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Tarot: Understanding The Major Arcana

It is the Major Arcana that is considered the heart of the tarot deck. They are also known as the Trump Cards. There are 22 Cards that make up this part of the tarot deck. The Major Arcana is not associated with suits or court cards like the rest of the Tarot Deck.

The Major Arcana represents life and its cycles from birth to death. It symbolizes the physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional aspects of humankind and its relationship to the universe. In the Major Arcana, the 22 cards represent different archetypes. The archetypes include a nurturing mother, a strong commanding authoritative type, a traditional religious figure, a mystic spiritual figure and so on. These archetypes represent either real or spiritual figures in one's life.

If you look at the artwork on a Major Arcana card you will see a scene that has symbolic elements. Also on many decks, the cards feature the card’s title and the number of the Major Arcana card in Roman Numerals from 0 to 22. There are some decks, however, where the major arcana only have pictures. This is the same way the earlier first decks were. The speculation is that there were no numbers or pictures on those decks because the majority of people at that time were illiterate.

If one looks closely at the pictures on the Major Arcana deck you will find that the pictures are indeed steeped with symbolism. The Major Arcana also relates to those things regarding one's higher purpose for being on the planet. It tells of one's journey in life especially in relation to their personal character development. The numbers on the card ranging from 0 to 22 depict the fool's journey from birth to death and from innocence to wisdom to hopefully enlightenment. The Major Arcana tells of the journey one has to take to reach enlightenment in their lifetime. In addition to focusing on our spiritual selves, the Major Arcana also gives us answers in relation to major life events. It addresses such things as family, social relationships, jobs and other major milestones we face in our life.

The Major Arcana represents aspects of the human experience that we all go through in our lives. It looks at our spiritual selves, our hopes, our fears, our joys and sadness. It is recommended that when one starts to read tarot cards that they familiarize themselves with the Major Arcana first. Once you get used to them they help unlock your intuition so you can interpret the rest of the cards in relation to them in a tarot spread.

A very basic summary of the Major Arcana is as follows:


0. THE FOOL- innocence 1. THE MAGICIAN- manifestation 2. THE HIGH PRIESTESS- intuition 3. THE EMPRESS - mother figure 4. THE EMPEROR- father figure 5. THE HIEROPHANT- tradition 6. THE LOVERS- harmony 7. THE CHARIOT- willpower 8. STRENGTH- bravery 9. THE HERMIT- contemplation 10. WHEEL OF FORTUNE- change 11. JUSTICE- retribution 12. THE HANGED MAN- sacrifice 13. DEATH- closure 14. TEMPERANCE- balance 15. THE DEVIL- materialism 16. THE TOWER- disaster 17. THE STAR- guidance 18. THE MOON- dreams 19. THE SUN- success 20. JUDGEMENT- reckoning 21. THE WORLD- fulfillment


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