Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings
The major arcana cards are a representation of life through pictures. The 22 cards represent situations we all face during our lifetime. Each card carries a specific message and gives a certain mindset to help a person in times of need. These cards reveal the big picture of a person’s life and the longtime direction of their life.
Major Arcana cards also called Trump Cards are made up of 22 cards. All the cards are numbered apart from one card called The Fool. If a Tarot reading is mostly comprised of major arcana cards, it usually means a person is going through events that will serve as major life lessons. If most of these cards are reversed in a Tarot reading, it means the person is ignoring or not attentive enough to these life lessons.
The Fool Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
On the fool tarot card, a young man is pictured standing on the edge of a cliff with a knapsack ready to set out for a new adventure. He is gazing on the sky unaware he is about to take a step and fall off the cliff. On his other hand, he holds a white rose to show his purity and innocence. At his feet is a small white dog that represents loyalty and protection, encouraging him to go forward and face challenges in front of him. This card reminds us to recall the path of personal development within ourselves and the moment in which we recognize that path for us to empower deeper self-realization.
In a reversed position, this card means a person is still caught up in a phase of ignorance or immaturity. It also means an emotional reflex or psychological attitude is holding a person back from reacting naturally or authentically to a situation. In the advice position, the card tells a person to take matters easy and to think beyond the realm of logic. It instructs us to let go of any demands or expectations and pay attention to the events taking place in our lives.
The Magician Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
This card generally symbolizes new beginnings and opportunities. It shows a man standing with one arm stretched towards the Universe while the other points down to the earth. He represents the connection between the spiritual and physical domains.
In front of him is a table with four Tarot symbols; a cup, pentacle, a sword, and a wand. Each of these symbols represents the four elements which are fire, water, earth, and air. This shows he has all the requirements to manifest his intentions into being. Above his head is an infinite symbol and on his waist a snake biting its tail. Both of these symbols show the Magician’s access to limitless potential.
In the reversed position, this card suggests a person may be working contrary to his own creativity. It again shows a person is uncomfortable taking a leadership position or voicing out his/her ideas due to lack of courage. In the advice position, this card tells us to believe in our creativity. The Magician advises us to think freely while exploring a subject at hand.
The High Priestess Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
On this card, a picture of a High Priestess sitting in front of a thin veil is seen. The veil is decorated in pomegranates which are a symbol of abundance and fertility. The High Priestess is between to pillars which mark an entrance to a sacred temple. One pillar is marked with the letter B, derived from the name Boaz and means ‘in his strength’. The other pillar is marked with letter J from the name Jachin meaning ‘he will establish.’
The High Priestess is dressed in a blue robe with a symbol of a cross on the chest and an Isis moon crown on her head. Both of these symbols show her divine knowledge and status as a divine ruler. In her lap, she holds a scroll inscribed with the word “TORA”. The crescent moon below her feet is a symbol of her relationship with the divine feminine.
In a Tarot reading, an upright high mistress card tells us to obey our preferred spiritual practice more regularly. It also tells us we need to pay extra attention to the signs we see in our dreams since they may hold greater meaning. In a reversed position, it symbolizes ignorance or lack of understanding. This means a person is ignoring a natural intuition that ought to be heeded.
The Empress Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
A woman is pictured sitting on a throne with an array of luxurious cushions in an environment surrounded by nature. One cushion has a Venus symbol which signifies the planet of love, fertility, creativity, beauty, and grace. She has blonde hair crowned with stars showing her divine connection with the mystic realm. Her robe is decorated with pomegranates to represent her fertility.
The Empress is surrounded by a beautiful lush forest with a winding stream. This signifies her connection to Mother Earth and life. She is responsible for providing us with nourishment and security.
In an upright position, the Empress tells you to connect with beauty and understand yourself by getting in touch with your sensuality. It also signifies pregnancy or birth of a new business or idea in your life.
The Emperor Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
In the Emperor tarot card, a ruler sits on a large throne made of stone with four ram heads engraved on it. These ram heads represent his astrological sign, Aries. In one hand he carries a scepter which is a symbol of his power to rule. He holds an orb which is a symbol of the kingdom he watches over. His long beard shows the age-old experience he has gained over time by learning what it takes to rule and establish authority for the benefit of his people. The barren mountains behind him show his determination and ambition to achieve greater heights in his leadership.
When the Emperor card is reversed, it shows arrogance or tyrant-like behavior may be misguiding your point of view. It reminds you that a king is a servant if his people and bad leadership choices can cause you to lose people’s respect. In an upright position, the card tells us to look deep within ourselves and find the leadership within us to help us get through a current situation. It also reminds us that our inner resources make us capable of getting a task assigned completed.
The Hierophant Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
The card depicts a religious figure sitting in an environment resembling a church. He is dressed in three robes; red, blue and white with each representing different worlds. His right hand is raised as a sign of benediction while the other hand carries a triple cross which is associated with the pope.
Beneath him are two acolytes that represent the transfer of sacred knowledge within institutions. When reversed, the card indicates that you may be bringing unnecessary rebellion against traditional spiritual beliefs. In an upright position, it tells us to have the desire to follow a well-established process.
The Lovers Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
In this card, a man and a woman are watched over by an angel above them. Behind the woman is a fruit tree with a snake symbolizing the story of the Garden of Eden. The angel depicted is Raphael, the angel of air who is of the same component as the zodiac sign that governs the card; Gemini. His blessings give the card a sense of balance and harmony.
In a reversed position, this card indicates that you are going through inner and outer conflicts in your life. It also tells us to think about our personal beliefs and values to make sure they are aligned with what you want to achieve in life.
The Chariot Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
In this card, an image of a man sitting on a chariot driven with two sphinxes is portrayed. One sphynx is black and the other white to show opposing forces. He carries the sign of the crescent moon on his shoulders to represent the spiritual influence that guides him. Although he is driving a chariot, he has no reins in his hand symbolizing he uses the power of his mind for control. On his chest is a square, which denotes the element of the earth and grounds both him and his actions.
In an upright position, this card tells us to overcome our challenges by maintaining control of our surroundings. It tells us our will power and determination are critical in overcoming obstacles in our path. In a reversed position, the Chariot indicates a lack of control in your life by being at the mercy of opposing obstacles and challenges in your life.
Strength Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
This tarot card represents nature, with a woman holding the claws of a menacingly strong lion. She gracefully controls the lion, taming it with her calming and loving energy. This shows her courage and compassion for the way she controls the lion. A blue mountain is on the background to show calmness and stability.
The lion is a symbol of courage, passion, and desire which are primary human feelings needed for survival. The woman is dressed in a white robe showing the purity of her spirit with a belt and crown of flowers representing nature at its best.
In a tarot reading, an upright Strength card shows you have inner strength during moments of distress. When reversed, it means you are about to encounter intense anger or fear in your life. It also means you are experiencing depression which is draining all the happiness from your life. This card tells you to gain confidence in such situations to re-harness your inner strength.
The Hermit Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
The Hermit depicts an old man standing alone at the peak of a mountain while holding a lantern in one of his hands and staff on the other. This symbolizes his spiritual mastery, growth, and strength. This card shows he attained a high level of spiritual knowledge and he is ready to spread it to everyone.
If reversed in a tarot reading, this card shows you may be resisting a process that will elevate you to a level of understanding and set you apart. It indicates you are in a situation where you would like to be alone but this seclusion might be harmful to yourself and others. In an upright position, the Hermit advises us to think things through carefully. It tells us we need to take time to reflect on what steps we need to take in the future.
Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
This is one of the most symbolic cards because it’s filled with a lot of signs each having its meaning. It depicts a compass wheel surrounded by four creatures; the angel, the bull, the eagle and the lion. These animals represent the four evangelists in Christian belief and are all adorned with wings.
On the wheel four Hebrew letters are inscribed; YHVH (Yod Heh Vau Heh) which is the unpronounceable name of God. The middle wheel contains symbols for mercury, water, Sulphur and salt which are the building blocks of life. A snake is on the outer left side of the circle representing an Egyptian God called Typhon, the god of evil. This represents losing the value of life by loving material or earthly things. On the right side is another famous Egyptian god called Anubis who is tasked with welcoming dead souls to the underworld. On top of the wheel is a sphynx showing knowledge and strength.
In the reversed position, this card suggests you may have fallen back or hit rock bottom but this is a chance to start over with a new plan. In the Advice position, it tells us to accept the flow of events and learn from them. This lesson will be of benefit to you for a long time.
Justice Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
This card is a symbol of fairness, truth, and law. A woman sits on a chair holding a sword in her right hand and a weighing scale on her left hand. The sword symbolizes impartiality while the scale shows how she listens and balances logic. She has a square crown on her head to symbolize the clarity which is required to dispense justice. Beneath her red cloak, the tip of a white-shoe appears. This is a spiritual reminder to show the rulings she makes are according to the outcomes of someone’s actions.
When this card is reversed, it means a deeper meaning is being withheld for a reason only higher power understands. In an upright position, it advises us to listen carefully to a people’s account of themselves to enable you to make a wise and accurate decision.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
This card depicts a man hanging upside down with one foot tied to the living world tree. The roots of the tree are deep, reaching the underworld and it’s known to support the heavens. The man’s facial expression is calm and serene, showing he is hanging in that position by choice. The red pants he wears represent the physical body and a human’s passion.
In an upright position, this card advises you to face the outcomes of your actions. You will learn from this experience and be grateful after it passes by. In a reversed position, this card tells you to be prepared for a situation you will go through. You will sacrifice yourself but it will not benefit the greater good.
Death Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
In this card, a living skeleton is portrayed riding a horse while holding up a flag with a white pattern. The skeleton is dressed in armor signaling invincibility and reminding us that no one can destroy death. The horse he rides is white representing purity. Beneath him, people from different walks of life lie in the dirt reminding us that death doesn’t differentiate between race, class, and gender.
In an advice position, this card tells us that it is time to move on and free yourself to join the sweep of incoming light. You will need to complete unfinished tasks, close accounts, harvest or lose some old friends for you to move toward to your ultimate interests. In a reversed position, it tells us to be patient with current circumstances without resigning ourselves to a negative result. It tells us to persist and endure in a difficult situation even if the end is not soon.
Temperance Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
This card shows an angel with wings, whose gender is not easy to tell, suggesting a balance between sexes. One of the angel’s foot is inside water representing the subconscious while one is on dry land representing the material world. On her chest, a square with a triangle inside it is drawn showing the earth’s union with the holy trinity. She pours water from one cup to the other, symbolizing the flow of life. Behind her, there is a path leading to a mountain range showing the journey through life.
In a reversed position, this card suggests that you are almost giving up on yourself. It advises you to participate in activities that make you happy and take some rest to gain a better perspective in a bad situation.
In an upright position, this card tells you to harness your skills and abilities to do what is needed to complete your mission. This could be using your spiritual power, wisdom or a lifestyle change that will assist in your quest.
The Devil Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
On this card, the devil is represented in his most well-known satyr form, otherwise known as the Baphomet. Apart from being half goat half man, he has bat wings and an overturned pentagram on his forehead. He is on top of a pedestal with a naked man and woman chained to it. They both have horns showing the time they spend with the devil slowly turns them into his image. The man’s tail is on fire while the woman has a bowl of grapes attached to hers. This symbolizes their addiction to power and finer things of life respectively.
The chains on the man and woman show the control the devil has over them. Their faces don’t look happy since their power has been taken from them. They are being held against their will and are ashamed to notice the chains on their neck are loose and could easily be removed.
In an advice position, this card tells you to express your true emotions and acknowledge the feelings we have. Accepting the depth and power of your feelings will help you to remain true to yourself. In a reversed position, this card symbolizes an individual who becomes self-aware and breaks all the chains that come with addiction or poor habits. These adjustments will be difficult to make but will pay off in the end.
The Tower Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
The tower card depicts a high spire nestled on top of a mountain. A lightning bolt strikes the tower and sets it ablaze making people jump out the windows as an act of desperation. The tower is a strong structure but its foundation is weak. This represents the ambitions and goals set on false premises.
The lightning represents energy or insight that leads to a breakthrough or revelation. The twenty-two flames represent the twelve signs of the zodiac with ten points of the Tree of life. This shows that even in times of disaster, there is always divine intervention.
In a reversed position, this card shows that all the drama and problems are over. It advises you to leave all the issues and emotions that caused the bad situation to happen. In an upright position, this card represents a change that will come in the most radical and momentous state. It advises us to replace old foundations in the past with something which is more genuine and will serve you better in what is to come.
The Star Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
A woman kneels at the edge of a small pond. Holding two containers of water, one pouring water out the dry land to ensure its fertility and this is seen by the green surrounding her. One foot is seen inside the water showing her spiritual abilities and her inner strength, the other one on the ground representing her practical abilities and good common sense
Behind her, a large star surrounded by seven other small stars, representing the chakras and the large one representing her essence. The astrological correspondent of the star is the Aquarius.
When reversed the star suggests that you are temporarily unaware of your brilliance and usefulness. It advises you to focus on your unique gifts and talents and use them to face any situation life offers you. In the advice position, it tells you to recommit yourself to your higher values and increase your meditation practice. Anything that interferes with this will not be serving your best interests for the moment.
The Moon Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
The moon a symbol of intuition, dreams and unconscious. On both sides a wolf and a dog representing the animalistic nature one being civilized and the other is wild, aspects of our minds.
There is a small pool representing the subconscious mind. A small crayfish crawling out of the pool is seen this represents the early stages of consciousness unfolding. The towers on both ends represent the forces of good and evil alluding to the difficulties we face by their similarities in appearance.
When reversed, the moon suggests that you may be deluding yourself or exaggerating your version of a situation. Consider whether you are if your rendition of events is keeping to the bare facts and not an emotional dramatic depiction. In an upright position, the moon card tells you to trust your instinct and intuition.
The Sun Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
The sun card represents optimism, fulfillment, and positivity. A large sun shining in the sky represents the source of life on our planet. A young child is depicted playing joyfully showing our innocence and happiness which occurs from being true with yourself.
The child sits on top of a white horse, representing the joy of being connected with our inner spirit and the white horse is a symbol of purity and strength. The child being naked shows he has nothing to hide or be ashamed of.
When reversed, this card tells you to humbly count your blessings and give credit to those who have brought this success. In an upright position, it tells you to have confidence in your spirituality and avoid any cultural constraints that are keeping you from being yourself.
Judgment Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
This card depicts what the last judgment would be in various forms from different mythologies. The image shows men, women, and children rising from the grave to respond to Gabriel’s trumpet call. They are holding their hands up showing they are ready to be judged by the universe. A massive tidal wave is in the background to signify the judgment is unavoidable and the judgment will be final.
In an upright position, this card tells you to allow yourself to grow, transform and release hidden potential within yourself. In a reversed position, it means you doubt and judge yourself too harshly. This causes you to miss opportunities that were meant for you. You will fall behind in your plans but you should move forward with pride and confidence.
The World Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana Deck
The world card has a woman dancing at the center with one leg crossed over the other. She is holding two wands or batons, a symbol that what the Magician manifested has now come to completion with the world.
A green wreath of flowers surrounds her as a symbol of success, while the red ribbons wrapped around it are a sign of infinity. On each corner of the card, four figures representing Scorpio, Leo, Aquarius, and Taurus. Together they symbolize the harmony between all their energies.
The world card is only one of two cards that don’t have a reverse meaning. It, however, could suggest a sudden slowdown in the flow of events. It advises you to trust and relax into the support of the Great Mother Goddess as things sort themselves out.
In an upright position, this card gives you approval to do whatever you want. It tells you to express yourself not caring if you get affirmation or consensus from others.
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