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The Meanings Of The Major Arcana Tarot Cards
The Major Arcana Tarot cards hold a special place in the world of divination, representing the deep spiritual lessons and karmic influences that guide our soul’s journey towards enlightenment. The meanings of these cards are complex and rich, filled with archetypal themes that reveal the very structure of human consciousness.
The Major Arcana, which is also referred to as the Trump Cards, is made up of 22 cards. 21 numbered cards and 1 unnumbered card, known as the Fool.
The appearance of a Major Arcana card in a Tarot reading is a powerful signal that you are being asked to pay attention to the significant life lessons and archetypal themes that are currently influencing your life. These cards often serve as the foundation for the entire reading, providing a crucial context that the other cards will build upon.
When a Major Arcana card appears in your reading, it’s a clear indication that you are being called to explore your innermost self and confront the deeper truths that may be hidden beneath the surface. These cards can be challenging, but they also hold the keys to unlocking profound insights and spiritual growth.
When a Tarot reading is dominated by Major Arcana cards, it’s a sign that you are undergoing significant life-altering events that will have a lasting impact on your path. These cards hold essential teachings and symbolic themes that you must heed in order to move forward on your spiritual and personal journey. While the experience may be intense and challenging, it is also a profound opportunity for growth and transformation. Allow the wisdom of the Major Arcana to guide you through this powerful time, and trust that you have the inner strength and resilience to navigate whatever comes your way.
So the next time you encounter a Major Arcana card in your Tarot reading, take a deep breath and open yourself up to the powerful lessons and transformative energies that it represents. Embrace the journey and allow the wisdom of the Tarot to guide you towards greater understanding and self-awareness.
A note on reading reversed cards:
Tarot readers have varying opinions on whether to include reversed cards in a reading or not. Reversed cards are when the card appears upside down or in reverse in a Tarot spread, and can change the meaning of the card, providing a layer of nuance and depth to the reading. Ultimately, the decision to use reversed cards is up to the individual reader, but it’s important to interpret them in the context of the surrounding cards and the querent’s situation, and to note that some Tarot decks have a different interpretation of the reversed meaning.
You can check out our article Understanding The Role Of Reversed Cards In Tarot Readings: A Comprehensive Guide
Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings
0 - The Fool
Upright: beginnings, new opportunities, innocence, spontaneity, adventure
Reversed: recklessness, foolishness, carelessness, irresponsibility, naivety
The Fool tarot card is an exciting and adventurous card that embodies the spirit of new beginnings and unlimited potential. Depicted as a young man on the brink of a journey, the Fool represents a leap of faith into the unknown. He is often accompanied by a dog, symbolizing his loyalty and instincts, as he steps confidently towards his future. The Fool is a reminder to let go of fear and embrace the present moment with childlike wonder and curiosity. The card represents innocence, spontaneity, and a willingness to take risks. The Fool encourages you to trust in your own intuition and take a chance on something that excites you, even if it seems unconventional or risky.
1 - The Magician
Upright: manifestation, creativity, power, action, transformation
Reversed: manipulation, trickery, illusion, deceit, lack of direction
The Magician is a dynamic and charismatic tarot card that represents manifestation and action. He stands confidently with one hand raised towards the sky and the other pointed down towards the earth, symbolizing his ability to bridge the gap between the spiritual and physical realms. The Magician is a master of his craft, using his skills and resources to turn his dreams into reality. He is creative, resourceful, and has a clear vision of what he wants to achieve. The Magician encourages us to tap into our own inner power and take action towards our goals, using our talents and resources to manifest our dreams into reality.
2 - The High Priestess
Upright: intuition, psychic ability, mystery, secrets, inner wisdom
Reversed: hidden agendas, lack of intuition, emotional imbalance, confusion, distrust
The High Priestess is a mysterious and intuitive card in the Tarot deck. She is often depicted sitting between two pillars, representing the balance between opposing forces. The veil behind her symbolizes hidden knowledge and the secrets of the universe that can only be accessed through intuition and inner wisdom. The High Priestess is a symbol of feminine power, intuition, and psychic abilities. She reminds us to listen to our inner voice and pay attention to our dreams and intuition. She can also represent a need for secrecy or discretion, as well as the exploration of the unknown and hidden aspects of yourself.
3 - The Empress
Upright: abundance, nurturing, fertility, creativity, maternal instinct
Reversed: neglect, unfulfillment, infertility, creative block, lack of abundance
The Empress is a tarot card that represents fertility, abundance, and maternal energy. She is often depicted as a pregnant woman, surrounded by nature and lush greenery. The Empress embodies the feminine principle of nurturing and creativity, encouraging the querent to embrace their own creative potential and cultivate a sense of abundance in their life. This card can also represent motherhood, both in a literal and symbolic sense, and the importance of self-care and self-nurturing. Overall, The Empress is a powerful reminder of the abundance and nurturing energy that exists within us all.
4 - The Emperor
Upright: beginnings, new opportunities, innocence, spontaneity, adventure
Reversed: recklessness, foolishness, carelessness, irresponsibility, naivety
The Emperor is a symbol of authority, stability, and structure. In the tarot, he is often depicted as a powerful ruler sitting on his throne, wearing a crown and holding a scepter. He represents the traditional masculine archetype and embodies the qualities of leadership, discipline, and control. The Emperor signifies the need for order and organization, and encourages us to take a logical and practical approach to our endeavors. He reminds us to establish clear boundaries and to set realistic goals for ourselves. The Emperor also represents a father figure or a mentor who provides guidance and protection. When The Emperor appears in a reading, it can suggest that you need to take charge of a situation, be more disciplined, and assert your authority.
5 - The Hierophant
Upright: tradition, spirituality, religion, conformity, guidance
Reversed: rebellion against tradition, non-conformity, unorthodox beliefs, spiritual crisis
The Hierophant is a tarot card that represents tradition, authority, and spirituality. Often depicted as a religious figure or teacher, The Hierophant symbolizes the importance of following established rules and beliefs. It encourages us to seek guidance from those with more experience and wisdom and to respect the values and customs of our community. The card also signifies a need for structure and organization in our lives, and may suggest the need for education or formal training. Overall, The Hierophant reminds us to honor tradition while also seeking to expand our knowledge and spiritual understanding.
6 - The Lovers
Upright: love, harmony, partnership, choices, commitment
Reversed: disharmony, conflict, separation, indecision, infidelity
The Lovers card is often associated with romantic love, but its meaning goes beyond that. It represents a choice, a decision that needs to be made, and the potential for unity and harmony. The card depicts a man and a woman, standing under a blessing from an angel above. The couple is facing each other, with a mountain in the background representing the obstacles and challenges they may face.
The Lovers card reminds us that our choices have consequences, and we need to make decisions that align with our values and beliefs. It’s a call to follow our heart and intuition, rather than making decisions based solely on logic or external factors. The card also suggests the importance of communication and compromise in relationships, as well as the potential for spiritual growth and connection through love.
Overall, The Lovers card represents the potential for a deep and meaningful connection, whether in romantic relationships or other areas of life. It’s a reminder to choose love and harmony over fear and conflict.
7 - The Chariot
Upright: determination, willpower, success, achievement, control
Reversed: lack of control, obstacles, self-doubt, defeat, delayed success
The Chariot is a card that represents victory, willpower, and determination. The card depicts a warrior in a chariot being pulled by two horses, one black and one white, representing the opposing forces within us. The Charioteer holds a wand in one hand, symbolizing his control over the chariot and his ability to steer his own destiny. The card indicates that you have a clear goal in mind and the focus and strength to achieve it. However, it also warns that you must balance the opposing forces within you, represented by the horses, and be careful not to let your ego and desires lead you off course. The Chariot urges you to stay committed to your path and move forward with determination, while also remembering to stay balanced and in control of your emotions and impulses.
8 - Strength
Upright: courage, inner strength, perseverance, self-control, compassion
Reversed: weakness, lack of self-discipline, insecurity, self-doubt, anger
The Strength card in the tarot deck depicts a woman gently closing the jaws of a lion, symbolizing her inner strength and power. This card represents courage, determination, and self-control. It reminds us that true strength comes from within and that we have the ability to overcome any obstacle that stands in our way. The card also emphasizes the importance of compassion, as the woman’s gentle approach to the lion demonstrates that strength can be shown through kindness and patience. Overall, the Strength card encourages us to tap into our inner strength and trust in our abilities to navigate any challenge that comes our way.
9 - The Hermit
Upright: introspection, solitude, wisdom, guidance, spiritual awakening
Reversed: isolation, loneliness, confusion, withdrawal, stubbornness
The Hermit card in the Tarot deck represents introspection, solitude, and inner guidance. This card typically depicts an old man holding a lantern, symbolizing the light of wisdom that comes from within. The Hermit encourages you to take time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life to reflect on your thoughts and emotions. This card suggests a need for introspection and self-discovery, reminding you that the answers you seek can often be found within yourself. The Hermit also symbolizes a time of spiritual growth and personal transformation, indicating that you may be on the cusp of a new phase in your life where you prioritize your inner world over external distractions.
10 - The Wheel of Fortune
Upright: destiny, change, cycles, fate, luck
Reversed: bad luck, resistance to change, stagnant energy, external influences, uncontrolled events
The Wheel of Fortune is a fascinating card that represents the cyclical nature of life. It shows a giant wheel with various symbols on it, such as an angel, a snake, and a sphinx. The wheel is turning, indicating that life is constantly in motion and that everything changes.
When this card appears in a reading, it can indicate that the querent is going through a period of change, with their fortunes rising or falling. The card can also suggest that there are forces beyond their control that are influencing their life path.
Overall, The Wheel of Fortune encourages the querent to go with the flow and accept the ups and downs of life. It reminds us that change is a natural part of the human experience and that everything is connected. Whether good or bad, the wheel will keep turning, and the only constant is change.
11 - Justice
Upright: balance, fairness, truth, law, accountability
Reversed: injustice, bias, legal issues, unfairness, dishonesty
The Justice card in tarot represents fairness, balance, and the law. It shows a figure holding a sword and scales, symbolizing the need to weigh options carefully before making decisions. This card may indicate a need for truth and integrity, and a call to make amends for past mistakes. It can also represent legal matters or a need for legal action. Overall, the Justice card reminds us to act with fairness and honesty in all aspects of our lives.
12 - The Hanged Man
Upright: surrender, sacrifice, perspective, spiritual enlightenment, letting go
Reversed: resistance to change, stagnation, selfishness, indecision, self-sabotage
The Hanged Man tarot card is all about surrendering control and letting go of our ego’s desires. The card often depicts a figure hanging upside down from a tree, indicating a sense of suspension or pause in life. This pause can be seen as a time for reflection, where one can gain a new perspective and perhaps let go of old patterns or beliefs that no longer serve them.
The Hanged Man can also represent sacrifice and the willingness to make difficult decisions or choices for the greater good. While this may be a challenging time, it can lead to growth and a deeper understanding of oneself and the world. Overall, The Hanged Man encourages us to trust the journey and have faith that everything will work out in due time.
13 - Death
Upright: transformation, change, rebirth, endings, new beginnings
Reversed: resistance to change, fear of the unknown, stagnation, loss, decay
The Death tarot card often makes people nervous because of its name, but it doesn’t always represent literal death. Instead, it usually symbolizes major endings or transformations, such as the end of a relationship or a major life change. The Death card can also represent the need to let go of the past in order to move forward and embrace a new beginning. While it can be a difficult card to see in a reading, it can also be a powerful reminder that sometimes, the biggest growth comes from the biggest changes.
14 - Temperance
Upright: balance, harmony, moderation, patience, self-control
Reversed: imbalance, excess, lack of harmony, impatience, discord
The Temperance card is all about balance and harmony. It features an angelic figure who pours water between two cups, representing the idea of finding a middle ground between opposing forces. This card reminds us to take a measured and patient approach in life, and to avoid extremes. By balancing our emotions, thoughts, and actions, we can achieve a state of inner peace and contentment. The Temperance card also suggests that we may need to make compromises or negotiate a solution in a situation where two opposing viewpoints or desires are at play. It encourages us to seek common ground and find a way to coexist peacefully.
15 - The Devil
Upright: addiction, materialism, lust, temptation, bondage
Reversed: release, detachment, breaking free, overcoming temptation, reclaiming power
The Devil card can seem intimidating, but it’s not all bad news. This card represents temptation, addiction, and materialism, which can sometimes hold us back from our true selves. However, it can also represent our own power and freedom from societal expectations. The Devil is a reminder to not let our desires control us and to recognize our own agency. When this card appears in a reading, it may indicate that we are grappling with our own inner demons, but with the right mindset, we can overcome them and achieve greater self-awareness.
16 - The Tower
Upright: sudden change, upheaval, chaos, awakening, revelation
Reversed: avoidance, delayed upheaval, fear of change, revelation blocked, disaster averted
The Tower represents sudden and unexpected change or upheaval. It’s like a lightning bolt striking the foundation of your life, shattering everything you thought was stable and secure. This can be a painful experience, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and transformation. The Tower reminds you that sometimes you need to break down what’s not working in order to build something stronger and better. It can also indicate a wake-up call, a realization that forces you to confront the truth and make changes. In some cases, it can represent a crisis or a downfall, but it’s important to remember that even in the darkest moments, there is always the potential for rebuilding and renewal.
17 - The Star
Upright: hope, inspiration, renewal, optimism, spiritual guidance
Reversed: lack of faith, despair, pessimism, disconnection, hopelessness
The Star is a card of hope, inspiration, and serenity. It represents a guiding light that illuminates the darkness and leads us towards a brighter future. The card depicts a woman pouring water from two jugs, one into a pool and the other onto the land, symbolizing the balance of emotions and practicality. The eight stars in the sky represent hope and renewed energy, while the bird in the tree signifies spiritual growth and the connection between heaven and earth. The Star encourages you to stay positive, have faith in the future, and trust that everything will work out in the end.
18 - The Moon
Upright: intuition, mystery, illusion, subconscious, psychic abilities
Reversed: confusion, fear, anxiety, paranoia, blocked intuition
The Moon tarot card is a mysterious and introspective card. It represents the unconscious mind, intuition, and hidden emotions. The Moon can indicate uncertainty and confusion, but it also holds the promise of hidden knowledge and insights. The card often depicts a moonlit scene with a path leading into the distance, suggesting a journey into the unknown. The Moon urges us to trust our instincts and pay attention to our dreams, even if they seem unsettling or confusing at first. It can also suggest that we need to confront our fears and face the things we have been avoiding. Overall, the Moon is a card of transformation and spiritual growth.
19 - The Sun
Upright: success, happiness, joy, vitality, enlightenment
Reversed: temporary depression, lack of success, sadness, blocked creativity, lack of direction
The Sun tarot card represents positivity, joy, and success. This card often signifies a time of new beginnings and growth, where your hard work and dedication will pay off. The Sun is a symbol of vitality and radiance, encouraging you to be confident, optimistic, and have faith in yourself. This card can also indicate a time of abundance and fulfillment, where you feel truly happy and content with your life.
20 - Judgement
Upright: renewal, rebirth, awakening, inner calling, self-evaluation
Reversed: self-doubt, refusal of the call, self-criticism, missed opportunity, fear of change
The Judgment tarot card depicts an angel blowing a trumpet, signifying the call to awaken from the dead. It’s a card of awakening, rebirth, and new beginnings, suggesting that a major change is on the horizon. This change may involve leaving the past behind, and embracing a new way of life. It can also indicate a need for reflection and introspection, as well as forgiveness and letting go of grudges. This card encourages you to trust in the process of life, and to be open to transformation and growth.
21 - The World
Upright: completion, wholeness, fulfillment, travel, accomplishment
Reversed: incompletion, lack of closure, unfulfilled potential, stagnation, lack of growth
The World card in tarot represents completion, fulfillment, and accomplishment. This card often indicates a sense of wholeness and unity, as well as the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one. The World card can also suggest a feeling of oneness with the universe, where everything is in harmony and balance. It signifies that you have come full circle and achieved a major goal or milestone in your life. This card invites you to celebrate your achievements and to continue on your journey with a sense of peace and contentment.
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