Major Arcana Tarot

The Major Arcana – a group of cards in the Tarot deck, responsible for important events in human life. Their story takes the reader to Ancient Egypt. There were 22 huge images on the walls of the temples. In each of them was "sealed" some higher meaning, an important idea. Only the priests and some initiates understood the essence of the secret drawings. These images became the prototype of the main cards. Then the minor group was added to them. Hundreds or even thousands of tarot readers put their time on the altar of knowledge in order to understand what exactly the Egyptian sketches mean. As a result, they still managed to shed light on ancient wisdom.

Meaning of the Major Arcana in the Tarot

In any Tarot decks, the Major Arcana are a reflection of the inner world of a person. Each separate part from this group shows a section of the Great Path along which a person moves. The journey begins with the Fool and ends with the World. From the outside, you can see how the first thought is transformed into a specific result. Also, the Major Arcana personify archetypes – the original images that the human subconscious contains. With the help of the main cards, you can not only conduct divination sessions, but also work with the psyche. There are techniques that require only 22 Major Arcana. This practice is suitable for beginners and also professionals.

All Major Arcana are important in the spreads. It is worth paying attention to them in the first place. So, the forecast is built around the main card, and the minor suits will only complement the general meaning of fortune-telling. You can compare the meaning of the Major Arcana with nouns and verbs. The minor ones are adjectives. Over time, the practitioner learns to read very quickly, without thinking about each individual "word". Don’t forget about the reversed position. In this case, the Major Arcana are played as a shadow archetype, the reverse side. Everything in this world is dual, and Tarot is no exception.

Three Groups of the Major Arcana

The word itself comes from the Latin "arcanum" – a mystery, a secret. Thus, major cards reveal hidden information visualized in a particular archetype. In 1913 P.D. Uspensky presented to the world his vision of the structure of the Tarot. He believed that the deck shows the relationship between man, God and the universe. So, the Major Arcana, in his opinion, are a reflection of the Almighty. They are divided into three groups: Mind, Soul and Being. The Jester card, Uspensky proposed to place in the center and consider the very essence of the individual. It is the source from which everything springs in the manifested and also the inner worlds.

Mind Arcana

The group of Mind includes the Major Arcana from the first to the seventh. The Magician starts this chain. It symbolizes the first thought, the birth of a plan of action. Next comes the Priestess. This card shows the influence of the subconscious mind on the thought process. Then the Empress comes into play. It gives motivation and feelings. The Emperor is responsible for strength, power. The Priest seems to give a blessing, allowing thoughts to touch the soul. The Lovers personify the choice, the eternal oscillation between "do" and "not do". The Chariot shows readiness for action. However, this is still the beginning of the journey. Further, the first impulse must pass through the human heart.

Soul Arcana

The Soul is a kind of filter that separates the wheat from the chaff. The Major Arcana of this group also has seven positions. Strength denotes an internal struggle, a readiness to meet obstacles with an open visor. The Hermit is responsible for self-knowledge, solitude for the sake of spiritual growth. The Wheel of Fortune represents trust in the world, life in the rhythm of the universe. Justice symbolizes the voice of conscience, morality. The Hanged Man shows the ability to set restrictions, prohibitions. Death represents a transitional stage. And Temperance seems to heal the wounds received, gives hope for future victories. The questioning person managed to agree with himself, to understand the feelings he experienced. Now it’s time for action.

Being Arcana

Being is the manifestation of the individual in the external world. The Major Arcana of this group show important events that cannot be passed. Every seeker will have to face them. The Devil personifies all sorts of temptations. Satan is like an obstacle where many stumbles. The Tower shows: destruction, life’s hardships, crises. But the Star gives hope for a bright future, helps to heal. The Moon again continues negative motives – it means loneliness, experiences. The Sun also symbolizes victory, the complete overcoming of obstacles. The Last Judgment points to past deeds, predetermines a well-deserved ending. The World shows the completion of the process under consideration, the achievement of the goal. The Magician is crowned with the Crown, he has completed his journey.

Meaning of the Major Arcana Cards

In addition to various kinds of mysteries, the Major Arcana also show ordinary earthly phenomena. You can consider the Tarot deck as a kind of hologram of life, in which there is absolutely everything. This journey begins at birth and ends at death. But in addition to physical manifestations, spiritual trials are also shown here. Therefore, you can consider Major cards from any side – the deck will “talk” with the fortuneteller in a language he understands. The reversed position will give additional meanings, associations. In this case, the type of cards will speak of the least manifested features or an excess of energy. You should focus on the accompanying positions and on your own feelings from the spread.

The Fool

Zero or Fool in the upright position means creativity and a non-trivial approach. The Jester personifies excellent humor and the ability to simply enjoy life without worrying about tomorrow. Spiritually, the Major Arcana without a number show enlightenment. The individual is ready to perceive life directly, and not through the filters imposed by the mind. In the reversed form, the Fool symbolizes recklessness, empty hopes. This information is false. Often, in this form, the Madman falls when they want to check the tarot reader. He is deliberately given false data in order to put him in an uncomfortable position.

The Magician

The Magician implies an inner attitude to victory. The Major Arcana at number one shows the ability to work with what is. In the usual life plan, the Wizard will play out as concrete actions, steps towards the goal. It also denotes a subtle psychological game. But in the context of spirituality, the Magician personifies the use of a non-standard approach. The questioner can seek help from magicians and psychics, or independently tries to conjure. In a reversed position, the Conjurer shows a frank manipulation, a selfish approach. Someone pulls the whole blanket over himself, regardless of the opinions of others.

The High Priestess

The Priestess is a reflection of the unconscious. It denotes a hidden psychic potential, as well as a craving for the occult sciences. Additionally, the Major Arcana at number two personifies a secret, hidden information. Often the Popess falls when a person or event cannot be reliably counted. The object of interest seems to be shrouded in fog. The reversed High Priestess shows a secret woman – a mistress. They deliberately want to hide something from the querent so that he is mistaken. Also, the position of the card hints at love magic. In some cases, it symbolizes a specific girl – a witch or sorceress.

The Empress

The Empress is the archetype of the Mother. She shows the ability to give life and take care of her offspring. At the same time, both a directly human child and a new project can be considered a child. In any case, the questioner must invest in the implementation of the plan. Also, the Major Arcana at number three denotes life, family. But in the reversed meaning, the Mistress hints at excessive pretentiousness, guardianship. In real life, the position of the card will play out as the presence of a certain lady, dominating the fortuneteller. It can be: mother, grandmother, boss. With her overprotectiveness and strictness, she does not allow the querent to become independent.

The Emperor

The Emperor is responsible for the archetype of the Father. It means endurance, perseverance. The Major Arcana under the fourth number symbolizes a stable position, reliability. The Master shows a specific man – father, grandfather, boss. It can also talk about some business, business. Often symbolizes real estate. In the reversed position, personifies excessive pressure. Having an apartment or a house becomes burdensome. A man, on the other hand, crosses borders, shows cruelty and despotism. The emperor in the "minus" is an unbridled energy that is capable of destroying everything in its path.

The Hierophant

The Pope or High Priest shows confessors, priests. It is a church, a religion. Also, the Major Arcana at number five indicates medicine or teaching. The Hierophant means spiritual gurus who lead their flock to the truth. It also symbolizes marriage in a church, a wedding. He also talks about hierarchical systems – vertical relationships. But in the reversed sense, it is played as a false teaching. The trust of the querent will be used. Religion becomes only a method of suppression. The risk of falling into a sect is great. The questioner is psychologically open to all sorts of charlatans and suspicious personalities.

The Lovers

The Lovers is a card of choice. It implies a fork in the road, the need to make a final decision. Often the prospects that open up turn out to be completely opposite. And the future life depends on the choice of the further direction. The Major Arcana at number six can speak of fluctuations between two partners, as well as several job offers. Reversed, the Lovers is responsible for the inability to make decisions. The querent thinks about something all the time, but is afraid to take a step in one direction or another. With this approach, you can not expect drastic changes.

The Chariot

The Chariot shows movement around the world or some kind of growth, development in something. The Major Arcana at number seven personifies the transition, the turning point. The road to the new is opening, so decisiveness is required from the querent. In the reversed position, the Carriage shows a retrograde movement. This is degradation, a return to the past. Sometimes it will be lost as running in a circle or extra effort. A person does not want to wait for something, he rushes things. However, the future has not yet been formed, and therefore all attempts to outwit fate will be unsuccessful. In addition to the inner intention, favorable factors should appear.


Strength is a card of a huge amount of energy, power. In real life, the Major Arcana under the eighth number shows the need to fight with something. The fortuneteller will defeat even a stronger and more influential opponent. The same applies to the internal struggle – it will be possible to rise above base desires. Spiritual Power reversed predicts defeat due to a fiery temper. It is an unstoppable fire that can destroy everything in its path. Or the querent will face a more powerful opponent whom he cannot defeat. In this case, luck leaves the questioner and goes over to the side of the enemy.

The Hermit

The Hermit shows a solitary lifestyle, reflections on the eternal. The questioner discovers himself, discovers new talents. The Major Arcana under the ninth number denotes a philosophical approach to life. The Elder also speaks of leaving someone or a situation. A person is ready to leave a lot in order to go a different way. In the reversed position, the Hermit indicates attempts to escape. The person shirks responsibility or avoids encounters with the real world. In any case, he does not live a full life, preferring to hide behind a pile of books. And all this is given out for allegedly obtaining the necessary knowledge.

Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune personifies fate itself and its variability. Shows periodicity, luck, and temporary happiness. The Major Arcana number ten is the ticket to a better life. No one can guarantee a win, because here everything is decided by chance. However, fortune sometimes gives risky individuals a reason to drink champagne. But in the opposite form, the Wheel of Samsara indicates chronic bad luck, constant failure. In the life of a fortuneteller, a black streak begins with all the ensuing consequences. A person is also lucky, but, alas, in the other direction. It is useless to fight against fate, so the only way out is to endure and wait for better times.


Justice is responsible for the settlement of interests. This is morality, conscience. The Major Arcana under the eleventh number is often played as litigation, work with papers. And in this case, the truth will be for the questioner. He will be able to achieve justice, to defend his own rights. And in the opposite form, Jurisprudence implies the loss of support, moral qualities. So, a person can make the wrong choice or misinterpret something. There is a great risk of losing the case in court, even if the person is innocent. Sometimes the reversed view of the card shows fabricated cases, corruption.

The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man, even in upright form, has a negative meaning. The card shows protracted affairs, the inability to budge. The Major Arcana under the twelfth number are played positively only if the question concerns a disease. In this case, the Hangman implies remission. In the opposite form, it symbolizes weakness, the inability to get out of the trap created by oneself. A person becomes a hostage of his ideas and actions. He fell into a trap, but he doesn’t know how to get out of there. Here it is worth blaming only yourself. In the reversed position, the card gives a chance to get out of stagnation.


Death marks the end of a period. It can be a physical death or a spiritual crisis. In any case, the life of the querent will change dramatically. The Major Arcana under the thirteenth number promises fatal events. Moreover, the further development of the situation may turn out to be quite positive. Something new always comes to the place of loss. But in the opposite form, the Grim Reaper indicates being stuck in the past. A person does not want to let go of a former partner or leave a boring job. Thus, he simply distances himself from the best possible future. The fear of letting go puts an end to possible positive changes.


Moderation is the middle card. It shows a calm period of life, the opportunity to think about a lot, to relax. A person is not waiting for any shocks or trials. Fate seemed to give a coupon for a trip to the spa. The Major Arcana number fourteen are responsible for events that will not change in any way. The fortuneteller will remain at the same point where he was before. But in the opposite position, the Balance will be lost as stagnation, unwillingness to develop. The individual is unnecessarily slow, inert. This is where all the trouble comes from. Where it is necessary to show activity, the querent begins to conduct a detailed analysis.

The Devil

The Devil points to all the base desires of man, sins. However, the Major Arcana at number fifteen can promise unprecedented success, great influence, fame and fortune. There are no barriers for the Dark God. He bestows all blessings on his wards. But in return, he demands a lot. In the reversed position, Baphomet shows treason, revealed lies and a fall in status. Dark waters brought to the surface all the sins of the questioner. Now you have to take the rap for past mistakes. In some cases, the reversed Devil will be played as a kind of punishment, a curse. It is also all sorts of addictions, addictions.

The Tower

The Tower indicates destruction, scandals and quarrels. It is a powerful energy with great potential. However, now it only nullifies all the efforts of the questioner. The Major Arcana at number sixteen means loss, backward movement. Everything once created by a fortuneteller will simply turn to dust. And there is no point in fighting life, trying to restore anything. In the reversed position, the Almshouse symbolizes restrained aggression. However, the psyche of the questioner himself suffers from such pressure. Sooner or later it will explode, and then losses are inevitable. There is nothing worse than a calm person who is pissed off by circumstances.

The Star

The Star is a symbol of hope. The card often shows dreams, fantasies and dreams about the future. The Major Arcana at number seventeen indicates creative thinking, art. Also, the Dream card speaks of large distances – both physically and psychologically. Sometimes it shows platonic love. In the reversed form, it personifies a tendency to embellish, lie to oneself and others. This is insecurity, inconstancy, wandering in the clouds. A person lives in illusions, does not want to accept the real state of affairs. It is much easier to live in their own fantasies than to take some decisive step.

The Moon

The Moon symbolizes the hidden corners of the soul. This is the unconscious, the other side of the coin. On the Twilight card, various magical influences and divinatory practices also often pass. The Major Arcana at number eighteen mean: hiding the truth, not fully understood moments. Also, the card represents good intuition. Inverted, it promises squabbles and scandals. People cannot agree with each other, and therefore they destroy joint affairs and projects. Here the reversed Dusk will be played as a lie, a desire to prevent the opponent from succeeding. Additionally, the position of the card indicates the presence of fears, phobias.

The Sun

The Sun is a card of success, joy and fun. The Major Arcana at number nineteen has a "hot" energy that can motivate. The querent will achieve his goal, will be able to gain fame and influence. The card also gives the right to take a time out, to rest. The questioner has worked hard and is now reaping the rewards. In the reversed form, Prosperity hints at selfishness or narcissism. This position symbolizes arrogance, the desire to be the first in everything, even to the detriment of others. The same energy of the Sun is capable of burning, inflicting a wound. Sometimes excessive activity only destroys, does not allow you to look at yourself from the outside.


The Last Judgment symbolizes the summing up, the finale. Everyone will receive strictly according to their merits. The Major Arcana at number twenty indicate the influence of conscience, internal ethics. The one who is pure in soul and thoughts will definitely take what is due. The Higher Powers do not sleep, they see everything that happens on earth. In the opposite sense, Eternity is played as oblivion, going aside. A person has to wait a long time for something. However, he never gets the final answer. Another position of the card speaks of the punishment due. In some cases, the Judgement reversed alludes to physical death.

The World

The World is the final card of Tarot. It shows the completion of some life stage. The questioner will soon receive a reward for all the labors and hardships. The Major Arcana at number twenty-one indicates a happy fate, the opportunity to relax, find harmony. This is love, beauty external and internal. The card also denotes the planet Earth itself, long distances, Internet space. But in the reversed form, the Crown of Mages personifies the wandering in the clouds instead of specific actions. A person gets off the ground and forgets about his duties. He gets stuck in spirituality, dissolves into another person. But all this is very dangerous, as the risk of falling from a great height increases.

Tarot Arcana