Last year, I publish a post where I tased about how I was learning Tarot and since then I’ve been getting a lot of follow-up comments asking if I could teach you all how to read Tarot cards. As I mentioned, I’ve only been learning Tarot for a year but every day I’m learning more and more about Tarot. However, I think I have a good understanding of Major Arcana, which is what we will be discussing today. So, welcome to a new series I’m calling, Tarot 101! Because there are 78 cards in a Tarot I’m be breaking this series into parts. These posts are going to be long so sorry but I’m teaching the meaning to 78-cards! In this post, I’ll be discussing the Major Arcana which contains a total of 22 cards and I’ll be covering 11 cards in this post, and in the next part, I’ll be covering the rest of the Major Arcana cards.
I learned Tarot through reading the booklets in Tarot decks, the Labyrinthos app, many Youtube videos, and Biddy Tarot. If something in this post doesn’t make sense you can either leave a comment and I’ll try to explain in further detail or you can use one of the resources I provided.
Let’s start with the basics, the Tarot is broken into two parts, the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana has 22 (technically 21 + 1) cards and these cards have a deep meaning and understanding that encourage you to pay attention to a certain aspect or situation in your life. These cards want to teach you a meaningful lesson. When you pull a Major Arcana card in a tarot reading this means that something in your life is being highlighted. As we go on with this series you’ll see that some Tarot cards have a similar meaning but the Major Arcana cards are trying to get your attention and make more of a statement in a reading.
Whilst the Major Arcana is all about important situations in your life the Minor Arcana cards reflect your daily life and the everyday trials and tribulations. The Minor Arcana has 56 cards that are broken into 4 suits (cups, wands, swords, and pentacles). These court cards are numbered from ace to king. The Minor Arcana highlight the more practical issues that relate to your day-to-day issues and what’s happening in your life. When you pull a Minor Arcana card this refers to current issues that have a temporary or minor influence that can be easily changed, depending on the actions you take.
UPRIGHT VS REVERSED
Tarot cards can be read in two ways, upright and reversed. In this post, I will only be covering the upright meanings because if I mentioned the reversed meaning then this post would be miles long! Maybe I’ll make a separate post explaining the reversed Tarot meanings but for now, let’s just learn about the basic upright Tarot meanings.
Down below are all 22-cards of the Major Arcana in a standard 78-card Tarot deck.
0 -The Fool
I – The Magician
II – The High Priestess
III – The Empress
IV – The Emperor
V – The Hierophant
VI – The Lovers
VII – The Chariot
VIII – Strength
IX – The Hermit
X – Wheel of Fortune
XI – Justice *
XII – The Hanged One *
XIII – Death *
XIV – Temperance *
XV – The Devil *
XVI – The Tower *
XVII – The Star *
XVIII – The Moon *
XIX – The Sun *
XX – Judgement *
XXI – The World *
*The meanings for these cards will be in part 2 of The Major Arcana Tarot 101 series. Please stay tuned for this post in the future.
The Fool (0)
Yes, the first card of the Tarot technically isn’t numbered! The Fool is present therefore needs no number. The Fool is a spontaneous free spirit who is about to embark on a new journey. They are blindsided by the opportunity of a new journey that they fail to recognize the challenges or obstacles that may be on the way, this is represented by the mountains in the back but the Fool has their back to the mountains because this doesn’t concern them. The Fool carries a small knapsack over their shoulders because they need next to nothing to begin this journey because they already have everything they need inside of them! The Fool encourages you to have an open and curious mind and a sense of excitement as you enter this new endeavor. Embrace the unknown and leave behind any fear or worry. The Fool is also about new experiences, personal growth, and adventure.
The Magician (I)
The Magician is the first card of the Tarot deck. The Magician is all about manifestation. The Magician stands over their workspace with their hand stretched towards the universe and the other hand pointed towards the earth, this is the sacred connection between spiritual and material realms that is needed to manifest. The table the Magician uses contains all four Tarot suits; cups (water), pentacles (earth), wands (fire), and swords (air). Each suit represents an element that is needed to manifest your desires. The Magician wears a white robe that signifies the purity of one’s dreams. The Magician card reminds you that you have all one needs to manifestation a dream and turn it into reality. You have the spiritual (fire), physical (earth), mental (air), and emotional (water) resources and when you combine them you can manifest just about anything! Now is the time to move forward with a new dream. You are a powerful creative being and now is the perfect time to align with your higher self to create your dream future. When you are clear about what you want the Magician will show up in a reading to urge you to chase your dreams.
The High Priestess (II)
The High Priestess is the guardian of the subconscious mind and teacher of the scared knowledge and hidden mysteries. The High Priestess sits between two pillars, both symbolize masculine and feminine and darkness and lightness, duality is required to enter this sacred space. The High Priestess signifies spiritual enlightenment, divine knowledge, wisdom, and the divine feminine. The High Priestess is also connected to the divine feminine. Embrace your feminity by having faith in yourself, showing empathy, compassion, and inner wisdom. Feel rather than think. Create rather than destroy. Be proud of your ability to nature, trust, sense and empathize, instead of hiding it. The High Priestess shows up in readings when you need to trust your intuition. Connect to your intuition by meditating and/or seeking a spiritual community.
The Empress (III)
The Empress signifies a strong connection with our feminity, she has a peaceful aura and encourages you to embrace your inner femininity. This is a sign to connect with your feminine energy (remember everyone has both feminine and masculine energy) by embracing beauty, fertility, creativity, expression, and nurturing. The Empress could also represent abundance. Look around and see all the beauty of everyday life. The Empress could also be referring you to connect with your motherly figure or to mother earth herself! Go on a walk, ground yourself and connect to the earth. The Empress could also represent the birth of a new project. Act with love and compassion as you nurture your goals.
The Emperor (IV)
The Emperor represents a powerful leader who demands respect and authority. Leadership, status, and power are highlighted when this card appears in a reading. You may be providing, defending, and being a stable figure to your loved ones. Conflict doesn’t scare you and you won’t hesitate to use your power when you need to to get what you want. The Emperor is also connected to the system of rules and regulations. Create calmness out of chaos by breaking down the problems and creating a strategic plan and approach. The Emperor also loves to pass down the knowledge they’re learned to others who are on a similar path.
The Hierophant (V)
The Hierophant is all about established spiritual values, tradition, spiritual wisdom, and religious beliefs. The Hierophant is associated with religion and tradition. The Hierophant may show up in a reading when you are confused about your spiritual path and encourages you to seek spiritual guidance. The Hierophant could also mean that you are being urged to stick to tradition that you’ve neglected. Consider exploring your family heritage. The Hierophant could also mean that you may not be willing to seek new or innovative ideas which are sometimes needed to progress.
The Lovers (VI)
The Lovers represents love in its purest form. Seeing this card in a reading means that you have a beautiful connection with someone, this could be a significant other, family member, friendship, etc. The Lovers card is typically associated with romance but like with every Tarot card, could have multiple meanings. On a more personal level, The Lovers could suggest you be clear about your values and ideals, stay true to yourself by being authentic and genuine! The Lovers could also mean that you should choose to embrace love and compassion for yourself. When you accept love for yourself love flows within you.
The Chariot (VII)
The Chariot is the card of willpower, determination, and strength. You have made the decisions based on your values and are now taking action! The Charioteer doesn’t hold any reins because they have full control and they stand tall as they direct the chariot to where they need to go. When you apply determination and commitment to achieve goals, you will succeed. Take this as a sign of encouragement! Stick to your course, no matter what challenges arise. The Chariot is a sign that you will be successful as long as you keep focus and remain confident in your abilities. Be bold in expressing your desires and lay down boundaries when needed.
The Strength card represents determination, willpower, and courage. Similar to The Chariot, however, The Chariot is about outer strengths and will, whereas the Strength card is all out inner strength needed to overcome any obstacle. You’re committed to what you need to do and you go about it in a way that shows great composure and maturity. You do not rule by controlling but by influencing others to follow your lead. Your strength gives you the confidence to overcome any growing fears, challenges, or doubts. When the Strength card shows up in a reading this means that you need to embrace your inner strength.
The Hermit (IX)
The Hermit cards signify that you are taking a break from the mundane to draw your energy and attention inwards to seek answers within. You’ve set off on a spiritual journey of self-discovery, led only by inner wisdom. The Hermit invites you to retreat to a private safe space to experience a spiritual awakening. The Hermit often appears when you’re at a point in your life and considering a new direction. Through meditation and self-examination, you may begin to re-evaluate your goals and change course. The Hermit also represents a desire to turn away from society to focus on a spiritual journey.
Wheel of Fortune (X)
The Wheel of Fortune shows up as a reminder that the world is always in motion and that nothing is ever set in stone. If you’re going through a rough patch the Wheel of Fortune shows up as a sign of hope that time is constant. If things are going too well then this might be the time to cherish these moments while they’re within reach. You are the energy you put out in the universe so if you put out negative energy then don’t be surprised if that’s all you get. Give off positive energy if you want to receive positivity in return. The Wheel of Fortune could also ask you to be optimistic and have faith in the universe. Keep your mind open for all the signs from the universe, both physical and spiritual.
Do you know how to read Tarot?