Time to investigate a little bit of Tarot philosophy. Tarot de Marseille was my beginning and still is my path. Though the way Tarot is used by Hermeticists and occultists differs from the way of diviners all can benefit from learning a bit of the mystical anatomy of the system.
First things first. The Tarot is constructed in two parts. The Major Arcana which consists of 21 Trumps (1-21 ) and the Minor Arcana which consists of the Unnumbered Trump or the Fool, the 40 Pips or numbered suit cards and the 16 Court Cards for a total of 56+1 or 57 cards. 57 + 21= 78
The two division terms Major and Minor often give people the wrong idea about Tarot. They believe the Major Arcana is higher in rank than the Minor. Actually the opposite is true but we begin where we are… In the metaphysical approach it is not a matter of higher or lower but of Visible ( Major Arcana) and Invisible (Minor Arcana) or the realms of Classical Physics and Quantum Mechanics if you will.
Philosophic Tarot is often referred to as a Thought Experiment or a Gedankenexperiment, a term used by German-born physicist Albert Einstein. The Tarot’s purpose is to aid the mind in working with the abstract- i.e. The Fool; the conceptual or the Pips and the workings of elemental forces as exemplified by the Court cards. Situations encountered by mankind while in physical incarnation are dealt with in the scenarios, their contents and context which comprise The Major Arcana.
In philosophic Tarot the Trumps or Arcana are often confused with the word Arcanum which means secret. Each Arcana has within it a core an Arcanum which is revealed by working with the images not as a divinatory tool but as a repository of teaching left by those who came before us which is transmitted not in words but reached by introspection.