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Non Standard Minor Arcana

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 19 Sep 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Macavity  19 Sep 2002 
As an newcomer, I'm in the process of learning (defining for myself? :-) the basic ideas of card meaning using a Rider-Waite deck. I suspect it is of value to concentrate on THIS one first! But I also have e.g. a couple of other decks: Silvana Alasia's Egyptian and Nefertari Tarots. Now the major Arcana are rather "standard" in both, as is the (plain!) minor Arcana for the Egyptian. But, as a particular enthusiast for all things Egyptian the Nefertari carries (imo) much more *definitive* images for the minor Aracana... and yet further interpretations on the box insert.

What to do? AFAICS, there could be (at least!) several different views on card meanings: That of the Artist, The insert writer, Rider-Waite or even... My own? :-) For the moment, I am e.g. fairly capable of using the Nefertari images or simply the card NAME to "trigger" a memory of the R-W scheme... which is what I am using. To depart far from tradional interpretation (R-W) might defeat the object of progression within or correspondance across Suits? Ah, just maybe that is precisely the object - in developing one's own feel? What is the general feeling on this subject? :-)


P.S. As far as I am concerned these decks stand on their OWN merit as both Artistic and simply beautiful creations aside from potential usage. 

evangelion  19 Sep 2002 
Sounds like you're pretty much right on so far. Great job trying to relate and compare.

I think what helped me the most is first trying to match the art to the meaning. But to take it a little further, you'll eventually find that with specific questions or readings, sometimes the picture on the card is, well, worth a thousand words! And sometimes you just have to kind of meditate on the meaning you have "written" down for you in the booklet. It's all symbolic, and you've definetly done yourself a favor by picking decks that you already have a great interest in. That's why I find the Crowley Thoth deck so amazing (another deck that uses a bit of Egyptian symbolism). 

Jewel  19 Sep 2002 
I would highly recommend you visit the Tarot Basics section of the Aeclectic website. It has wonderful info on card meanings in very easy to understand terminology. Good luck! 

Macavity  19 Sep 2002 
Thank you both for your suggestions. There is certainly a wealth of information both here and on the net. On reflection, I suspect embedded in all the question was implied: "Was it necessary to treat each deck as a seperate learning task"? Clearly between the major types of deck: The Rider-Waite, Thoth etc. this must be true, but I am realising that to SOME extent this is also perhaps true among the decks which seem at first sight to be variations on a theme. Fwiw, the Nefertari has (imo) some charateristics of the R-W, but that's clearly not the whole story. More thought is doubtless required...

Fwiw, I probably will get a Crowly-Thoth just for a look-see and since I am interested in some of the associated stuff ol' Mr. C. wrote about. But generally, the "master-plan" is to get some good grounding in the R/W first and see where I go from there. Fwiw, at the moment I'm using Joan Bunnings Book which seems to be adequate for me - We mostly agree on interpretations! The "memory work" isn't too bad. Probably the real skill will be when I try to assemble all the book learning into some kind of coherent pattern or story - and that's probably some little way off! :-) 

Jewel  20 Sep 2002 
Hi Macavity! Sounds to me like you are approaching your learning the way I started out 8+ years ago. I wanted to make sure I learned the right information. What I have learned since is that we play a larger part in our learning than the books do, and that Tarot (for me) is not a subject matter than can be book learned but is a journey to experience. Each book is someone's opinion and interpretation, but ultimately you will define the meaning of the cards you work with.

I would still recommend you read Thirteen's Tarot Basics on this site. Even after working with Tarot for 8 years I found them very insightful. They will compliment what you are currently learning. You might want to look into inforation on Archetypes, which will help you with the Major Arcana, as that is what they represent in any deck.

The three decks you might want to explore, if you are looking for decks from which others are based are the RWS, Thoth and the Marseilles.

Trust yourself. You can start putting the story together now. Have you tried journaling? I found it really helpful to draw a card each day and write about it in a journal. I wrote about the colors, symbols, what I saw, what the card made me feel, and what I thought it would mean. After I did this then I would look it up. It was amazing to me, to see how right on I was ... the cards themselves turned out to be the best book to learn from in my case.

Good luck! 

Macavity  20 Sep 2002 
Originally posted by Jewel
Hi Macavity! Sounds to me like you are approaching your learning the way I started out 8+ years ago. I wanted to make sure I learned the right information.

Hi Jewel,

Ah, pretty much exactly the way I was feeling, when confronted with the minor arcana in it's entirety. It's good to know there is a precedent for some of this. Point taken. Only eight more years to go... give or take! ;)

I looked at 13's pages and printed some. S/he does indeed emphasise the aspect I was trying to confirm, namely the correspondence between major and minor Arcana. Some books seem to mention this very briefly yet, to me anyway, it would appear to be reasonably fundamental. Anyway I find it provides me with some insight and helps reduce the perception of information overload! :rolleyes:

After much deck browsing I had envisaged the Marseille as the "other one", so thanks for the confirmation! Will look for a nice one... and some more money. Despite all my computer work, I remain, at heart, a paper and pen sorta guy, so this sort of stuff is now going into my... "Tarot Folder". Hehe. Oh, Finally I am setting up some sort of journaling system - almost as we speak! :D

Thanks for your thoughtful response,

Macavity (In page of swords mode?) :P 

The Non Standard Minor Arcana thread was originally posted on 19 Sep 2002 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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