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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, by A.E. Waite, ill. by Pamela Colman Smith [1911], at


§ 3


Otherwise, Lesser Arcana

The resources of interpretation have been lavished, if not exhausted, on the twenty-two Trumps Major, the symbolism of which is unquestionable. There remain the four suits, being Wands or Sceptres--ex hypothesi, in the archæology of the subject, the antecedents of Diamonds in modern cards: Cups, corresponding to Hearts; Swords, which answer to Clubs, as the weapon of chivalry is in relation to the peasant's quarter-staff or the Alsatian bludgeon; and, finally, Pentacles--called also Deniers and Money--which are the prototypes of Spades, In the old as in the new suits, there are ten numbered cards, but in the Tarot there are four Court Cards allocated to each suit, or a Knight in addition to King, Queen and Knave. The Knave is a page, valet, or damoiseau; most correctly, he is an esquire, presumably in the service of the Knight; but there are certain rare sets in which the page becomes a maid of honour, thus pairing the sexes in the tetrad of the court cards. There are naturally distinctive features in respect of the several pictures, by which I mean that the King of Wands is not exactly the same personage as the King of Cups, even after allowance has been made for the different emblems that they bear; but the symbolism resides in their rank and in the suit to which they belong. So also the smaller cards, which--until now--have never been issued pictorially in these our modem days, depend on the particular meaning attaching to their numbers in connexion with the particular suit. I reserve, therefore, the details of the Lesser Arcana, till I come to speak in the second part of the rectified and perfected Tarot which accompanies this work. The consensus of divinatory meanings attached both to the greater and lesser symbols belongs to the third part.

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