Friday, March 25, 2016

Pips vs. Pictures: A Follow-Up

I posted earlier today about choosing between pictorial Minor Arcana versus those with just pips.  I'm sharing an example here to make that distinction more clear.

To the right, you see the six of pentacles from a Marseilles-inspired deck (though it is likely that tarot originated in Italy, the French deck is considered one of the oldest available examples of tarot art).  If you were to compare it to a four of pentacles, it wouldn't offer much contrast.  As such, it's going to be much harder to remember the distinct meanings for each Minor Arcana.  They will be much more likely to blur together in your mind.

Below, you see the six of pentacles from the Fenestra deck, a contemporary deck based on Rider-Waite symbology.  You can see that it is fully illustrated, with characters interacting in an environment.  The character is giving coins to the children in the picture; it's so much easier to remember the meaning of generosity associated with this card!

I hope that makes the distinction more clear, and that you are better informed for choosing your deck!


  1. I find this interesting as I have the One World Deck, which has no pictorial references for the minor arcana. But is the major arcana ever gorgeous? Yes, it means I have to read with reference materials but as I only read myself it hasn't been a problem.

    1. Oh, that is such a good point! I think reading just for ourselves gives us a lot more flexibility. Plus, picking a deck is about what gets you excited. If a deck with pips sets your heart on fire, it means it's the right choice for you!