Understanding the Major Arcana Cards in Tarot

As we navigate through life, we are constantly seeking answers and guidance to help us make sense of the world around us. One such tool that has been used for centuries is the Tarot, particularly the Major Arcana cards. These cards represent some of the most significant and powerful concepts in the Tarot’s symbolism and hold great meaning for those seeking insight into their lives. However, the meanings of these cards can often be perplexing and confusing, leaving many people wondering where to begin. In this guide, we will explore the meanings of each Major Arcana card step-by-step, as well as how to interpret them in the context of a reading. Whether you’re a seasoned Tarot reader or a beginner, this guide will provide you with a deeper understanding of the Major Arcana cards and how to use them to gain insight into your life’s journey.

What are Major Arcana Cards?

What Are Major Arcana Cards?
The world of tarot can be both curious and intimidating, especially for beginners. While many people are familiar with the concept of tarot cards, there is a lot to learn about the different types of cards and what they represent. Major Arcana cards are a vital part of tarot readings, and understanding their meanings is crucial for interpreting a reading accurately. Before we delve into their significance, make sure to check out our introduction to tarot reading for a basic understanding of tarot, and our guide to the most common tarot spreads for beginners to get started with your readings. In this section, we’ll explore the often-mysterious Major Arcana cards and what they represent.

Overview of the Major Arcana

The Major Arcana is a set of 22 cards that forms the foundation of a tarot deck. These cards are considered to be the most powerful cards in the deck and are often seen as representing significant life events, major spiritual concepts, and important archetypes. Each card in the Major Arcana has its own unique meaning and symbolism.

The Fool is the card that represents new beginnings, innocence, and taking leaps of faith.

The Magician represents manifestation, power, and the ability to bring ideas into reality.

The High Priestess is a symbol of intuition, psychic ability, and feminine power.

The Empress represents nurturing, abundance, and creative expression.

The Emperor symbolizes authority, structure, and the use of power in the material world.

The Hierophant represents tradition, spirituality, and institutions.

The Lovers represent love, duality, and the need to make choices.

The Chariot symbolizes willpower, determination, and progress.

Strength represents inner strength, courage, and controlling one’s passions.

The Hermit is a symbol of introspection, wisdom, and the need for solitude.

The Wheel of Fortune represents the cycles of life, destiny, and change.

Justice represents fairness, balance, and the consequences of one’s actions.

The Hanged Man represents surrender, sacrifice, and gaining new perspectives.

Death is a symbol of transformation, letting go, and new beginnings.

Temperance represents balance, patience, and self-control in all things.

The Devil represents materialism, bondage, and addiction.

The Tower represents chaos, upheaval, and sudden change.

The Star symbolizes hope, inspiration, and healing.

The Moon represents intuition, the subconscious, and hidden truths.

The Sun symbolizes success, vitality, and joy.

Judgment represents rebirth, awakening, and spiritual growth.

The World is a symbol of completeness, fulfillment, and achieving one’s potential.

The Major Arcana cards are powerful tools for gaining insight into one’s life, and they can be used in a variety of ways, either as a standalone reading, or in combination with Minor Arcana cards through various tarot spreads. Understanding the Major Arcana is an important first step for anyone interested in learning the art of tarot, and it can be enhanced with regular practice and cleansing of the tarot deck, as well as developing one’s intuition through tarot reading ethics for beginners.

Significance of the Major Arcana

The Major Arcana is a group of 22 tarot cards that signify important life events or turning points in one’s life. These cards are different from the Minor Arcana cards, which are more focused on day-to-day situations and experiences. Each card in the Major Arcana has its own distinct symbolism and representation, making them powerful tools for divination and self-reflection.

The significance of Major Arcana cards lies in their ability to provide guidance and insight into one’s life path and spiritual journey. They are often associated with major life changes such as birth, rebirth, death, and enlightenment. The cards can also represent different archetypes and personalities that may be present in a person’s life, such as the wise mentor or the trickster.

Many tarot readers consider the Major Arcana to represent the journey of the Fool, a symbolic character who travels through life, encountering different challenges and lessons along the way. Each card in the Major Arcana represents a different stage in this journey, from the naive innocence of the Fool to the enlightenment and wholeness of the World.

By understanding the significance of the Major Arcana, one can begin to interpret the messages and meanings behind each card. Whether you are a seasoned reader or just starting out with your first tarot deck, taking the time to learn the symbolism and meaning of each Major Arcana card is essential for accurate and insightful readings.

It’s important to note that while the Major Arcana is a powerful tool for divination, it should always be used with respect and ethical considerations. Before using the cards, it’s important to cleanse and energize them using techniques such as smudging or meditation. It’s also important to follow principles of tarot reading ethics to ensure that readings are conducted in a safe and respectful manner.

The Major Arcana cards hold significant meaning and importance in the practice of tarot. By studying and interpreting each card, one can gain a deeper understanding of their life journey and the archetypes that are present within it. Whether you are using the cards for self-reflection or divination, the Major Arcana offers a powerful tool for growth, insight, and spiritual development. To learn more about tarot spreads and accurate readings, check out our article on tarot spreads and tips for accurate tarot readings.

The Meanings of Major Arcana Cards

As we delve into the world of Tarot, the Major Arcana Cards hold a special place, representing life-changing events and significant inner transformations. Each card is rich with symbolism and imagery, offering unique insights into the human experience. Through interpreting the Major Arcana Cards, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Let’s explore the meanings of these powerful cards and how they can be applied in a reading. For those interested in developing their Tarot skills further, check out our Intuition Tarot app for personalized guidance and practice.

The Fool

One of the most well-known cards in the Major Arcana is the Fool card. When this card appears in a reading, it often signals a new beginning or a fresh start. The Fool represents the beginning of a journey, adventure, or even a new phase in life. However, it can also represent foolishness, naivete, or a lack of experience.

To get a better understanding of the Fool card and its symbolism, let’s explore its various elements and meanings in the table below:

Element Symbolism
The Jester The Fool is often depicted as a jester, reminding us not to take life too seriously.
The Dog The Fool’s loyal companion represents our instincts and intuition – something we should trust as we embark on a new journey.
The Cliff The Fool stands on the edge of a cliff, ready to take a leap of faith. This represents the risk we take when starting something new.
The Sun The bright and sunny background symbolizes hope, optimism, and new beginnings. It’s a reminder that even if things seem uncertain, there is always the possibility for a positive outcome.
The Bag The Fool carries a small bag, representing the bare essentials necessary for the journey. This can also symbolize our own personal baggage that we may need to leave behind or lighten the load of before starting anew.

The Fool card reminds us to embrace new beginnings without fear or hesitation, and to trust our instincts as we embark on a journey. It encourages us to take risks and to have faith that things will work out in the end, even if we don’t know exactly how.

The Magician

The Magician card is the second Major Arcana card in the tarot deck, typically numbered as I or II, depending on the deck. This card is represented by a figure standing before a table that is adorned with various symbols and tools.

The Magician is typically depicted as a young man, often dressed in colorful robes, with a look of confidence and concentration on his face. His right hand is raised to the sky, while his left hand points downwards towards the earth, symbolizing his ability to connect the forces of heaven and earth.

Symbolism: The Magician’s table and tools represent his mastery over the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. The wand in his right hand symbolizes his power to manifest his desires and to direct energy towards a specific goal or purpose. The cup on the table represents the element of water, and the pentacle represents earth. The sword represents air and the wand represents fire.

Meaning: The Magician card represents creativity, confidence, and manifestation. The card encourages you to take action and use your skills and resources to accomplish your goals. The Magician urges you to be confident in your abilities and to use your unique talents and strengths to pursue your dreams.

Reversed Meaning: The reversed Magician card represents manipulation, trickery, and lack of focus. You may be relying too much on your charm and persuasion to get what you want, rather than your abilities and hard work. It’s important to focus on your goals and strive towards them with integrity and determination.

In a tarot reading, the Magician card can represent a person who is talented, creative, and skilled. It can also indicate a need to take action and use your resources wisely to achieve your goals. When interpreting the Magician card, it’s important to consider the other cards in the reading and the context of the question being asked.

The High Priestess

One of the most enigmatic cards in the Major Arcana is the High Priestess. Represented by a seated woman between two pillars with a crescent moon at her feet, the card is shrouded in mystery and symbolism.

Symbolism: The High Priestess is often associated with intuition, mystery, and knowledge that cannot be acquired through conventional means. She is associated with the moon, which represents the unconscious mind, dreams, and hidden knowledge. The two pillars behind her are symbolic of duality and the balance of opposites.

Meaning: The High Priestess represents the need to trust your intuition and listen to your inner voice. She is a reminder to look beyond the surface and trust in the unseen. In a reading, the High Priestess can represent the need for introspection and self-discovery. She can also signify secrets or hidden information that will be revealed in due time.

Additionally, the High Priestess is often associated with femininity and the power of the feminine. She represents the need to reconnect with the feminine aspects of yourself and tap into your feminine power.

The upright High Priestess implies that you need to trust your intuition and listen to the inner voice within you. It indicates hidden knowledge, and you should trust the secrets that will unfold in your life. However, if the High Priestess appears reversed, it implies a lack of inner harmony and avoidance of hidden truths. It could also indicate that you need to be cautious of deception and lies in your life.

Here is a table summarizing the High Priestess card:

Symbolism Meaning
Associated with intuition, mystery, and knowledge that cannot be acquired through conventional means. Symbolized by the moon, which represents the unconscious mind, dreams, and hidden knowledge, and the two pillars behind her, which represent duality and balance of opposites. Need to trust your intuition and listen to your inner voice, look beyond the surface, and trust in the unseen. Represent introspection and self-discovery, as well as secrets or hidden information that will be revealed in due time. Also associated with femininity and feminine power.

The High Priestess is a complex and multi-faceted card that represents the power of the unseen and the importance of trusting your intuition. She is a reminder of the need for introspection and tapping into your inner wisdom. The High Priestess is a powerful archetype that has the potential to unlock hidden secrets and knowledge.

The Empress

One of the most recognizable cards in the tarot deck is The Empress. She is depicted as a beautiful woman sitting on a throne, surrounded by lush greenery and holding a scepter in one hand and a shield with an eagle emblem in the other. The Empress is a symbol of fertility, abundance, and nurturing.

Here are some key details and interpretations of The Empress card:

  • Nurturing: The Empress represents motherhood and maternal instincts. She is often seen as a caregiver, protector, and provider.
  • Abundance: The Empress is a symbol of abundance and prosperity. She is associated with the earth and the natural world, representing the cycle of life and growth.
  • Creativity: The Empress is also linked to creativity and artistic inspiration. She encourages us to embrace our inner creativity and express ourselves freely.
  • Sensuality: The Empress is a sensual card, representing pleasure, beauty, and physical attraction. She encourages us to indulge in simple pleasures and enjoy the finer things in life.

In a tarot reading, The Empress card can have different meanings depending on the context of the reading. It can represent the nurturing and protective qualities of a mother figure or the abundance and prosperity of a project or endeavor. It can also signify the need for creative self-expression or the pleasure and enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures.

The Empress card is a reminder to focus on nurturing and abundance in our lives. Whether it be through caring for ourselves, our loved ones, or our creative pursuits, The Empress encourages us to embrace our natural instincts and enjoy the beauty and abundance of life.

The Emperor

One of the Major Arcana cards in Tarot is The Emperor. In a standard Tarot deck, it is the fourth card, following The Empress. The Emperor card is often depicted as a regal figure sitting on a throne, dressed in armor with a stern expression on his face. Here are some of the meanings associated with The Emperor card:

  • Authority: The Emperor represents a figure of authority, someone who is in charge and has power over others. This can be a literal interpretation, such as a king or president, or it can refer to someone in a position of leadership in another context, such as a boss or manager.
  • Structure: The Emperor is also associated with order and structure. This can be seen in the card’s imagery of a throne and its focus on rule-following and discipline. The Emperor is a reminder that sometimes we need to adhere to a set of guidelines or rules to achieve our goals.
  • Masculine energy: The Emperor is often associated with masculine energy and stereotypically “masculine” traits such as strength, logic, and assertiveness. This doesn’t mean that only men can embody the characteristics of The Emperor, but rather that these traits are often seen as traditionally masculine.
  • Stability: The Emperor is a symbol of stability and security. This can refer to a physical sense of safety and security or a more abstract sense of emotional or psychological stability.
  • Control: In some interpretations, The Emperor can represent a need for control or a desire to be in control. This can be both positive and negative, depending on the situation. Being in control can be helpful or even necessary in some situations, but it can also lead to inflexibility or an unwillingness to listen to others’ perspectives.

The Emperor is a card that emphasizes structure, authority, and control. While these can be positive qualities, it’s important to remember that no one person can or should have complete control over a situation or group of people. The Emperor reminds us to strive for stability and order while also being open to others’ perspectives and needs.

The Hierophant

The Hierophant card in the Major Arcana represents tradition, rituals, and religious beliefs. It is often associated with organized religion, but it can also signify personal values and beliefs.

Card Name The Hierophant
Keywords Tradition, Rituals, Beliefs
Meaning When the Hierophant card appears in a tarot reading, it often represents following established traditions and rituals, conforming to societal or cultural expectations, and being guided by a teacher or mentor figure. The card can also indicate a need for structure and order in one’s life, or a desire to connect with spiritual or religious beliefs.
Reversed Meaning If the Hierophant card appears reversed, it can indicate a tendency to rebel against tradition or authority, or a struggle to reconcile personal beliefs with established norms. It may also suggest a need to break free from oppressive structures or to find new ways of exploring spirituality and personal growth.

The figure depicted on the card is often likened to a Pope or religious leader, with his right hand raised in a blessing or benediction. This gesture can symbolize receiving wisdom or guidance from a higher power or mentor, or being called to a higher purpose or duty. The crossed keys at his feet are also significant, representing the balance between spiritual and earthly power and the need to be open to new knowledge and experiences.

In a tarot reading, the Hierophant card can have different meanings depending on the other cards in the spread, the question being asked, and the context of the reading. It is important to consider the overall message and to interpret the card in relation to the querent’s personal beliefs and experiences.

As with all tarot cards, the Hierophant can be interpreted in a variety of ways and may have different meanings depending on the individual’s interpretation. However, by understanding the most common interpretations and symbols associated with this card, readers can gain insight into the querent’s life, beliefs, and spiritual journey.

The Lovers

The Lovers card is a highly fascinating and complex card in the tarot deck. It is the 6th card of the Major Arcana and depicts a man and a woman standing before an angel with a fiery background. The card is often associated with love and relationships, but it goes beyond that.

The Lovers card is loaded with symbolism. The most prominent symbols include the angel, the two figures, and the tree of knowledge in between them. The angel represents guidance, balance, and harmony, while the tree symbolizes knowledge and the temptation of choice. The figures represent individuals facing an important decision or choice that could have long-lasting consequences.

As mentioned earlier, The Lovers card often deals with love and relationships, but it also represents choices, harmony, and balance. The card signifies a vital decision that has to be taken with caution as it can have lasting impacts. This decision can be related to love or even life choices.

Reversed Meaning:
When The Lovers card appears upside down, it can signify imbalance, poor judgement, or self-deception. It could represent a decision that was not made with clear thinking, leading to negative consequences. It may also imply a lack of harmony in a relationship or an inability to connect with one’s inner self.

Interpreting the Lovers card during a reading:
When The Lovers card shows up in a reading, it is essential to evaluate other cards and consider the context. The card could represent a decision between two options that necessitates careful consideration. It could also indicate a harmonious union or a suggestion to look within for answers.

To conclude, The Lovers card represents more than just love and relationships. It embodies essential themes such as balance, harmony, and decision-making. The card is a reminder to be careful with choices and consider their outcomes.

The Chariot

The Chariot is the seventh card in the Major Arcana, and is represented by a confident man driving a chariot pulled by two horses of contrasting colors. This card symbolizes determination, willpower, and victory.

Keywords: Determination, willpower, victory.

Symbolism Meaning
The Charioteer The man driving the chariot symbolizes the individual’s willpower and determination to reach their goal.
The Chariot The chariot represents the individual’s journey towards success and victory. The contrasting colors of the horses show the balance of opposing forces needed to achieve their goal.
The Horses The black and white horses represent the yin and yang, showing that the individual harnesses the opposing forces, and they need to work together to reach success.
The Stars The starry canopy above the Charioteer’s head symbolizes inspiration and the guidance that the individual needs to associate with their creativity to recognize their goal.
Background The blue and white background represents trust and honesty, respectively. The individual should trust their instincts and be true to themselves while pursuing their goal.

When this card appears in a reading, it advises the individual to believe in their abilities and have faith in their journey towards success. The Chariot reminds the individual that control rests in his or her hands, and they should use their determination and willpower to triumph over the challenges they face. This card signifies that the individual can achieve success as long as they remain steadfast to their goals, and maintain the balance of opposing forces.


The Strength card in major arcana is represented by a woman standing over a ferocious lion. This card is all about courage, fortitude, and inner strength. It’s a reminder that sometimes the greatest strength we can have is the courage to face our fears head-on.

Here are some of the key meanings associated with the Strength card:

  • Inner strength: This card suggests that you have the inner strength needed to overcome any challenges or obstacles that come your way. Trust in yourself and your abilities, and you will be able to accomplish more than you ever thought possible.
  • Persistence: The Strength card also suggests that success often comes down to persistence. Keep going, even when the going gets tough, and you will eventually overcome any setbacks you may face.
  • Courage: Facing our fears can be incredibly scary. But the Strength card reminds us that true courage comes from within. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and take risks. It might just lead to great rewards.
  • Compassion: The woman in this card is seen gently taming the lion, rather than fighting against it. This suggests that compassion and understanding can be just as powerful as brute strength. Sometimes, the best way to ‘win’ is to find common ground and work together.
  • Control: The Strength card is also about harnessing our own power and controlling our impulses. This is a reminder that we should aim to be in control of our emotions, rather than letting them control us.

The Strength card is a powerful symbol of resilience and determination. When this card appears in a reading, it’s a sign that you have the fortitude needed to overcome any challenge that comes your way. Keep pushing forward, stay committed to your goals, and trust in your own inner strength.

The Hermit

The Hermit is the ninth card in the Major Arcana, and its appearance in a tarot reading signifies introspection, solitude, and seeking inner truth.

Key Meanings:

  • Introspection
  • Solitude
  • Inner guidance
  • Retreat
  • Spiritual seeking

The image of the Hermit is that of an old man with a long beard, holding a staff, and carrying a lantern. He is often depicted standing on a mountain, symbolizing his journey of self-discovery and spiritual enlightenment. The lantern he carries represents the light of wisdom and clarity that he seeks to illuminate his path as he ventures into the unknown.

When the Hermit appears in a reading, it is often an indication to take a step back from the outside world, go on a retreat or take a break to find one’s way. This card encourages introspection and the pursuit of inner truth. It suggests a period of quiet contemplation, where one may seek spiritual guidance or connect with one’s own intuition.

The Hermit highlights that sometimes seeking solitude means cutting oneself off from the distractions of the world to explore one’s thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. He also reminds us that this process of introspection can lead to profound insight and growth, as it helps us to become more self-aware and gain a deeper understanding of our own motivations and purpose.

In a reading, the Hermit often represents a mentor, guide, or sage who provides spiritual or intellectual guidance. Alternatively, it may suggest that the querent themselves are being called upon to take on this role, to guide and assist others on their journey.

The Hermit is a powerful and introspective card that encourages deep reflection, solitude, and seeking inner truth. Its appearance in a reading encourages the querent to trust themselves and have faith that the answers they seek are within them.

The Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune card is one of the most recognized cards in the tarot deck. Its imagery is quite striking, with a large wheel being turned by figures representing the four elements – earth, air, fire, and water. The card itself represents the concept of fate and the cyclical nature of life.

Meaning: The Wheel of Fortune is often associated with change and a shift in circumstances. It can signify a turning point in one’s life, where they are faced with unexpected changes or opportunities. This card often suggests that one is caught up in the ebb and flow of life’s cycles, and it is up to them how they choose to respond to these changes.

Upright: When the Wheel of Fortune appears in an upright position in a reading, it represents good luck, success, and positive changes. It suggests that one is currently experiencing a positive turn in their life, and to enjoy it to the fullest. However, one should also be mindful that these good times may not last forever.

Reversed: When the Wheel of Fortune appears in a reversed position, it can indicate bad luck, negative changes, or feeling stuck in a cycle that one cannot seem to break free from. This can be a reminder to take control of one’s life and make a change.

Interpretation: In a reading, the Wheel of Fortune can be interpreted as a sign to remain open-minded and adaptable to change. It is a reminder that life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and sometimes what may seem like bad luck can end up leading to greater opportunities. It is important to stay positive and keep a clear perspective when faced with uncertainty.

It can also suggest that one needs to take action to break free from negative cycles and create positive change in their life. Whether it be setting new goals, taking a risk, or stepping out of one’s comfort zone, the Wheel of Fortune is a reminder to take charge of one’s own destiny.

The Wheel of Fortune card represents the cyclical nature of life and encourages one to approach change with an open mind. It can symbolize both positive and negative changes, depending on its position in a reading. Trusting in the cycles of life and being willing to adapt can lead to greater success and fulfillment in the long run.


Justice is a powerful card in the Major Arcana, representing fairness, truth, and the law. In a Tarot reading, Justice can signify legal situations, contracts, and negotiations. This card reminds us to choose our actions carefully and to always recognize the consequences of our decisions.


Justice represents the balance between cause and effect. It embodies the idea that what we put out into the world will come back to us. This card signifies that one is being called to take personal responsibility for their actions, and to ensure that they are acting with integrity and fairness. Justice asks us to be honest with ourselves, and to be accountable for our deeds.


  • Fairness
  • Legal matters
  • Accountability
  • Consequences
  • Truth

Upright Meaning:

When Justice appears upright in a reading, it can signal that the questioner is being called to make a judgement call or to take a moral stand. This card can represent legal proceedings or negotiations, and suggests that the outcome will be fair and just. Justice may also indicate that one needs to take a deeper look at their own behavior, and ensure that they are acting in a way that aligns with their values.

Reversed Meaning:

When Justice is reversed in a reading, it can indicate that the questioner is feeling morally conflicted. They may be struggling with a decision or action, and are unsure of how to proceed. In this case, Justice may signify a need for guidance or wisdom from trusted allies or mentors. This card can also signal imbalance or a lack of fairness, and may be a warning to act with greater accountability and awareness.

Justice is a complex card with many layers of meaning. Whether upright or reversed, it represents the consequences of our actions and our responsibility to create a just and balanced world.

The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man card is one of the most intriguing cards in the Major Arcana. The imagery on this card depicts a man hanging upside-down from a tree, with one leg crossed over the other. The card is often associated with sacrifice, letting go, and surrendering to a greater power.

Here are some possible interpretations of The Hanged Man card:

  • Sacrifice: The Hanged Man can represent making a sacrifice or letting go of something that is no longer serving you. This could be a physical or emotional sacrifice, such as giving up a bad habit or ending a toxic relationship.
  • New perspective: When we look at things from a different angle, we often gain new insights and understandings. The Hanged Man can represent a shift in our perspective that allows us to see things in a new light.
  • Letting go: Sometimes we hold onto things that no longer serve us out of fear or attachment. The Hanged Man can represent the importance of letting go of such things in order to move forward.
  • Surrender: The Hanged Man is often associated with surrendering to a higher power or submitting to the will of the universe. This can be interpreted as trusting the process, whatever it may be.
  • Pause: The Hanged Man can be seen as a time of pause or suspension. This could be a time to reflect, meditate or take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

While The Hanged Man can be a challenging card to interpret, it is important to remember that it often represents a necessary step toward growth and transformation. In a tarot reading, The Hanged Man can serve as a reminder to pause and reflect on what needs to be let go of in order to move forward on one’s journey.


One of the most well-known and misunderstood cards in the Major Arcana is the card that depicts the grim reaper himself – Death. This card often strikes fear in the hearts of those who are unfamiliar with tarot, but it is not necessarily a bad omen.

First, let’s take a look at the traditional imagery on the card. It typically shows a skeleton riding a white horse, carrying a black flag adorned with a white rose. This combination of colors represents the balance between death and rebirth, as well as the idea that death is not the end but rather a transition to a new phase. The horse symbolizes strength and power, and the flag indicates the inevitability of change.

In a reading, Death can represent a variety of things. It can symbolize the end of a phase, whether that be a relationship, a job, or an aspect of one’s personality. It can also indicate a major change or transformation, often for the better. In some cases, it may even represent physical death, but this is not always the case.

It’s important to note that Death is not a card of destruction, but rather of transformation and renewal. Just as the leaves fall from the trees in autumn but new growth appears in the spring, Death represents the natural cycles of life and the need for change in order to grow and evolve.

Here is a table summarizing the main points about the Death card:

Imagery: A skeleton riding a white horse, carrying a black flag adorned with a white rose
Symbolism: Balance between death and rebirth, inevitability of change, strength and power
Meaning: End of a phase, major change or transformation, natural cycles of life, need for change to grow and evolve

When interpreting the Death card in a reading, it’s important to keep an open mind and not automatically assume the worst. By understanding the traditional imagery and symbolism of the card, as well as its potential meanings, you can gain deeper insight into the situation at hand and use the card’s energy to facilitate positive change and growth.


The Temperance card in the Major Arcana is often associated with balance, harmony, and moderation. In this card, an angelic figure is depicted pouring water from one cup to another, representing the balance of opposing forces. The figure is often shown with one foot on land and one in water, symbolizing the balance between logic and emotion.

Meaning: The Temperance card signifies the need for balance and moderation in all aspects of life. It urges us to find a middle ground and to avoid extremes. It also represents the need to integrate opposing forces within ourselves and find harmony within ourselves and with others.

Upright Interpretation: When drawn upright, the Temperance card represents a period of inner peace and harmony. It signifies that the person is on the right path and making progress towards their goals. It may also indicate a need for moderation and self-control in order to maintain balance and achieve success.

Reversed Interpretation: In reverse, the Temperance card may indicate a lack of balance and harmony in the person’s life. It may suggest that the person is struggling to find the middle ground and is swinging between extremes. It could also indicate a lack of self-control and moderation, leading to negative consequences in their personal and professional life.

Key takeaways:

– The Temperance card represents balance, harmony, and moderation.
– It urges us to find a middle ground and integrate opposing forces within ourselves.
– When drawn upright, it represents inner peace and progress towards our goals.
– When drawn in reverse, it may indicate a lack of balance and self-control.

The Devil

The Devil card is often interpreted as a symbol of temptation, addiction, and materialism. In tarot symbolism, the Devil is represented by a half-human, half-animal figure, usually a goat. The imagery in the card is usually dark and foreboding, with strong elements of bondage and enslavement.

One possible interpretation of this card is that it represents the negative aspects of materialism and consumerism, which can lead to feelings of being trapped and powerless. The Devil often appears in readings related to addiction, whether it be to substances, relationships, or other harmful habits.

Keywords: temptation, addiction, materialism, bondage, enslavement, negative aspects, consumerism, trapped, powerless.

Another possible interpretation of the Devil card is that it represents the shadow side of our own psyche. It can be a warning to acknowledge and address the fears, doubts, and negative patterns that may be holding us back. The tarot suggests that we cannot simply ignore or suppress these aspects of ourselves; instead, we must confront them in order to move forward and grow.

Keywords: shadow side, psyche, fears, doubts, negative patterns, holding back, confront, move forward, grow.

In some cases, the Devil can also represent a person or situation in our lives that is controlling or manipulative. This card may be a warning to set boundaries and protect ourselves from those who seek to exploit us for their own gain.

Keywords: controlling, manipulative, set boundaries, protect, exploitation, own gain.

It is important to note that the Devil is not inherently evil or malevolent. Rather, it represents the darker aspects of the human experience and the challenges we face in navigating them. When this card appears in a reading, it is important to approach it with an open mind and a willingness to explore the deeper meaning behind it.

Keywords: not evil, darker aspects, human experience, challenges, open mind, explore, deeper meaning.

Keywords Meanings
temptation The Devil can represent the temptation of materialism and consumerism, which can lead to feelings of being trapped and powerless.
addiction The Devil often appears in readings related to addiction, whether it be to substances, relationships, or other harmful habits.
bondage and enslavement The imagery in the Devil card is usually dark and foreboding, with strong elements of bondage and enslavement.
shadow side Another possible interpretation of the Devil card is that it represents the shadow side of our own psyche. It can be a warning to acknowledge and address the fears, doubts, and negative patterns that may be holding us back.
controlling or manipulative In some cases, the Devil can also represent a person or situation in our lives that is controlling or manipulative. This card may be a warning to set boundaries and protect ourselve.
not inherently evil The Devil is not inherently evil or malevolent. Rather, it represents the darker aspects of the human experience and the challenges we face in navigating them.

The Tower

In the Major Arcana, The Tower card is often seen as one of the most ominous and feared cards. It depicts a tall tower being struck by lightning, flames bursting from its windows, and figures falling to their demise. The imagery is stark and unsettling, but what does it actually mean?

Card Name Symbolism Meaning
The Tower A tall tower being struck by lightning, flames bursting from its windows, and figures falling to their demise. This card is often associated with sudden and unexpected upheaval. It can represent a major shift or disruption in one’s life, the crumbling of old structures or beliefs, or a moment of crisis. It can also signify the need to let go of illusions and false beliefs, and embrace the truth even if it is painful. However, this upheaval can ultimately lead to growth and transformation.

The Tower card can be a difficult one to grapple with in a reading, as it often signifies a major traumatic event or a time of chaos and upheaval. This could be anything from losing a job, to the breaking down of a relationship, to a more literal loss such as a natural disaster or an accident. The central idea is that something that once seemed stable and solid has been revealed to be a mere illusion.

However, it’s important to note that while the tower is being struck down, it is also being rebuilt. The falling figures in the image can represent the release of old thought patterns or structures, making way for new growth and change. The flames can represent the fire of transformation, which can often come with destruction.

Interpreting the Tower in a reading requires a great deal of sensitivity and caution. It can be a powerful reminder that even the most stable of structures can crumble at any moment, and that we need to be prepared to adapt and change in a moment’s notice. However, it can also represent the potential for growth and transformation, as long as we are willing to face the truth and let go of old beliefs and illusions.

The Star

The Star is the seventeenth card in the Major Arcana and is a beautiful and peaceful image that represents hope and inspiration. It shows a woman kneeling at the edge of a pool or river with one foot in the water and the other on the land. She is pouring water from two pitchers, one onto the land and one into the pool, which represents balance and renewal.

The Symbolism of the Star
The Star has several symbols that are important to its meaning. The first is the star itself, which represents a guiding light or hope. It can also represent divinity and the afterlife. The second are the pitchers, which symbolize pouring out emotions and balancing them in a positive way. The pool or river represents the unconscious mind and the flow of life.

The Meaning of the Star
When The Star appears in a reading, it is often seen as a sign of hope and inspiration. It suggests that the querent may be going through a trying time, but the universe is on their side and things will get better. It can also indicate a spiritual awakening or a time of personal growth and renewal.

The Star is an excellent card for meditation and introspection. It is a reminder to focus on the good things in life and to trust in the universe. It can also be interpreted as a sign of healing, either physical or emotional.

Reversed Meaning
When The Star appears reversed, it can suggest a lack of hope or a feeling of despair. The querent may be feeling lost and unsure of their path in life. It can also indicate a lack of faith in the universe or divine intervention. The reversed Star can also suggest a need for healing, but the querent may be resistant to the process.

The Star is a beautiful and meaningful card that represents hope and renewal. Its symbols and meaning can provide guidance and inspiration to anyone who is feeling lost or in need of healing.

The Moon

The Moon card is one of the most mysterious and enigmatic cards of the tarot deck, and its meaning can be difficult to interpret. Here are some of the key features and interpretations of the Moon card:

  • The image: The Moon card features a night sky with a full moon shining down on a body of water, with a dog and a wolf howling at the moon. In the foreground is a path that splits into two directions.
  • The symbolism: The moon is a symbol of the unconscious mind, emotions, and intuition. The dog and the wolf represent the tamed and wild aspects of the psyche, and the path represents a choice or decision that needs to be made.
  • The meanings: The Moon card can indicate confusion or uncertainty, as well as the need to trust your instincts and intuition. It may also suggest the need to confront and integrate repressed emotions or shadow aspects of your personality.
  • The reversed meanings: When the Moon card is reversed, it can indicate hidden fears or anxieties that need to be acknowledged and addressed. It may also signify a lack of clarity or a need to take a step back and reevaluate a situation.

The Moon card is a complex and multifaceted card that can require a deep understanding of the unconscious mind and one’s own psychological makeup to interpret accurately. It may suggest the need for introspection and reflection, as well as the courage to face one’s fears and explore the unknown.

The Sun

The Sun is one of the most celebrated cards in the Major Arcana for its positive and life-affirming meaning. It’s often associated with joy, happiness, and success. The Sun represents a time of abundance, contentment, and satisfaction in life. It’s a welcome sight in any tarot reading, bringing with it a sense of hope and optimism.

When The Sun appears in a reading, it’s a sign that things are looking up. You may have been going through a difficult time, but now the clouds are starting to clear, and you’re entering a more positive phase. This card suggests that good things are coming your way, and you have reason to be optimistic about the future.

The Sun is a symbol of vitality and energy. It represents the life force that sustains all living beings. When this card appears, it’s a sign that you should focus on self-care and nurturing yourself. This could mean taking time for yourself, pursuing a hobby you enjoy, or simply spending time in nature. By focusing on your own needs, you’ll be able to recharge and replenish your energy, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

The Sun is also associated with success and achievement. If you’ve been working hard towards a goal, this card is a sign that you’re on the right track. Continue to put in the effort, and you’ll see the fruits of your labor. This card can indicate recognition, promotion, or financial reward. It’s a positive sign in any area of life where you’re striving for success.

In a tarot reading, The Sun can also indicate a time of spiritual growth and enlightenment. You may be discovering new truths about yourself or the world around you. This card suggests that you’re on a path towards greater understanding and awareness. Take the time to reflect on your experiences and learn from them. You’re being called to explore your spirituality and connect with a higher power.

The Sun is a powerful and positive card in the Major Arcana. It represents a time of happiness, success, and growth. It’s a reminder to focus on self-care, pursue your goals with passion, and embrace the joy of life. When this card appears in a reading, it’s a sign that good things are on the horizon.


Judgment is a powerful Major Arcana card that represents profound spiritual awakening and transformation. The card features an angel blowing a trumpet, which symbolizes a divine message or call to action. The image also shows people rising from their graves and reaching towards the angel, which represents the idea of being reborn or resurrected.

Key Meanings:

  • Rebirth
  • Awakening
  • Renewal
  • Judgment
  • Salvation

When Judgment appears in a reading, it is a sign that the seeker is at a turning point in their life. They may be feeling a strong urge to change direction or to make a big decision. This card suggests that the seeker needs to be open to new ideas and perspectives to facilitate spiritual growth.

Upright Meaning:

  • Emerging from a crisis with a fresh perspective
  • Taking responsibility for past mistakes and seeking forgiveness
  • Feeling a strong sense of purpose and direction
  • Making a transformative change
  • Receiving a divine message or higher calling

When Judgment appears upright in a reading, it is a call to action. The seeker is being urged to rise above their current circumstances and embrace change. This card may indicate a spiritual awakening, where the seeker becomes aware of their true purpose or destiny.

Reversed Meaning:

  • Resisting necessary change
  • Ignoring important messages
  • Feeling stuck or stagnant
  • Condemning oneself for past mistakes
  • Refusing to take responsibility for one’s actions

When Judgment appears reversed in a reading, it suggests that the seeker is going through a period of stagnation. They may feel stuck or unable to move forward in their life. This card may also indicate a tendency to repress emotions or resist necessary changes. The seeker needs to be open to new ideas and perspectives to facilitate spiritual growth.

Judgment is a powerful card that encourages the seeker to embrace change and make transformative decisions. By being open to new ideas and perspectives, the seeker can experience spiritual renewal and growth, leading to a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment.

The World

The World is the final card in the Major Arcana and represents completion, integration, and fulfillment. It is also called the universe in some decks. The card depicts a woman standing inside a wreath, holding a wand and a set of pentacles, surrounded by four creatures representing the four elements.

Meaning: The World signifies the completion of a long journey or a major achievement. It represents the attainment of a goal or the realization of a dream after much effort and hard work. It can also indicate a spiritual awakening or the attainment of enlightenment. The card suggests that the querent has reached a stage of completion and has integrated all the lessons and experiences of their journey.

Upright: In the upright position, The World is a positive card that suggests a sense of wholeness and harmony. It represents a time of celebration and joy, where everything falls into place. The card suggests that the querent is experiencing a deep sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in their life, having achieved their goals.

Reversed: The World reversed may indicate a fear of completion or the inability to let go of the past. It could suggest that the querent is feeling stuck and unable to move forward, or that there are remaining obstacles to overcome. The card could also indicate a lack of integration or balance, leading to feelings of disconnect or disorientation.

Key themes: fulfillment, completion, integration, accomplishment, wholeness, harmony, celebration, achievement, enlightenment, balance, integration.

To fully understand the meaning and significance of The World card in a Tarot reading, it is essential to consider its relevance to the surrounding cards and the context of the reading. As with all Tarot cards, understanding the symbolism and meanings of The World requires intuition and empathy, as well as knowledge of the card’s historical and cultural associations.

Interpreting Major Arcana Cards in a Reading

When it comes to interpreting the Major Arcana cards in a reading, it can be both fascinating and overwhelming. These cards are layered with symbolism and meaning, and the way they interact with one another can reveal deeper insights into a person’s life or situation. However, it can also be easy to feel lost or confused when faced with such a wealth of information. That’s why it’s important to approach each card with a sense of curiosity and an open mind, while also keeping in mind the context of the reading and the querent’s individual circumstances. Let’s explore some tips and strategies for interpreting the Major Arcana cards in a reading.

Applying the Meanings

After familiarizing yourself with the meanings of the Major Arcana cards, the next step is applying those meanings in a reading. Each card can have multiple interpretations depending on the question being asked and the other cards in the spread. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you apply the meanings effectively.

1. Look for patterns. Pay attention to any recurring symbols or themes in the cards. For example, if The Tower and Death both appear in a spread, the theme of destruction or transformation may be important.

2. Consider the position of the card. The position of a card in the spread can also provide insight into its meaning. For example, a card in a past position may suggest a previous experience or influence, while a card in a future position may represent a potential outcome.

3. Use intuition. While it’s important to have a solid understanding of the meanings of each card, it’s also important to trust your intuition. Your intuition can help you see connections and patterns that may not be immediately apparent or fit neatly into established meanings.

To further illustrate how to apply the meanings of the Major Arcana cards, refer to the following table:

Card Keywords General Interpretation Example in a Reading
The Fool Beginnings, naivete, spontaneity A new beginning, taking risks, stepping into the unknown The Fool in the “present” position suggests that the querent is currently embarking on a new journey or starting a new project with optimism and excitement.
The Magician Manifestation, skill, confidence The power to make things happen, utilizing resources creatively, taking action The Magician in a “goal” position suggests that the querent needs to tap into their creativity and utilize their skills in order to achieve their desired outcome.
The High Priestess Mystery, intuition, introspection Trusting inner guidance, tapping into hidden knowledge or intuition, exploring subconscious desires and fears The High Priestess in a “past” position suggests that a previous experience or influence may have been guided by intuition or a need for introspection.

By considering the keywords, general interpretations, and examples in this table, you can start to see how applying the meanings of the Major Arcana cards can provide insight and guidance in a reading. Remember to stay open to your intuition, and look for patterns and connections among the cards to gain a deeper understanding of their messages.

Reading the Cards in Context

When interpreting Major Arcana cards in a reading, it’s important to consider not only the individual meanings of each card, but also how they relate to each other and the specific context of the reading itself. Here are some tips for reading the cards in context:

  • Consider the question or issue: What is the querent (the person receiving the reading) asking about or facing in their life? This can provide valuable insight into which cards are most relevant and how they might intersect with each other.
  • Pay attention to card placement: Cards that appear next to or in close proximity to each other can influence each other’s meanings. For example, if The Devil card appears next to The Tower in a reading about a romantic relationship, it could suggest that a breakup or sudden change is necessary to break free from toxic patterns.
  • Look for patterns: Are there multiple cards that share a theme or symbol, such as The Moon and The High Priestess both representing intuition and hidden knowledge? These connections can reveal deeper layers of meaning and help form a cohesive narrative for the reading.
  • Consider reversals: When a Major Arcana card appears upside-down, or in “reversed” position, it can indicate a blockage, challenge, or distorted expression of the card’s energy. Take note of these reversals and how they add nuance to the reading.
  • Trust your intuition: Ultimately, the most powerful tool for interpreting Major Arcana cards is your own intuition and intuition. Pay attention to your initial impressions and feelings about each card, and allow them to guide your interpretation.

By reading the Major Arcana cards in context and with sensitivity to the querent’s needs, a skilled tarot reader can provide deep insights, clarity, and guidance for navigating life’s challenges and opportunities.


In conclusion, the Major Arcana cards are a powerful tool for divination and self-discovery. Each card holds deep symbolism and meaning, offering insight into the human experience and the journey of the soul. Whether you are a seasoned tarot reader or a beginner exploring the world of divination, the Major Arcana cards offer a wealth of wisdom, guidance, and inspiration.

Through the archetypes and narratives portrayed in the Major Arcana, we can connect with universal themes and experiences that touch upon the human condition. From the innocence and naivety of The Fool to the completion and fulfillment of The World, each card represents a unique stage of the journey and a different aspect of our psyche.

By interpreting the Major Arcana cards in the context of a spread or a specific question, we can gain rich insights and understanding into our lives and our path. However, it is important to approach tarot with an open mind and a spirit of curiosity and exploration, rather than seeking definitive answers or predictions.

Ultimately, the meaning of Major Arcana cards is a personal and subjective experience, shaped by our own beliefs, experiences, and intuition. As we continue to explore the world of tarot, may we be guided by the wisdom and inspiration of the Major Arcana, and may we use this tool as a means of illumination, growth, and empowerment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is tarot?

Tarot is a form of divination that uses a deck of cards to gain insight into the past, present, and future.

What is the difference between the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana?

The Major Arcana is 22 cards that represent significant life events, while the Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards that represent everyday situations.

Can anyone learn to read tarot cards?

Yes, anyone can learn to read tarot cards with time and practice. It is important to develop a strong intuitive sense and understanding of the symbolism of the cards.

What should I do if I pull a “negative” card in a reading?

Take a deep breath and remember that the cards are not predicting a set future, but rather offering guidance and insight. Use the card as an opportunity to reflect on how you can overcome challenges and grow.

Should I always take the meaning of the cards literally?

No, the meaning of the cards is not always literal, and it is important to consider the symbolism and context when interpreting the cards.

Can tarot cards tell me definitively what will happen in the future?

No, tarot cards cannot predict the future with 100% accuracy. The cards offer insights into potential outcomes based on current circumstances and energies.

Is it important to cleanse my tarot deck?

Yes, it is recommended to cleanse your tarot deck regularly to remove any negative or stagnant energies that may have accumulated. You can do this by smudging with sage or placing the cards under the light of a full moon.

Can I get a reading online?

Yes, many tarot readers offer online readings through email or video chat. However, it is important to choose a reputable reader and be wary of scams.

What should I do if I don’t connect with my tarot deck?

If you do not feel a connection with a certain tarot deck, it is okay to try a different one. It is important to find a deck that speaks to you and allows for a deeper connection and intuitive understanding.

Is tarot a form of witchcraft or occult practice?

Tarot can be used as part of witchcraft or occult practices, but it is not inherently related to either. The use of tarot cards is a personal and spiritual practice that can be used by anyone for self-reflection, guidance, and growth.


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