Beginner’s Guide to the Tarot – Major Arcana


For many, the Tarot is an esoteric and mystical tool. This is because Tarot readings have been associated with fortune telling and sometimes even seance. Though there is no harm in using the Tarot for these purposes, it is better to approach Tarot as a tool that helps with mental health.

This is because the Tarot and its cards are very well-thought-out symbolisms and representations of the human psyche. It references the cycle of consciousness that humans go through which impacts physical reality. It helps the user realize that their current physical reality is heavily influenced by their own mindset.

By infusing your energy into the cards, you create a spread that best represents your current mental state. This means that Tarot serves as mirror which brings your attention to aspects of your mind that might need calibration.

This blog post will introduce you to the Major Arcana of the Tarot. It is composed of 22 cards that best reflect the journey that humans embark on in their life journey. Remember, the power lies in the idea that you can always choose what to focus on.

What is the Major Arcana of the Tarot?

The Major Arcana of the Tarot is the original set of twenty-two cards when Tarot was first developed in Northern Italy in the 15th century. To think that over the course of centuries, the twenty-two cards have pretty much remained speaks volumes on the Eternal Truth they represent.

Each card represents a specific phase in the human consciousness. Remember that even if cards portray a “positive” or “negative” vibe, the main focus of the Major Arcana is the cyclical nature of our awareness.

The Major Arcana of the Tarot shows that there should always be movement and improvement in one’s mental state. Even if a spread contains “negative” Major Arcana cards, focus should be on the reminders the cards bring the user.

You have the power to create your reality. A “negative” card from the major arcana is also a reminder that maybe you have let your guard down and have been dwelling on the negative things in life. This creates an environment where more of these negative things can come in.

Cards like “Death” can be alarming to the beginner. But this guide will help you realize that the Death card simply wants you to prepare letting go of something you have been used to.

The meaning of the “Tower” may seem ominous but rather than giving into the feeling of fear or worry, let the true meaning of the “Tower” bring you comfort as you read your personalized Tarot spread.

Here are the cards of the Major Arcana of the Tarot:

What does The Fool mean in Tarot?

The Fool is the first card of the Major Arcana and is the beginning in the cycle of human awareness. The card shows a young person setting out on a journey that takes them away from his village, seen at the back. The sun provides hope for the young sojourner and his joyful dog is always close by.

The village symbolizes your comfort zone, the place or situation that you have spent most of your time and energy in. It is challenging to leave something behind, especially if it seems good and nothing seems wrong.

The Fool of the Major Arcana

The card signifies the value of giving yourself the opportunity to be a beginner and to respect your lack of experience. Oftentimes, what society deems as a “fool” are those that don’t conform with the set and acceptable path.

The Fool in the Major Arcana provides assurance that amid society’s judgment, you must open yourself up to the magic of something new. There is beauty in beginnings and new chances and opportunities always come along.

When The Fool appears in your spread, it means something new is about to unfold or is already unfolding in your consciousness. It is a sign to welcome new ideas, thoughts, people or opportunities. It is always wise to stay open to the wonderful possibilities of the Universe.

What does The Magician mean in Tarot?

The Magician card of the Major Arcana shows a human figure (with an infinity sign above his head), his one arm raised, holding a scroll while the other arm pointing downward, with the index finger extended. In front of him is a table that contains the four symbols of the Minor Arcana: a cup, a sword, a pentacle and a wand. Finally, the Magician is surrounded by beautiful flora.

The Magician of the Major Arcana

The Magician symbolizes the power of the human mind to create and manifest anything into reality. The raised arm holding the scroll represents the first step into manifesting: that is accessing and aligning with an idea, a desire, something from the unknown.

The other arm, whose index finger points downward is the representation of the Hermetic principle: “As above, so below.” This means that anything the human mind can conceive in the non-physical consciousness must be translated into physical form.

The infinity sign represents the assurance that you as a creator, can manifest anything. There is no limitation to your access to the eternal power because you ARE an extension of the eternal power.

The table with the signs of the Minor Arcana are a reminder that in order to manifest, you must use the different elements, the different aspects of life. The key to manifesting is the balance among these elements.

When The Magician appears in your spread, remember your power to manifest. Your authentic strength lies in your alignment with the Truth that you and your Source are one and the same. It is a gentle reminder that your world is a representation of your mind. You have the power and authority to change it as you wish.

What does The High Priestess mean in Tarot?

The High Priestess card of the Major Arcana shows a female figure seated between two towers. One tower is white with the letter B on it and the other is black and contains the letter J.

The B represents the Hebrew word “Boaz” which means strength or the strong one while J stands for “Joachim” or established by God.

The High Priestess of the Major Arcana

The High Priestess represents your subconscious, intuition and the Divine Feminine within. The towers signify that your subconscious is the pillar of your mind. It is the foundation by which your conscious operates.

Life is about balance which means that you should be able to embrace your Divine Femininity: knowing when to move from your logic and consult your gut, your intuition.

When the High Priestess appears in your spread, it calls you into connecting with your subconscious; to pause and listen to what your intuition and gut are telling you. Sometimes it can be challenging to communicate with your intuition; specially if you have been used to relying on your conscious mind all the time. This is completely fine. Take baby steps and you will find yourself more and more in tune with your intuition.

What does The Empress mean in Tarot?

The Empress card of the Major Arcana shows a royal woman sitting charismatically in beautiful nature. She is donned with a crown full of stars and a gown full of roses. Next to her is a heart showing the symbol of the Divine Feminine.

The Empress represents love, beauty and contentment. It shows you are in harmony with your emotions and that you have realized what it means to embrace the Divine Feminine.

The Empress of the Major Arcana

You desire for beauty within and around you and you are able to attract it. Others notice and admire your gentle charisma and calmness. This is an indication of how the great Divine Feminine can influence your overall energy.

When The Empress appears in your spread, it indicates that you are experiencing a time of calm and contentment in your life. It reminds you that you need to relax and let the Universe work its magic as it will always bring you the beauty and abundance you deserve. Relax and let go of the minute details. This will open you up to the powerful flow of life.

What does The Emperor mean in Tarot?

The Emperor card of the Major Arcana shows a royal man confidently sitting in his throne facing you head on. He proudly holds a scepter on one hand and a globe on the other. He is the epitome of nobility, authority and strength of character.

The Emperor is the representation of the disciplined mind. He demonstrates what consciousness can become if you commit your focus to the desired objective. You might sense some rigidity with the The Emperor card and this is something to be welcomed and appreciated as well.

The Emperor of the Major Arcana

Discipline translates to authority because it usually yields results. In the aspect of manifesting your desired state, the discipline required is to stay aligned in the vision of your ideal even if you are surrounded by external situations that tell you otherwise.

When The Emperor appears in your spread, take it as a sign that you need to develop more discipline and strength in your thinking. The card is a reminder of what true alignment can bring you and how proper use of your will can generate a noble state of being.

What does The Hierophant mean in Tarot?

The Hierophant card of the Major Arcana depicts a priestly figure seemingly preaching to a couple of followers. The word itself pertains to a priest in ancient Greece.

The Hierophant embodies tradition, rituals and adherence to certain customs. It alludes to the need for a sense of belonging to a certain group. The priest as a religious leader has been associated with determining who should be “shunned” from the tribe. Priests are also known for upholding tradition, rituals and are very keen for rules to be followed.

The Hierophant of the Major Arcana

The Hierophant card serves as a reminder that not all aspects of tradition should be discarded or ignored. You can develop discernment in identifying which customs and rituals can truly serve the follower or the user, and which ones can be improved.

Furthermore, it is essential that you should know the rules of the game before trying to go beyond them. Approach the rules of society from the point of view of understanding; only then will you have enough experience and authority to go beyond it.

When The Hierophant appears in your spread, go back to the basics and reassess your tendencies to go against the grain. It is always good to look at the beliefs and customs you follow, but at the same time, there is no harm in looking for the jewel among those that have been tested and proven to be true over time.

This can also mean that you are at a place in your awareness where you search for a sense of belongingness, to be part of a group or a tribe. To do so, you must be open to respecting the customs and tradition of such tribe.

What does The Lovers mean in Tarot?

The Lovers card of the Major Arcana shows a female and male figure facing each other. They are naked which signifies the vulnerability required in a relationship. Looking over them is an angel with the sun behind it which represents the blessing and joy that true love brings.

The Lovers of the Major Arcana

The Lovers card can literally signify the presence of love, romantic or otherwise. However, on a deeper level, the Lovers card also represents the marriage of your subconscious and conscious mind. It can also represent the needed balance between your Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine – reminding you that it takes both to manifest anything into reality.

When The Lovers appears in your spread, it is a sign that a certain relationship is taking your attention as of the moment. This can be related to a romantic relationship with a partner or friends or even with family. If not, then The Lovers calls upon you to focus on cultivating balance within your mind.

What does The Chariot mean in Tarot?

The Chariot card of the Major Arcana depicts a mighty charioteer facing you head on. He stands with confidence in his chariot with the city which he has just conquered behind him. Below him are two lion-like figures in a posture of calm and surrender, which also alludes to the Charioteer’s dominion over them.

The Chariot of the Major Arcana

The charioteer in the card represents your mind. It calls for eagerness in keeping your alignment with your desire (the city) that you need to conquer. This card is the embodiment of perseverance and consistency.

When you have a desire, your participation is to focus on your vision. This alignment will bring about ideas of inspired action that will guide you step into your desired life. The Chariot is the card of action. However, your action should be rooted in inspiration and not fear, anxiety or unhealthy competition.

When The Chariot appears in your spread, move forward and take actions toward your desire. Your wisdom is needed in determining whether your readiness to take action stems from appreciation, gratitude and inspiration.

What does Strength mean in Tarot?

The Strength card of the Major Arcana is a simple yet beautiful picture of a woman figure who calmly controls the lion with her bare hands. She has the infinity sign above her head which shows the infinite possibilities you can manifest and create in your life experience.

The Strength card is the ultimate sign of serene but authentic power. It is a reminder that true strength can only come from a mind that is completely calm and subdued. Beyond physical strength, a strong mind is also essential in manifesting your dream life. This is because as you go through the process of manifestation, the current physical reality you see may not be in line with your vision, until it’s completed.

The Strength card of the Major Arcana

You have to stay strong and focus on your vision. This calls for a calm demeanor in dismissing what you currently “see” and truly feel the authenticity of your desire, although not yet present physically.

When the Strength card appears in your spread, reflect if you have let the untamed lions in your mind take over. These are thoughts of worry, doubt, fear; the problems or issues you feel you have to be in control of. The only way to do so is to pause, collect yourself and gather the strength that is innate in within you. You are created with authentic power and all you have to do is allow yourself to wield it.

What does The Hermit mean in Tarot?

The Hermit card of the Major Arcana shows a hermit with his staff and a lantern looking down a village. He is in solitude and contemplates deeply on the meaning of life. His isolation is key to the effectiveness of his meditation, and he stays in such status until he is ready to share the lessons he had learned from within.

There will be certain situations in your life where you would rather spend time alone. Sometimes, you find the noise and the company unnecessary and you feel the urge to just be with yourself and your own thoughts.

The Hermit card of the Major Arcana

The Hermit card lets you know that there is nothing wrong to feel this way. Rather, it is an essential part of the journey: finding comfort in your own thoughts and knowing that a period of isolation can refresh your energy and your perspective in life.

When The Hermit appears in your spread, take it as a sign if ever you find yourself feeling a sense of isolation. You can never be truly alone because the angels of the Universe are always with you. However, to recall your own power, sometimes you have to turn away from the usual distractions and company.

Your period of isolation is a powerful retreat. Even though it may seem dark at times, remember that you are brewing a new version of you. Once birthed, it will be the most amazing gift you can share with others.

Wha does The Wheel of Fortune mean in Tarot?

The Wheel of Fortune card of the Major Arcana is filled with symbolism. The circle in the center of the card is full of various Greek and Hebrew characters. In the four corners are different winged creatures: a human figure, an eagle, a bull and a lion. Sitting on top of the circle is a Sphynx while the circle itself is carried by a dog figure with a snake slithering behind.

Although you can give various meanings to the symbology of this card, ultimately the Wheel of Fortune embodies the ephemeral nature of physical reality. The wheel itself is made to turn, to change and this applies to your life.

The Wheel of Fortune card of the Major Arcana

The Wheel of Fortune brings great news that you can make your desired life a reality. There is no stagnation in this life as change is associated with movement, and movement is life.

If you should have a main take away from the Tarot, it is the message from the Wheel of Fortune: life always changes, and you can influence the next form it takes. You have the power and autonomy to where the Wheel of Fortune will turn toward. Step up and take your rightful place as co-creator of your life!

When The Wheel of Fortune appears in your spread, it is a reminder that your current situation or state of mind is not fixed. The tides will turn, and you have to be ready to make it turn towards your desire, your vision. The Wheel of Fortune, like the Tarot itself is impersonal and will always heed to your will, if you apply the correct influence on it.

What does Justice mean in Tarot?

The Justice card of the Major Arcana shows a male figure wearing a crown, sitting calmly but attentively and facing towards you. He holds a sword on his left hand and a scale on his right. He represents fairness and equality. The sword he holds symbolizes the verdict once judgment is passed.

Carrying the overall spirit of the Tarot, the Justice card maintains impartiality at ALL times. It respects the Law and the Law always assesses fairly. Rather than the literal meaning, the Justice card implies the neutrality of the process of manifestation.

The Justice card of the Major Arcana

Whatever you hold dear in your consciousness will manifest. The Universe doesn’t recognize whether the thought you have in your mind is wanted or unwanted. We are surrounded by information about things we don’t want: war, poverty, conflict and sickness.

Society conditioned us to pay attention to these to be “informed” – in order for us to be in control of these things – to avoid them. But as the Justice card demonstrates, whatever you hold in your consciousness must be delivered to you, it must be justified.

When The Justice card appears in your spread, examine the thoughts you feed with your energy. Are these in line with your desired vision? If not, start planting the seeds of your vision, so it blooms properly at the appointed time.

Remember, Justice always prevails in the impersonal nature of the Universe. You will be served whatever you order.

What does The Hanged Man mean in Tarot?

The Hanged Man card of the Major Arcana depicts a male figure hanging upside down: his foot tied with a rope to a branch of a tree. He is calm and serene, embodying focus and acceptance. His head sports a halo of light which symbolizes enlightenment and the beauty of a new perspective.

Ultimately, the Hanged Man represents the point in the cycle of awareness that your perspective and point of view will be flipped on its head. This is a major accomplishment even though it may feel extremely uncomfortable. To see things in a different light is the first step to realizing what you need to improve in how you look at life.

The Hanged Man card of the Major Arcana

When the Hanged Man appears in your spread, welcome a change in your perspective. This starts with you starting to question the things you used to readily accept. It also manifests when you find less enjoyment and satisfaction from the things that were important to you before. When your perspective starts to feel uncomfortable, know that it’s the Universe’s way of urging you to look at things in a different light.

What does Death mean in Tarot?

The Death card of the Arcana shows a skeleton knight riding his horse, bearing a triumphant flag. A mother with her two children beg the knight of death to spare them, not knowing his true identity. A village with the sun shining upon it is in the distance. Little does the family know but they will not be spared. Death will bring them to a better situation, a better life.

The Death card should and should not be taken literally at the same time. It should not be taken at face value as it doesn’t mean a looming physical death. But it should also be taken at face value because it signifies that your old version must “die” in order for your vision to come to life.

The Death Card of the Major Arcana

Any dead material can serve as a fertilizer when properly processed. This is what the Death card embodies. You must let go of the old to give way to the new. As the city with the sun depicts, the promise is that you will be hold something greater, something better. That is certain.

When the Death card appears in your spread, the first thing to remember is that it doesn’t mean a physical death. Adjust your focus and interpret this as a sign that an era is coming to an end. There needs to be a death of the old you so the new you can be born: the better and greater version of you.

Your desires are an improved version of your current life. It is said that you can’t serve two masters at the same time. This means that in order to step into your vision, you have to grieve and let go of the old reality that you wanted to change. Let go. It’s never a bad thing to do so.

What does Temperance mean in Tarot?

The Temperance card of the Major Arcana shows an angelic figure pouring water from one cup to another. One of the angel’s feet is submerged in the river while the other is firmly planted on the ground of the riverbank.

Temperance means moderation or self-restraint. It also alludes to discipline which the card depicts. The transfer of water from one cup to another represents the transfer of your desire from the non-physical to the physical realm – it is the manifestation of your desire.

The Temperance card of the Major Arcana

The position of the feet reminds you that in order to successfully manifest your desire, you must keep the balance between inhabiting the formless and physical reality. This is where your temperance comes in: you have to have the self-restraint to not focus too much on thinking nor spend too much energy on physical efforts.

When you use both your mental and physical faculties, your feet are properly planted in the river and its bank at the same time. Manifestation is certain to take place.

When The Temperance card appears in your spread, think about the balance of your physical efforts and your mental focus related to your vision. Practice self-restraint while manifesting your vision. Remember, inspired action is the key to your desire. When you are properly in line with the frequency of your vision, they naturally come.

What does The Devil mean in Tarot?

The Devil card of the Major Arcana shows a seated devil figure with ram’s horns and bat’s wings, facing you directly. Below him are a female figure on his right and a male figure on his left. Notice that the two human figures start to resemble the figure of the devil himself. They have shackles around their necks that are loosely placed, indicating that these could be easily removed.

Like the Death card, the Devil card should and should not be taken literally at the same time. Literally, it indicates the various temptations that surround you. These temptations can take your focus away from your desired life, thus leading you astray. Symbolically, the Devil card also reminds you that you have the power to break away from the shackles that make you feel trapped.

The Devil card of the Major Arcana

The chains that “imprison” the human figures in the card can easily be removed only if they decide to do so. This also applies to your consciousness. Everything that seems to burden you are but of your own creation, their heaviness and strength at least.

When the Devil card appears in your spread, remind yourself of the power that you truly possess. The chains of temptation, doubt and negative thinking may seem strong and heavy, but you have the complete capacity to free yourself from them. The Devil card is a sign to be aware of the things that can chain you in the future, unless you take your power back.

What does The Tower mean in Tarot?

The Tower card of the Major Arcana shows a disaster: human figures are falling out of the tower which has caught on fire. The tower itself has been struck by lightning depicting the ancient belief of the gods punishing humans and letting them know who is truly powerful. The crown falls from the tower symbolizing the fall of human dominion.

The Tower card is the card of disorder and upheaval. It may seem an ominous card but to properly digest its message of love, you have to look at it as a sign that a major change is about to occur or is already unfolding.

The Tower card of the Major Arcana

Any change is uncomfortable and the Tower card specifically shows a major shift in perspective or mindset. It is the uprooting of old beliefs, and you attracted a situation that calls you to let go of your old self as soon as possible.

When the Tower card appears in your spread, stay calm and recognize that you are at a turning point in your journey. It is not a warning for an impending disaster but rather a confirmation that you have reached certain maturity of your mind. If you heed the call, it will be uncomfortable as you will be shedding your old skin to step into the new version of you.

What does The Star mean in Tarot?

The Star card of the Major Arcana shows a vulnerable female figure holding two vessels, one in each hand. She pours out water both in the body of water and on the ground. Like Temperance, her one foot is on the ground and the other is on the body of water.

Above her is a big bright star surrounded by seven smaller dark ones. The dark stars represent the chaos and upheaval (stemming from the Tower) while the big bright one is the main message of this card: renewal of hope and faith.

The Star card of the Major Arcana

The Star card symbolizes taking back your energy from a period of turmoil, conflict or challenge. It embodies personal and spiritual growth, of lessons learned. The pouring out of water from the vessels means that you have to nurture both the subconscious and conscious minds. This is the only way to have authentic growth after a challenging period: balance is key.

When the Star card appears in your spread, it indicates that a challenging period is coming to an end. It is the opportune time to look back on the lessons from this experience. You are now in a period of renewal, to recharge your faith (faith in yourself and the Universe). This is the season of empowerment.

What does The Moon mean in Tarot?

The Moon card of the Major Arcana is the card of duality. It shows the crescent moon appearing within the outlines of the sun, two towers on either side of the card and two dogs howling at the moon (one white and one black).

The Moon card symbolizes the duality that is the very nature of your physical experience. Everything is not the way it appears. You have to develop discernment to identify the true meaning behind the things you perceive with your senses.

It is good to remember that your subconscious is the foundation on which your conscious mind operates. Therefore, the conditioning of your subconscious mind heavily influences the thoughts you conceive.

The Moon card of the Major Arcana

When the Moon card appears in your spread, go beyond what your senses tell you. You have to look deeper in order to find the true meaning of your current situation. The Moon card wants you to see the bigger picture by examining the drivers and causes of the things that you see.

What does The Sun mean in Tarot?

The Sun card of the Major Arcana depicts joy and happiness that the sun brings. It shows the sun, joyfully shining on a young human figure riding its horse. Sunflowers are in the background humbly soaking in the energy that the sun selflessly gives.

The Sun card of the Major Arcana

The Sun card is the card of success (health, abundance, relationships etc.). It embodies happiness and lets you know that you are on the right track. You have aligned with your desire, and you have to maintain that alignment.

When the Sun card appears in your spread, take it as a great indication that your consistency and discipline of staying aligned with your desire is paying off. Your positive energy is palpable and you have the capacity to share it with others. The Sun is your encouragement to stay on the path and mental state that you’re currently on. Life is good!

What does Judgment mean in Tarot?

The Judgment card of the Major Arcana shows an angelic figure blowing a trumpet to a group of people. This is an announcement of joy and peace. Those who are ready to receive the message welcome it with humility and in surrender.

The Judgment card may pertain to the final judgment. However, the final judgment is not from a higher power contemplating whether you should be rewarded or punished. The final judgment is your realization that all along, everything you desire is already within. You are the creator of the reality you want to live.

The Judgment card of the Major Arcana

When the Judgment card appears in your spread, know that every experience you’ve had so far has helped you develop wisdom. You are more than capable of knowing what is good for you and what truly makes you happy. The real work is identifying the thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve you, those that you have to let go.

What does The World mean in Tarot?

The World card of the Major Arcana has similarities with the Wheel of Fortune in that it also shows the four creatures in each corner (the human, the eagle, the bull and the lion). However, in the center of the card is the most beautiful depiction of a human fulfilled.

The human figure is vulnerable yet confident. She embodies contentment because she is living in her desired state. She has realized that everything is in its right place and that her openness has led her to this exact moment.

The World card of the Major Arcana

The journey of the Major Arcana ends in the World: the achievement of your desire. This is the culmination of the manifestation. You have stepped into what once was just a vision in your mind.

When the World appears in your spread, celebrate! The thing you most desire is within your grasp. You simply have to reach within for it. You have developed your consciousness so that it aligns with the Eternal Truth that you create joy, abundance, health, love and life.

Truth shines from within you and your purpose is to be a walking reminder that anyone has the capability to do the same. The journey is now complete, and your manifestation is the testament of that journey. The journey is always a successful one.

How does the Major Arcana work?

The Tarot’s Major Arcana is a beautiful story that reminds us of the cyclical nature of human consciousness. It reminds you that this journey is one filled with peaks and valleys. Focus on the fact that the last card of the Major Arcana (The World) holds the promise that if you focus on your desired state, naturally, the cycle will bring you there.

The Major Arcana guides you to look within and realize that you already possess the powerful force to create your best life. It is okay to be a beginner (The Fool), and it is okay to go through a major uncomfortable change (The Tower).

Try using the Major Arcana as a meditative experience by reviewing each card and feeling if something in particular stood out to you in that moment. When going through the Tarot’s Major Arcana, take note of the cards that resonate with you. This could be because of the symbology, the meaning or just the overall appeal of the card.

You can develop your intuition by paying attention to each card as you go through the Arcana. Cards will always catch your intuition in one way or another.

Overall, The Tarot’s Major Arcana helps you realize that through any situation, True Power lies in the fact that you have free will. You have the capacity and the right to choose what is Real, what is Powerful, what is True.

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