The Major Arcana in Tarot
The Fool's Journey
The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, also commonly referred to as trump cards. They are the pillar of the deck, offering more complex messages and themes than the Minor Arcana.
The first card of the deck is The Fool, and as The Fool travels along their journey, they encounter lessons, teachers and wisdom in the following cards. This represents our evolution.
What is the significance of the Major Arcana?
The Major Arcana are life's overall themes and lessons - the big experiences we all face at one time or another. Where the Minor Arcana deals with day-to-day occurrences and issues, the Major Arcana are deeper, mysterious and impactful.
What does a Major Arcana card indicate in a reading?
When a Major Arcana card shows up in a reading your attention is being drawn to the overarching themes in your life. What major lessons are showing up for you right now? You can use the other cards in the spread for more context, but any the trump card gives insight into the bigger picture, which is why they call them "trump" - they trump the minor arcana cards!
Excerpts from our Booklet:
This card marks the beginning of the adventure. It holds the excitement for the road ahead – and while it may be a long road, filled with ups and downs, it will always be worth it in the end. This card encourages you to dive into the unknown and be curious about whatever comes up for you. Keep an open mind and remain excited but try to not carry any expectations. Allow each event to unfold on its own.
The Magi is an encouraging sign - you are on the right path. It is also an acknowledgment of all that you have done to land yourself in this beautiful space. You have what you need to take your visions and make them a physical reality. The amazing thing about The Magi is that they have one foot in this world and the other in the unseen. They are able to flow between the two, allowing them to make shifts quicker than most.
THE HIGH SAGE
The High Sage has dominion over all things mystical. The watery space of the intuition, the subconscious and the divine is calling to you to come closer andThe High Sage indicates that diving deeper will be transformational for you.
The Pillar signals the presence of the earth, the elements, the sacred receptive force and natural beauty. When The Pillar comes to you in a reading, it may be indicating the beginning of a new life you are to be nurturing. This could be literal (a baby) or metaphorical (a new project). The Pillar holds the intersection of love and creation. The love swirls around you – you need to nurture and express these energies and allow them to take form. A lovely aspect about The Pillar is that they have a huge capacity to hold all things. They are masters at playing different roles and rising to the needs of others, so this card may be pushing you to expand a bit.
The Anchor is driven by the desire for stability, wealth and security. They want to protect and support those around them – they are natural leaders and can often be seen as rigid and tough. When The Anchor finds you in a reading, it is often an indication that it is time to build. You have a clear vision of what you want to do, so now you need to put the structures in place that will allow you to achieve your goals.
The Hierophant can often be a challenge for witches and new agers. Traditionally this card represents convention in all its forms, in particular within spirituality (ie: the church). In reality, The Hierophant embodies the growth that comes through rigorous practice. There are no shortcuts here and sometimes we have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable – we have to trust that sometimes traditions are long standing for a reason: they work. The Hierophant indicates that it may be a good time for you to dedicate yourself to a new area of study and seek out a trusted teacher(s).
This card signals a deep connection with another person, and while often romantic, not strictly so. It could mean love is on its way to you, or it is referring to a relationship that is currently on your mind. This card is encouraging, asking you to allow yourself to be vulnerable and honest in this relationship. It is important to remember that Love is a choice – despite the struggle, joy, pain and excitement it brings – it will always be a choice of whether or not you want to continue to show up for the relationship.
The Chariot barrels through obstacles and fills us with motivation, determination and a sense of empowerment. Things may be overwhelming and confusing and perhaps you are unsure how to make it to the light at the end of the tunnel. The Chariot brings a message of encouragement and inspiration– you are more than capable. You can get there and triumph, however you must buckle down and do what needs to be done.
Time to tap into your personal well of strength. While The Chariot rallies the troops and is action oriented, this card is more about our internal will and resilience as opposed to discipline. This card also carries the message that when we meet our challenges with compassion and love, it creates a faster transformation. For example, perhaps you are struggling with feelings of envy and jealousy, having the strength to meet these aspects of yourself with compassion and non-bias will allow you to shift them more easily than if you judge yourself for it.
The Hermit signals a period of necessary solitude. Perhaps you are in this space currently and are content, or perhaps you are fighting it. This card is asking you to surrender to it and trust it is in your highest good. When we are on our own, we are able to see and sit with aspects of ourselves that we have repressed.
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
The Wheel of Fortune carries the message that everything is a cycle. Everything changes - things come and go, and then come and go again. There is nothing we can do that will prevent life from unfolding. With that being said, this card carries a lot of luck and harkens the spirit of destiny. When The Wheel of Fortune finds you, be assured that awesome things are on their way – often this card comes up when you are at the precipice of big (good) change.
When this card shows up, it means that the scales of Justice are present in your life. You may have been wronged, perhaps you have wronged another or maybe you are a bystander. You could be grappling with an internal moral issue that is plaguing you. Whatever is up for you, it is important that you take a step back from emotions and try to view the issue at hand as unbiased as possible – sometimes perception is not truth. And justice is rooted in truth. In order to find true justice, one must have the whole truth.
THE HANGED ONE
The Hanged One is all about sacrifice. Sometimes in life we accept struggle in the immediate because we know it will pay off in the end. While progress may not be happening at the moment, it will once this period ends. You may feel like you are in limbo and may be frustrated with these circumstances, but do have faith that this is temporary and will work out in your favor. It is in our pauses where we are truly able to integrate the lessons we have learned – these are necessary! While you may feel more comfortable pushing forward, this card is letting you know that without surrendering to this pause, you won’t make the progress you want to.
While one of the more feared cards of the Tarot, its message is not inherently dark. It doesn’t mean physical death is at the door. The Death card indicates endings, it is part of the Life-Death-Life cycle. Where there is death, there is new life. This, however, doesn’t mean it is easy. Most likely you are having big transitions thrust upon you, despite trying to prevent them. A chapter is closing, and it could take the form of a relationship, job, business, project or anything else that has played a large role in your life. This is a time of transition for you, and most likely one that brings grief with it.
This card asks you to find balance and peace. Now is the perfect time to have a curious mind and to be open to different opinions and perspectives. Rigidity in how we view people and the world around us is not a pleasant headspace to live in – none of us are perfect and few of us are pure evil. Try to remember that humans live in the grey area and have compassion for people however you can.
While scary at first, The Devil card really carries the message of illusion. Somewhere in your life you are believing falsehoods or are being influenced in a way that can cause real harm. The subconscious is being fed here – whatever it is you are buying into is coming from a need or compulsion from your shadow. An often used example of this card would be addiction – the wounds held in the subconscious need the band-aid of substance. We may tell ourselves we feel better when under the influence but anyone on the outside can see that as fiction. But this could also be a relationship, you may be trusting someone but they are actually manipulating you for their own personal gain. This could also all be internal – isn’t believing you are unworthy a falsehood?
The Tower carries a weighty reputation and most people don’t love to see it. It brings rapid change and a total upheaval, though this does not always mean “bad.” The reason The Tower is often feared is because it carries the energies of a foundation completely crumbling. And when that happens, all structures built on top of the foundation crumble too. Anyone who has been dumped by someone they’ve been with a long time understands this: the life you planned for, the life you built in your head with this person is gone. You aren’t just losing them but an entire future. This is such a powerless feeling and it can take a long time to re-wire the brain to create a new future. Because with any sudden change, the brain is actually re-wiring! Each time you recall the thing you have lost, your brain is letting go and then slowly releasing the neural network that we have built around that thing. This is a long process that cannot be rushed, and the grief that accompanies any crumbling foundation is a lot.
The Star brings alignment and harmony, and often relief after a series of challenges. When the Star finds you, have faith that everything is conspiring in your favor. It is a perfect time to dream and vision for new projects and businesses. You may be feeling depleted and distrusting moving forward with optimism given everything life has thrown your way, however this card is an affirmation that you can expect a light period with things to be excited about. Hard work will be required but this is something you are used to.
The Moon has always represented the unknown, feelings and the unconscious self. There is mystery awaiting you and this card is encouraging you to embrace that within yourself. When we work with all the hidden aspects of ourselves it can be unnerving and we may feel out of control. Now is a good time to surrender to the ride – more will be revealed and illuminated but you cannot rush it, just as you cannot rush the moon becoming full.
Warm and bright, this card brings the message that all is well. You are in the flow and feel like you could take on the world. Enjoy this and take advantage of it! It is a good time to be optimistic – success is on its way. If perhaps you are not feeling The Sun’s presence at the moment, have faith that the sun will be shining soon.
This card can give some people pause - it has an ominous presence and evokes a feeling of unease. Despite that, this card is really an invitation to look in the mirror. Now is a good time to take inventory of yourself and your life in an honest way. You may be feeling a need for a shift in your life, new structure, new beliefs and a new way of being – this card encourages this.
To draw The World indicates that you have reached a new level of wholeness. You should have a sense of completeness and closure as things have come together for you in a beautiful way. This is a time for celebration as you have indeed triumphed. Spirit is sending you a huge congratulations, so make sure to drink it in. Now is not the time to be planning or setting off to build anything else, simply be present with this accomplishment. While it is human nature to always be looking toward the “next thing” – we are able to stay in the game a lot longer if we celebrate our victories.