If you’re new to Tarot reading, the Major and Minor Arcana may seem like an intimidating aspect of the practice. With 78 cards in a deck, each with its own unique symbolism and meaning, it’s understandable why the thought of interpreting them can be daunting. However, understanding the Major and Minor Arcana is essential to reading Tarot accurately. In this article, we’ll break down the differences between the two, highlight the significance of each card in the Major and Minor Arcana, and provide tips for interpreting them effectively. So, let’s dive into the mystifying world of Tarot cards and uncover the secrets of the Major and Minor Arcana.
Major Arcana vs. Minor Arcana
The Major Arcana is often referred to as the “heart” of the Tarot deck, and consists of 22 cards that represent powerful archetypes and universal principles. Some of the most well-known cards in the Major Arcana include The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, and The World. On the other hand, the Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each suit then includes cards numbered 1-10 and four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, King). Understanding the difference between the Major and Minor Arcana is an essential first step to mastering Tarot reading, and it sets the foundation for interpreting the meanings of each individual card. To learn more about the Tarot, check out our review of the best Tarot decks for beginners, or our guide to getting started with your first Tarot deck, here.
1. What is Major Arcana?
Major Arcana refers to the 22 cards in a tarot deck that represent major events and turning points in a person’s life. They are also known as trump cards, and each one has a unique meaning that can provide insights into a person’s past, present, and future. These cards are considered the most powerful cards in the deck, and they often symbolize important life lessons and spiritual growth. Major Arcana cards are numbered from 0 to 21, with the Fool being the unnumbered card.
The Major Arcana includes cards such as the High Priestess, the Chariot, and the Tower, which have strong archetypal meanings that can be interpreted in numerous ways. The meanings of these cards can include spiritual awakening, inner strength, and overcoming adversity. They are often seen as messages from a higher power, encouraging the querent to take action or make important decisions.
One of the main differences between the Major and Minor Arcana is that the Major Arcana cards tend to represent long-term, life-altering events that are beyond a person’s control. In contrast, the Minor Arcana is focused on more day-to-day events and situations.
While Major Arcana cards may seem intimidating to beginners, they are an essential part of any tarot reading, and understanding their meanings can provide valuable insights into a person’s life journey. To better understand the meanings of the Major Arcana cards, it’s important to spend time studying and practicing with them. Reading books and articles on the topic, and using tarot spreads that focus specifically on the Major Arcana, can help beginners gain a deeper understanding of these powerful cards.
For recommendations on popular tarot decks for beginners, check out our article Top Tarot Decks for Beginners and for the meanings of the cards, check out 5 Popular Tarot Decks for Beginners: Meanings and Insights.
2. What is Minor Arcana?
The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards in a tarot deck, and they are divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each suit has 14 cards, numbered ace through ten, plus four “court” cards: Page, Knight, Queen, and King. Unlike the Major Arcana, which comprises 22 cards, the Minor Arcana focuses on the everyday experiences and challenges of our lives.
Each suit in the Minor Arcana is associated with a specific element and related meanings. These associations can help you interpret the cards and connect them to your life experiences. Here are the meanings associated with each of the suits:
|Wands||Fire||Action, creativity, energy|
|Cups||Water||Emotions, relationships, intuition|
|Swords||Air||Thoughts, communication, conflict|
|Pentacles||Earth||Material possessions, prosperity, security|
The numbered cards in the Minor Arcana represent the varying degrees of each suit’s energy, from the potential of the Ace to the completion of the ten. The court cards represent people, personality traits, or situations that may arise in your life. For example, the Knight of Cups might represent a romantic or creative individual, while the Queen of Pentacles could signify a nurturing and practical person.
Learning to read the Minor Arcana cards is just as important as mastering the Major Arcana. By incorporating the meanings of each suit and its associated elements, you can bring depth and detail to your tarot readings and gain a greater understanding of your everyday experiences.
3. Key differences between Major and Minor Arcana
The Major and Minor Arcana are two distinct parts of the traditional tarot deck, each with its own unique set of characteristics. Here are some key differences between the two:
|Major Arcana||Minor Arcana|
|The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards.||The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards.|
|The Major Arcana are typically illustrated with complex, symbolic imagery that represents universal themes and experiences.||The Minor Arcana are generally more straightforward in their imagery and interpretation, focusing on everyday experiences and events.|
|The Major Arcana represent major life events and milestones, such as birth, death, and spiritual awakening.||The Minor Arcana represent the ups and downs of everyday life, such as relationships, work, and personal growth.|
|The Major Arcana are often seen as archetypal forces that help us understand our place in the universe and our spiritual journey in life.||The Minor Arcana are more focused on the day-to-day challenges and opportunities that we encounter on our path.|
Understanding the key differences between the Major and Minor Arcana is essential for anyone wanting to learn tarot, as it helps to provide a broad framework for interpreting the cards and their meanings. By recognizing the unique qualities of each type of card, you can gain a deeper appreciation for the richness and complexity of the tarot, and begin to use it as a tool for personal growth and insight.
Interpreting Major Arcana Cards
Interpreting Major Arcana Cards in beginner tarot decks may seem daunting at first, but with practice and patience, it can become an insightful and rewarding experience. Each card in the Major Arcana signifies a significant aspect of the human experience, from the journey of the Fool to the completion of the World. Understanding the symbolism and meanings behind these cards is crucial to any tarot reading. For example, The Magician card represents manifestation and resourcefulness, while The High Priestess embodies intuition and inner wisdom. It’s essential to take note of the card’s position in the reading and its possible meanings in conjunction with other surrounding cards. By interpreting the Major Arcana cards, one can gain valuable insights into their own life and the universal human experience.
1. The Fool
The Fool is a powerful card that is often misunderstood. It is the only card in the Major Arcana without a number, and it represents the beginning of a journey. The Fool is often depicted as a young man, with a dog at his side, standing at the edge of a cliff, about to step off into the unknown. The Fool is a symbol of new beginnings, and represents the pure, unformed potential that exists at the start of any endeavor.
When The Fool appears in a reading, it can indicate that the querent is about to embark on a new journey or take a risk. It can also represent a lack of experience or naivety, and suggest that the querent needs to be cautious and weigh the potential risks before moving forward.
|New beginnings||The Fool represents the start of a journey, and the potential for new beginnings and opportunities.|
|Risk-taking||Stepping off the edge of the cliff represents taking a risk or leap of faith.|
|Lack of experience||The Fool can represent a lack of experience or naivety, and suggest that caution is needed before moving forward.|
|Optimism||The Fool can also represent a sense of optimism and enthusiasm for the future.|
|Free spirit||The Fool is often depicted as carefree and unconcerned with convention or societal norms.|
The Fool is a complex and multifaceted card that can represent both exciting new opportunities and potential pitfalls. It is important to approach The Fool with caution and a sense of adventure, but also to be aware of any potential risks or obstacles that may lie ahead.
2. The Magician
The Magician is the second card in the Major Arcana deck and is highly symbolic. In most tarot decks, the Magician is represented as a young, confident man with one hand pointed towards the sky and the other hand towards the ground. The Magician is the master of the four elements and has the power to manifest his desires into reality.
The Magician embodies the qualities of strength, creativity, and self-confidence. When the Magician appears in a tarot spread, it can represent that the querent has the power to create his own destiny. With his tools (symbolically represented by the wand, cup, sword, and pentacle), the Magician has the ability to manifest his desires and create his future.
The Magician is also associated with communication and mastery of language. He has the power to use words to manifest his will and can use his communication skills to influence the world around him. It is important to note that the Magician also has a dark side. If he uses his powers for selfish or manipulative purposes, he can become a trickster or charlatan.
In a tarot spread, the Magician can represent the querent’s ability to communicate effectively and use their skills to manifest their desires. It can also indicate that the querent needs to focus on their self-confidence and utilize their personal power to create their desired outcome.
The Magician is a powerful card that represents the ability to harness one’s strengths and talents to create the life they desire. It is a reminder to use one’s skills and communication wisely and not to use them for selfish or harmful purposes.
3. The High Priestess
The High Priestess is the next card in the Major Arcana. It is the card that represents intuition and inner wisdom. In most tarot decks, the High Priestess is depicted as a woman with a crescent moon at her feet, holding a scroll and a set of keys.
Here are some possible interpretations of the High Priestess:
|The unconscious||The High Priestess represents the unconscious mind, which is often difficult to access or understand.|
|Intuition and psychic abilities||The High Priestess is associated with intuitive abilities, psychic phenomena, and spiritual insights.|
|Mystery and secrets||The High Priestess is associated with secrecy, mysteries, and hidden knowledge that is not easily accessible.|
|Feminine energy||The High Priestess is often seen as representing feminine energy, wisdom, and insight.|
When this card appears in a reading, it can suggest perplexity or confusion related to hidden knowledge or intuition. It can also represent the need to trust your intuition and inner wisdom, even if it seems irrational or illogical.
The High Priestess is a powerful card that represents the power of the unconscious mind and the importance of embracing your intuition and inner guidance. It reminds you to trust your instincts, listen to your inner voice, and allow your inner wisdom to guide you.
4. The Empress
The Empress is one of the most powerful and important cards in the Major Arcana. She represents the archetype of the nurturing mother, fertility, abundance, and creativity. In a reading, this card can indicate growth and success in creative endeavors and relationships.
To interpret this card, you must pay attention to the symbolisms and colors. The Empress is usually depicted as a pregnant woman wearing a crown with twelve stars, sitting comfortably on a cushion in a beautiful garden. She holds a scepter and a shield with the symbol of Venus, the planet of love and beauty. The Empress has lush greenery surrounding her, as well as a stream, waterfall, and wheat fields, all representing fertility and abundance.
When the Empress appears in a reading, it is a sign to nurture your creative side. You may receive inspiration for new artistic projects or business ideas. This card also suggests taking care of yourself and others. It can refer to motherhood, pregnancy, or simply creating a loving and nurturing environment for yourself and those around you.
In a relationship reading, the Empress can indicate a strong maternal figure, or a nurturing and caring partner. It also suggests fertility and potential for growth in the relationship.
Here are some possible interpretations of the Empress in different positions:
|Upright||The querent is creatively fulfilled, abundant, and nurturing.|
|Reversed||The querent may be neglecting their creative side or feeling stuck. There could be issues with fertility or an unbalanced relationship.|
|As an obstacle||The querent may be too focused on material things, or over-nurturing to the point of smothering others.|
|In a career reading||The Empress can indicate success and abundance in a creative field or job. It can also suggest maternal figures in the workplace or a nurturing work environment.|
The Empress is a powerful and feminine card that reminds us to nurture ourselves, our relationships, and our creativity. When she appears in a reading, take time to appreciate the abundance and beauty in your life, and focus on creating and nurturing what you desire.
5. The Emperor
The Emperor is one of the most important cards in the Major Arcana tarot deck. This card is represented by a powerful man sitting on a throne. He exudes confidence and authority, and he embodies the concept of leadership.
Interpretation: The Emperor represents a powerful, masculine energy. He often signifies a figure in your life who holds a position of authority, such as a boss or a father figure. This card can also represent your own sense of authority and leadership.
If you are asking a specific question, The Emperor can indicate that you need to take charge of the situation and assert yourself. Trust in your own abilities and make decisions with confidence.
However, The Emperor can also represent a negative aspect of authority, such as control and dominance. If this card appears in a negative context or in a reading about a specific situation, it could represent someone who is abusing their power and trying to control or manipulate you.
Reversed: When The Emperor appears in reverse, it can indicate a lack of structure and order. You may be feeling lost or disorganized, and you may need to establish a clear plan or strategy to move forward.
Alternatively, The Emperor in reverse can also represent an abuse of power or a lack of leadership. You may be facing a situation where someone in a position of authority is not acting in your best interests, or you may need to reassess your own leadership style to avoid becoming too controlling or domineering.
The Emperor card can be a powerful symbol of authority and leadership, but it is important to consider the context of your reading and any other cards that appear alongside it to get a full understanding of its meaning.
6. The Hierophant
The Hierophant is one of the major arcana cards in a tarot deck that represents spirituality, tradition, and religious beliefs. It is also known as the High Priest in some decks, which emphasizes its connection to organized religion.
The Hierophant is depicted as a religious figure dressed in ceremonial robes and seated between two pillars, with two acolytes or followers at his feet. The three of them are positioned outdoors in front of a large religious structure or cathedral. This card generally signifies a need for guidance, tradition, structure, and advice from someone with religious or spiritual authority.
If The Hierophant appears in a tarot reading, it may signal that the seeker is seeking answers to big spiritual questions or is looking for guidance within a particular religious tradition. Alternatively, it could indicate that the seeker is feeling skeptical about their beliefs or is going through a period of questioning. The Hierophant card may also represent a teacher or spiritual advisor that will enter the seeker’s life to offer guidance and support in their spiritual journey.
In a reversed position, The Hierophant could indicate that the seeker is rebelling against traditional religious or spiritual institutions or questioning their existing beliefs. It could represent a desire to be independent and forge one’s own spiritual path.
The Hierophant card is a powerful symbol of spiritual authority, tradition, and devotion, and its appearance in a tarot reading can offer insight into the seeker’s spiritual journey.
7. The Lovers
The Lovers card is one of the most well-known and recognizable cards in a tarot deck. It typically depicts a man and a woman standing beneath an angel, representing the choice between two paths or two types of love. The meaning of this card can vary depending on the question asked and the context of the reading, but it generally represents a choice or decision that needs to be made, particularly in matters related to love and relationships.
|Upright Meaning||Reversed Meaning|
|The card suggests a union with someone.||The card may indicate a difficult choice.|
|It may indicate a desire to deepen a current relationship.||The card may suggest a lack of commitment in relationships.|
|The card can also indicate harmony, balance, and unity in a relationship.||The card in reverse may suggest a relationship that is not based on mutual love and respect.|
|The card may suggest the need to explore one’s desires and passions.||The card may suggest the need to make a difficult choice between two paths.|
When interpreting The Lovers card in a tarot reading, it is important to consider the other cards in the spread and the question being asked. If the question relates to a romantic relationship, The Lovers card can indicate a deepening of commitment or a choice between two potential partners. If the question relates to a career or life path, The Lovers card can suggest the need to follow one’s passion and make a choice that aligns with one’s values and desires.
The Lovers card represents choice, harmony, and balance in relationships, whether romantic or otherwise. It suggests a need to explore one’s desires and passions and make a choice that aligns with one’s values and priorities. However, in a reversed position, this card can indicate a difficult choice that needs to be made or a lack of harmony and balance in relationships.
8. The Chariot
The Chariot is the eighth card in the Major Arcana and represents control, willpower and determination. The image on the card typically shows a person – often a warrior or hero – driving forward in a chariot, pulled by two horses, one black and one white. The black and white horses represent the opposing forces within the charioteer that they must balance in order to drive the chariot forward.
When the Chariot appears in a tarot reading, it is a sign that the querent has what it takes to achieve their goals and overcome obstacles. This card suggests determination, self-control, and a fierce desire to succeed. The Chariot reminds us to stay focused on our goals and maintain our drive, despite any challenges that may come our way.
In terms of love and relationships, the Chariot indicates that the querent has the power to take control of their love life and steer it in the direction they desire. For those in a relationship, the Chariot suggests that the couple may need to work together to overcome any obstacles that are preventing them from moving forward. For single individuals, this card encourages them to take control of their romantic life and actively pursue their desires.
The Chariot is also associated with travel and can signify a journey, either physically or metaphorically. This could point towards a move, a business trip or a spiritual journey. Whatever the case, it indicates that the querent has the courage and determination to make this journey a success.
In terms of career and finances, the Chariot is a positive card indicating success, victory, and recognition. It suggests that the querent has what it takes to achieve their career goals and attain financial stability. It also highlights the importance of self-discipline and perseverance in achieving success.
The Chariot is a powerful and positive card, encouraging individuals to remain focused on their goals and to stay determined in the face of any obstacles, whether in their love life, career, or personal journey. The combination of control and willpower can lead to great success and victory, with the added reminder to balance opposing forces in order to achieve optimum results.
When the Strength card appears in a tarot reading, it often represents courage, compassion, and self-control. The image depicted on the card usually shows a woman taming a lion, which symbolizes the inner strength and power of the individual. The Strength card signifies that the querent has the courage and determination to overcome any obstacle in their path.
This card is associated with the zodiac sign Leo, which is known for its confident and assertive nature. The Strength card suggests that the querent should embrace their inner strength and use it to achieve their goals. It also suggests that the querent should approach their challenges with patience and empathy, rather than aggression or force.
In a love reading, the Strength card often indicates a strong, passionate relationship. The querent and their partner may share a deep connection based on mutual respect and trust. However, the card may also suggest that the relationship is going through a challenging period that requires the couple to work together to overcome.
In a career reading, the Strength card suggests that the querent may face some challenges or obstacles in their job or business. However, they have the inner strength and determination to overcome them and succeed in their career goals. The card may also indicate that the querent should focus on building positive relationships with their colleagues or clients, as these connections will help them achieve their professional objectives.
The Strength card is a powerful reminder that the querent has the inner strength and ability to overcome any obstacles in their life. It encourages the individual to approach their challenges with compassion, patience, and courage. By embracing their inner strength, the querent can achieve their goals and find personal fulfillment in their relationships, career, and life as a whole.
10. The Hermit
The Hermit card is the tenth card of the Major Arcana and is represented by an old man holding a lantern. The Hermit is often seen as a symbol of wisdom, solitude, soul-searching, self-reflection, and spiritual enlightenment.
Interpretation of The Hermit: The Hermit indicates that it’s time to step back from the noise and distraction of the outside world and focus on your inner self. You may feel a need to go on a spiritual journey or look for answers within yourself. This card may also suggest a desire to be alone, to meditate, and reflect on your current situation.
Meaning in Love and Relationships: In the context of love and relationships, The Hermit stands for self-exploration and personal growth. If you are in a relationship, this card suggests that you may need some space to reflect on your feelings and what you truly want. For those who are single, The Hermit suggests that you may need to focus on self-love and care before pursuing a new relationship.
Meaning in Career and Finances: In terms of career and finances, The Hermit suggests that you may need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of work and focus on your own needs and goals. It may be time to shift your focus on your own personal and professional development. Financially, The Hermit may suggest a need to re-evaluate your spending habits and focus on saving for the future.
Reversed Meaning: When The Hermit appears reversed, it may indicate a resistance to taking time for oneself and a fear of introspection. It may also suggest a feeling of isolation and loneliness. The reversed Hermit may also represent a need for external validation and the inability to connect with oneself.
Overall: The Hermit is a powerful card that often represents the need for introspection, self-discovery, and solitude. This card is a reminder to focus on personal growth and spiritual enlightenment.
11. The Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel of Fortune is one of the most recognizable cards in a tarot deck and is often depicted as a wheel with various figures at different points around it. This card represents the cyclical nature of life and that everything is constantly in flux.
In a tarot spread, The Wheel of Fortune can indicate a major turning point or shift in a person’s life. It can symbolize the ups and downs of fortune, indicating that a person may experience successes or failures in the near future. Alternatively, it can indicate that a person is stuck in a rut and needs to take action to break the cycle.
When interpreting The Wheel of Fortune, it is important to consider the other cards in the spread and their positions. If The Wheel of Fortune appears in a positive position, it can indicate good luck and positive changes. However, if it appears in a negative position, it can indicate bad luck and negative changes.
The Wheel of Fortune is associated with the planet Jupiter, which is known as the planet of abundance and growth. It is also associated with the zodiac signs Sagittarius and Pisces.
In a love or romance reading, The Wheel of Fortune can indicate that a person will encounter significant changes in their romantic life. It could indicate a new relationship or a major change in an existing one. However, it could also indicate that a breakup or ending of a relationship is approaching.
In a career or finance reading, The Wheel of Fortune can indicate positive changes in a person’s work or financial situation. It could indicate a promotion, a new job opportunity, or financial gain. Alternatively, it could indicate that a person needs to re-evaluate their career or finances and make significant changes to break out of a negative cycle.
The Wheel of Fortune is a powerful and versatile card that can indicate both positive and negative changes. It reminds us that life is always changing and that we have the power to take action and make the most of any situation.
The Justice card in the Major Arcana is often depicted as a woman holding a sword and scales, which symbolize fairness, objectivity, and truth. It’s a powerful card that represents the forces of karma and cause-and-effect. Justice is not just about getting what you deserve; it’s about making sure that all decisions are unbiased and impartial.
When Justice appears in a tarot reading, it may be a sign that a decision or judgment is imminent. The card suggests that you should be cautious and truthful in your actions, as they will have long-term consequences. It can also represent a need for balance in your life, such as finding the middle ground between two extremes.
The Justice card can also indicate legal matters, contracts, and issues related to the justice system. It may imply that justice will be served, or it may suggest that you need to seek legal advice to resolve a dispute.
In a reversed position, Justice can indicate injustice or imbalance. It may hint that someone is trying to manipulate the system or take advantage of a situation unfairly. It can also suggest that you’re struggling to find the right balance in your life or that you’re being too harsh or critical towards yourself.
The Justice card is a reminder that life is not always fair, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on justice. Stand up for what you believe in, seek fairness, and always try to make objective decisions. Remember that the choices you make today will have a ripple effect on your future.
13. The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man is one of the most enigmatic cards in the Major Arcana deck. The card shows a man hanging upside down from a tree by one foot. Despite the seemingly negative connotation, The Hanged Man actually represents a profound sense of surrender and letting go.
The card is associated with the astrological sign of Neptune, the planet of spirituality and higher consciousness. In traditional tarot interpretations, the image of The Hanged Man symbolizes sacrifice, rebirth, and spiritual enlightenment.
When The Hanged Man appears in a reading, it could mean that the querent is being called to let go or surrender to a situation, whether it be control, attachment, or ego. The card can also suggest a pause in life, a moment where the querent needs to reflect and gain a new perspective.
Reversed, The Hanged Man can indicate an unwillingness to let go or a lack of spiritual growth. The querent may be holding onto old patterns and beliefs that no longer serve them.
The Hanged Man represents a paradoxical state of suspension and surrender that leads to a deeper spiritual understanding of oneself and the world.
The Death card is one of the most feared and misunderstood cards in the tarot deck. It is often associated with physical death, but in reality, it signifies a major transformation or ending. The Death card represents the end of a cycle or a significant change that will lead to a new beginning. This card is a reminder that everything in life is temporary and that change is inevitable.
When the Death card appears in a reading, it can indicate a major transition or a significant change in your life. This could be the end of a relationship, a job, or a way of life. It is important to keep in mind that this change is necessary for growth and that it will ultimately lead to something better.
In terms of relationships, the Death card can signify the end of a relationship that is no longer serving your highest good. It can be a difficult and painful transition, but it is necessary for your personal growth and well-being. If you are in a relationship that is struggling, the Death card can be a warning that things may need to come to an end.
In terms of career, the Death card can represent the end of a job or a career path. This can be a daunting prospect, but it can also be an opportunity to discover a new passion or pursue a different path that is more aligned with your values and aspirations.
The Death card is not a card to be feared, but rather a card of transformation and change. Embrace this change, and trust that it will ultimately lead to something better. Remember that with every ending comes a new beginning, and that life is a continuous cycle of growth and evolution.
Temperance is the fourteenth card in the Major Arcana, and it is represented by an angel standing with one foot in the water and one on land. The angel is pouring liquid between two cups, symbolizing the act of blending or combining two elements. The card represents balance, harmony, and moderation.
When this card appears in a reading, it suggests that the seeker needs to find balance in their life. They may be struggling to find the right balance between different areas of their life, such as work and family, or they may be experiencing inner conflict.
Temperance encourages the seeker to find moderation and to avoid going to extremes. This card also suggests that the seeker may need to be patient and wait for things to come into balance naturally.
In a love reading, Temperance can indicate the need for compromise and communication in relationships. The seeker may need to find a middle ground with their partner and be open to give and take.
Below are some keywords and phrases that may help with interpreting Temperance in a reading:
– Balance and harmony
– Moderation and self-control
– Patience and waiting for things to come into balance
– Blending or combining different elements
– Compromise and communication in relationships
When combined with other cards in a reading, Temperance can have different meanings. Here are some possible interpretations:
– Temperance + The Magician: Finding balance and harmony through creativity and self-expression.
– Temperance + The Sun: A harmonious and balanced relationship or situation that brings joy and happiness.
– Temperance + The Tower: Disruptive change that forces the seeker to find a new balance and adapt to new circumstances.
Remember that the interpretation of a tarot card can vary depending on the context and the other cards in the reading. It’s important to consider the seeker’s question and their current situation before interpreting Temperance.
16. The Devil
The Devil card in the Major Arcana of tarot decks is often associated with fear and negative influences. However, it also represents power, materialism, and even sensuality. Understanding the symbolism behind this card can lead to a deeper comprehension of its meaning in a reading.
When interpreting The Devil card, it’s important to note that it doesn’t necessarily represent evil, but rather the primal and instinctive parts of ourselves or a situation. The card typically depicts a horned creature, often referred to as Baphomet, with a human body and wings. It is often chained to a pedestal, with two naked humans at its feet, representing the influence of temptation.
The Devil can indicate a situation or personal struggle with addiction, obsession, or unhealthy behaviors. It can also signify a lack of freedom or control in a relationship, job, or other area of life. The message of this card is to acknowledge these aspects of ourselves or situations, and to take steps towards breaking free from their hold.
In a tarot reading, The Devil card may be interpreted in different ways depending on its placement and the surrounding cards. Here are some possible interpretations:
|Upright||Feeling trapped or held back by an addiction, unhealthy relationship, or negative influences; acknowledging and confronting inner demons; taking responsibility for one’s actions|
|Reversed||Breaking free from a toxic situation or habit; regaining control and independence; overcoming destructive patterns|
|As an obstacle||A challenge related to breaking free from negative influences; feeling stuck or overwhelmed; recognizing self-sabotage|
|As a potential outcome||Continuing to be trapped or influenced by negative forces if no action is taken to change course; advice to take control and face fears in order to move forward|
It’s important to remember that The Devil card is not inherently bad or scary, but rather a representation of the darker parts of ourselves and our experiences. Embracing and addressing these aspects can lead to growth and positive change.
17. The Tower
The Tower card is one of the most terrifying cards in the Major Arcana tarot deck. Its imagery is filled with dark skies and lightning bolts, and it depicts a tower being struck down by a bolt of lightning. This card represents sudden upheaval and destruction, and it can be a difficult card to interpret. When the Tower appears in a tarot reading, it usually indicates that a major shakeup or crisis is on the horizon.
Interpreting the Tower Tarot Card
The Tower card has a reputation for being a “bad omen” in tarot readings, but this isn’t entirely accurate. While the card certainly represents upheaval and destruction, it can also represent necessary change. The lightning bolt that strikes the tower is a symbol of sudden enlightenment, and the falling figures represent a release from old patterns and structures that were holding you back.
In a reading, the Tower can also represent a sudden realization or epiphany that alters your worldview. It may be a shocking revelation, but ultimately it will lead to your growth and development. This card can also represent a wake-up call, a sudden event that forces you to take a closer look at your life and make changes.
If you draw the Tower card in a tarot reading, don’t be afraid. Instead, approach it as an opportunity to grow and evolve. Think of this card as a reminder to be honest with yourself about what isn’t working in your life. It’s time to break down old structures and build something stronger in their place.
Reversed Meaning of The Tower Tarot Card
When the Tower card appears reversed in a tarot reading, it can indicate that you are resisting necessary change. You may be holding onto old patterns and structures that no longer serve you, even if they are causing you pain. Alternatively, the reversed Tower can represent a delay or avoidance of a crisis that is coming your way.
If you draw the reversed Tower card, consider what changes you may be resisting and why. Embrace the opportunity for growth and transformation that the Tower represents, and be honest with yourself about what needs to change in order for you to move forward.
18. The Star
The Star is the seventeenth card in the Major Arcana, often associated with hope, optimism, and inspiration. This tarot card represents the light at the end of the tunnel, with a deep spiritual significance.
The card’s imagery shows a naked woman kneeling near the water. She pours water from two cups into the water below. In the background, we can see eight stars shining bright in the sky, indicating a sense of hope and guidance.
When The Star appears in your tarot reading, it represents a time of great inspiration, hope and potential. You may have just experienced a dark and difficult time, and now The Star offers encouragement and strength to move forward. Your inner voice is calling you to heal and trust in the universe.
The Star is also a reminder that you are not alone, and that the universe is supporting your journey. It encourages you to tap into your creative and spiritual energies to achieve your goals and dreams. You are being guided towards the right path, and you should trust yourself to make the right choices.
In reverse, The Star can indicate feelings of doubt, discouragement, and lack of faith. You may feel like giving up or have lost sight of your goals and dreams. The Star is a reminder that the universe has your back, and you should not give up hope. It may be time to re-evaluate your priorities and seek guidance from trusted friends and family.
Overall, The Star is an incredibly powerful tarot card, reminding us to trust in the universe and its divine energy. It represents a renewed sense of hope and motivation and the possibility of a better future.
19. The Moon
The Moon card is one of mystery and uncertainty. It often represents confusion, illusion, and deception. Its appearance in a spread may also indicate hidden emotions, fears, or desires. Let’s take a closer look at the details and symbols on this card to better understand its meaning.
|The Moon||The main symbol of this card represents the unconscious mind, intuition, and hidden feelings. It can also signify feminine energy and the cyclical nature of life.|
|The Dog and the Wolf||These animals represent the opposing forces of the conscious and unconscious mind. The dog is a symbol of loyalty and domesticity, while the wolf represents wildness and a more primal nature. They are both baying at the moon, highlighting the duality of the card.|
|The Water||The water symbolizes the emotions and the depths of the unconscious. It can also signify the ebb and flow of life.|
|The Crayfish||The crayfish is a symbol of the psyche, hidden fears, and reflection. It reminds us to pay attention to our subconscious mind and to acknowledge our deepest feelings.|
The Moon card is a powerful reminder to pay attention to our intuition and to explore the depths of our subconscious. It encourages us to face our fears and embrace the unknown. However, it’s also crucial to be aware of the deceptive nature of this card, as it can represent illusions and confusion. By staying grounded and true to ourselves, we can navigate through the uncertainties of life with clarity and courage.
20. The Sun
The Sun card in the Major Arcana is often associated with happiness, vitality, and success. This card portrays a child riding on a white horse, symbolizing purity and innocence. The Sun card suggests a new beginning, a fresh start, or a new perspective on a matter. This card encourages you to embrace life with open arms and to be optimistic about the future.
The Sun card is also associated with success and prosperity, indicating that things are about to improve in your life. Your hard work will finally pay off, and you will enjoy the fruits of your labor. You will feel a sense of accomplishment, and your confidence will soar.
The Sun is known for its healing properties and represents good health and overall well-being. It brings an abundance of energy and warmth, which can help you overcome any obstacles you may be facing. The card may also indicate that it is time to take a break and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, such as spending time with loved ones or pursuing a new hobby.
In a tarot reading, the Sun card often represents a positive outcome or a happy ending. It suggests that you are on the right path and that everything will work out in the end. This card encourages you to stay optimistic and to trust that the universe has your back.
The Sun card in the Major Arcana is a symbol of hope, happiness, and prosperity. It brings positive energy and encourages you to embrace life with a positive attitude. This card represents a new beginning, success, good health, and overall well-being. When the Sun card appears in a reading, it is a sign that everything is about to improve and that you should remain optimistic about the future.
Judgment is the 21st card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck. This card is often referred to as “judgment day” or “the resurrection,” as it represents a time of spiritual awakening, rebirth, and enlightenment.
When the Judgment card appears in a reading, it often signifies a significant change or transformation in the querent’s life. This change may be related to their career, personal relationships, or other important life events. In some cases, this change may be unexpected or even disruptive, but ultimately it is for the better.
The Judgment card is often depicted with an angel blowing a trumpet, symbolizing the call to rise up and awaken to one’s true purpose and potential. This card represents a time of release from past burdens and limitations, and a chance for the querent to transcend their current circumstances and achieve a greater sense of inner peace and fulfillment.
In order to interpret the Judgment card effectively, it is important to consider the other cards in the reading, as well as the querent’s current situation and goals. The appearance of this card may suggest the need for introspection, self-evaluation, and a willingness to let go of old patterns and behaviors that are no longer serving the querent’s highest good.
The Judgment card is a powerful symbol of personal growth, transformation, and the importance of staying true to oneself. It encourages the querent to embrace change and uncertainty with courage and optimism, and to trust in the journey of life as a continuous process of self-discovery and evolution.
22. The World
The final card of the Major Arcana in most beginner tarot decks, The World usually signifies the completion of a cycle or journey. This card symbolizes success, fulfillment, and achievement. It gives off the feeling of being on top of the world and in harmony with all that surrounds you.
In tarot readings, The World can be interpreted differently based on the position it falls in. When it appears in a past position, it indicates that the querent has achieved their goals or reached the end of a cycle. In the present position, it can suggest that the querent is currently experiencing a sense of satisfaction and completion. In the future position, the card implies that the querent will soon achieve success or will conclude a journey they have been working towards.
The card itself is often depicted with a female figure dancing in the center of a wreath, surrounded by four figures, which represent the four elements (earth, air, fire, water). The wreath symbolizes a state of completion and unity, while the four figures suggest balance and stability.
When The World appears in a tarot reading, it indicates that the querent has finally come full circle and achieved their desired outcome. It represents the end of a physical or spiritual journey and signifies that they have reached a state of harmony and wholeness within themselves. However, it is important to note that this card can also represent new beginnings, as its symbolism suggests the cyclical nature of life. Overall, The World is a positive and uplifting card that represents achievement, fulfillment, and success.
Here’s a table summarizing the meanings of The World card:
|Past||Achievement of past goals or completion of a cycle|
|Present||Sense of satisfaction and completion|
|Future||Upcoming success or conclusion of a journey|
Interpreting Minor Arcana Cards
When it comes to interpreting the Minor Arcana cards in tarot, it’s important to understand that they represent everyday happenings and events in our lives. There are four suits in the Minor Arcana: Wands (Fire), Cups (Water), Swords (Air), and Pentacles (Earth), each with their own unique energy. The Wands represent creativity, passion, and ambition. The Cups symbolize emotions, love, and relationships. Swords stand for intellect, truth, and mental challenges. Finally, the Pentacles are associated with material possessions, finances, and the physical world. In addition to the numbered cards, there are also the court cards – the Page, Knight, Queen, and King – which can represent people in our lives or aspects of ourselves. When interpreting the Minor Arcana cards, pay attention to the symbolism in the images, the suit energy, and how they relate to the question or situation at hand.
1. Wands (Fire)
Wands are associated with the element of fire, which represents passion, creativity, and energy. The wands suit relates to the spring season and the astrological signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. In tarot readings, wands often signify new beginnings, growth, and development.
Wands cards are divided into four groups corresponding to the four stages of growth from seed to full-grown plant. The Ace of Wands represents the initial spark of inspiration, while the Ten of Wands signifies the final culmination and completion of a creative project.
Below are the cards of the Wands suit in beginner Tarot Decks, along with their meanings:
|The Ace of Wands||Inspiration and new beginnings. A card of creative potential and the start of a new journey.|
|The Two of Wands||Planning and foresight. The card suggests that you are in the process of making important decisions and forming future plans.|
|The Three of Wands||Expansion and growth. The card signals a time of growth and expansion, with new opportunities on the horizon.|
|The Four of Wands||Celebration and harmony. A card indicating a time of celebration, joy, and emotional stability.|
|The Five of Wands||Conflict and competition. The card suggests turmoil, disagreements, and confrontation, either internal or external.|
|The Six of Wands||Victory and recognition. A card of recognition, success, and a sense of achievement after hard work.|
|The Seven of Wands||Perseverance and defense. The card signals that you are facing opposition or challenges and need to be grounded in your beliefs to succeed.|
|The Eight of Wands||Speed and action. The card suggests that swift action is required, new opportunities are coming, and you need to act promptly.|
|The Nine of Wands||Resilience and courage. The card signifies that you have been through a lot but must persevere, keep fighting, and stay strong.|
|The Ten of Wands||Burdens and responsibility. The card represents overburdened responsibility, exhaustion, and the need to delegate tasks or let go of certain responsibilities.|
The Wands suit is all about growth, development, creativity, and the element of fire. Each card in this suit has its unique meaning, all relating to the theme of creative potential, new beginnings, or the need for swift action. In tarot readings, the Wands suit can be a powerful tool for gaining insight into your creative energy, personal power, and sense of purpose.
2. Cups (Water)
The Cups suit in the Minor Arcana represents water and emotions. Each of the 14 Cups cards has a specific meaning that can help uncover insight into one’s emotional state or relationships.
1. Ace of Cups: The Ace of Cups represents the beginning of a new emotional journey. It signifies love and inner peace, and the possibility of emotional fulfillment.
2. Two of Cups: This card is about partnerships and relationships. It can indicate a new romantic partnership or deepening of an existing relationship.
3. Three of Cups: The Three of Cups symbolizes joy, celebration, and friendship. It often signifies the coming together of a group of friends or family to celebrate a joyous occasion.
4. Four of Cups: This card represents dissatisfaction or boredom in a current emotional situation. It may indicate the need for change or a new perspective.
5. Five of Cups: The Five of Cups card represents loss, grief, and disappointment. It reminds us that we should focus on the positive and let go of negative emotions and experiences.
6. Six of Cups: This card signifies nostalgia and memories of the past. It can represent childhood memories or a desire to return to a simpler time in one’s life.
7. Seven of Cups: The Seven of Cups card represents illusion and confusion. It can indicate that one’s emotions may be clouding their judgment and causing uncertainty.
8. Eight of Cups: This card represents moving on from an emotional situation or relationship that is no longer fulfilling. It may indicate the need for closure and a fresh start.
9. Nine of Cups: Known as the “wish card,” the Nine of Cups symbolizes emotional contentment and fulfillment. It can indicate that one’s emotional desires and wishes are coming true.
10. Ten of Cups: The Ten of Cups represents emotional fulfillment, harmony, and family. It signifies a happy family life or a strong emotional connection to a group of people.
11. Page of Cups: This card represents youth, innocence, and emotional creativity. It may indicate a new emotional journey or a fresh perspective on one’s current situation.
12. Knight of Cups: The Knight of Cups indicates a romantic or creative individual who is led by their emotions. It can represent a journey of self-discovery or a search for emotional fulfillment.
13. Queen of Cups: This card represents emotional intelligence, nurturing, and compassion. It signifies an emotionally mature individual who is in tune with their emotions and the emotions of others.
14. King of Cups: The King of Cups represents emotional stability and control. It signifies an individual who is in full control of their emotions and can provide emotional guidance and support to others.
The Cups suit is an essential tool for emotional exploration and self-discovery. Each card offers a unique insight into one’s emotional state and can help guide them towards a more fulfilling emotional journey.
3. Swords (Air)
Swords are the suit of air in most tarot decks. They represent the realm of the mind and mental faculties. Swords are often associated with intellect, communication, and the power of the word. The suit of swords is challenging and often presents difficult situations, but with it comes wisdom and clarity of mind. It’s a suit of action, of doing what needs to be done to overcome obstacles and face challenges.
The Ace of Swords represents the beginnings of mental clarity and the truth that comes with it. This card can signify new ideas and inspiration or breakthroughs in difficult situations. The imagery of this card often includes a sword with a crown or wreath tied around it, symbolizing victory and power.
The Two of Swords represents indecision and a need to make a choice. This card often features a figure blindfolded with the swords crossed over their chest. It can be interpreted as a need to remove oneself from distractions and external factors in order to gain clarity of thought.
The Three of Swords is often seen as the most negative card in the suit of swords. It represents heartbreak, betrayal, and emotional pain. The imagery of this card often includes three swords piercing a heart. However, it can also signify the need to face painful truths in order to move forward and heal.
The Four of Swords represents rest and healing after a time of difficulty. It can signify the need for self-care and taking the time to recover mentally and emotionally. Sometimes this card can also represent a period of retreat or solitude to gain an inner understanding of oneself.
The Five of Swords represents conflict and tension. It can signify a situation where one person has emerged as the clear winner, but not without leaving others behind in defeat. This card can also represent the feeling of needing to cut ties with certain people or situations.
The Six of Swords often represents a difficult transition or journey. It can signify a time of growth and development, but not without struggles and setbacks. The imagery of this card often includes a boat or ferry, symbolizing a journey across a body of water to a new destination.
The Seven of Swords represents deception and trickery. It can signify someone seeking an advantage through manipulation or deceit. However, it can also signify the need to use one’s intellect and wit to overcome challenges.
The Eight of Swords represents feeling trapped or limited in one’s circumstances. It can signify a need to break free from restrictive beliefs or situations. The imagery of this card often includes a figure bound or blindfolded, symbolizing the feeling of being trapped.
The Nine of Swords is a card of fear and anxiety. It can represent the torment of one’s own thoughts and worries. However, it can also signify the need to confront these fears and move through them to attain mental clarity.
The Ten of Swords is often seen as the most negative card in the entire tarot deck. It represents betrayal, defeat, and sometimes death. The imagery of this card often includes ten swords piercing a figure lying facedown on the ground. However, it can also signify the end of a difficult situation or cycle, leading to new beginnings.
The suit of swords can offer valuable insight into mental and emotional challenges. These cards encourage us to use our intellect and communication skills to overcome obstacles and move forward in life.
4. Pentacles (Earth)
Pentacles (Earth) represent the element of earth and relate to material possessions, financial stability, and physical well-being. These cards often depict coins, jewels, and other symbols of wealth and prosperity.
In a tarot reading, Pentacles cards may indicate a need to focus on practical matters such as career, finances, or home life. They can also suggest a successful outcome in these areas, or a warning to be cautious with money.
The Ace of Pentacles represents new beginnings and the potential for financial or material success. The Two of Pentacles suggests the need for balance and flexibility in managing resources. The Three of Pentacles indicates the importance of teamwork and collaboration in achieving goals.
The Four of Pentacles warns against being too possessive or materialistic, while the Five of Pentacles represents hardship and financial struggles. The Six of Pentacles suggests generosity and charity, while the Seven of Pentacles indicates a time of waiting or patience in regard to financial or material matters.
The Eight of Pentacles represents hard work and dedication, often in relation to career or skills development. The Nine of Pentacles suggests independence and self-sufficiency, while the Ten of Pentacles represents wealth and abundance on a larger scale, such as inheritance or family fortune.
The Page of Pentacles can represent a young person with a practical and entrepreneurial spirit, while the Knight of Pentacles represents a dependable and hardworking individual. The Queen of Pentacles is nurturing and supportive, while the King of Pentacles is powerful and influential in matters relating to finance and material possessions.
The Pentacles suit in a tarot deck can provide guidance and insight into one’s financial and material situation, while also emphasizing the importance of balance and practicality in these areas of life.
5. Understanding Court Cards
Understanding Court Cards
The court cards in tarot decks represent people, personalities, and energies. These cards are divided into four different suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each suit has four different court cards, which are the Page, Knight, Queen, and King.
The court cards can be quite perplexing for beginners, as they may not be sure how to interpret these cards in a reading. One of the best ways to get a handle on the court cards is to think about them in terms of the energies they represent.
The Pages are typically associated with youthfulness and new beginnings. They are often seen as messengers or bearers of messages, and can represent a fresh start in a situation.
The Knights are associated with action and movement. They can be seen as representing events or situations that are occurring quickly or unexpectedly. Knights can indicate that change is coming or that there is a need for decisive action in a situation.
The Queens represent nurturing and receptivity. They are often seen as representing the feminine energy in a situation, and can indicate the need for empathy, understanding, and emotional support.
The Kings are associated with stability, authority, and power. They often represent the masculine energy in a situation and can indicate the need for leadership, structure, and a strong hand.
When interpreting court cards in a reading, it is important to consider the suit they belong to as well as their position in the spread. For example, a Knight of Swords in a reading about a job opportunity may indicate a need for swift action and assertiveness in pursuing the opportunity, while a Knight of Cups in a reading about a relationship may indicate the need for emotional openness and vulnerability.
Court cards can be challenging for beginners but can provide valuable insights into the energies and personalities involved in a situation. Understanding the roles and characteristics of each court card can help readers interpret these cards with greater confidence and accuracy.
In conclusion, understanding the Major and Minor Arcana is crucial for beginners in Tarot reading. It lays the foundation for developing a deeper insight into the predictions and meanings behind the artwork and symbolism on each card.
To summarize the article, the Major Arcana consists of 22 cards that represent major life events, archetypes, and universal forces. Each card has a unique meaning and significance that can have a significant impact on a reading’s outcome. On the other hand, the Minor Arcana is made up of four suits, each having 14 cards, which represents everyday life situations, emotions, and actions.
While interpreting the Major Arcana, the Fool represents new beginnings, The Magician stands for manifestation and resourcefulness, and The High Priestess represents intuition and mystery. The Empress holds significance for nurturing and creativity, whereas The Emperor talks about structure, power, and authority. The Hierophant is associated with spiritual guidance, and The Lovers represent love and relationships.
On the other hand, interpreting the Minor Arcana involves understanding the four suits of Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles, each having unique elements and associations. Court cards, present in each suit, represent people’s characteristics and personalities and add an intriguing aspect to Tarot readings.
The journey to becoming a Tarot expert involves practice, knowledge, and patience. This article provides a stepping stone for beginners to develop an interest in Tarot reading by providing an in-depth understanding of the Major and Minor Arcana and its interpretation. Remember to trust your intuition and let the cards guide you on a journey of self-discovery and spiritual enlightenment.
| Pros | Cons |
| Comprehensive information | Lacks visuals |
| Step-by-step approach | Limited to beginner Tarot card readers |
| Uses accessible language | Not much detail on shuffling and card layout |
| Highlights important cards | No personal experiences shared |
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can beginners use both Major and Minor Arcana in their readings?
Yes, beginners can use both Major and Minor Arcana cards in their readings. However, it is recommended to start with Minor Arcana cards to build a foundation before moving on to the more complex Major Arcana cards.
2. How many cards are in a standard Tarot deck?
A standard Tarot deck contains 78 cards, divided into the Major and Minor Arcana categories.
3. Do the meanings of Tarot cards change depending on the deck?
Yes, the meanings of Tarot cards can vary slightly depending on the specific deck being used. It is important to read the accompanying guidebook or do research to understand the meanings of the cards in your chosen deck.
4. Can I use Tarot cards for personal growth and reflection?
Yes, Tarot cards can be a powerful tool for personal growth and reflection. Many people use the cards as a way to gain self-awareness and insight into their own thoughts and emotions.
5. Are Tarot readings accurate?
The accuracy of Tarot readings can vary depending on the skill of the reader and the openness of the individual receiving the reading. It is important to remember that Tarot readings are not a definitive answer, but rather a tool for understanding and reflection.
6. Can I do a Tarot reading for myself?
Yes, you can absolutely do a Tarot reading for yourself. In fact, many people find that they have a deeper connection to the cards when doing readings for themselves.
7. What is the best way to shuffle Tarot cards?
The best way to shuffle Tarot cards is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer to shuffle the deck thoroughly while others like to simply cut the deck. Experiment with different methods to find what works best for you.
8. Do I need to be psychic to read Tarot cards?
No, you do not need to be psychic to read Tarot cards. Anyone can learn to interpret the cards with practice and study.
9. Can Tarot cards predict the future?
Tarot cards cannot predict the future with certainty. Rather, they can offer insight and guidance on potential paths and outcomes based on the present moment.
10. What is the significance of reversals in Tarot readings?
Reversals, or cards that appear upside-down in a reading, can add layers of complexity and nuance to the interpretation of the card. They can indicate blocked energy, inner conflict, or a need for change.