General Book of the Tarot, by A. E. Thierens, , at sacred-texts.com
The theory formulated in the first part of the present work must be proved by practice; and here we are in the same lucky position as with horoscopy, where we find also the most abstract world-vision
combined with the natural facts of everyday life: religion, philosophy and science in one and testified to by facts, which can be verified by every serious student, as easily as the facts of any other branch of natural science.
We shall now deal with the Arcana Minor much on the same lines as we have followed with the cards of the Arcana Major, only still more abridged, if possible, in order to make the work clear and the supervision easy, and so produce a handbook, as simple and practical as possible for use in the practice of divination. We shall therefore first give the generally accepted traditional meanings of each card, and then derive the significance from the given theory.
The qualifications which we think fully justified by the theory, will be put in italics.
We use as illustrations the pictures of the cards as they have been drawn on the authority of Mr. A. E. Waite and published by Messrs. Rider and Co., Paternoster Row, London.
Practical divination speaks of two ways in which the cards, in general, have to be or can be interpreted: right and reversed, and the professors of the art say it depends on the way the cards fall when they are laid after being shuffled; it may be the image of the card comes 'right,' i.e. facing the querent, or upside down. The latter is called 'reversed.' This appears to me to be a rather arbitrary distinction, because of course it costs you no trouble to put all cards 'right' before shuffling and to keep them right all the time. But there may be actually a stronger and a weaker side to each card of the Lesser Arcana, as it may act on the higher or on the lower side of human nature, or it may stand for ourselves
or for our opponents; it may either be fortified by benefic influences of neighbouring cards and the planets, or weakened by malefics. So we shall not protest against the term 'reversed,' but use it in a different way and consider it simply as the pathological side of the genuine significance, if we may be allowed to express it thus. Nor shall we indicate it separately, but simply leave it to the consideration of the professor of divination to decide if a fall is weak or more or less pathological.
We might add one more remark, viz. regarding the nature of the Page and the Knight. We place the Knight after the Page, which makes the former fall upon the houses of Water and the Page on the houses of Air. Tradition gives first the Knight and after him the Page. Astrologers will feel the essential difference between both: the one is of the nature of Air, the other of the nature of Water. The latter is more 'essential,' working on the sentiments, while the Page is rather working on the intellectual plane of existence. The Knight brings the inner change and link, the Page the outer change and connection. Of the two the Page or Knave is the lesser or younger. Evidently the symbolic figures have been chosen so as to express a difference of this kind. The page may become a knight, after he has won experience. Now 'experience' is the typical function of the houses or signs of Water. The page-period in mediæval society was that of the disciple, of assisting, learning; of carrying messages: all this is typical of houses or signs of Air. The name of Knave, sometimes substituted for Page, is doubtlessly given to indicate the 'secondary' importance of "those people" in relation to the nobility of the other.
[paragraph continues] Air-people are always more or less 'profane' in relation to water-people, and this has been evidently expressed in the mediæval denomination.