In this article, we are going to describe the Minor Arcana of the Tarot and their role in Planetary Magic.
While the Major Arcana contain keys to the 22 Powers that enable a Magician to control reality, the Minor Arcana describe the structure of our Universe and the practices of Elemental Magic.
From the viewpoint of Ancient Magicians, our Universe was formed in accordance to the law of Five Elements.
The four Primary Elements – Fire, Earth, Water and Air – give birth to the fifth element – Ether – and together they form the Universe as we know it.
However, one should not interpret the names of the Primary Elements literally.
In Magic, Element Fire means energy, Element Earth – Matter, Element Water means Time and Element Air – Chaos or Multiple Possibilities.
The fifth Element – Ether – is usually further subdivided into Life and Death.
Element Life corresponds to the living matter, while Element Death – to the cessation of life and dying.
The structure of the Universe is represented by the following scheme. This scheme consists of an equilateral cross, each axis of which corresponds to one of the Primary Elements (The Cross of Elements), and three concentric circles dividing the Universe into three worlds (or reality levels).
Our Universe borders other worlds, which have some fundamental states of matter that are similar to the ones found in our Universe. For example, the worlds of Fire contain plasma that is similar to the plasma of our world. The worlds of Air contain gas that is similar to the gas in our world. The other states of matter in those worlds can be different from ours.
People exist on different levels of reality, depending on the level of their consciousness.
Those of the first three varnas (who have no Magic abilities) exist in the physical world (the central part of the Elemental Cross).
For them, keeping all Elements balanced in their body is crucial. If the Elements in a human body go out of balance, disease occurs.
However, people of the fourth caste – Magicians – are occupied with developing their consciousness, and as part of that they become skilled in interacting with the Elements.
A Magician’s evolution is achieved through increasing the parameter of a certain Element in his consciousness.
This can be visualized as moving from the center of the Cross of Elements to the borders between our Universe and the other Worlds.
A Magician’s power and his ability to alter the properties of physical reality increase as an Element amounts in his consciousness, i.e. as the Magician moves from the center of the Cross of Elements to the borders with other Elemental Worlds.
Working with Each Element gives a Magician access to different properties of reality.
Element Fire makes it possible to control energy.
Element Earth makes it possible to control the parameters of matter.
Element Water makes it possible to control the parameters of time.
Element Air makes it possible to control the parameters of the future.
The Keys to working with the Elements can be found in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot.
The Minor Arcana are usually divided into four suits.
Each suit of the Minor Arcana corresponds to one of the Primary Elements and to one of the axes of the Elemental Cross.
The suit of Swords corresponds to Fire and describes how to work with energy.
The suit of Pentacles corresponds to Earth and describes how to work with matter.
The suit of Cups corresponds to Water and describes how to work with time.
The suit of Wands corresponds to Air and describes how to work with Chaos or Multiple Possibilities.
Apart from this, there are Tarot decks containing the suit of Skulls, which corresponds to the Element Death and describes how to work with the World of Death, and decks containing the suit of Roses, which corresponds to the Element Life and describes how to work with Life and living matter.
Each suit of the Minor Arcana consists of 14 cards.
Cards of the Minor Arcana from 2 to 10 describe Magical Practices through which a Magician develops certain abilities (properties) and learns to control different parameters of reality.
Cards from Pages to Aces contain the practices of Ritual Magic and enable a Magician to contact the Planetary Hierarchy.
The properties and abilities that Magicians acquire through the Magical Practices described in the Minor Arcana depend on the Element used. But, in general, they can be described as follows:
2 MA – extrasensory perception;
3 MA – working with energetic bonds;
4 MA – Kabbalah, working with True Names;
5 MA – summoning Elementals;
6 MA – opening Portals to the Elemental Worlds;
7 MA – creating Magical Forms (extra-powerful spells that induce significant reality changes);
8 MA – Alchemy, Transmutation of chemical elements;
9 MA – Direct Mental Impacts;
10 MA – Ascension;
Thus, Minor Arcana divide the process of working with an element into 14 steps. Through following those, a Magician develops his consciousness and gains more and more control over reality.
In order to pass each of these steps, a Magician performs the practice described on the corresponding Minor Arcanum card. As a result, his consciousness gains magical abilities that enable him to advance further.
A Magician’s evolution starts with the development of the most basic magical ability – extrasensory perception (the ability to feel and see the subtle plane) – and ends with Ascension (the shift to another reality level and into a different form of existence).
Some ancient authors compared this process with ascending a ladder that leads to heaven (see St. Jacob’s Ladder).
Aspects held in mind while choosing the Element to work with include, first, the properties of the Magician’s consciousness and, second, his goals in mind.
Magicians of Fire have control over Energy and can manage processes and events that are going on in the present.
Magicians of Earth have control over Matter and can manipulate the properties of substances.
Magicians of Water have control over Time and can manage past events.
Magicians of Air have control over the Powers of Chaos and can manage future events.
In addition, there are Magicians of Ether, who are further subdivided into Magicians of Life and Magicians of Death.
Magicians of Death control the energy of Death. By manipulating it, they can stop any process or kill any living creature. They have access to The World of the Dead, where the souls of the dead dwell.
Magicians of Life control the energy of Life. They can alter the amount and quality of it in living creatures, heal them and control their lifespan.