Tarot Major Arcana
Major arcana cards don’t deal with everyday worries, they describe important life lessons.
Most Tarot decks have 22 Major arcana cards, usually beginning with “The Fool” and ending with “The World.” Major arcana cards don’t belong to any suite and are the heart of a tarot deck. Those special cards don’t deal with mundane and everyday worries. Each Major arcana card depicts an experience that changes us.
- 0 – The Fool
- I – The Magician
- II – The High Priestess
- III – The Empress
- IV – The Emperor
- V – The Hierophant
- VI – The Lovers
- VII – The Chariot
- VIII – Strength
- IX – The Hermit
- X – The Wheel of Fortune
- XI – Justice
- XII – The Hanged Man
- XIII – Death
- XIV – Temperance
- XV – The Devil
- XVI – The Tower
- XVII – The Star
- XVIII – The Moon
- XIX – The Sun
- XX – Judgment
- XXI – The World
0 – The Fool *
The Fool is the card of new beginnings, new experiences and making choices. It represents unmolded potential which is neither good nor bad but contains both.
The Fool is a card of taking chances. The expression associated with the Fool card is “look before you leap.” It is also a card of a new life energy cycle. It is about energy, force, happiness and optimism. The Fool is about overturning the status quo of existing states of things by unexpected happenings.
I – The Magician *
The Magician is an illusionist, who can create an illusion of reality by the use of the sleight of hand and tricks. He is only confident in the skills he has in order to bring forth the results he wants. His real power comes from those sources outside of himself; just like in a magic show there are people behind the scenes to make it happen but without the sources he too is powerless.
When the Magician pops up it talks about the person mastering the material world. This is done through being organized, using creative action, self discipline, and a willingness to take risks.
II – The High Priestess *
The High Priestess is the symbol of spiritual enlightenment and intuition; the link between that which is seen and unseen. She is the feminine form of balance and power.
The High Priestess also represents the unconscious mind and our inner voice trying to give us a message. It is said that when she appears, hidden knowledge or information will be revealed or there is such information that is hidden that needs to come to the light. She represents unrevealed truth and hidden influences at work.
III – The Empress *
This card represents the personification of the Earth Mother. She is the Goddess of love and fertility. Some of the names she is known as is Venus and Aphrodite. Her power is that of creation; she creates life in all forms and ways.
The Empress can also represent the security and stability that comes from years of a blissful marriage. When she shows up in a spread it can indicate a person who is over protective. She can also indicate a person who is gentle and loving, elegant and gracious.
IV – The Emperor *
The Emperor represents power and control. The Magician has power through his intellect; the High Priestess has power through knowledge, the Empress through love. The Emperor’s power is through power– period. He was born to lead and nothing will stop him.
This card also represents stability and foundation. The Emperor represents domination of the material world. He is law and authority as an archetype. He can also represent a paternal figure and once again a powerful person.
V – The Hierophant *
The Hierophant is about a law and order in the world, power through an establishment and the acceptance of authority; the good and secure reputation in society, or the illusion of security at the expense of freedom.
This card indicates a preference for a routine of ritual. It’s a card of conformity, safety in numbers and social pressure. It also represents social approval and consensus of public opinion.
VI – The Lovers *
When this card shows up in a spread it tells us we have choices to make. It also tells us that we are human and need others. Because of these two things, this card also represents the balance between our inner feelings and outer aspects of our lives.
This card is also the card of harmony and unions. It tells us to choose with our heart and not with our intellects. The Lovers can also represent a struggle between two paths; abstract thought and harmony, internal harmony and union between two people as well as second sight.
VII – The Chariot *
The Chariot tells of your self reliance and belief in your own abilities. It’s about triumph, movement, self belief and assertiveness.
In a way this card represents riding through your adversities to victory; meeting life’s obstacles and fighting your way through without giving up. The chariot advises that sustained efforts and perseverance in a struggle results in you ultimately winning in the end.
VIII – Strength *
This card indicates that strength does not necessarily mean the display of brute force but rather a wise display of control and understanding the beast in us. It represents the ability to cope with immense pressures and to win by fighting through it to the end.
Strength talks about the person having courage and self control. It indicates that you can control the passion of emotions as well as your basic instincts, thus defending yourself against such pitfalls as jealousy, ignorance and oppression.
IX – The Hermit *
This card represents introspection, solitude and reflection. The person is looking for inner and spiritual answers as guidance.
Just like a hermit isolates himself living a life of seclusion and cloistered away from the world, so this card symbolizes the need for slowing down and for careful consideration of issues.
X – The Wheel of Fortune *
When the Wheel of Fortune appears it is telling us we are about to have a new life cycle. It portends change of fortune. It also implies that it is fate that has brought this into one’s life rather than by their own doing.
Like a circle the wheel is round representing when one cycle ends it goes right into the next as a circle continues. If we apply it to life when we are down on our luck the only way we can go is up. Fate is smiling on those who deserve it after they have paid for their trials and tribulations.
XI – Justice *
This card implies balance and equilibrium. The justice card can also signify the righting of a wrong that was done to you in the past or in your seeking justice for another. It is also a karmic card because those that do wrong are avenged by justice.
It is a card also of learning responsibility and fairness as well as learning that even the smallest actions we take today have consequences in creating our future.
XII – The Hanged Man *
This card represents a trial of passage, a temporary suspension of progress and a pause in life until someone or something is given up for greater gain; this is where the self sacrifice comes in. It indicates that there is a sacrifice being made now in order to reap benefits later.
It is also a card of adapting to changing circumstances. Changes are literally turned on the person’s head, while person learns to look at things from a completely different perspective.
XIII – Death *
This is a card of major change and ultimate transformation. When death shows itself in a spread it’s a definite (and painful) ending and a definite new beginning. But shocking and unexpected changes are the way to clear a way for a brand new life.
It can also represent that a particular phase of life has played itself to the end, its purpose was served. The changes the death card talks of brings abrupt and complete overhauls of circumstances, ways of life and patterns of behavior do to past events and circumstances.
XIV – Temperance *
When we see Temperance in a spread its about moderation. There is a certain amount of maturity that the person has or needs in order to deal with something.
When this card appears it is saying this person either has or needs self control in their life. If they use control that will be able to handle volatile situations or a situation and come out successful for it. This card speaks of a harmonious relationship as well as peace and harmony in this time to be enjoyed.
XV – The Devil *
This card implies a person’s own inner burden and struggling with our own demons. The Devil represents our obsessions and feelings of frustration and oppression. It also questions one’s security at the expense of their creative or spiritual fulfillment.
When we see the Devil card it is not necessarily pure evil as is Satan but more the negative aspects of a person’s ego. He also symbolizes the earthly desires and such addictions and temptations under his influence will not have a favorable outcome.
XVI – The Tower *
The Tower represents disruption and confusion. It’s a card of major changes, dramatic upheaval and widespread repercussions of actions, representing the overthrowing of your existing way of life. Whether the source of the turmoil is material or emotional, this card forces you into a new and better direction.
It means now is the time to re-evaluate things; that this change is necessary to create new opportunities and make us a stronger and wiser person.
XVII – The Star *
The Star provides guidance; it’s a bright light to illuminate our way. It’s a welcoming sign that brings optimism, hope and renewal of faith.
It is also a card of protection. If you were worried that you weren’t safe when this card shows up its telling you that you are. The Star is a card of inspiration and the person has the ability to influence others. The person who has this in their spread has vigor and confidence right now.
XVIII – The Moon *
The Moon is a card of shadows and illusions. When we see the moon in a spread it could be telling us the person is not able to see things clearly and it results in their depression. In this case it also says the person is not in control of their daily living. But even if the going is rough the Moon does however light the way for you to take the right path.
The Moon also represents the unconscious mind and the imagination. It also means for you to listen to the meanings in your dreams; and to your inner voice for illumination on something that has you feeling emotional.
XIX – The Sun *
Just as we feel happy on a sunny warm day so is the blessings and clarity of the Sun. It tells of all the good things that we have in our lives and that there is more to come. This is definitely one of the best cards in the Tarot Deck.
The Sun is a card about mental, emotional and spiritual vitality. Besides just happiness, it is a card that implies enlightenment, fulfillment and love. It is a card of reward, acclaim, approval abundance of energy and achievement.
XX – Judgment *
This card is one of ultimate justice as in the sentence of Judgment. It is one of Karma being judged by a higher power which sentences our fates. This card finalizes in our lives that what we reap is what we will sow. The Judgment card tells us that all our hard efforts will finally be rewarded. It says we should take stock and heed of our lives up to this point.
When we see the Judgment card in a spread it denotes a rebirth, a time to rejoice, new potential and rewards for the past hard efforts. It is a card of change and improvement.
XXI – The World *
The world represents achievement, recognition, success and triumph. This card is a card of confirming that the world is at your command. That all you have to do is stay on a positive course and it’s all yours. But it’s still up to you.
The world also signals the end of one cycle to begin another. This card represents a completed personal cycle, project or series of events or a finished chapter in one’s life. The World can also represent a culmination of events. The person has a sense of wholeness.