The major arcana are the 22 trump cards in the deck that represent important and specific events in a person’s life. They relate to important life or spiritual lessons that will influence the querant specifically. While you want to learn about the in depth traits of the cards, sometimes you just need a quick way to remember. Below we’ve cut to the basic meanings of each of the major arcana.
The Fool – The Adventure Begins
Represents a new beginning, innocence, adventure and changes ahead. Can also represent future follies, bouts of intoxication or troubles with extravagance.
The Magician – Go Forth and Explore the World
Manifestation in action, effective communication and swift changes bring abundance. It can also mean that diplomacy, subtlety, or eloquence will be a factor in the resolution of the question.
The High Priestess – True Power Lies Within You
Linked to hidden mysteries, revelations occur through intuition, insight and faith of self. It also means that wisdom, science, or other gained knowledge may be key to the resolution.
The Empress – A Strong Woman with Creative Solutions
Motherly nurturing encourages growth. Girl power, feminine issues and dreams fulfilled. It can also represent clandestine actions, the patience needed to fulfil goals, and other subtle influences going on in the background.
The Emperor – Rules with an Iron Fist but a Good Heart
Strong masculine forces provide structure, guidance and security. Bosses or authority lead the way. It can also represent stability, great or powerful people, or conviction are needed in the coming days.
The Hierophant – Seek and Ye Shall Find
Institutions of learning, spiritual guidance or occult training will provide the needed support or wise counsel. It can also describe alliances, such as marriage or partnerships, or negative ones including captivity or servitude depending on interpretation.
The Lovers – To Honor and Cherish
Coming together for love, whether just falling or a new commitment. True romance becomes bound by honor. It can also be seen to represent attraction of any kind as well as the trials overcome to attain it.
The Chariot – The Cost of Victory
Movement forward through perseverance. Travel in all forms, physically and metaphorically. Rely on yourself for success. It can also be interpreted to mean presumptive behavior or revenge.
Strength – Power Comes from Strength Used Wisely
Bravery and self-confidence lead to new adventures, heroic acts and possibly some heated passion. It can also describe great success or honor gained by using ones power wisely.
The Hermit – Step Away in Order to See Things Clearly
Serving the self through contemplation and meditation can bring enlightenment and personal understanding. Be patient with yourself. In other lights the hermit can mean isolation, or overly prudent action.
Wheel of Fortune – A Chance for Change is Around the Corner
Money, love and all positive opportunities are knocking. The wheel turns, repaying past actions in kind. Destiney comes around for everyone eventually, and this is the sign it could be your turn.
Justice – Balanced and Fair Behavior
Legal issues, accountability, balance and fairness are the goal here. You may need sound counsel that knows the situation at hand or the rules. It can also represent a basic fairness in the universe.
The Hanged Man – Winning Through Sacrifice
Give and get. Wisdom, peace and understanding will come to those that take the time to understand. Use your head to get ahead. It can represent both literal and figurative trials, as well as wisdom or intuition.
Death – The End is Near (and it’s probably for the best…)
The end of something, change, the impermeability of all things. Learn to let go. Love yourself and choose a better path. Can also represent destruction or corruption of plans, places, or people, or the loss of prospects.
Temperance – Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
Balance, moderation, being sensible are needed right now. It can also represent churches, priests or other religious elements depending on its placement in a reading.
The Devil – Temptation is the First Step Toward Failure
Destructive patterns, addiction, jealousy are all acts of giving away your power to another person or thing. It also represents violence or aggressive action, both mental and physical.
The Tower – The End is Near, Have No Fear
Collapse of stable structures, release, sudden insight are all on the horizon. The sky is falling and times are tough but cool heads of faith and reason will rise again. Some also define the tower as representing distress, ruin, or some other unforeseen calamity that is coming.
The Star – All Things Are Possible
Have hope for the future and witness the joy, beauty and possibilities that are all around you. Blessings are upon you right now. The card can also be seen to mean both cherishing what you consider precious and the loss of what is precious, depending on the cards placement.
The Moon – Veiled Truths and Secrecy
Mystery, the subconscious, dreams and psychic connections. You don’t know everything and secrets abound. Sometimes it’s best not to know. Can also be seen to mean hidden dangers or deception as well as the dangers of curiosity.
The Sun – The Shiny Happy Tarot Card
Success, happiness, and true contentment is on the rise. All will be well and things are going your way. Excellent omen for family, birth and harmony in community.
Judgment – What Goes Around, Comes Around
Now is the time to be accountable, by your own accord or someone else’s. Forgive and be forgiven. Allow for personal growth through responsible acts, fairness and repentance. It can also represent changes in career or home life as well as the renewal that comes with it.
The World – Life is Good
What you want is at your fingertips, but you need to reach out and grab it. Completion, wholeness, attainment, celebration and good times of all kinds. Can represent the reward that comes at the end of a long task, or the strides taken to achieve it.
The court cards are the 4 personified cards in tarot that are included in each suit of the minor arcana. Each suit influences a reading in a number of ways. The first which is the elemental influences. These kinds of energies indicate what kinds of actions that the suit represents.
Elemental Correlations to the Minor Arcana Suits
In the above sample, notice that fire represents manifestation. This can be movement forward of any kind, but the key is to consider the action like fire. It is swift, it is decisive and it increases in speed with more fuel. Thus, actions that are shown in the wands suit will represent this kind of mindset. Apply the same theory to each of the additional suits energy and you will notice there is a inherently different feel to each of the cards.
Situational Relativity in the Minor Arcana Suits
Situational influences can also be referred from the cards. You may notice a correlation to the elemental ones, but these situations are not about the overall scope… they include periods in one’s life and lessons that are taught over and over again as we transition through different phases of life. These keywords can help us understand the deeper subtleties which can be applied to readings.
The court cards in a tarot deck are associated with the personality and in most cases are associated with people’s influence over the shuffler. The four minor arcana cards normally represent the following:
These cards specifically correlate to the influencesRe of the querant in a reading. While it is true, court cards can represent a specific person, they can also represent an overall personality dynamic or archetype for the person who is being read.
The minor arcana is the larger portion of the tarot deck. In most modern tarot it is made up of four suits and consist of 14 cards each. There are the 4 court cards , which represent specific people or issues that revolve around the environment or cause an effect upon a querant. There is also the number or numerical cards, labeled 1-10 (Ace – 10) and each number has it’s own meaning.
One of the simplest methods to break down meaning for the cards is to understand how the number cards and the elements correspond. If you understand the elements represented within the minor arcana and you can quickly identify what a number means why, you can combine meanings to get a quick snapshot that will give you a general, basic understanding of the card. If you are already familiar with tarot, this lesson should serve as a quick reminder or refresher. However, it’s a good read for beginners too!
Let’s take a quick look at both, so you get a better idea. The elemental and suit correlations are the same as shown in the court cards section and provide the same energy influences to the numeric portions of the minor arcana.
Elemental Correlations to the Minor Arcana Suits
Above are the common suits of the tarot. They are matched with their corresponding elements. This means whenever you see one of these kinds of cards, no matter what number they are, they will always have something to do with the overall energy or issue that relates.
One– Primal Element, Pure Intention, New Beginnings
The first card in each suit is the ACE. It may be labeled with the number one, but usually it will simply say the word. In most cases, the artwork will represent a single wand, cup, pentacle or sword and you will be able to gather the meaning. This is essentially the root of the elemental representation and it will indicate raw or primal energies are at force. This card represents beginnings in most cases and shows that there is a strong push backing the querant.
For example, if you draw an ACE of WANDS, then you it is likely representing a new beginning pertaining to change, so manifestations at their base form. It can also mean a primal force of action, such as love, passion, etc.
The ace is perhaps the most difficult card to match because it is pure in the elemental form. The rest of the numbers attach a significant meaning and so the process is easier.
Two – The Choice is Yours/Joining Forces
It’s not the initial push, but the budding of something that is and turning into something more. It usually appears when new options are available.
Three – Making Progress/Coming Together/Teamwork/Serving the Self First
This can be good or bad, depending on the focus. When focused on the group, this is a good sign. However, for self focus, it can alienate and cause pain for the querant. Because this card relies on community for establishment, it is usually quite dependent on the other cards around it.
Four – Building Foundations/Creating Stability/ Balance
All about community and comradery, fours represent balance and unity.
Five – Chaotic Conflict/Painful Challenges/Competition
Sometimes struggle is needed to grow. Fives are often negative at the time but prove to be fruitful for the future.
Six – Stability/Harmony/Peace/Balance
The balancing rebound from a period of strive, sixes restore harmony in most situations as life challenges attempt to correct course.
Seven – The Path/Journey/Learning From Life Lessons
Divinely inspired understanding comes from assessing situations and being aware. Sevens can be enlightening but also contain sometimes difficult truths.
Eight – Internal Strength/Fortitude/Perfecting a Craft
Revitalizing the body, mind and soul, eights are about creating something through repetition and finding the real reason for doing things. This awareness allows for completion and finality, for better usually, but not always.
Nine – Reflection/Introspection/Contemplating Results
The end is near and now is the time to make a final choice about what you want. The nines represent culmination of efforts, for better or worse.
Ten – The End is the Beginning is the End
This is the end of the line, but the tarot (like life) is always ongoing. This represents finality indicates that options are removed as tasks or goals are completed.