Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings

major arcana tarot card meaningsThe Major Arcana Tarot cards (also known as the trump cards) form the foundation of the Tarot deck and consists of twenty-one numbered cards and one unnumbered card (the Fool).

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 Tarot Card MeaningsFool Upright: Beginnings, innocence, spontaneity, a free spiritReversed: Naivety, foolishness, recklessness, risk-taking Magician Tarot Card MeaningsMagician Upright: Power, skill, concentration, action, resourcefulnessReversed: Manipulation, poor planning, latent talents
High Priestess Tarot Card MeaningsHigh Priestess Upright: Intuition, Higher powers, mystery, subconscious mindReversed: Hidden agendas, need to listen to inner voice Empress Tarot Card MeaningsEmpress Upright: Fertility, femininity, beauty, nature, abundanceReversed: Creative block, dependence on others
Emperor Tarot Card MeaningsEmperor Upright: Authority, father-figure, structure, solid foundationReversed: Domination, excessive control, rigidity, inflexibility Hierophant Tarot Card MeaningsHierophant Upright: Religion, group identification, conformity, tradition, beliefsReversed: Restriction, challenging the status quo
Lovers Tarot Card MeaningsLovers Upright: Love, union, relationships, values alignment, choicesReversed: Disharmony, imbalance, misalignment of values Chariot Tarot Card MeaningsChariot Upright: Control, will power, victory, assertion, determinationReversed: Lack of control and direction, aggression
Strength Tarot Card MeaningsStrength Upright: Strength, courage, patience, control, compassionReversed: Weakness, self-doubt, lack of self-discipline Hermit Tarot Card MeaningsHermit Upright: Soul-searching, introspection, being alone, inner guidanceReversed: Isolation, loneliness, withdrawal
Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card MeaningsWheel of Fortune Upright: Good luck, karma, life cycles, destiny, a turning pointReversed: Bad luck, negative external forces, out of control Justice Tarot Card MeaningsJustice Upright: Justice, fairness, truth, cause and effect, lawReversed: Unfairness, lack of accountability, dishonesty
Hanged Man Tarot Card MeaningsHanged Man Upright: Suspension, restriction, letting go, sacrificeReversed: Martyrdom, indecision, delay Death Tarot Card MeaningsDeath Upright: Endings, beginnings, change, transformation, transitionReversed: Resistance to change, unable to move on
Temperance Tarot Card MeaningsTemperance Upright: Balance, moderation, patience, purpose, meaningReversed: Imbalance, excess, lack of long-term vision Devil Tarot Card MeaningsDevil Upright: Bondage, addiction, sexuality, materialismReversed: Detachment, breaking free, power reclaimed
Tower Tarot Card MeaningsTower Upright: Disaster, upheaval, sudden change, revelationReversed: Avoidance of disaster, fear of change Star Tarot Card MeaningsStar Upright: Hope, spirituality, renewal, inspiration, serenityReversed: Lack of faith, despair, discouragement
Moon Tarot Card MeaningsMoon Upright: Illusion, fear, anxiety, insecurity, subconsciousReversed: Release of fear, unhappiness, confusion Sun Tarot Card MeaningsSun Upright: Fun, warmth, success, positivity, vitalityReversed: Temporary depression, lack of success
Judgement Tarot Card MeaningsJudgement Upright: Judgement, rebirth, inner calling, absolutionReversed: Self-doubt, refusal of self-examination World Tarot Card MeaningsWorld Upright: Completion, integration, accomplishment, travelReversed: 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.

tarot card meanings