In Tarot the Major Arcana (or Trumps) can be seen as speaking to the major points in life and deeper spiritual issues. There are 22 cards in the Major Arcana ranging from 0 to 21. Some basic meanings of these cards are as follows.
The Fool can be seen as dealing with new beginnings and fresh energy emerging into a situation. It’s number 0 can refer to the energy behind creation or a soul awaiting birth. It can also refer to being ill prepared or just plain foolish.
The Magician can stand for the skillful use of power; power that many people fail to notice in their lives. The number 1 can be seen as indicating new beginnings or unity. In this sense The Magician can be seen as a reminder to make wise use of the power you have and to become one with that power.
The High Priestess
The High Priestess can stand for intuition and hidden spiritual truths. Her number 2 can reference duality and forming closer connections to the Universe around us. When we see the High Priestess she can serve as a reminder to pay more attention to our inner voice and intuition (the Teacher Within), and to connect more consciously with the Divine of our understanding.
The Empress can represent creativity, manifestation and bringing an abundance of good things to life. Her number 3 makes reference to this power of creativity and can serve as a reminder that no matter how bleak things may look in life, we have the power to create the world of our own choosing. Get busy and start manifesting!
The Emperor can stand for power and stability. His number 4 is the number of stability and strong foundations. In this respect The Emperor can serve as a reminder to build our dreams on solid rock rather than a foundation of sand and to wisely use the power that we have at our disposal.
The Hierophant can stand for traditional authority or a strong spiritual teacher in your life. His number is 5, the number of change and flux. Thus he can be seen as a reminder to pay attention to our physical and spiritual footings as we go through the changes in our lives.
The Lovers card represents love, caring and compassion. It’s number 6 can stand for patience and the generative principle. When The Lovers card comes up in a reading it may be time to reflect on what motivates and drives you in life. It can also be a sign of new love on the horizon.
The Chariot stands for skill and discipline. It’s number 7 can also stand for excellence. The Chariot can be asking the question, “What are you good at in life?” or “Where do you need to be exercising more discipline?”
The Strength card (as the name suggests) stands for strength; both inner and outer. It’s number 8 stands for advancement and pushing ahead through life’s struggles. Do you have the strength to advance through the struggles in your life? The Strength card invites you to see your capabilities in a new light.
“When the student is ready, the Master appears.” This old Hermetic truth definitely applies to The Hermit card. The Hermit has attained wisdom and now seeks worthy students to pass this wisdom on to. When you see The Hermit card it may be time to reflect on how far you have come along your own path of self discovery, and on which mentors you need to seek out to help you advance further.
The Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel of Fortune can represent a gift of fate coming into your life. It’s number 10 (which reduces to 1) can also represent a new beginning (or second chance) coming into play. Fortunes may well be changing in your life. Use your skills and talents to help shift the energy of change for the better!
Justice has also been referred to as the Karma card in that the energy you put out into the world will eventually be the energy you receive back. It’s number 11 (which reduces to 2) can also be indicative of the choices you have been making in life. Have you been making wise choices which will eventually reward you for your efforts; or have you been making bad decisions motivated by greed or other vices which may come back to bite you in the face? You reap what you sow; so be sure you are planting the best seeds possible!
The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man can stand for self sacrifice and noble efforts put forward to attain a higher good. It’s number 12 (which reduces to 3) can also speak to the ongoing process of creation. Before we can create anew, sometimes we must sacrifice certain things which might be holding us back. The sacrifice can be short-term; the rewards that come after can be far more enduring.
The Death card looks nasty, but she can have many positive meanings. Death can stand for endings, and it can also stand for rebirth or new beginnings. Death reflects the archetype of change…massive change! How you deal with this change can determine whether it is a positive or negative in your life.
Temperance can stand for healing, it can also stand for transmutation and the art of alchemy. It’s number 14 (which reduces to 5) can also stand for change. Are you making the best possible use of the energy of change in your life; or are you resisting it and fighting a losing battle? Work with the energy of change and use it to forge the life you desire!
Another scary looking card is The Devil. This card can stand for strong egos (which may get you into trouble) and bondage to the material world. It’s number 15 (which reduces to 6) may also indicate a need to re-examine your priorities in life. Are you sacrificing your time and energy for love of things which will fade away, or are you working to build things which will stand the test of time leaving you a living legacy in the end? We all are a mixture of good and evil. Work to bring out the good in yourself and others.
The Tower can stand for destruction and disruption seemingly coming out of nowhere. When this card comes up in a reading it may well be warning you of unforeseen difficulties arising in the future. Do your best to prepare in advance for difficult times ahead. Also open your eyes to any opportunities this energy of change might be offering you. See the good that can be brought forth in every difficult situation.
The Star; new hope and clarity coming into the situation. When times are bad often we can not clearly see the road ahead. But, when we take the time to rest and heal, our sight recovers to the point where we can see a new path opening up. The Star invites us to see beyond our present circumstances and into a future of hope and promise.
Where The Star stood for clarity, The Moon can stand for dreams and illusions. Now may not be the best time to be making set plans for the future. Instead embrace the mystery in your life accepting things as they are. Clarity will come in the morning. There will be time for planning then.
New life; rebirth. The number of The Sun card is 19 (which reduces to 1) suggesting a new beginning may be opening up in your life. Take this energy of rebirth and plant your seeds in it’s light!
The Judgement card can stand for new awareness and new awakenings. This is a card calling you to try and see the bigger picture in your life. Often we see things in terms of our hopes and fears rather than as things really are. Are you seeing things as they truly are in your life? The Judgement card may be calling you to reflect more deeply and to see anew the world around you.
The World card stands for enlightenment and ultimate reunion with the Divine. It’s number 21 (which reduces to 3) also reminds us that in every ending there can be found a new beginning. Even when it seems we have reached our end point, the process of creation moves ahead. When an old cycle ends, a new cycle begins. Never stop being born!