturity, authority, and wisdom. The Queen represents intuition, sensitivity, and nurturing. The Knight represents action, courage, and passion. The Page represents curiosity, learning, and exploration.


rider waite tarot cards- the court cards- page of swords, knight of swords, queen of swords and king of swords.

By understanding the structure of the deck, you can gain a deeper understanding of the cards and the messages they have for you. As with all divination, the cards only make up a portion of the meaning and each card must be read in context.

If you would like more information on the Tarot, visit our Sacred Space Blog here.

Do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments section!

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