Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings – The Ultimate Guide

The 22 tarot cards that make up the “Major Arcana”, also known as the “Trump Cards” are considered the heart of a tarot deck. Major Arcana cards do not have suits attached to them like the rest of the tarot deck.

The Major Arcana represents human life and experience from birth through death. These cards symbolize the physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional aspects related to humans and the universe.

The Major Arcana uses archetypes of people with different representations. Some aspects of the Major Arcana cards may relate to the warmth and nurturing of a mother figure while others may represent the strength and commanding nature of a authoritative or religious figure. These can be representative of real people (either literally or figuratively) in your life.

rider waite major arcana

Each card of the Major Arcana depicts a scene which contains a number of symbolic elements which depict a person’s journey through life. Some tarot scholars believe the 0-22 sequence represents the enlightenment one attains in their lifetime, as well as a path of enlightenment allowing us to learn the true meaning of ourselves.

For example – the first card in the Major Arcana is the Fool. This can represent us starting out in life with so many decisions and unknowns. Next we meet the Magician who gives us ideas of how to progress. We’re then faced with the High Priestess who gives us guidance, and so on down the line until we reach 22, the World.

The Major Arcana focuses on our spiritual journey including our hopes, dreams, fears, joy and sadness. However, it also gives us answers to things concerning our day to day lives, including family, career, finances and more. 

When you’re first learning the tarot, it’s recommended that you start with the Major Arcana. When doing readings, you can look at the card in both the upright position and the reversed position. Tarot cards can differ in meaning depending on how the card is drawn – upright or reversed.

However, a reversed card doesn’t necessarily denote a negative meaning. The meaning also depends on the cards imagery and it’s relationship to other cards in the spread. In addition, you can also use your own interpretations of the symbolism.

In many tarot decks each card is numbered from 0 to 22 in Roman numerals with a word describing each card, however some decks contain neither numbers nor words, only pictures.

For purposes of this article, I am going to focus on the Rider Waite Deck. Of course, there are countless other tarot decks you can choose to work with however the Rider Waite Deck is generally considered the best deck for people who are new to the tarot, because of the amount of information included on each card.

Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings – A Complete Guide

Click on the links below for a general divinatory description and meaning of each of the Major Arcana Cards:

0 – The Fool

I – The Magician

II – The High Priestess

III – The Empress

IV – The Emperor

V – The Hierophant

VI – The Lovers

VII – The Chariot

VIII – Strength

IX – The Hermit

X – The Wheel of Fortune

XI – Justice

XII – The Hanged Man

XIII – Death

XIV – Temperance

XV – The Devil

XVI – The Tower

XVII – The Star

XVIII – The Moon

XIX – The Sun

XX – Judgement

XXI – The World

The Problem With Reading Your Own Tarot Cards

While it can be great to do self-readings, often you’ll find that your readings don’t make sense or seem muddied.

This is common when you perform a self-reading and is usually due to preconceived notions and assumptions. This is why I recommend getting a professional tarot reading in addition to practicing your own self-readings.

For a professional tarot reading from an experienced tarot card reader I recommend Psychic Source.

Psychic Source has been around for over 30 years and is a trusted platform featuring caring, compassionate and trusted tarot readers.

They have donated over $500,000 to communities in need through their Kindness Initiative, which means you are also giving back when you purchase your tarot reading (hello, good karma!)

Major Arcana Tarot Cards - The Ultimate Guide

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About Ash

I'm a lifelong spiritual seeker who has spent over 25 years studying numerology, spirituality, the Law of Attraction and the secrets of the universe. One of my greatest passions is helping people awaken their spirit, connect to their higher self and learn how to co-create with the universe. I also love spending time in nature, swimming in the ocean, reading and being with my family.

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