The Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings

The Major Arcana tarot cards spread out on a table

Last Updated on August 17, 2021

The tarot is a set of 78 cards divided into two groups. On the one hand, there is the Major Arcana, consisting of 22 cards.

On the other hand, there is the Minor Arcana, consisting of 56 cards.

Tarot can be used with predictive or therapeutic goals, as well as a tool for self-discovery.

General Overall Meaning Of The Major Arcana Cards

The 22 Major Arcana cards comprise 21 cards numbered from I to XXI. The first card, known as The Fool, is unnumbered.

The Major Arcana cards represent situations about the bigger picture of our life and our long-term objectives. They symbolize crucial lessons and the archetypes acting in our life. Besides, they can be seen as a language containing the complexity of human consciousness.

Each Major Arcana card has a variety of meanings. These meanings are both “positive” and “negative”.

In a reading, the specific meaning of a card will be deciphered depending on the current situation of the consultant, as well as the dexterity of the tarot reader.

Even though the cards have characters that can be traditionally regarded as “men” or “women”, all the cards can apply to every human being regardless of sex. The tarot does not discriminate.

In the following section, you will learn more about the meanings of each of the cards in the Major Arcana. The analysis is based on the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, the most popular deck in the world.

You can also find out more about how the tarot works here. If you would like to book a professional tarot card reading with me, then you can also do so below.


The 22 Major Arcana Cards

Here are the meanings of the 22 Major Arcana cards in the Tarot.

The Fool (0)

The Fool card is the first card of the major arcana and, as such, it represents the beginning of a new journey.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with spontaneity and innocence.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to negligence and vanity.

The Magician (I)

The Magician represents possessing unique talents and skills.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with diplomacy and self-confidence.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to disgrace and disquiet.

The High Priestess (II)

The High Priestess is our intuitive side.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with mysteries and wisdom.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to conceit and surface knowledge.

The Empress (III)

The Empress signals a connection with nature, beauty, compassion, and nurturing other beings.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with fruitfulness and action.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to vacillation and laziness.

The Emperor (IV)

The Emperor represents power and leadership.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with stability and conviction.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to stagnation and possessiveness.

The Hierophant (V)

The Hierophant is a teacher of higher knowledge.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with inspiration and goodness.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to servitude and over-kindness.

The Lovers (VI)

The Lovers represent close relationships, pleasure, and making decisions.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with love and trials overcome.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to indecision and manipulation.

The Chariot (VII)

The Chariot signals success, movement, and determination.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with triumph and succor.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to disputes and settling for less than you deserve.

Strength (VIII)

Strength, as its name indicates, symbolizes the inner resources that we can use to overcome different obstacles.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with energy and courage.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to abuse of power and despotism.

The Hermit (IX)

The Hermit signifies solitude and the wisdom that only comes from within.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with prudence and wit.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to fear and unreasoned caution.

Wheel of Fortune (X)

Wheel of Fortune represents the ever-changing nature of the human experience.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with fortune and destiny.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to resisting the flow of life and having doubts.

Justice (XI)

Justice, in the same token as Strength, has a self-explanatory name.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with equity and fairness.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to bigotry and excessive severity.

The Hanged Man (XII)

The Hanged Man embodies the suspension of movement in order to get a new perspective.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with letting go and having discernment.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to selfishness and stalling.

Death (XIII)

Death is one of the most scared and misunderstood cards of the major arcana because people associate it only with physical death.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with endings and beneficial transitions.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to inertia and resistance to change.

Temperance (XIV)

Temperance represents patience and discernment.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with moderation and purpose.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to a lack of boundaries and imbalance.

The Devil (XV)

The Devil carries the meaning of restriction, domination, and experimenting with our sexuality.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with extraordinary efforts and vehemence.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to pettiness and attachments.

The Tower (XVI)

The Tower signals endings and it is an invitation to let go of the desire of controlling everything.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with freedom and awakenings.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to adversity and fear of change.

The Star (XVII)

The Star embodies healing, hope, and being connected with one’s emotions.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with spirituality and renewal.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to impotence and lack of faith.

The Moon (XVIII)

The Moon represents fears, memories of the past, and doubts.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with illusions and intuition.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to instability and confusion.

The Sun (XIX)

The Sun represents joy, optimism, and vitality.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with happiness and contentment.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to being overly optimistic or arrogant.

Judgment (XX)

Judgment is a card that represents a revision of the actions that we have done in the past.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with renewal and answering an inner calling.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to self-doubts and ignoring our true calling.

The World (XXI)

The World represents completion, fulfillment, and understanding.

In its most positive manifestation, this card is connected with success and integration.

In its most difficult manifestation, it is related to fixity and idealization.

Final Thoughts

Each Major Arcana card shows the storybook of our lives and holds the key to inner wisdom. Even though each card functions alone and has its own meanings, the 22 cards also tell a story.

The Fool is a character that embarks on a journey and his experiences are depicted in the 21 cards that follow. “The Fool’s Journey” describes the lessons, successes, and drawbacks that we all experience when we go through life.

If you want to start connecting with this amazing journey and obtain spiritual guidance through the tarot, then you can book a reading with me below.

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