The Minor Arcana of the Thoth Tarot all have “esoteric” titles that for the most part hark back to their Golden Dawn roots. While these titles have academic connections to the Order’s tarot curriculum or to Crowley’s Thelemic elaborations, they often invoke visceral reactions in the viewer due to their evocative imagery and compelling color palette. Some of them are decidedly upbeat from an emotional perspective and others are definite “downers,” while a fair number are neutral in their expression. These qualities can be used in conjunction with the titles to create unique interpretations that speak to the querent’s psychological state, either at the time of the reading or in the foreseeable future.
The attached table attempts to break down the cards according to their emotional nature. In all cases a card’s number is a major contributor to its complexion, underscoring its title. For example, all of the Fives are “downbeat” in their manner, befitting their association with chaotic change, while the Sevens can only muster a “neutral” rating with the 7 of Wands, “Valour” (Am. Valor), meaning extraordinary courage in the face of daunting odds, equal parts noble and desperate. The Sixes fall no lower than neutral and are by-and-large an upbeat lot, as are the Threes and the Nines with the glaring exceptions of the 3 of Swords and 9 of Swords. Thirteen of the 40 cards are upbeat, 14 are neutral and the remaining 13 are downbeat, primarily in the suit of Swords. The Wands are fairly evenly distributed, the Cups are more favorable in the lower numbers, the Disks are marginally more upbeat from the middle to the end, and the Swords are most dispirited in the higher numbers. While these are not “positive” or “negative” indicators in any sense, they can suggest the querent’s prevailing mood regarding the subject of the reading.
This essay is a companion piece to an earlier one from October of 2017.