Zero and the Minor Arcana

It’s my ambition someday to create my own Tarot deck, with imagery and structure special to the decks’ theme and background. One of the advantages of making your own deck is that you can change the format and play with the structure; tailoring them specifically to the theme and mythos of the deck’s “setting”.

To that end, I’ve been thinking about the number zero. While today we easily incorporate zero in our modern thinking and counting systems, the actual use of zero as a number is less than two millenia old. Thinking in terms of zero is difficult at first, and somewhat counterintuitive.  Given an empty basket, we can rationalize statements such as: “I have zero apples in the basket.” You also have zero grapes, bananas and monkeys in the basket. In fact, you have an infinite number of zeros in that empty basket; everything not in that basket is a zero/potential for something that could be. But lets not get too far ahead of ourselves! An infinite number of zeros is too big to fit our metaphorical basket. In the RWS and most similar Tarot decks the Fool is numbered zero in the Major Arcana, but that’s the only use of zero in the Tarot that I know of. I think there’s great potential in adding zero cards to the minor Arcana as well.

So to draw upon my previous article about the Magician as a Demiurge, we must remember that the minor Arcana exist to codify things into terms that make sense. Thus the Zero minor Arcana must also be specific in their potential. Each of the Aces stand for new beginnings; ideas, endeavors, wealth and emotions. They represent the first step down the path that each minor arcana represents. A Zero minor arcana would represent the stage before that; the potential for growth and change. A potential awaiting initiation, triggering and direction. The Zero minor Arcana represent the raw stuff of creation -the potential– waiting for the will of the Magician to name it, give it form and purpose.

In following posts I’ll be exploring some of the specifics for what zero means for each of the minor arcana, how Zero can be depicted and  finally some spreads that focus on using Zero cards.