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

Below you will find a general divinatory description and meaning of each of the Major Arcana Cards:

 0 – The Fool

0 - The Fool - Major Arcana

Ruler: Air

The major Arcana Starts with the Fool. He is represented by the number zero. In medieval times he was the court jester – an innocent in god’s eyes. The Jester chooses and does whatever he wants, saying the most inappropriate things and getting away with it.

The Fool is the card of new beginnings and choices. It represents a crossroads – there is un-molded potential which is neither good nor bad – it all depends on the choices made.

The Fool Upright

The Fool Upright represents the type of person who is unconventional and does not care or listen to what others think – they do what is comfortable to them.

This card stands for new beginnings, new choices to be made, new experiences and a new path or direction one is thinking about taking. 

It is also represents a path that is filled with uncertainty. The Fool is a card of taking chances. The expression associated with the Fool card is “look before you leap.”

The Fool also represents a new life energy cycle. The Fool is about overturning the status quo. Innocence, naivety and spontaneity is also attached to the Fool.

Reversed

When the Fool is reversed it is advised not to take risks or make rash decisions at this time. Also try to avoid impulsive actions and choices.

Upside down the Fool represents being foolish, gambling, instability and wasting creative energy. When the Fool appears in reverse it is indicating that it is a bad time to make commitments. It could also indicate being the type of person who likes to start new things but never finishes them. The Fool reversed can also point to a person who is constantly changing their environment and their job.

I – The Magician

I - The Magician - Major Arcana

Ruler: Mercury

The number one is the number of creation and individuality and this is what “The Magician” is about; the power to transform through the use of his will.

The Magician is the conduit of a higher power – he is also an illusionist. Like all illusionists he can create an illusion of reality by the use of the sleight of hand and tricks.

He is confident in the skills he has in order to bring forth the results he wants, however his real power comes from those sources outside of himself. Just like in a magic show there are people behind the scenes to make things happen.

Magician Upright

When the Magician pops up it signifies an opportunity that may be about to present itself, assuming we can pull together all aspects in our life to make it happen. The Magician tells us that the more prepared we are for the change, the better the outcome will be.

Being organized, using creative action, self-discipline and a willingness to take risks can help us to master the material world.

A person who draws the Magician card has the gift of speech and an ability to sway and influence people. However, this person must recognize their potential and have the power to initiate things. They are witty and have very good communication abilities. This person can achieve anything they set out to do. 

Magician Reversed

When the Magician appears reversed this person is a bit of a perfectionist. They may appear outwardly to be able to handle any situation because they seem cool and calm; but inside they are indecisive and unprepared. They can use their gift of gab to manipulate and take advantage of people. It can also indicates someone who abuses their power and uses it for negative purposes. 

The Magician reversed can also indicate someone who is confused and unorganized. They do not make decisive choices and prefer to hesitate and procrastinate rather than make a decision

People who are represented by this card in this position are often lacking inspiration and energy. They may give up easily and have a poor self image.

II – The High Priestess

II - High Priestess - Major Arcana

Ruler: Moon

The High Priestess is the symbol of spiritual enlightenment. She sits between a palm and pomegranate tree which are symbols of male and female energy. Her crown has the full moon and she represents every virgin goddess. 

The High Priestess Upright

Along with spiritual enlightenment she also represents inner illumination and the link between that which is seen and unseen. She is the feminine form of balance and power.

When she shows up in a spread she is telling us to use our intuition or that we have good intuition.

The High Priestess also represents the unconscious mind and inner voice we have trying to give us a message. It is said when she appears, hidden knowledge or information will be revealed or there is such information that is hidden that needs to come to the light. The High Priestess represents unrevealed truth and hidden influences at work. 

If the High Priestess appears in a man’s spread she represents the woman of his dreams – the love he has been hoping for.

In a woman’s spread the High Priestess represents the virtues that the woman wishes for or has.

In any spread, the High Priestess means something is yet to be revealed. That there may be duality and mystery in association with a situation or person. This card suggests hidden influences that affect the home and work of a person. It also represents a woman’s influence. 

High Priestess Reversed

In the reverse position the High Priestess means obvious knowledge and facts. It means any decisions you make will be based on facts and logic rather than intuition.

The High Priestess reversed can indicate a lack of balance and harmony due to insufficient foresight. It also indicates that the feminine or intuitive side of a person’s personality may be repressed.

If the High Priestess is reversed in a woman’s spread they may have a problem coming to terms with another woman or themselves. It also means surface knowledge and or repression or ignorance of true facts and feelings.

Sometimes the High Priestess in reverse indicates being self centered and sensual pleasures depending what’s next to it in a spread. Reversed, it can also mean things and circumstances are not what they seem.

III – The Empress

III - The Empress - Major Arcana

Ruler: Venus

The Empress tarot card represents the personification of Mother Earth. Her heart-shaped shield features the symbol of Venus. The Empress is the Goddess of love and fertility. The Empress is also known as Venus and Aphrodite.

Empress Upright

The Empress upright represents fertility and bounty. Her power is that of creation – she creates life in all forms and ways.

As an archetype, the Empress represents a mother. Motherhood, pregnancy, nurturing and unconditional love are the characteristics this card brings with it.

The Empress also represents everything created in nature. She represents abundance, material wealth, creation and artistic expression.

The Empress can also represent the security and stability that comes from years of a blissful marriage.

When the Empress shows up in a spread it can indicate a person who is over protective. She can also indicate a person who is gentle and loving, elegant and gracious.

In a spread upright it can mean the birth of a child is on the way. It can also indicate that you need to be open to unconditional love.

For artistic types, the Empress can also represent a need to nurture and develop artistic expression.

The Empress is a card indicates a person who is maternal in nature as well as domestic stability. The Empress indicates achievement in goals and growth. Depending on the other cards around it can also indicate marriage. 

Empress Reversed

When she shows up reversed, the Empress may indicate trouble in paradise. It can also indicate that the problem in the home is arising from infertility and or finances.

The reversed Empress indicates a lack of affection either given or received and lack of achievement. It can indicate a creative block, problems in a relationship, an unwanted pregnancy or abortion, infertility, promiscuity or sterility.

The reversed Empress can indicate poverty and trouble with children. When the Empress shows up reversed it is time to think about what is causing problems in your home. 

IV – The Emperor

IV - The Emporer - Major Arcana

Ruler: Aries

The Emperor represents power. The Magician has power through intellect, the High Priestess has power through knowledge, the Empress through love. The Emperor’s power is through power, period. 

The Emperor Upright

This is a person who is in control – nothing will get in his way. He was born to lead and will dispose of anyone who tries to challenge him.

The Emperor indicates success in a spread. It may represent the attainment of goals and reaching ambitions.

The Emperor has a commanding presence as he sits on his throne. The number of this card 4 represents stability and foundation. The Emperor represents domination of the material world. He is law and authority as an archetype.

The Emperor can also represent a paternal figure and again, a powerful person.

People who have the Emperor as their personality card or show up in a spread as such are usually competitive and forceful in how they execute things. This person is authoritative and the card can represent world power, structured and also governmental and corporate identities. They often have excellent self-control and the ability to shoulder many responsibilities. Their ambitions lead them to long term achievement.

The Emperor Reversed

When the Emperor is reversed it implies that the person is emotionally immature and unable to leave the nest – he may find it difficult to separate from his parents.

In reverse this card represents a loss of control. It also represents a person who lacks the ability to take action – instead they are passive on the sidelines.

This person may have either lost their position of authority or does not like authority at all. This includes a loss of authority in a governmental position or parental authority. They also may not like the government and have a strong desire not to be a parent.

This person may be indecisive and manipulative. In reverse, the Emperor can also signify an abuse of power. 

V – The Hierophant

V - The Hierophant - Major Arcana

Ruler: Taurus

In some tarot decks the Hierophant is represented by the Pope – this is because this card represents the ruling power of religion and faith. It symbolizes the orthodox teachings that are palatable to the masses. This is in contrast to the High Priestess who only teaches those secretly who are initiated to her mysteries. 

The Hierophant Upright

When this card turns up in a reading it indicates the person has a preference for a routine of ritual and ceremony. It represents spiritual power through an establishment.  This is a card that symbolizes the church or a group belief system. It can also represent consensus of politics or public opinion.

The Hierophant card indicates a person who accepts authority. It’s a card of conformity, safety in numbers and social pressure. It also suggests the person needs approval from others.

This card is showing the importance of conformity and may also suggest the person has a strong desire for approval from others.

The Hierophant also represents formal education. This person is a seeker of knowledge and wisdom. They either give or get good sound advice. This person can be good at teaching and an excellent counselor.

This also represents marriage and partnerships that are bound by morality. The Hierophant is about a world with law and order. For them the innocent citizen needs to carry identity cards. They prefer a sense of security at the expense of complete freedom.

Depending on the Hierophants position or aspect in a spread it can represent a good and secure reputation in society. It can also mean that this person has the ability to subvert and escape authority.

The Hierophant Reversed

If the Hierophant shows up in reverse it represents a person who is open to new ideas and thinks outside of the box. This person is a non-conformist. It can represent a rebel, a hippie, or an artist that colors outside of the lines.

It also can indicate that the person is at the stage in their life where they need to do something completely different or outside of their own restrictions.

On the other hand, when the Hierophant card is reversed it can mean misleading and or bad advice, poor counsel, slander and propaganda. It’s a warning to beware of first impressions. There is a distortion of the truth here.

When the Hierophant is drawn in reverse, it indicates a bad time to sign agreements, and represents misleading advertisements.

VI – The Lovers

VI - The Lovers- Major Arcana

Ruler: Gemini

You can see in this card two lovers standing in harmony, naked and with nothing to hide from one another. The picture itself in the card implies that someone has to make a decision to go for temptation or not.  They know that to have success in their lives together that they have to balance the subconscious with conscious desires. 

The Lovers Upright

When this card show up in a spread it tells us we have choices to make. It also tells us that we are human and struggle between sacred and promiscuous love. Because of these two things this card also represents the balance between our inner feelings and outer aspects of our lives.

The Lovers card is also the card of harmony and unions. It tells us to choose with our heart and not with our intellect.

The Lovers card can also represent difficult choices that are not related to love. When we see this card it may indicate a test that we are going through in a relationship, and that we may be considering our commitments.

The Lovers card can represent a struggle between two paths, abstract thought and harmony, internal harmony and union between two people as well as second sight.

The Lovers card indicates desire, a new lover, relationships, physical attraction, love, sex and commitment. This card is about duty versus our hearts desires and how the choices we make affects the rest of our lives.

It also speaks of taking a risk that would lead to fulfillment and your hearts desires instead of playing the easy and safe route in love.

The Lovers Reversed

When the Lovers card appears reversed it show us the possibility that a poor choice was made as well as fights and infidelity in a relationship.

The reversed Lovers is telling us we need to stabilize our emotions – it implies we need to get in touch with our rational selves not our carnal selves.

In the reversed position, the Lovers card suggests lust, moral collapse, temptation, indecision, separation, a failed love affair, emotional loss. When it appears reversed, the Lovers card can mean an unhappy love relationship and an inability to know what to do about it.

There may be contradiction, deception, duality and internal conflict. It indicates the person may b indecisive and postpones making decisions. It also warns that this is not the time to make final decisions on an important matter. The Lovers card reversed can also indicate that you’re not following your own moral guidelines.

VII – The Chariot

VII - The Chariot - Major Arcana

Ruler: Cancer

The Chariot is a card that tells of emerging victorious over our adversities. Like in ancient times when the gladiators fought for their lives in chariot races, the chariot means you are valiantly fighting your way through your own battles.

The Chariot Upright

When we see this card in a spread it is telling us that our conflicts are going to end in victory. It advises that sustained efforts and perseverance in a struggle results in you ultimately winning in the end.

The Chariot tells of your self reliance and belief in your own abilities. It can also represent unexpected good news as well as travel and change.

When we see the Chariot card, it indicates triumph, movement, self belief, assertiveness and good news. You will overcome the obstacles you are now facing.

The person who draws the Chariot card is decisive and ambitious when it comes to achieving the goals they have. The victory you earn is well deserved. You have undergone a period of struggle resulting in worldly success.

The Chariot implies self control, effort and perseverance. This card is about how one works within the boundaries their life has set upon them and builds a successful existence in spite of these boundaries.

The Chariot Reversed 

When the Chariot shows up reversed it can be indicative of someone who is either easily influenced or are themselves a bully, arrogant and selfish. It can represent frustrations due to things not turning out how one has thought they would.

It can also suggest travel delays and plans that will not go well.

The Chariot reversed indicates a person has disregard for others and is often envious. The Chariot reversed indicates the person has lost control of their life which has resulted in chaos.

Reversed, the Chariot warns of overwhelming ambition and high expectations. It can also represent outdated ideas and traditions.

VIII – Strength

VIII - Strength - Major Arcana

Ruler: Leo

The Strength tarot card shows a man alongside a lion. Both are in harmony indicating strength does not necessarily mean the display of brute force but rather a wise display of control and understanding the beast in us. The man in the picture is able to pet the lion, indicating that strength involves the use of gentle encouragement to get the results needed in one’s life.

Strength Upright

The Strength card represents its name not just in the physical sense; but also implies when it is in a spread upright that the person has the ability to cope with immense pressures, and will emerge victorious as he fights through to the end.

If ill health has been an issue with the person at hand this card popping up indicates a speedy recovery. The Strength card also suggests that if you have any unhealthy habits now is the time to stop them.

Strength in a spread indicates triumph over all the main things in your life. You will win in the challenges facing your relationships or your career. It indicates that you can defend yourself against jealousy, ignorance and oppression.

This card signals that the person has the virtue of fortitude. They are determined and can control the passion of emotions against their basic instincts. They control both their strength and power. This person has energy, is generous, optimistic and shows a strong resolve.

Strength Reversed

When we see Strength in reverse it implies the person is insecure and fearful. It tells of the person giving up due to being beaten by unfair means.

Upside down Strength tells of a person who uses their power in the wrong way. The person may feel inadequate about something and have a pessimistic attitude in regard to things going on in their life.

There is a tendency with this person to surrender to unworthy impulses and an inability to act on important issues. The Strength card reversed can also indicate that the person should not give up when they are so close to the finish line.

IX – The Hermit

IX - The Hermit - Major Arcana

Ruler: Virgo

Just like a hermit secludes himself living a life of seclusion and cloistered away from the world so is the implications of the Hermit card when it falls in a spread. We see the lone hermit with a light to guide him. This is the light of mans spiritual self shining as he walks alone.

The Hermit Upright

When we see the Hermit card either the person is living as a hermit or needs to take heed of the wisdom of the Hermit, and slow down.

When the Hermit appears in a reading he symbolizes the need for careful consideration of issues. It also implies that the person is in need of rest; including peace and quiet. If there is a health consideration the Hermit card is saying it is a time to rest and convalesce.

The Hermit card represents introspection and solitude. The person is looking for inner and spiritual answers as guidance. The person is in need of caution and prudence as well as discretion in their lives.

This card in a spread can also indicate a need to reach one’s inner resources. It is time to stand back and reflect on circumstances when this card shows up in a spread. The Hermit warns about making hasty decisions and recommends that if a decision is needed, make it only after taking some direction from a trusted source.

The Hermit Reversed

When we see the Hermit reversed it means this person is impatient and because of this impatience, has a tendency to make bad decisions. It also implies that this person is arrogant and obstinate.

The person is suspicious or creates suspicion with his behavior. They also refuses to heed advice and accept assistance.

The Hermit in reverse indicates a person who is highly suspicious of others, however this suspicion is not usually grounded with substantial reasons to doubt another’s motivates.

There is a continuation of unhealthy habits and lifestyle that is not productive. Depending on the spread and surrounding cards; the person relies on their own resources which are not adequate.

X – The Wheel of Fortune

X - Wheel of Fortune - Major Arcana

Ruler: Jupiter

The Wheel of Fortune is a card symbolizing help from a higher source coming to aid the person. The wheel is round, representing when one cycle ends it goes right into the next as a circle continues. If we apply it to life when we are down on our luck the only way we can go is up -when we hit rock bottom the only way is up.

The Wheel of Fortune Upright

When the Wheel of Fortune appears it is telling us we are about to have a new life cycle. It portends good luck and fortune, like the card’s name. It also implies that it is fate that has brought this luck and fortune into one’s life rather than by their own doing.

The Wheel of Fortune card heralds the end to current problems and rewards for past efforts. It has a karma element to it; fate is smiling on those who deserve it after they have paid for their trials and tribulations.

This is a card of destiny, movement, vision, good luck, a new cycle and synchronicity. When it shows up in a spread it is telling you of effortless success. It can also indicate unexpected good luck. The Wheel of Fortune is a card of advancement.

The Wheel of Fortune Reversed

When the Wheel of Fortune is reversed we can expect some bad luck. It indicates that our fortune is turning in the opposite direction. It forebodes misfortune and unpleasant surprises when reversed.

However many times the negative cycle it brings in reverse is temporary because the wheel always turns. Depending on where it shows up in reverse in the spread it can mean; obstacles, temporary bad luck, unpleasant surprises, unexpected interruptions, difficulties, delays and or a resistance to change. The Wheel of Fortune in reverse is also a warning not to gamble, as there is higher chance for loss.

XI – Justice

XI - Justice - Major Arcana

Ruler: Libra

The Justice card shows the sword and the balance scales being held by a person of royalty. This is a card of Justice and a reminder that Justice is served through law and order as represented by a sword. Balance is needed to serve justice, for when there is no balance injustice is in full swing.

Justice Upright

When Justice shows up that’s exactly what it indicates – that justice will be served. It can also represent that the person is fair or a fair decision will be made on behalf of the person or situation. It implies balance and equilibrium.

Justice is a omen of good luck in relation to partnerships, businesses and legal dealings. The Justice card can also signify the righting of a wrong that was done to you in the past or in your seeking justice for another. The Justice card is also a karmic card because those that do wrong are avenged by justice.

The Justice card is a card of rewards for past efforts. In some cases the person may not even know why they are being favored which is also a form of karma. When it shows up in a spread Justice can imply arbitration, fairness and responsibility.

Depending on one’s situation it can indicate amicable and favorable resolution of conflicts. Justice is a card representing triumph over bigotry and prejudice.

When this card shows up in a spread it can also mean legal action, litigation, contracts, settlements, divorce, and sometimes even marriage depending on the surrounding cards. It is a card of clarity and a straightforward choice. 

Justice Reversed

When Justice is reversed it represents injustice. It can also denote a floundering business and legal decisions that will not go your way even if you are morally right.

It can also mean you are giving or receiving bad advice that will result in a bad judgment. The Justice card reversed can indicate prejudice, bias and inequality and delays, imbalance or an unfair judgement.There can be complicated negotiations taking place as well as confusion surrounding a legal matter or tax affair. 

XII – The Hanged Man

XII - The Hanged Man - Major Arcana

Ruler: Neptune

In the Hanged Man we see a man hanging by his foot from a tree. The man does not appear to be suffering but is in a position where he cannot move freely. This is a card of limitations which seem beyond our immediate control, but like the Hanged Man, we are forced to accept this position. There is a temporary suspension of progress which is represented by the Hanged Man’s suspension from a tree.

The Hanged Man Upright

The Hanged man is a card of self sacrifice. It can take the form of either material or emotional self sacrifice. This person may be in a state of limbo or experiencing a pause in life until someone or something is given up for greater gain.

This card represents a trial of passage which is where the self sacrifice comes in. This card also has spiritual overtones in relation to one and self sacrificing themselves.

The Hanged Man is also a card of adapting to changing circumstances. In that regard, it can mean transition, flexibility, rebirth, deliverance and release. It indicates there is devotion to a worthy cause.

The Hanged Man can also imply flexibility of the mind and a willingness to make or adapt to changes.  It indicates that there is a sacrifice being made now in order to reap benefits later.

This card signals that there is a period of waiting for this person. When we see this card in a spread it indicates a sacrifice of one thing in order to gain something else. It is also a card of transformation. The Hanged Man may indicate illness as well as stress and anxiety. This card indicates this is a time for patience and not to worry. 

The Hanged Man Reversed

When we see the Hanged Man in reverse in a spread it is suggesting the person is selfish or is using emotional blackmail by playing the martyr. It also indicates there is a weakness with this person. Their weaknesses can lead them in the wrong direction both materially and emotionally resulting in missed opportunities otherwise.

There is a lack of commitment to something, generally because the person is preoccupied with material and selfish needs. Despite drawbacks they still prefer the status quo. It can indicate oppression depending on where it is in the spread as well as apathetic pursuit of goals.

This person has the mentality “Better the Devil You Know.” There is a failure to act with an inability to move forward or progress. There is a stagnancy with this person.

XIII – Death

XIII - Death - Major Arcana

Ruler: Scorpio

When people see the Death card in their spread, they often get unnerved because they think that physical death is announcing it’s arrival. However, this is not the case. In actuality, when the Death shows itself in a spread it’s signifying endings and new beginnings.

Death in the tarot card deck is about ultimate transformation. While the Death card can mean shocking or unexpected changes and or events, it indicates these things are being removed to clear a way for a brand new life. This card is about out with the old and in with the new; it’s a complete transformation.

Depending on the spread and surrounding cards it can mean sweeping changes, clearings and the beginnings of a new life. It represents that the change is a result of the underlying circumstances and this creates the transformation.

The Death card is a card of major change. It can also represent that a particular phase of life has played itself to the end – it’s purpose was served. The changes the Death card talks of brings abrupt and complete overhauls of circumstances, ways of life and patterns of behavior due to past events and circumstances. It is also a card warning of altercations. 

Death Reversed

When the Death card appears reversed it’s telling the person that they are resisting the inevitable changes that are needed in their life. It symbolizes stagnation when reversed. When the death card shows reversed it’s indicating that the person is missing opportunities because of their refusal to let go to the situation.

It can also represent fear of change in this position and a loss of a friendship. The Death tarot card shows in this position as a reminder that change is painful and unpleasant for this person. This person refuses to face their fears of change. Reversed, the Death card represents lethargy and mental, physical and emotional exhaustion.

XIV – Temperance

XIV - Temperance - Major Arcana

Ruler: Sagittarius

When we see Temperance in a spread it’s all about moderation. When we use moderation it will bring spiritual comfort.

Temperance can also represent one’s guardian angel looking over them. When this card appears it is saying this person either has or needs self control in their life. If they use control it will enable them to handle volatile situations.

This card speaks of a harmonious relationship and can also represent health, compromise and tranquility. Depending on the position it holds in the spread it can mean a good combination, cooperation and coordination of efforts.

The Temperance card is a card of diplomacy and successful business negotiations. There is a certain amount of maturity that the person has or needs in order to deal with something. This person has a placid, balanced temperament and good outlook. Literally, this card means temperance in relation to harmony and balance. The Temperance card portends good management and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. 

Temperance Reversed

When Temperance is reversed it is telling us that there is over indulgence, lack of foresight, impatience and conflict present. It warns that hasty decisions made out of impatience thwart the person’s progress.

Upside down Temperance indicates an imbalance either with the person or situation they are in. There is poor judgment here as well as fickle decisions. Conflicting interests are present.

There is physical stress with the person involved, disagreements are prevalent and there is a restlessness and instability. Depending on where it is in the spread it is indicating that combining too many things or the wrong elements in a short time span is not working. 

XV – The Devil

XV - The Devil - Major Arcana

Ruler: Capricorn

When we see the Devil card it is not necessarily pure evil as is associated with Satan, but rather the negative aspects of carnal man. The Devil card symbolizes the desires of the flesh, and that such addictions and temptations will not have a favorable outcome. 

Devil Upright

In terms of relationships, when the Devil appears in a spread he is warning us about obsession or people that are not good for us. This card is prompting you to look at the situation very carefully.

The Devil card warns against destructive consequences as a result of one’s actions that are motivated by greed, lust and or power. The Devil is not all a bad omen; he reminds us to change our course of behavior while we can.

He is also saying if you have any addictions that you should consciously be aware of how they are damaging you and others around. This card is signaling that you need to gain control over them ASAP.

What is interesting about the Devil card in a spread if it is in a favorable position and if marriage or a commitment is in the air; then this is a good omen. So, in a positive sense the Devil can represent commitment and permanence.

Depending where this card falls it could represent money issues and a feeling of burden in relation to material aspects of one’s life. It indicates the persons desire for physical and material things. This card can also imply the person has feelings of frustration and oppression.

When we see the Devil card in a spread it can also mean the person has a tendency to collect and hoard both money and objects. This is a card of lust and sexual obsession. It also questions one’s security at the expense of their creative or spiritual fulfillment.

The Devil Reversed

When the Devil appears reversed in a reading it has a duality of meanings. It can mean there is light being shown to us at the end of a long struggle. It can signal that burdens are being lifted or depending on the rest of the cards can indicate true evil.

Reversed, the Devil talks of abuse of power or authority. This person is so focused on material success that they forget about everything else. It can represent uncontrolled ambition. Greed, bondage either to a person or situation, emotional black mail and more severe forms of the above are depicted by the Devil in reverse.

XVI – The Tower

XVI - The Tower - Major Arcana

Ruler: Mars

Along with Death and The Devil cards; The Tower is another card that often causes an uneasy feeling we see it in a spread. The Tower tarot card is about unexpected upheavals, unexpected shocks and unexpected events that turn our lives upside down. However, this is all to create new opportunities and make us a stronger and wiser person. 

The Tower Upright

The changes that occur when the Tower is in a spread are usually sudden and may give us a jolt. Depending where The Tower falls in a spread it can also represent problems and delays with things like buying a new home or issues related to the home.

The Tower represents tyranny and revolution and the overthrowing of your existing way of life. This card also encourages you to see the discourse as something to force you into a new and better direction. The Tower can also mean this is a phase and it will pass so a new direction and opportunities can emerge from it. 

The Tower represents disruption and confusion – it’s a card of major changes. Depending where it falls in the spread it can mean disruption of a routine. When we see this card it is saying to us it’s time to stop doing the same old tired things. It can portend ruin, disturbances,  dramatic upheaval, widespread repercussions of actions and or a change of job and residence at one time.

The Tower card means now is the time to re-evaluate things; that this change is necessary and that better will come from this turmoil. It’s actually a blessing in disguise depending on the other cards in the spread.

Tower Reversed

There isn’t that much difference with the Tower reversed except that the cycle is coming to an end. Reversed the Tower is indicating it’s almost time to start rebuilding.

Reversed, The Tower can mean negativity. It indicates there are restrictions and some sort of imprisonment whether its physical, emotional or spiritual. Depending where it appears in the spread, the Tower reversed can mean that there are drastic changes that are robbing the person of their freedom of expression.

It can also mean bankruptcy or going to jail; imprisonment literally. The reversed Tower can mean sudden changes that one cannot control.

XVII – The Star

XVII - The Star - Major Arcana

Ruler: Aquarius

When we see The Star, it’s a bright light to illuminate our ways. It’s a welcoming sign and a card that is telling us if we look to our personal star blessings will come. 

The Star Upright

The Star brings optimism, hope, renewal of faith and unexpected gifts. It is a card of good health. Whether one is considering a new relationship or enterprise this card is a good omen for them. The Star card speaks of good things. It can mean good times for the person in relation to artistic or educational endeavors, travel, awareness or spiritual development.

The Star is a positive card representing generosity, serenity, fresh hopes and renewal. Depending on its position in the spread it talks about healing old wounds.

The Star is also a card of spiritual love. This card indicates that the person is broadening their mental and physical horizons.

It is also a card of protection, indicating that one is safe and protected. The Star is a card of inspiration and suggests that the person has the ability to influence others. The person who has this in their spread has vigor and confidence. 

The Star Reversed

When The Star comes reversed it means we are experiencing self-doubt. It warns us that this self-doubt ruins the possibility of positive opportunities. It can also indicate poor heath or sickness.

The Start reversed indicates stubborness. This person is either unwilling on incapable to adapt to changing circumstances which prevents them from seeing the opportunities that change may bring.

This person lacks trust, in themselves and others. Depending where this card falls in a spread it can indicate this person is experiencing obstacles in their path to happiness.

The Star reversed can denote a diminished life. This person has trouble expressing themselves and their mind is rigid. What is interesting is that even reversed this card can bring luck despite the persons cynicism. It teaches us to make lemonade out of lemons. 

XVIII – The Moon

XVII - The Moon - Major Arcana

Ruler: Pisces

The Moon is a card of emotions that run high and feelings of confusion in the form of uncertainty and fear. Just like moonlight it is also a card of illumination as well as unexpected possibilities. The Moon card tells us this person has perception and there are things surrounding them that are not true to the eye.

The Moon Upright

Depending on its position the Moon can mean a clandestine affair, but in the upright position it’s a favorable omen for that relationship to be able to emerge into the public eye. If it’s not in a good position it can mean that the secret may be exposed.

The Moon card also represents the unconscious mind and the imagination. This card denotes the person has psychic perception and dreams of spiritual insights.

If the Moon card appears in a spread, you should listen to your inner voice.

The Moon is a card of illusions. When we see the moon in a spread it could be telling us the person is not able to see things clearly which results in depression. In this case it also says the person is not in control of their life.

But even if the going is rough the Moon lights up the right path. Depending on where the Moon is in the spread also portends of artistic abilities such as writing or music and that using ones artistic talents can lead to unexpected opportunities. It’s also favorable to those in the acting and entertainment industry. 

The Moon Reversed

When The Moon is reversed it tells of lack of progress because of deep rooted fears and anxieties. It also implies the person lacks nerve in relation to a situation.

The Moon reversed indicates lies and deceit which may be the cause of worry for the person. It signals either they are lying or they feel someone is not being straight with them. In general: the reversed Moon is an exaggeration of the upright implications in a reading.

Depending where it lies in a spread, The Moon reversed indicates there is a need for secrecy, there is a deception, illusion, and the person daydreams to escape from reality. It also suggests the person has trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality.

Depending where it is in the spread The Moon also talks of insincere people, hidden forces and trickery. It implies the person has trouble telling the truth because they are not capable of it. When it is in reverse The Moon is saying this person is desperate and in need of help; they are in despair.

XIX – The Sun

XIX - The Sun - Major Arcana

Ruler: The Sun

Just as we feel happy on a warm sunny day, so is the blessings of The Sun. It tells of all the good things that we have in our lives and that there is more to come. This is definitely one of the happiest cards in the tarot. It is the most welcome of cards portending omens of joy and very happy times. 

The Sun Upright

When we see The Sun pop up it can indicate holidays, good news concerning children, and even a birth of a much wanted baby. When it pops up in a spread it dispels negativity and promises things will turn out well.

The Sun heralds happy times with family and friends. When we see this card we should know that we are going to be content, happy and obtain the success we have been wanting.

Depending on where it lays in the spread, The Sun ca mean material wealth or happiness and good health.

The Sun is a card about mental, emotional and spiritual vitality. Besides just happiness, it is a card that implies enlightenment, fulfillment and love. Depending on where it falls, The Sun could mean you are an inventor or have inventions. This card also signals academic success especially in the field of science. It is a card of reward, acclaim, approval abundance of energy and achievement. 

The Sun Reversed

When we see the sun reversed it’s telling us that any troubles we are currently experiencing are likely due to arrogance, misjudgments and an inflated ego. 

XX – Judgement

XX - Judgement - Major Arcana

Ruler: Fire and Pluto

This card is one of ultimate justice as in the sentence of Judgement. It is one of Karma being judged by a higher power which sentences our fates. This card reminds us that what we reap is what we will sow.

Judgement Upright

The Judgement card tells us that all our hard efforts will finally be rewarded. It says we should take stock and heed of our lives up to this point.

When this card appears it is signaling you take into consideration a brand new phase of your life. It implies if one has had bad health that recovery is now in effect and also gives the person a new lease on life.

The Judgement card brings with it an opportunity that you must accept; it may come in the form of a decision or project but it should not be ignored because it will change your life.

When we see the Judgement card in a spread it means things in our life will start speeding up now. It denotes a rebirth, a time to rejoice, new potential and rewards for the past hard efforts.

It is a card of change and improvement. It also implies a satisfactory outcome to a specific matter or period of life. When we see this card it is telling us that we will experience joy in our accomplishments.

Depending on where it is in the spread, it tells of awakening. When we see this card it means that it is a good time for career moves. It indicates we are in a period of mental clarity. It can also mean that an important decision that was pending will change our life for the better. 

Judgement Reversed

The first thing we know when we see the Judgement card reversed is there is stagnation around us. Depending where the reversed Judgement card shows up in a spread can imply the person has fear of change.

In relation to the other cards it can also mean fear of almost everything in this person’s life.  It also tells us that there is lack of progress in this person’s life due to a lack of important decision making on their part.

One can also experience temporary loss or separation when Judgement is reversed.

Guilt also is implied when the Judgment card is reversed. There is a sense of self reproach with this person and obstinacy. Judgement in reverse warns about self doubt and guilt over past mistakes which blur’s one’s way forward. 

XXI – The World

XXI - The World- Major Arcana

Ruler: Saturn

The World card is a card that confirms that the world is at your command – all you have to do is stay on a positive course and the world is your oyster. But if you choose not to follow the good fortune of your direction the world won’t be yours.

The World Upright

The World in a Spread tells us that you are about to get your heart’s desire. This includes things like achievement, recognition, success and triumph.

The World signals a time of enjoyment. It can take the form of a holiday or travel or time with loved ones. It signals a fulfilling relationship is being offered to you as is spoiling yourself with the material things you have been wanting.

The World also signals the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. It is a card that speaks of fulfillment, completion, satisfaction, joy, wholeness and success. This card represents a completed personal cycle, project or series of events or a finished chapter in one’s life. The World can also represent a culmination of events.

The World Reversed

When we see The World reversed in a spread it means the delays you are experiencing are challenges you have to overcome in order to succeed. It also means don’t give up when you are so close to winning even though the challenges make you want quit.

It also implies not to lack vision or feel insecure because you are soon to be successful.

Reversed this card indicates the person is frustrated. Depending on the spread it indicates delays to completion or that there is an inability to bring things to a successful conclusion. It also implies the person is resistant to change and lacks trust in the process.

The reversed World tells of stagnation, lack of will and impatience with the delays and hesitation. It also suggests that the events have not come to a conclusion yet but are nearing the end.

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
About Dawn

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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