Tarot 101: Get to Know Tarot’s Major Arcana

Are you trying to get into tarot reading? If the answer is yes, then this is the article for you!

Being able to read tarot cards can be a rewarding experience. With its ability to offer clarity, it can help you make important decisions while also giving you insight into where your life is headed to.

That said, with 78 cards on a standard deck, I bet it is overwhelming or even daunting to start learning how to read the cards.

But don’t worry—the more you use them, the easier it will be to read them. However, you need to learn the basic of what each card represents, this includes the 22 Major Arcana cards and the 56 Minor Arcana cards.  

The Major Arcana are the first 22 cards in most tarot decks. These cards represent major life events or influences, and each card has its own symbolic meaning. The following is a brief overview of the meaning of each card:

The Major Arcana

The Fool

The Fool represents new beginnings, spontaneity, and trust in the universe. The Fool represents fresh starts and new beginnings. You may be about to embark on a journey with a child-like wonder. Take this card as an indication to stay in the present and have a hopeful attitude in your endeavors.

If you get this card in reverse, it could mean that you are a bit reckless.

The Magician

The Magician represents power, skill, and the ability to manifest one’s desires. If you pull this card, then it indicates that you or the person you are reading for is likely working on their manifestations or dream life. Pulling The Magician is a sign you’ll be able to create what you desire with hard work and a bit of imagination.

If you get this in reverse, it would mean that you or the person you are reading are dwelling too much on illusions.

The High Priestess

This card represents feminine energy, nature, spirituality, and intuition. This card is an omen that it’s best to step back, meditate, and get in touch with your intuition before making any major decisions.

If you get this in reverse, it means your intuition is being stifled.

The Empress

The Empress is a card of sex, fertility, and beauty. She also represents beauty and self-care, reminding you of the importance of making time for yourself. This card is often closely connected to the high priestess.

If you get this in reverse, you may be feeling empty or alone

The Emperor

This card represents stability, hard work, leadership, and rule-following. Drawing this card means you are adding more structure to your life. He wants you to keep in mind that if you’re embarking on a new project or relationship, you should take your time, and focus on getting all of the details right.

If you get this card in reverse, it may mean that you are being too rigid or too cold.

The Hierophant

The Hierophant is the masculine counterpart of the High Priestess. It represents religion, tradition, and the search for spiritual guidance. This card brings feelings of morality and ethics. It can be related to traditions, having good intuition, and mastering a certain area of your life.

If you get this card in reverse, it may mean that you are a rebel and do not like to follow logical steps.

The Lovers

The important thing to remember about the lovers card is that while it can mean a union, depending on other cards it appears within the spread, it might also be a reminder to consider any challenges in a potential new relationship.

If you draw this in reverse, the lovers card might unfortunately mean there isn’t much harmony in a particular union.

The Chariot

The Chariot represents victory, determination, and the ability to control one’s emotions. If you get the chariot card, it could be a sign of needing more control or gaining willpower in a situation. It is a reminder that you can achieve anything you want as long as you work hard toward action.

On the reverse, The Chariot can mean the opposite, where you are lacking a plan or direction.

Strength

Strength represents courage, inner strength, and the ability to overcome obstacles. This card reminds us that we are in control and we can use this to our own advantage.

Getting this in reverse might mean you are feeling weak or insecure.

The Hermit

The Hermit represents introspection, inner guidance, and the need to withdraw from the world. Drawing this means you need to look inside yourself for the answers. Essentially, it symbolizes self-reflection and contemplation

Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune represents fate, destiny, and the cyclical nature of life. This card signifies a positive change is about to happen. Likewise, it represents a cycle coming to an end.

While this card is generally positive, drawing it in reverse would mean loss of control or struggles coming your way.

Justice

Justice represents balance, fairness, and the need to be true to oneself. Justice is the card of karmic balance, reminding us that cutting corners, taking advantage of people, and lying rarely work out in the long run.

In the reverse, the justice card may be warning you of someone being dishonest towards you or another form of unfairness.

The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man represents sacrifice, patience, and the ability to see things from a new perspective. Pulling this card can be a reminder to take a break, let the universe do its thing, and trust you’ll end up where you need to be.

If you get the hanged man in reverse, it might mean really needing to sacrifice something you aren’t happy about losing.

Death

Death represents transformation, change, and the end of a cycle. Death in the tarot is simply the end of a cycle. It could be a season of life coming to an end and a new season beginning.

In reverse, the death card could represent holding on to something when it needs to be let go.

Temperance

Temperance represents balance, harmony, and the ability to find inner peace. With the temperance card, you are being told to take it easy. It might come up during a stressful situation, or when you are moving too fast and not practicing enough patience.

In the reverse, temperance could be about doing something in excess.

The Devil

The Devil represents temptation, addiction, and the darker aspects of human nature. While this card may seem bad, it is not. Drawing this is a sign of, for example, being in a relationship that is not good for you.

In reverse, it is often about more freedom and gaining control.

The Tower

The Tower represents sudden change, upheaval, and the need to let go of the past. People are often afraid to get the tower card because it can represent some type of big change or danger, but in many cases, it is a good change. It could be a sudden ending you didn’t see coming, but one that brings about something much better for you.

In reverse, this may mean an end to your suffering.

The Star

The Star represents hope, inspiration, and the ability to find inner peace. This card is about healing, self-reflection, and finding your purpose in life.

If you get the star card in reverse, you might feel insecure and discouraged about something.

The Moon

The Moon represents intuition, the subconscious, and the ability to face fears. The moon is a beautiful tarot card full of wonder, but also one that contains mysteries and reveals hidden truths. There could be someone with an illusion who is hiding their true self or a situation that requires being a little more intuitive and looking for the signs.

In reverse, the moon card is often interpreted as some type of confusion or fear.

The Sun

The Sun represents vitality, success, and the ability to achieve one’s goals. Take account of its optimism and joy. If you pull this card or simply feel the happiness radiating from you, embrace it with everything you have.

This card has no reverse meaning.

Judgement

Judgement represents judgement, accountability, and the need to make important choices. The judgment card reminds you that there are some decisions that need to be made. You might be headed toward something new after a resurrection in your life, or perhaps being more self-reflective.

The reverse can be feeling a lot of doubt or like you need clarity.

The World

The World represents completion, wholeness, and the ability to achieve one’s goals. With the world card, a cycle has ended and something new is on the horizon. This is a very good and happy card full of balance and fulfillment. It could be a manifestation that is finally coming true.

Like The Sun, this card does not have a reverse meaning.

Final Thoughts

The Major Arcana cards are considered to be the most important cards in a tarot deck since they represent major life events or influences. Likewise, they are known to deal with deeper aspects of the self such as the psyche and the unconscious. They are also known to symbolize the journey of the soul while also indicating karmic influences that shape the soul.

That said, interpretations of the card would depend on its individual meaning, its position in the spread, and its connection to the other cards drawn. Nevertheless, understanding the basic meanings of the Major Arcana cards as outlined above can help jumpstart your tarot card reading journey.

Good luck!  

Denisse

Denisse loves reading and writing about culture, history, and politics. Outside writing articles for The Singaporean, Denisse enjoys musicals, gaming, and Harry Potter.

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