Unlocking the Meanings of Major Arcana Cards in Tarot

By: HowStuffWorks  | 
Tarot cards overlapping aerial view
The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, starting with "The Fool" (0) and ending with "The World" (21). Stefania Pelfini, La Waziya Phot / Getty Images

Have you ever wondered how the mystical world of Tarot can provide insights into your life and relationships? The Major Arcana cards are often considered the most influential and powerful cards in a Tarot reading. In this blog post, we will explore the rich symbolism and meanings of the Major Arcana cards, and how they can guide you on your journey to self-discovery, personal growth, and deeper connections with others.

Short Summary

  • Explore the spiritual journey of Major Arcana cards in Tarot to gain insight into life lessons and personal growth.
  • Discover how Trump cards, zodiac signs, elements, and intuition can provide deeper understanding for tarot readings.
  • Recognize patterns & themes in card interpretations while trusting your inner guidance to interpret messages conveyed by Major Arcana cards.


The Journey of the Major Arcana

The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, representing the spiritual journey of the soul, starting from The Fool at zero to The World at 21. As you progress through the Major Arcana, you’ll encounter important life lessons and spiritual development, guiding you through the various phases of the Fool’s Journey. From the naivety of The Fool to the final completion and fulfillment represented by The World card, the Major Arcana provides a powerful framework to understand your life’s bigger picture.

Each Major Arcana card conveys a complex message related to common experiences in our lives, such as The Lovers card symbolizing relationship dynamics and The High Priestess card representing intuition. Understanding the Major Arcana card meanings is essential for accurate Tarot readings.


To unlock the deeper wisdom within these cards, let’s embark on an exploration of the Fool’s Journey and the structure of the Tarot deck.

The Fool's Journey

The Fool’s Journey is a symbolic path through the Major Arcana, illustrating personal growth and self-discovery. Beginning with The Fool card, which represents a new beginning with unlimited potential, the journey takes us through various life lessons, culminating with The World card, symbolizing completion and fulfillment.

As we navigate the Fool’s Journey, we are encouraged to embrace new beginnings, let go of past pain, and trust in the process of self-realization.

Tarot Deck Structure: Major and Minor Arcana

The Tarot deck is divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. While the Minor Arcana cards focus on day-to-day actions and choices, the Major Arcana cards provide insight into the broader landscape of our lives and their long-term trajectory. In most tarot decks, this division is essential for understanding the overall structure and meaning of the cards.

For example, the Strength card represents inner power and the ability to overcome weaknesses, while the Temperance card signifies balance, self-evolution, and the avoidance of extremes.

By understanding the distinct roles of Major and Minor Arcana cards in a Tarot reading, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the guidance these cards offer.

Trump Cards and Their Role

The Trump cards, also known as the Major Arcana, hold a special significance in Tarot readings due to their representation of major life lessons and spiritual development. Some examples include:

  • The Hierophant card signifies institutions and collectivism, urging us to structure our workspace or engage in politics.
  • The Fool card represents new beginnings and taking risks.
  • The Death card symbolizes transformation and letting go of the old to make way for the new.

These cards offer deep insights and guidance in various aspects of life.

The Devil card, on the other hand, symbolizes indulging in pleasurable activities that bring a sense of contentment. By understanding the role of Trump cards in the Major Arcana, we can better navigate the spiritual lessons and personal growth they represent.


A Closer Look at Each Major Arcana Card

To fully grasp the wisdom and insights offered by the Major Arcana cards, it’s essential to examine the meanings and symbolism behind each card. From the fresh start represented by The Fool to the transformative energy of the Death card, the Major Arcana provides a roadmap for personal growth and self-awareness.

Let’s take a closer look at each Major Arcana card, starting with The Fool and ending with The World.


The Fool to The Chariot

The first eight Major Arcana cards represent the initial stages of personal growth and self-awareness. The Fool symbolizes new beginnings and unlimited potential, while The Chariot is a card of opposing forces and the need to manage and control them.

By understanding the meanings of these cards, we can better navigate the journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

Strength to Temperance

The next set of Major Arcana cards focuses on inner strength, balance, and self-control. The Strength card symbolizes the ability to overcome weaknesses and persist through challenges, while the Temperance card represents moderation, balance, and self-evolution.

By examining these cards, we can gain insight into our own inner power and the importance of maintaining equilibrium in our lives.

The Devil to The World

The final set of Major Arcana cards highlights transformation, renewal, and completion. The Devil card represents our internal struggles and harmful habits, while The World card signifies the culmination of a significant phase in our lives and the beginning of a new one.

By understanding the meanings of these cards, we can embrace change and growth, letting go of the past and welcoming new beginnings.


Discovering Your Inner Voice with Major Arcana Cards

Certain Major Arcana cards, including the Magician card, can guide you in connecting with your intuition and inner wisdom, helping you access your inner voice and trust your instincts. By understanding the symbolism and significance of cards such as The High Priestess, The Hermit, and The Moon, you can gain deeper insight into your own spiritual path and self-realization.

These cards can provide guidance and clarity in times of confusion and uncertainty, helping you to make the right decisions.


High Priestess and Intuition

The High Priestess card in Tarot is a potent reminder of the protector of one’s intuition and a representation of sacred knowledge. By connecting with the High Priestess card, you can learn to trust your instincts and access the wisdom that lies within you.

This card encourages you to embrace your inner wisdom and to trust the messages that come from within.

The Hermit and Inner Reflection

The Hermit card symbolizes:

  • Inner guidance
  • Introspection
  • Stepping back from the outer world
  • Connecting with our inner selves
  • Engaging in solitude and introspection
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of our own spiritual path
  • Learning important lessons

The Hermit card encourages us to seek wisdom from within and to trust the answers that come from our own inner reflection.

The Moon and Facing Fears

The Moon card in Tarot symbolizes concealed emotions, hesitations, and anxieties. It invites us to confront our hidden fears and doubts, encouraging us to bring them into the light and address them.

By facing our fears and trusting the process of self-discovery, we can overcome any obstacles that may be holding us back on our spiritual journey through soul searching.


Love and Relationships in Major Arcana

Major Arcana cards can offer valuable insight into the complexities of love and relationships, helping you recognize patterns and themes and gain a deeper understanding of relationship dynamics. By exploring cards such as The Lovers, The Empress, and The Emperor, you can better navigate the world of love and relationships with wisdom and clarity.

These cards can provide a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities of relationships, allowing you to gain a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities of relationships.


The Lovers Card and Relationship Dynamics

The Lovers card symbolizes:

  • Intimate connections in your life
  • The importance of considering all potential outcomes of any decisions made
  • Mutual understanding and respect in relationships
  • The need to prioritize self-acceptance and recognize our own worth before engaging in external relationships

It serves as a reminder of these key aspects in relationships.

By understanding the symbolism of The Lovers card, you can gain insights into the dynamics of your relationships and the decisions that shape them.

The Empress and Nurturing Energy

The Empress card is considered the most feminine of all Tarot cards, symbolizing compassion, beauty, and love. Her strong connection to Mother Nature and nurturing energy can provide insights into the importance of self-care and the role it plays in cultivating healthy relationships.

By connecting with The Empress card, you can learn to embrace your own nurturing energy and the power it holds in love and relationships.

The Emperor and Stability

The Emperor card represents leadership, strength, and power in the physical realm. In the context of relationships, The Emperor symbolizes stability and structure, encouraging us to take a measured approach and ensure all details are in order when beginning a new relationship or project.

By understanding the significance of The Emperor card, you can cultivate stability and a strong foundation in your relationships.


Overcoming Challenges with Major Arcana Guidance

Major Arcana cards can provide guidance and support in overcoming life’s challenges by recognizing patterns and themes, analyzing the cards in a reading, and trusting your intuition. By exploring cards such as The Hanged Man, Death, and The Tower, you can gain valuable insights into how to navigate difficult situations and emerge stronger and wiser.

The Hanged Man and Sacrifice

The Hanged Man card in Tarot is symbolic of surrender, sacrifice, and releasing any attachment to the ego. It serves as a reminder that sometimes we need to give something up in order to gain something of greater value. By understanding the symbolism of The Hanged Man card, you can learn to embrace sacrifice for the greater good and trust in the process of letting go.


The Hanged Man card encourages us to look at our lives from a different perspective and to be happy.

Death and Transformation

The Death card in Tarot symbolizes the end of a significant phase in life and the beginning of a new one. It represents transformation, releasing the past, and spiritual development.

By embracing the transformative energy of the Death card, you can learn to let go of the past, make peace with endings, and welcome new beginnings.

The Tower and Rebuilding

The Tower card in Tarot signifies:

  • Destruction and chaos
  • Symbolizing a sudden and unforeseen change in life
  • Opportunity for growth and rebuilding
  • Reminding us that destruction can be a catalyst for change and renewal

By understanding the message of The Tower card, you can learn to embrace the process of destruction and rebuilding for a stronger foundation in your life.


Connecting Major Arcana Cards to Zodiac Signs and Elements

Recognizing the connection between Major Arcana cards, zodiac signs, and elements can facilitate a deeper comprehension of tarot readings. By understanding the relationships between these elements, you can gain a more comprehensive view of the reading and the messages it conveys.

Let’s explore how zodiac signs and elements influence Major Arcana cards.


Zodiac Signs and Their Corresponding Tarot Cards

Each zodiac sign is associated with a specific Major Arcana card, sharing similar traits and symbolism. By understanding the connections between zodiac signs and Major Arcana cards, you can gain a deeper insight into the archetypal energies at play in your Tarot readings and how they relate to your own life and experiences.

These energies can help you gain a better understanding of yourself and the world around you.

Elements and Their Influence on Major Arcana

Each Major Arcana card is associated with one of the four elements.

  • Fire
  • Earth
  • Air
  • Water

These elements are linked to various energies, which can be used to interpret the meaning of Major Arcana cards. By understanding the influence of the four elements on Major Arcana cards, you can enhance your Tarot readings and gain a deeper understanding of the cards’ messages.

For example, fire is associated with passion, creativity, and transformation. Earth is associated with Earth.


Tips for Reading Major Arcana Cards

To make the most of your Tarot readings, it’s important to develop your skills in interpreting Major Arcana cards. By learning to recognize patterns and themes, considering the context and surrounding cards, and trusting your intuition, you can gain a better understanding of the messages and guidance offered by the Major Arcana cards.

Recognizing Patterns and Themes

When interpreting Major Arcana cards, it’s essential to identify recurring patterns and themes in order to gain deeper insights into your readings. By recognizing the fundamental issues of life, personal growth, inner conflicts, and deeper patterns that each card represents, you can better understand the messages and meanings of the cards in your reading.


These patterns and themes can help you to interpret the cards in a more meaningful way, and to better understand the cards.

Considering Surrounding Cards in a Reading

It’s important to consider the context and surrounding cards when interpreting Major Arcana cards in a Tarot reading. The cards surrounding the focus card can offer additional context and further shape the interpretation of the reading. By accounting for the surrounding cards, you can gain a comprehensive view of the reading and the messages it conveys.

The cards that appear before and after the focus card can provide insight into the situation and the energies.

Trusting Your Intuition

When reading Major Arcana cards, trusting your intuition and listening to your inner voice can be beneficial. By connecting with the cards and allowing yourself to be guided by their messages, you can develop a deeper understanding of the cards and their meanings and enhance your Tarot readings.

This can be done by taking the time to meditate on the cards, asking questions, and so on.



In conclusion, the Major Arcana cards hold powerful insights and guidance for our lives, relationships, and personal growth. By exploring the symbolism and meaning behind each card, understanding the connections to zodiac signs and elements, and developing your skills in interpreting the cards, you can unlock the rich wisdom within the Tarot and apply it to your own spiritual journey. May the wisdom of the Major Arcana guide you on your path to self-discovery and personal growth.

This article was created using AI technology.


Frequently Asked Questions About the Major Arcana Cards

What are the 4 Major Arcana cards?
The Major Arcana cards are The World, The Lovers, The Devil and The High Priestess, which represent endings to cycles of life, ravage, secrets and mystery, respectively. These four archetypes are commonly recognized as the anchors of a tarot reading.
What is the 21 Major Arcana card in tarot?
The World (XXI) is the 21st Major Arcana card in tarot, signifying completion and fulfillment. It is associated with the 21st letter of the Hebrew alphabet ‘Shin’, or ‘Sin’.
How can I trust my intuition when interpreting Major Arcana cards?
By taking the time to establish a connection with the cards and being open to the messages they bring, you can acknowledge your feelings and emotions when looking at the cards, allowing you to trust and be guided by your intuition when interpreting Major Arcana cards. This can be a powerful tool for self-reflection and understanding, as it can help you gain insight into your own thoughts and feelings, and gain a better understanding of yourself and your life.
What is the connection between Major Arcana cards and zodiac signs?
The Major Arcana cards are linked to the zodiac signs, providing a corresponding symbol for each sign that reflects their unique traits.
How do the elements influence the interpretation of Major Arcana cards?
The four elements of earth, fire, air, and water are connected to different energies that can be used to interpret the Major Arcana cards. Combining these energies with intuition helps provide a more holistic understanding of the card’s meaning.