Aeclectic Tarot
Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Forum Archive
Library Index

the minor cards as archetypal events

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 13 Apr 2004, and now archived in the Forum Library.

HOLMES  13 Apr 2004 
the major arcana are archtypes, the court cards are forces of elements, and the minor arcana are mundane events (is the general consensus ?)

but if the archtypes affect everything like the ether element therefore in my mind therefore :O) everything must be archtypal in the tarot

so the minor arcana are events that happen in everyone lives hence they become archtypal yes or no ?

and for that matter, then the court cards become archtypal forces ? and why not , the court cards to my mind have to be more then just the elements blending. .

so two of swords as an archtypal event would change to become more universal, but highly personal in application now the meaning can be broaden and defined based on this idea. ?
what you think ? 

SongDeva  13 Apr 2004 
This is sort of how I try to understand them.
A celebration, a fight, an argument, a new job, a parting from a lover, a new lover, a broken heart, a healed heart, a broken down car, things that make us stop, go, urge us on, hold us back.

What is the archetypal event you see for the two of swords? 

HOLMES  13 Apr 2004 
it is a general event i would say but certain in the qualifications for it,

1. the event involves two forces,
2. it is on the mental level
3. it is involves a peace, or balance,
4. it is involves strife, (using swords as strife)
5. hence the need for peace.
(not hard core rules though )

i would say that sooner or later we have to seek out some sort of peace between us and our brother, between us and our mother, between us and our father, between us and our estranged mate.
hence the ritual passing.

now the two of wands,
1. the two forces,
2. the social, spiritual level.
3. a parternship but not on the business level but it is a social alliance,
4. it involes action.
5. and needs two people to put their energies together,

this would be father and son working together, mother and daugher working together, perhaps teacher and student.
it is unclear in my eye if they are both equals parthers.

but the terms archtypal doens't make it general, but after the reader says yes i am having that sort of experience,

i would then go into counselling mode, after i hear what kind of mode, and examine it further by applying the teaching of the archypal event to the actual event making it personal while trying to keep the universal(and perhaps higher eheh) wisdom in it. 

cartarum  13 Apr 2004 
almost all the episodes of seinfeld were based on a single punch line that became an archetype for that show. it reminds me of
high preistess reversed, five of swords reversed, and king of wands reversed.
every thing that a person could possibly do, can be described by the tarot with the right spread. the archetypes represent the culmination of a persons life: whatever that person did, or could have done or will do. they are the building peices of a human existance.
so, the archetypes are everywhere. everywhere there is a possibility, there is an archetype. 

SongDeva  13 Apr 2004 
Interesting thoughts, Cartarum.

Homes, perhaps you are right. I wonder after reading it if the archetypes actually vary with each person...if each person has their own system of spiritual and mundane archetypes?

This would most easily be determined when reading for yourself or for others.

For example, if the two of pentacles involves a father and son working on the physical plan, say in a carpentry business together, then when the 2 of pents comes up in future for the son, it could refer to his dad, to partnerships, to other relationships that follow a similar pattern as the one with his dad...

In fact, I find that when I read for others, the cards refer to my own archetypes which frequently have something to do with what the querent's reading is about. This happens all the time. 

Rusty Neon  13 Apr 2004 
I find that the Golden Dawn keywords, as well as keywords suggested by intuitive reflection on the RWS pictures, for the pip cards (Two to Ten of each suit) to be very stimulating archetypes. Sorrow from 3 of Swords, Failure (GD) / Patience (RWS picture - intuitive), etc., etc.

One of my rainy-day projects is to match the archetypes from _Iconologia_ by 16th century metapoet, Cesare Ripa, to GD and intuitive-RWS keywords. Each of the various pip cards could, in this way, be matched to several different _Iconologia_ archetypes. 

Marion  14 Apr 2004 
HOLMES, I agree that the minors reflect archetypal situations in the world. The fact that they depict events in such a universally applicable manner suggests that strongly.

SongDeva, I do not think the archetypes vary, but that how they get expressed in each person's life varies. How they 'play out' varies but the patterns underlying stay the same. I once read you can see Cinderella is standing on the corner waiting for the bus. 

jmd  14 Apr 2004 
Sometimes there are tendencies to want to relate perhaps too many things to each other. There is a perhaps not-as-well-known as maybe ought to be Rosicrucian esoteric maxim which states that all things may be related to all things. In its context, however, this relating is different to integrating. Correlations, by the cleverness of one's mind, may also take away from the impulse seeking its manifestation in various clear and distinct representations.

I suppose that this is one of my main criticism of both and especially Mathers (of Golden Dawn fame) and Crowley - and I have somewhat similar criticisms of Leadbeater and Waite, though in their case, it was seeking to overlay, rather than simply co-relate. They were each, in their own peculiar ways, researching and finding many 'archaeological' treasures in numerous esoteric fields, but, rather than carefully observing and reporting the same - as a genetic map-maper may do - they sought to implement and overlay as a genetic engineer may attempt.

With regards to archetypes, the word carries various meanings and connotations. Many months ago, I rather rashly attempted to identify and differentiate between the various uses the term as been put to. For those interested, the comments are within the thread entitled What drives Tarot - Image or Archetype?.

In some ways, it may be viewed that each card, whether pip or court or atout (ie, major arcana), is but a local representation of its archetypal unmanifest essential form. In that sense, the three of swords, for example, may be said to have an essential archetypal aspect which manifests in peculiar ways within a deck, and that this peculiar manifestation may be either a close or a rather distant representation of its archetypal form.

Part of the reason I note some of the earlier comments I make is that when one seeks to correlate various views, either an integration occurs, or, as seems to be more often the case, the super-imposition of various disparate systems mimic their impulses, with none seemingly at ease with the result.

To my eyes, this was especially the case with the now rarer Etteilla deck.

But can the pips be seen to archetypically reflect events - as posted by Holmes and as noted in the thread's title ?

In some ways, I would have to answer, from my own more personal point of view, that they do so only rather indirectly.

I remember it being said by some - and I too have certainly used that metaphor in various courses and public lectures - that an analogy may be made with an astrological chart, in that the atout (or majors) are like the planetary energies, the courts the sign they reside in, and the pips as the houses in which they happen to fall.

As an analogy to assist in differentiating various spheres of influence to someone already (perhaps more) proficient in astrology than I am, it may have its uses. It may also, however, lead one too fast in avenues not properly applicable to the Tarot.

A seven of Coins has a quality about it which may depict, for example (and here I refer to the Marseille's imagery), the coming forth of a project which is both well grounded and having the blessing from above, and that as such, one may safely take the task's grip at hand, confident in the manner of its supported development.

Is this 'archetypal' ? Is there a sense in which the term 'archetype' and the word 'idea' are being conjoined in suggested meaning ?

...this is already a post far longer than intended - probably a result of long discussions I have been priviledged to partake in today - so will leave it at that for now :) 

cartarum  17 Apr 2004 
in my experience, there are some pips which are states of being,
and there are some where someone is doing something.
like if you meditate on each pip, and try to identify that pip with something that a court card is usually doing. how the three of pentacles combines with the page of wands for example. in my experience all the cards are archetypes. archetypes of people who we have all been at one time or another. states of being(all the aces and some other pips) the rest of the pips describe the things that the court cards are doing. like how the queen of pentacles reversed is often trying to four of pentacles something.
as far as imagery goes, i have had times where an image on the card was astonishingly similar to its counterpart in real life. rarely happens, but i may miss some of it. is that the imagery you were talking about?
by the way, jmd, there is, i beleive a law in metaphysics that all things once joined remain forever in unison. i dont know if thats rosicrucian though, could also be pythagoric 

SongDeva  01 May 2004 
Cartarum, that sounds like string theory from regular physics. I think. Or is that one where everything is already joined?
Something tells me JMD might know! ;) 

jmd  02 May 2004 
I'm quite clearly unsure, SongDeva :)

With regards to whether once things are joined they remain forever joined, that may indeed be true of marriage as seen, for example, within certain religious contexts.

The alchemical processes, however, show how certain elements may be conjoined or coagulated, and again dissolved in order for various other and differing re-joinings to occur.

There is nonetheless a sense in which those things which have been joined in thought oft remain so. Hence, to my mind, part of some of the problems when seeking to investigate, in our case, Tarot in its more dissolute and single state - for it has been variously joined in thought by various individuals in various and disparate ways.

With regards to archetypal events, to return to the major point of this thread, I wonder if an event can be described as such, or whether it is more its mythical quality or dimension which is reflected in actual situations at hand 

SongDeva  02 May 2004 
Ok....if we were going to call events archetypal, for the sake of argument, what events are archetypal? Specifically ones that are short in duration... And when I say archetypal I'm thinking things that (almost) everyone experiences.

Education - First day of school, Graduation, excelling, failing, being in danger of failing
Love - first, one that got away, one you'll never forget, wedding, divorce
Work: winning coveted job, losing job

Being subject of gossip
gossiping (going with the stream of consciousness here)

The ones I mentioned in an earlier post:
A celebration, a fight, an argument, a new job, a parting from a lover, a new lover, a broken heart, a healed heart, a broken down car, things that make us stop, go, urge us on, hold us back

And of course none of these really happens only in an instant, in a vaccuum, but for the purposes of a reading can be read that way I suppose...

Can you explain your mythical comment in relation to these? I'm not quite grasping it. 

HOLMES  02 May 2004 
it is the mythical event that is reflected in the actual event hence the minor cards represent the archetypal=mythical events
that will take form in the actual event.

i think if the event must be a reflection for the event to be archeytpal ,
and the minor cards represent the archtypal events.

if events are not reflections, they would have no meaning on the soul level but just serve as simply an event ,

perhaps it is the spiritual within me who would like to see spiritual meaning in all things ,
and so the archtypal events in the minor cards make so much sense to me, 

tmgrl2  02 May 2004 
Another intense discussion...good one...
I agree with jmd...I have trouble using the word "archetypal" unless I am sure those in the discussion/reading agree on which meaning we are using...Holmes, I like your reinterpretation response to SongDeva.

While the minor card may evoke an my readings there is usually a larger universal meaning at play...e.g. I always saw the RW 3 Swords as Sorrow (I am still new so that one was the most obvious at first)...but depends on the reading and the sitter's question as I think SongDeva was saying.

In one reading, it didn't hit me as sorrow, at first...
I saw the three swords as "knowledge of a merging of mind, body and soul/spirit" coming forth out of a situation that may involve some pain in the process of its, Sorrow, was there, but what snapped forward to me...was the beauty of merging within this person to come to a resolution of a situation.

Sometimes when I read, e.g. the person (Court Card) or the situation (1-10 Pips) pops forward and then a deeper significance
and other times it pops forward the other way...the significance and then, sometimes, the card represents a situation or person...sometimes the Q and the Question and the combination of cards thrown, drives what comes forward...

This being said...For me, yes, there is usually a more "universal" message/theme that comes along with a Pip card....


The the minor cards as archetypal events thread was originally posted on 13 Apr 2004 in the Talking Tarot board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Talking Tarot, or read more archived threads.

Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Forum Archive

Aeclectic Tarot Forum Links
· Tarot
· Tarot Special Interest
· Beyond Tarot
· Forum Library

Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Angel Decks
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Cat Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· List All Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· Tarot Books
· What's New

Copyright © 1996 - 2017 Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Contact us.