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Tarot Major Arcana

The Major Arcana of Tarot.

The Meanings of the 22 Trumps of the Tarot Card Deck


The Tarot card deck consists of two parts - the Major Arcana (also called Trumps) with 22 cards, and the Minor Arcana with the remaining 56 cards in four suits. Here are all the Tarot's Major Arcana cards and what they mean in divination.



       The Major Arcana are the unsuited cards of the Tarot deck. The 22 Major Arcana cards don't belong to any of the four suits of the Tarot: Wands, Pentacles, Cups, and Swords. Instead, each Major Arcana card represents a dignity all of its own: a character of great significance, a mythical component, or an event of crucial importance.

       Each Major Arcana card of the Tarot can be described as an archetype, a symbolic figure or situation of great significance and meaning in human thought and culture. The Major Arcana figures are larger than life, representing different basic aspects of what it is to be human and to live in this world.

       Some of the Tarot Major Arcana cards are easily recognizable and their meanings are intuitively clear to just about anyone familiar with Western culture and tradition. The Devil, the Lovers, the Hermit, the Emperor, and so on - these are Major Arcana characters we can relate to because they are well-established symbols in our culture, and have been so for thousands of years.

       Other Major Arcana cards of the Tarot may be slightly less familiar to modern minds, such as the Chariot, the Wheel of Fortune, and the Hanged Man. But you only have to glance at the descriptions of those Major Arcana cards to recognize what they represent and relate to it. All the 22 Major Arcana cards are archetypes, their meanings obvious to us all, once we're introduced to them.

       In Tarot divination you should pay particular attention to Major Arcana cards appearing in your spread. Not only does each Major Arcana card carry its archetypical meaning, but it also points out the gravity of it. Someone very important enters, or some very significant event is afoot. I can't stress this enough.

       The Tarot's Major Arcana cards don't bother with everyday events and people you meet daily. They appear when something extraordinary happens, something that you'd remember to put in your autobiography. So, pay attention when a Major Arcana card pops up in your Tarot spread.

       Here are all the 22 cards of the Major Arcana and what they mean in Tarot card divination (Click the card image for more about the card's meaning.):


Tarot Major Arcana card: The Magician

1 The Magician

A sudden solution, as if by magic - but it may be just an illusion.

Archetype:

Wizard: surpassing the plausible.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The High Priestess

2 The High Priestess

Secrets and hidden circumstances stand in the way and need to be understood.

Archetype:

Secret: hidden influence.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Empress

3 The Empress

The gentle power that still rules, almost unnoticed and rarely opposed.

Archetype:

Benefactor: gentle power



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Emperor

4 The Emperor

You're up against real power, so yield or suffer the consequences.

Archetype:

Supreme ruler: irresistible power.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Hierophant

5 The Hierophant

The dependency on approval from an elevated dignity.

Archetype:

Priest: spiritual authority.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Lovers

6 The Lovers

Deeply felt mutual attraction - for as long as it lasts.

Archetype:

Love: intense affection.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Chariot

7 The Chariot

Triumph - but beware of its consequences at length.

Archetype:

Conqueror: success in spite of resistance.



Tarot Major Arcana card: Strength

8 Strength

Strength of a kind that's superior because of its clever application.

Archetype:

Hero: a great feat.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Hermit

9 The Hermit

The lesson and reward, but also misfortune, of solitude.

Archetype:

Solitude: isolation.



Tarot Major Arcana card: Wheel of Fortune

10 Wheel of Fortune

An uncertain outcome, with an aftermath to be carefully considered.

Archetype:

Chance: the unpredictable.



Tarot Major Arcana card: Justice

11 Justice

Justice without blindfold is not always fair.

Archetype:

Judge: the rule of law.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Hanged Man

12 The Hanged Man

Great personal sacrifice that still doesn't hurt much.

Archetype:

Martyr: sacrifice.



Tarot Major Arcana card: Death

13 Death

A costly loss - sometimes, but not always, the death of someone.

Archetype:

Grim reaper: coming to an end.



Tarot Major Arcana card: Temperance

14 Temperance

Moderation in all is ultimate persistence.

Archetype:

Patience: time passes.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Devil

15 The Devil

The pain and delight of giving in to temptation.

Archetype:

Archfiend: nemesis.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Tower

16 The Tower

A spectacular ambition that ends with disaster.

Archetype:

Destruction: failure.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Star

17 The Star

Time to pause and reflect, contemplate what's precious and what's not.

Archetype:

Distance: the unreachable.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Moon

18 The Moon

Longing for the sake of longing, and the hope of fulfillment.

Archetype:

Soul: longing.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Sun

19 The Sun

Great resources at your disposal, but constrain yourself since it's possible to have too much.

Archetype:

Ability: triumph.



Tarot Major Arcana card: Judgement

20 Judgement

Ultimate judgment, whether we welcome it or not.

Archetype:

Result: final outcome.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The World

21 The World

Success in anything worldly, but not for free.

Archetype:

Opportunity: success at hand.



Tarot Major Arcana card: The Fool

0 The Fool

Blissful carelessness, the power of ignorance.

Archetype:

Innocence: carefree ignorance.






The Book

Tarot Unfolded. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tarot Unfolded

This book focuses on the Tarot card images and their allegorical symbols. Several spreads are introduced, as well as the meanings of all the 78 cards and their pictures. The book will help you find your own intuitive way of making inspired Tarot card readings. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

More about the book here.

My Other Websites:


I Ching Online

The 64 hexagrams of the Chinese classic I Ching and what they mean in divination. Try it online for free.


Complete Horoscope

How predictions are done in classical astrology with the full horoscope chart. Many examples.


Creation Myths

Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal.


Other Books of Mine

Your Health in Your Horoscope. Book by Stefan Stenudd.

Your Health in Your Horoscope

What the horoscope says about your health, according to the old tradition of medical astrology. Click the image to see the book (and Kindle ebook) at Amazon.


Life Energy Encyclopedia. Book by Stefan Stenudd.

Life Energy Encyclopedia

Qi, prana, spirit, pneuma, and many other life forces around the world explained and compared. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Stefan Stenudd, Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction. Stefan Stenudd


About me

I'm a Swedish author. In addition to fiction, I've written books about the Tarot, Taoism, astrology and other metaphysical traditions. I'm also an historian of ideas, researching ancient mythology. Click the image to get to my personal website.

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