Major Arcana

Also known as the trumps, from their historical origin, the Major Arcana are considered the most important group of cards in the tarot. To some, they represent universal archetypes. To others, they represent the spiritual quest of enlightenment.

They are magickal and special and yet they also represent our everyday lives and experiences. There are many aspects to the Major Arcana and it would be wrong to classify them from just one perspective.

Like the rest of the tarot, the Major Arcana are multi-faceted and multi-talented and should be allowed to express themselves in many different ways, from predictive tarot reading, to psychological explorations; from tarot spells and magick to its original purpose – as a game.

The following tarot card meanings of the Major Arcana are a good base for you to build your own vocabulary from, or as a quick reference guide if you already have a good level of proficiency and knowledge.

This list is in no way exhaustive and I would encourage you to develop your own tarot card meanings, taken from inspirational sources and real life experiences.

Tarot Card Meanings for the Major Arcana

0 – Fool
New beginnings, spontaneity, adventure, innocence, potential, faith, fearlessness, a leap of faith, originality, freedom from constraints, purity of action, acting without malice. Learn more about the Fool
1 – Magician
Creativity, action, power, manifestation, skill, communication – oral, written & electronic, magic, work, self-employment, a smooth talker, having the gift of the gab, will-power, directing your will. Learn more about the Magician
2 – High Priestess
Mystery, intuition, inner-knowing, self trust, spiritual insight, emotional stability, divination, esoteric wisdom/knowledge, things yet to be revealed, your higher-self, spirit guides, discovering your own truth. Learn more about the High Priestess
3 – Empress
Nurturing, abundance, fertility, mothering, your mother, love, beauty, a businesswoman, mother earth, a multi-tasker, pregnancy, creativity, solving problems creatively, fulfilling your potential, a successful business or opportunity. Learn more about the Empress
4 – Emperor
Authority, order, structure, authority, your boss, leadership, your father, the establishment, promotion to a senior role, asserting yourself, ambition, law and order, taking a stand, firmness with others & yourself. Learn more about the Emperor
5 – Hierophant
Group identity, large institutions, education, teaching, learning, tradition, orthodoxy, the status quo, religion, a guru or teacher, spiritual guidance, occult or mystical groups, divine laws, seeking counsel and advice. Learn more about the Hierophant
6 – Lovers
Love, choices, partnerships, affection, being at a crossroads, togetherness, going into business with another, being duty bound, a love affair, falling in love, commitment, an engagement, choosing between two lovers, harmony, trust. Learn more about the Lovers
7 – Chariot
Drive, will power, direction, ambition, confidence, victory, success, a journey, transportation, success with little or no support, overcoming obstacles, triumph in the face of adversity, coming to the aid of another. Learn more about the Chariot
8 – Strength
Inner strength, self-assurance, self-control, self-belief, patience, confidence, enjoying power, lust, sex, sexuality, eroticism, heroic acts, strength through personal power & not violence, vitality, virility, potency. Learn more about Strength
9 – Hermit
Introspection, contemplation, wanting or finding solitude, private self-reflection, seeking enlightenment & spiritual experiences, meditation, being discreet, privacy, home study, withdrawing from society, patience. Learn more about the Hermit
10 – Wheel of Fortune
Luck, chance, opportunity, changes, a turning point, movement, winning, the cycle of life, ups and downs, fate, destiny, a chance meeting that can change your life, what goes around comes around, winning at a game of chance, a definite yes. Learn more about the Wheel of Fortune
11 – Justice
Justice, karma, balance and equilibrium, truth, fairness, responsibility, accountability, integrity, dignity, agreements, legal affairs, a court case or tribunal, consulting a lawyer, checking legal documents, seeking fairness through clarity. Learn more about Justice
12 – Hanged Man
Letting go, sacrifice for gain, surrender, breaking patterns, a crisis, delays, seeing from another direction, a fresh perspective, suspension of activity, giving something up, experiencing a metamorphosis, spiritual advancement, a detachment from the material. Learn more about the Hanged Man
13 – Death
Endings, mortality, profound change, letting go of emotional attachments, severing ties, it’s over, the end of an era or cycle, failure, loss. For some; transformation, renewal, rebirth. Learn more about Death
14 – Temperance
Harmony, balance, synthesis, moderation, blending, synergy, alchemy, being temperate, blending opposites, angel communication, connecting with your guides, merging, looking for divine intervention. Learn more about Temperance
15 – Devil
Bondage, temptation, enslavement, materialism, addictions to sex/drugs/drink/money, fear & doubt, lies, violence, unhealthy relationships, sexual deviancy/gratification, feeling trapped & without options. Learn more about the Devil
16 – Tower
Sudden and unexpected change, upheaval, destruction, ruin, catastrophe, release, revelation, breaking down of old forms, renovation, an accident or damage to the home, bankruptcy, redundancy or loss of work, being overthrown or ousted, house repossession. Learn more about the Tower
17 – Star
Hope, happiness, opportunities, optimism, renewal, spirituality, cosmic blessings, help, beauty, astrology, the heavens, good health and healing, an inspirational person, a period of tranquility. Learn more about the Star
18 – Moon
Dreams but also nightmares, illusion, hidden things – particularly enemies, insecurity, mystery, falsehoods, visions, mental confusion, a dark night of the soul, a difficult period, lacking clarity, deception, secrets, increased psychic ability and experiences. Learn more about the Moon
19 – Sun
Life, energy, vitality, joy, enlightenment, warmth, manifestation, happiness, YES! riches, marriage, good times, success, clear thinking, optimism, blessings, good fortune, a good holiday, nice weather. Learn more about the Sun
20 – Judgement
Redemption, rebirth, an awakening, a calling – spiritual or career, renewal, spirit led, reincarnation, a realisation, a change that has already occurred, end of an era, a rite of passage, a period of transition, decision making. Learn more about Judegment
21 – World
Completion, fulfillment, possibilities, outcomes, realisations, wholeness, success, totality, moving – particularly abroad, success and successful conclusions, the journey’s end, goal achievement. Learn more about the World

Major Arcana Correspondences

To help you learn the associated correspondences to the major arcana, see my colour coded major arcana correspondence charts. They include the four elements, astrology, timing, numerology, card counting values and yes no tarot listings.

2 thoughts on “Major Arcana

  1. This site was beautiful. It was a pleasure each time I visited because of the colors of the tarot deck that were here.
    The beauty is gone.
    Why did you change it.
    I came here because of the beauty and the information was sometimes spot on.

    • Hi Kitty,

      Thank you for getting in touch and for your kind words about my site.

      I have been quietly making changes across the site to prepare it for the next Google algorithm update. It is focusing on user experience through mobile and will penalise sites that don’t prioritise this. I removed the images from this page to help reduce the size of the page when it loads for a reader using their mobile device. This reduces how much cellular data they use when they visit the page and if they are on a metered or restricted plan, Tarot Elements will still be a site they can use confidently.

      I agree that the deck I have used in this section is lovely and the watercolours are pretty. As you have raised a concern with me about how this page now looks, I will explore ways to improve its appearance while maintaining a quick loading page for mobile users.

      Warmly,

      Catherine

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