After studying tarot for almost eight years, I realize that there is so much more I have to learn. The art of tarot is truly a life journey. As long as one is living, there will always be something more to learn about it.
The cards of the Major Arcana are the most well-known. People who’ve never studied tarot can tell you about The Devil or The Star card, most likely based on a movie they saw or a book they read. What they don’t realize, however, is that the Major Arcana can be used to show what major lessons are showing in one’s life.
The Fool’s Journey
As discussed in the article Tarot 101: The Basics for Beginners, tarot is a divination tool used to tap into one’s inner wisdom. There are a total of 78 cards in the deck, with the Major Arcana making up 22 of the cards.
When a Major Arcana card shows up in a reading, it represents an important life lesson or event in a person’s life they should pay close attention to. For example, The Empress card can represent a birth about to take place, or The Tower card may show that something in one’s life is falling apart.
These cards are often called The Fool’s Journey: the goal being to reach spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment. Each card represent a phase of this journey.
Begins the journey to spiritual enlightenment.
These are major lessons that we experience when we first start our journey. Much of these lessons have to do with experiencing life outside of ourselves.
These cards represent our inner world and what’s going on within our subconscious realm.
Relate to how we learn to navigate the world through higher spiritual ideals.
The Fool (0)
The Fool represents the beginning of a journey, and is the first card in the tarot deck. This major arcana card is about taking the leap of faith into the unknown. There is a childlike naïveté to you, which is good but can get you into trouble if you’re not careful. When The Fool shows up, it’s letting you know it’s time to move forward, for your possibilities are limitless. Though there will be challenges ahead, move along without fear.
The Magician (I)
You’ve heard the saying that you have all that you need within, right? Well if you haven’t, The Magician card is here to remind you so. We create our own reality, and we use our mind to do so. Because of this, we need to make sure we have a healthy mindset and get our thinking in check. “As a man thinketh, as a man is.” Your words and thoughts are your wands. Use them wisely.
The High Priestess (II)
The High Priestess is the most spiritual card within the first seven. She represents intuition and the subconscious realm. When she shows up in a reading, she’s letting you know it’s time to get in touch with the mystical realm. Your psychic powers may be at an all time high or they’re growing. It’s time for you to tune in to get the answers. This major arcana card also relates to feminine energy.
The Empress (III)
This is another feminine energy card. The Empress relates to manifesting things into the material world. This could be a child, a creative project, etc. If representing a person, this card shows that they are nurturing and loving. The Empress card also represents wealth, abundance, and prosperity.
The Emperor (IV)
Stability, leadership, discipline, and authority are key traits related to this major arcana card. The Emperor represents creating good habits, behaviors, and patterns to maintain order and structure in our lives. This is a responsible person looking to build wealth and power in an orderly way.
The Hierophant (X)
This is the masculine counterpart to The High Priestess. While she is focused on guarding the mysteries of the mystical realm, The Hierophant is ready to share them with the world in a more traditional way. When The Hierophant shows up in a reading, this a good time for you to work on gaining spiritual knowledge with the help of a leader, through reading, or within an institution.
The Lovers (VI)
Querent’s love when this card shows up in a love reading, and it’s easy to see why! The Lovers is a card of harmonious relationships, great connections, and soulmate unions. Overall this card has a love energy to it, but it can also relate to making important decisions. When The Lovers shows up in a reading, know that you are in a phase of life where your relationships must take priority, and you could be at crossroads where a decision needs to be made.
The Chariot (VII)
When The Chariot shows up in a reading, you are on your way to reaching your goals and dreams. You are beginning to take charge of your life and are moving forward to a better future. There may still be challenges ahead, but you have the courage to keep going forward. You are in alignment with your purpose and goals.
Tis major arcana card represents one coming into their power and recognizing one’s own strength. The Strength card says that you can overcome any challenges or obstacles presented to you through your inner resources. Integrate your lower self with your higher self to become the best person you can be.
The Hermit (IX)
Taking time to be alone, looking inward, and needing to reflect are aspects of The Hermit. He shows up in a reading when it’s time to think about who you are and to connect with your inner light. Time in solitude will do well for you, as the answers you seek will come.
The Wheel of Fortune (X)
Have you heard the saying “we all have our season?” This card represents just that. Life has its ups and downs and goes through cycles, portrayed by the wheel. Whenever things aren’t going well, know that sooner or later your destiny will change for the better. On the other hand, if things are going great, be grateful for this wonderful time. Overall, this a card letting you know you’re going into a period of less difficulty and more abundance.
“What goes around, comes around, what goes up, must come down.” This may be an Alicia Keys lyric to her popular song Karma, but it goes hand in hand with The Justice card. What you sow you reap, so make sure that the seeds you plant are ones you’ll be able to live with. When this card shows up, it reminds you to do the right thing no matter what.
Hanged Man (XII)
When The Hanged man shows up in a reading, it’s time for you to let go and surrender; accept what is. Even if you can’t see it, the universe is working on your behalf. Have faith and be patient. It may be time to expand your perspective to see things in a new light.
The Death card tends to cause fear among those who are not students of tarot, ignorantly assuming it means death itself. However, this major arcana card shows up when it’s time to let go of those things, people, and behaviors that no longer serves you. It’s a card about rebirth and transformation. This is a time for you to evolve and transition into another phase of your journey.
Temperance is a card of balance and equilibrium. This card shows when it’s time to create more balance and harmony in your life. It’s about dealing with your emotions and healing wounds. Temperance will show up to tell you to be flexible and patient, and take things one step at a time.
The Devil (XV)
Another perceived scary card in tarot, The Devil, is presented in a reading when you may be tempted to make choices against your better interest. Materialism, addiction, and anything that’s seems to enslave you is represented with this card. This can be people, drugs, and even your own mind. When this card shows up, you must remember you have the power to change your circumstances. Nothing outside of you can hold you back.
The Tower (XVI)
This major arcana card shows up when something that is no longer serving you comes crashing down. This can be in the form of a job loss, a divorce, a disease, and even a belief system. Many times there were warning signs that had been ignored. You knew you needed to leave the job or marriage, but you refused. Though this maybe heartbreaking, The Tower lets you know you can start over and begin building a new and solid foundation – whether mental, physically, emotionally or spiritually.
The Star (XVII)
The Star brings a sense of renewal and hope after the effects of The Tower. There is a feeling of healing, optimism, and regeneration. This cards represents you having a positive outlook on the future and that the universe is working in your favor.
The Moon (XVIII)
The Moon represents what’s hidden, secrets, your shadow self, and psychic gifts. When it shows up in a reading, it’s letting you know that you need to pay attention to your dreams and your intuition. Things may not always be what they seem, and your subconscious will bring what’s in the dark to light. It’s also a card telling you to not let fear and anxiety run your life.
The Sun (XIX)
This is the happiest card in the deck! The Sun illuminates what was hidden by The Moon. When this major arcana card shows up, there is an energy of expansion, growth, and happiness. There is a zest for life and this card represents you’re at a time when you’re moving in the right direction and all is well.
This a card about spiritual birth. You are at a point where you need to reflect on the decisions you’ve made and see if they align with who you are. It’s time to answer your soul’s calling. Judgment lets you know it’s never too late to go in the direction that your heart desires.
The World (XXI)
The World card shows up when you have completed a cycle. It’s a card about completion and fulfillment. You may have completed a goal or journey, the success you’ve desired may be attained, and it could even reveal travel across the seas! The World card lets you know that you’ve gained knowledge and understanding of who you are, and you’re ready for the next journey ahead.