A Beginner's Guide to Tarot: What Major Arcana Cards Mean
The esoteric world leads you down some magical roads. Whether you're a total newbie or mystic expert, somewhere down the line, one of those paths will introduce you to tarot cards. Witches, astrologers, and other types of spiritual practitioners use this form of divination as part of their practice to channel guidance for times of confusion and upheaval. But you don't need to be a pro to get into the groove of tarot — with enough practice, you can strengthen your understanding.
Tarot decks come with 78 cards, which are divided into two groups: the major and minor arcana. Each individual card is believed to have its own archetype or personality, possessing its own individual energy. Minor arcana cards symbolize archetypes associated with temporary situations in your day-to-day life that allow a little more wiggle room for change based on your choices. However, major arcana cards are associated with motifs and big lessons learned throughout life, such as meaningful concepts like death and courage.
When a major arcana card has made its way into your card pull, it's a big deal. Read ahead to learn the meaning of every major arcana tarot card and what impact each one holds.
The Fool Tarot Card Meaning
The Fool tarot card heralds new beginnings. When upright, it symbolizes optimism about the future, faith, and beginner's luck. When it's pulled in reverse, it reflects impulsive and reckless behavior, warning against taking too great of risks.
The Magician Tarot Card Meaning
The Magician tarot card is all about your talents. Upright, it's a message about honing in on your skills and using them to fulfill your potential. Conversely, in reverse, it could symbolize wasted potential, dark magic, or distress.
The High Priestess Tarot Card Meaning
The High Priestess tarot card is associated with mystery and secrets. When pulled upright, it's a symbol of your inner self, including your subconscious. If pulled in reverse, this card indicates tension and is asking you to slow down and pay attention to your inner wisdom.
The Empress Tarot Card Meaning
The Empress tarot card is a maternal card. Upright, it represents the concept of family and creation in all of its forms, including art and life. When in reverse, it could indicate a blockage of your creativity.
The Emperor Tarot Card Meaning
The Emperor tarot card reflects stability and authority. When upright, it means you're in control. When pulled in reverse, it could mean an excess of domination or lack of regulation or discipline.
The Hierophant Tarot Card Meaning
The Hierophant tarot card is a symbol of tradition. Upright, this card refers to inner wisdom and religious beliefs. In reverse, this card can represent rebellion or challenging conventions.
The Lovers Tarot Card Meaning
The Lovers tarot card is all about union and choices. If pulled upright, it could signal a partner or collaboration. In reverse, it could indicate self-love or an imbalance of values or harmony in your relationship.
The Chariot Tarot Card Meaning
The Chariot tarot card is associated with overcoming upheaval. When upright, this card signifies determination and strength to make a decision. If pulled in reverse, it indicates adversity and the need for tough love or self-discipline.
Strength Tarot Card Meaning
The Strength tarot card represents a climax of a big problem or circumstance. Upright, this card is all about courage and compassion. When pulled in reverse, it represents a lack of energy or emotional drive, but it can also reflect inner strength.
The Hermit Tarot Card Meaning
The Hermit tarot card is all about shadow work and self-reflection. Upright, this card is about "me" time and channeling inner guidance. If pulled in reverse, it could mean isolation or withdrawal.
Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card Meaning
The Wheel of Fortune tarot card is all about fortune and good luck. When pulled upright, it indicates a huge turning point in a crossroads situation as well as destiny. In reverse, it could indicate bad luck or a karmic cycle.
Justice Tarot Card Meaning
The Justice tarot card is about fairness and diplomacy. Upright, it indicates truth and consequential reactions. When pulled in reverse, it could indicate dishonesty and lack of justice.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning
The Hanged Man tarot card symbolizes surrender and a change in your point of view. Upright, this card is about slowing down and analyzing. When pulled in reverse, it could mean indecisiveness and resistance to a decision.
Death Tarot Card Meaning
The Death tarot card is all about endings and change. When upright, you can expect a huge transformation or shift in your life. If pulled in reverse, it could indicate opposition or resistance to change or an internal transformation.
Temperance Tarot Card Meaning
The Temperance tarot card reflects balance and patience. Upright, it means there is harmony in your situation and indicates a sense of purpose. When in reverse, it could mean there's an imbalance in your life or that you need to readjust some habits.
The Devil Tarot Card Meaning
The Devil tarot card is a reflection of your shadow self and indicates attachment. Upright, this card could be warning against addiction or unhealthy obsession with something. When in reverse, this card could be asking you to let go of restrictions and investigate negative thoughts.
The Tower Tarot Card Meaning
The Tower tarot card is a symbol of upheaval and drastic transformation. When upright, it means you're due for an awakening. When pulled in reverse, it could shine a light on fears about the unknown or change. It could also serve as a warning against destruction.
The Star Tarot Card Meaning
The Star tarot card is all about hope and spirituality. When pulled upright, it offers personal revival and finding purpose. When pulled in reverse, it could mean there's a lack of faith or detachment.
The Moon Tarot Card Meaning
The Moon tarot card indicates the subconscious and deception. Upright, this card represents intuition and the inner self. When in reverse, it warns against confusion and self-avoidance.
The Sun Tarot Card Meaning
The Sun tarot card reflects vitality and positivity. Upright, this card can mean success and comfort. When pulled in reverse, it could indicate cynicism.
Judgment Tarot Card Meaning
The Judgment tarot card is all about forgiveness and self-reflection. Upright, this card represents reckoning and revelations. In reverse, this card indicates self-doubt and failure to break cycles.
The World Tarot Card Meaning
The World tarot card is a reflection of fulfillment and wholeness. Upright, this card is about achievement and harmony. In reverse, this card indicates emptiness or the feeling of inadequacy.