The Minor Arcana
In the process of creating this deck, I was challenged by the fact that Minoan culture and spirituality involves equality between the sexes. A conventional Tarot deck is ‘stacked’ toward the male end of the spectrum in the Minor Arcana cards, with the King at the top, the Queen as the only female representative in the court cards, then the Knight and Page. Some Tarot decks attempt to rectify this imbalance by having a Maid instead of a Page for the lowest court card, but the male cards still ‘outrank’ the female ones.
I looked to the Cary-Yale Visconti Tarrochi deck from 15th century Italy for a solution to this issue. The Minor Arcana of this Renaissance deck includes six court cards per suit instead of the conventional four. This expansion provides for a male-female pair at each level of the court cards in the original Italian deck: King and Queen, Knight and Female Knight, Page and Female Page. I took that as my starting point and developed a set of Minor Arcana court cards with titles based on the culture of ancient Crete: Priest and Priestess, Lord and Lady, Youth and Maid.
The four suits in the Minoan Tarot are drawn from the iconography and culture of ancient Crete: Daggers, Rhytons, Labryses, and Horns. Each suit contains 16 cards: Ace through 10 plus the six court cards (Youth, Maid, Lord, Lady, Priest, Priestess). All the Minor Arcana cards have full images, not just pips, to better illustrate the concepts embodied in them.
I've had some people glance at the cards and think that some of the Minors are just pips. I promise you, they're not. Each image illustrates the meaning of the card. I've shared all the details in the companion book that comes with the deck.
The borders for the four Minor Arcana suits were inspired by the many beautiful borders on frescoes and pottery from ancient Crete. The Minoans evoked the forces of nature throughout their art, not just with realistic depictions of people, animals, and plants but also with symbols like the repeating wave-like design in the Rhytons suit border.
The book that accompanies this deck includes not only the description and meaning of each Minor Arcana card, but also an Elemental Journey for each suit. Similar to the Fool's Journey through the Major Arcana, the Elemental Journeys carry you along a spiritual passage through the experience of Fire, Water, Air and Earth - one journey for each suit.