Monday, August 26, 2013

The Houses of Tarot

Houses of Tarot?  Wait a minute... Tarot has houses, like at Hogwarts or Game of Thrones?

Well, a manner of speaking it absolutely does! For some people this will be a new perspective as the houses are traditionally referred to as the suits of the Minor Arcana.  The Minor Arcana (translated as the "lesser secrets") is comprised of the Royal Family (King, Queen, Knight, Page) and the numbered cards Ace - Ten.

I like thinking about the suits as great houses. Remembering  Montegue and Capulet, Gryffindor and Slytherin, the Starks, Targaryens and Lannisters helps bring the suits of Tarot to life.Each house has a proud royal family at the head  surrounded by other inhabitants, each with individual qualities yet all members of the same house.

Introducing the Houses of the Minor Arcana

The great houses of Tarot are known as Wands, Cups, Coins and Swords. They may go by other names depending on the specific tarot deck you have but the basic correlations will remain the same. Each suit represents the universal qualities and values that are part of us all.The houses are the foundation of the Minor Arcana and are a good place to being a study of tarot.

Wands represent spirit and the energy of inspiration that comes from the essence of souls. Wands are about activity and action, growth, the quicksilver nature of creativity, adventure, excitement and confidence. They are the essence of life force energy. The natural element of Wands is fire and it's season is Spring. Wands represent masculine energy.

Cups are concerned with matters of the heart and emotional states. The suit of Cups is all about the fluidity of relationships, inner feelings and intuitiveness, kindness, love of beauty and the imagination. Cups are associated with the element of water, femininity and the summer season.

Pentacles are often called Coins so it's not surprising that this suit is concerned with security, finances, logic, material things, the work we do, maturity and health. The element of earth rules Pentacles with all its physical or tangible aspects, including plants and animals. Pentacles also govern the autumn of the year and connect with feminine energy.

Swords represent the mind and mental activities, communications and decisions. They are concerned with thought, reason, logic, truth and ethical concerns. Swords are associated with the element of air, masculine energy and the winter season.

Each of the houses also has an astrological aspect.
  • Wands: the fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. 
  • Cups: the water signs; Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. 
  • Pentacles:the earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.
  • Swords: the air signs of Gemini, Leo and Libra.
If you've been studying tarot, do you stay with the idea of suits? Have you ever considered them to be houses as I do? Maybe you have some other concept? I'd love to hear about it.

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