The Minor or Lower Arcana, a slightly beefier version of our standard playing cards deck, is represented here by that crisp survivor, the Jean Dodal Tarot de Marseilles, produced in 1701. Considered the standard example of the block printed, colorful cards that insured the Tarot’s survival, created in a cosmopolitan port city full of travelers from throughout the known world. The numbered cards bear close resemblance to the Mameluke deck, with it simplified knotwork and foliation. In the Marseille arrangement, the number two card is usually the signature card, for trade information or tax stamps, leaving the ace card, clearly indicating their elemental associations, as the most artful and spectacular of the Minors.
The arrangement of the pips does produce a range of visual patterns that can be associated with feelings relating to the meaning of the card that you have assigned, or developed from interpreting the card’s traditional title. The balancing of meaning against the Classical four-element model represented in the suits creates a lot of breathing room for folding in or dismissing the involvement of a card as you make a story. It’s a challenge that the most numerous cards are the ones with the fewest visual cues, but a little abstract free association goes a long way in factoring, and resolving, complex puzzles of the imagination.
The Court cards are different from most modern fortune telling Tarot. One convention of decadent era occultists was to convert the Page into a female, usually a Princess. As a result I like to think of the card as a Lady.
Remember Coins are the Aristotelian element of earth. Wealth, abundance and enterprise, the coin or disc of gold also stands in for the sun, the powerhouse of our world.
King of Coins
This King is driven by wealth or power, builds alliances, prepares for war, plans major construction projects, does whatever it takes to grow in influence.
In the 18th Century, this card was called Caesar. In our time, it is the One-Eyed King of Diamonds.
Queen of Coins
This Queen is master of the estate. Knowing all creatures great and small, every grain planted and stored, when the seasons turn and how long the supplies will last.
Folk lore calls it Rachel, biblical wife of Jacob, good and enduring mother. In our modern deck, she holds a flower, the Primrose.
Horseman of Coins
This Noble is on a quest for wealth, security, an entrepreneur looking for a home or someone to serve gainfully. The treasure that haunts their dreams is an easy life within the safety of a good land and the rule of law.
Folk lore named it Roland, Charlegmane’s loyal general (or Hector the hero of Troy).
Page of Coins
This Valet is the perfect instrument of peaceful business endeavors. Efficient, detailed and accurate, keeping the ordinary in order makes or displaces a person from this post. All is well when the books are in balance.
Ace of Coins
This card is drawing your attention to the quality of the ancient element of Earth. The Earth is our home, our mother, and our cradle of life. With fire, it erupts into mountains of lava. With water, it is sculpted and spread in deltas. With air, it can blind us in clouds of dust, or blaze with the stillness of sand dunes.
Two of Coins
The ancient Franks who are partly storied in the early Tarot were among many to use the Perennial calendar illustrated, migrating between two points, summer and winter, in twelve waxings and wanings of the Moon. One basic balance in nature is the the harmony of the cycle, the wave defined by opposing points.
Three of Coins
Three flowers is among the oldest stand-ins for mother, father, and child. Moon, Sun and Star, the two-dimensions of line become three dimensions of form when it comes time to produce. This is the work of creation.
Four of Coins
The simplest way to remember this card is that four walls build a house, also many animals prefer four legs to two. It’s sturdy and stable, covering all the directions, the card of a good foundation.
Five of Coins
Five is an unlucky number in the Minors. It’s an odd number, the stability of four is put off balance by an extra element. This is no magical fifth element, but a dive into the world’s chaos. Instability leads to fear.
Six of Coins
Starting with a good foundation and overcoming adversity in the real world means success. Building on what good you have to begin with. Everything is in proper working order, full and abundant yeilds.
Seven of Coins
Seven is another odd number with direction changing character. Major changes can come about suddenly, whether they are setbacks, accidents or they derail the whole plan. This isn’t just chaos, but the loss of the effort to build. One can only lose what they have gained.
Eight of Coins
Restored to order or simply having survived the storm, in the aftermath of one’s effort and trials the real treasure gained is experience. From a position of experience, one can turn to gold what others could not.
Nine of Coins
From a position of experience setbacks are predicted and managed. New sitations and resources are identified for their usefulness or need for management, and so the boat is not rocked by the waves of life. Anything can be of gain to one in this position.
Ten of Coins
As the highest ranking, most manifest of the numbered cards, the element of earth has reached its perfection through the ingenuity of human hands. Experience and material life are in balance, this card indicates the good life.