The Little Book of Faces

The Little Book of Faces

The Little Book of Faces is a simple guide to the meaning of each of the cards in a deck of poker cards, as if they were going to be used for divination or fortune telling. The descriptions and explanations are intended to merely perk some interest and give you a nudge to research each card yourself. There has been so much written on astrology it would be fool hardy to attempt to make this an astrology primer or reference work. This was just a thought experiment that turned into a cool hobby making cards.

The entire project grew out of a simple experiment to learn the meaning of the minor arcana cards. Often the meanings of the Minor arcana can seem arbitrary, quite specific, or even seemingly too generic. perfectTrine treats a common deck of 52 cards as if they are the Minor arcana of a deck of tarot cards.

There are, for the most part, three families of tarot cards; the Rider-Waite-Smith, Thoth, and the Egyptian. The Rider-Waite-Smith and Thoth use a combination of Astrological and Kabbalistic concepts to assign values to the minor cards, while the Egyptian deck stands alone using Astrology along with the most basic numerology concepts.

For this experiment we used the Egyptian deck. It uses two types of correspondence to calculate the meaning of each card. Astrological values and a numerology|element value.

Numerology and the Minor arcana

In numerology everything boils down to the the base cycle of 0/1-9/0, often referred to as the Ray of Creation. This scale of 1-10 is then coupled with the element of the card. The most simple way to state this is

  • 1 is the intimation of an event
  • 2-8 are the various steps as the event evolves
  • 9 is the culmination of this evolution
  • 10 are thoughts that take place in the completed state or the state prior to the initial event.

Which suits correspond to which elements? There is much debate over the structure of the deck at this point in the history of tarot. All three of the decks diverge at this point. It actually doesn’t matter which suit corresponds to which element, as long as they are all present, the structure between the cards still stands.

  • Clubs will be Fire
  • Spades will be Earth
  • Diamonds will be Air
  • Hearts will be water

The Minor arcana’s astrological structures

The meanings of the zodiac and how they relate to us are fairly well documented. By using astrological signatures as the values of the cards what we have is a well documented system that allows for everyone using the cards to understand and agree on the meanings. There is no intuition or guessing needed to understand the meaning of the card.

In astrology the sky is divided into the twelve zodiac which the sun travels through in a year, each taking up 30 degrees of the sky. Each of the zodiac are then sub-divided into three ten degree sections. Prior to the modern time the decan were called the Faces of the zodiac. Each zodiac was said to have three Faces it showed as the sun moved through them. The Faces are subtle variations and extensions of the zodiac they are within. There are thirty-six Faces and twelve zodiac.

The number thirty-six fits perfectly into the numbers 1-9 for each of the four suits. By doing this the meaning of each Face is attributed to that card.

The court cards are the zodiac by emanations. Kings are first emanation signs, Queens are second emanation signs, Jacks are third emanation signs.

The tens have no astrological value, they represent thoughts. Thoughts that initiate or close a cycle of events associated with that element/suit. In a tarot deck this the horsemen of knights.

The twelve zodiac are represented by the Court cards. All of the cards 1-9 and the court cards are astrological in nature. The meaning derived from this value is typical referred to as the inner or spiritual meaning of the card. The various tarot decks diverge in how they correspond the elements to the suits, how they handle the tens, the type of astrology used, etc.

The divinatory meaning of the card is derived from the element/suit of the card combined with the where the card lies within the the cycle of 1-10. One being the initiation of something and ten the completion of. So in the element of earth a one may mean the first day of work or sickness and the ten may mean the last day or loss of work or sickness, while all the other numbers in between are the various changes one goes through at work or in sickness. Various tarot decks take this much further, but this is the most basic and it is what is used in perfectTrine.

The Major Arcana – just a few words

Categorizing the cards of a poker deck in this way leaves us with a deck of cards that is equivalent to a tarot deck, with the Major arcana removed. A incredibly powerful tool for learning to effectively use a tarot deck, by simplifying the process.

When using a Tarot deck the two main components are the Major and Minor arcana. The Major arcana deal specifically with internal states of being. The major arcana paint a stately picture of the inner landscape of emotions, desires, fears, loves, etc. While the Minor arcana focuses on external situations and events that happen outside of ourselves. Minor cards will have meanings that range through various human interactions that sound almost like fortune cookies.

By removing the Major arcana from the reading, the reading takes on a more divinatory direction. One is left with cards that describe events past, present, and future without the internal view of what is going on inside of the person the reading is for. There are times when this can be useful such as doing the reading for a pet or place of business, and all that is desired is to take a peak at outcomes and events.