Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings
They represent a path to spiritual self-awareness and depict the various stages we encounter as we search for greater meaning and understanding. In this way, they hold deeply meaningful lessons.
The Major Arcana Tarot card meanings illustrate the structure of human consciousness and, as such, hold the keys to life lessons passed down through the ages. The imagery of the Major Arcana Tarot cards is filled with wisdom from multiple cultures and esoteric traditions, including the Egyptian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi, Hebrew and Christian religions.
In his book Pocket Guide to Tarot, Alan Oken suggests that the twenty-two Major Arcana cards are like the mandalas of the Tarot. Mandalas are detailed images painted onto canvas and used as spiritual study and meditation aids by the Tibetans.
Therefore it is important to study the images of the Major Arcana cards and contemplate their messages. Look beyond the simple keywords and traditional Tarot card meanings, and seek out your own personal meanings of these significant cards. The more you understand about their symbolism, the deeper your understanding of what they represent.
The Major Arcana cards can also represent Carl Jung’s archetypes – consistent, directing patterns of influence that are an inherent part of human nature. They are themes which mark, portray and symbolise stages in our psyche whereby we aim to become a balanced and integrated person. Along this journey, we encounter challenges, face adversity, perform labours, make hard decisions and fight opposing forces. Each step of the way brings us closer to enlightenment. This is often referred to as the journey of the Fool.
Major Arcana Cards in a Tarot Reading
When a Tarot reading is predominantly made up of Major Arcana Tarot cards, the client is experiencing life-changing events which will have long-term influences. There are important lessons which the client must pay attention to in order to progress further in their spiritual and personal quest.
If many of the Major Arcana Tarot cards are reversed, however, it is indicative that the client is not paying attention to these important life lessons and must return to the lesson of the previous card before moving forward.
Major Arcana Tarot Spreads
It is possible to conduct a Tarot reading only using the twenty-two Major Arcana cards. This method is typically used for Tarot readings relating to spiritual self-awareness or where you require deep insight from the collective unconscious.
Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings
Click on each Major Arcana Tarot card below to find out more about its Tarot card meaning, including the upright and reversed Tarot card meanings.
|Tarot Card||Keywords||Tarot Card||Keywords|
|Fool||Upright: Beginnings, innocence, spontaneity, a free spirit
Reversed: Naivety, foolishness, recklessness, risk-taking
|Magician||Upright: Power, skill, concentration, action, resourcefulness
Reversed: Manipulation, poor planning, latent talents
|High Priestess||Upright: Intuition, Higher powers, mystery, subconscious mind
Reversed: Hidden agendas, need to listen to inner voice
|Empress||Upright: Fertility, femininity, beauty, nature, abundance
Reversed: Creative block, dependence on others
|Emperor||Upright: Authority, father-figure, structure, solid foundation
Reversed: Domination, excessive control, rigidity, inflexibility
|Hierophant||Upright: Religion, group identification, conformity, tradition, beliefs
Reversed: Restriction, challenging the status quo
|Lovers||Upright: Love, union, relationships, values alignment, choices
Reversed: Disharmony, imbalance, misalignment of values
|Chariot||Upright: Control, will power, victory, assertion, determination
Reversed: Lack of control and direction, aggression
|Strength||Upright: Strength, courage, patience, control, compassion
Reversed: Weakness, self-doubt, lack of self-discipline
|Hermit||Upright: Soul-searching, introspection, being alone, inner guidance
Reversed: Isolation, loneliness, withdrawal
|Wheel of Fortune||Upright: Good luck, karma, life cycles, destiny, a turning point
Reversed: Bad luck, negative external forces, out of control
|Justice||Upright: Justice, fairness, truth, cause and effect, law
Reversed: Unfairness, lack of accountability, dishonesty
|Hanged Man||Upright: Suspension, restriction, letting go, sacrifice
Reversed: Martyrdom, indecision, delay
|Death||Upright: Endings, beginnings, change, transformation, transition
Reversed: Resistance to change, unable to move on
|Temperance||Upright: Balance, moderation, patience, purpose, meaning
Reversed: Imbalance, excess, lack of long-term vision
|Devil||Upright: Bondage, addiction, sexuality, materialism
Reversed: Detachment, breaking free, power reclaimed
|Tower||Upright: Disaster, upheaval, sudden change, revelation
Reversed: Avoidance of disaster, fear of change
|Star||Upright: Hope, spirituality, renewal, inspiration, serenity
Reversed: Lack of faith, despair, discouragement
|Moon||Upright: Illusion, fear, anxiety, insecurity, subconscious
Reversed: Release of fear, unhappiness, confusion
|Sun||Upright: Fun, warmth, success, positivity, vitality
Reversed: Temporary depression, lack of success
|Judgement||Upright: Judgement, rebirth, inner calling, absolution
Reversed: Self-doubt, refusal of self-examination
|World||Upright: Completion, integration, accomplishment, travel
Reversed: Lack of completion, lack of closure
Learn more about the Major Arcana Tarot card meanings, including what each card means in a career, work, finance, relationship, spiritual or health reading, in my latest Tarot Guide The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings. This comprehensive 330+ page Guide has everything you need to know about the Tarot card meanings and much more.