Tarot Card Readings and the Major Arcana

Understanding the Major Arcana Cards In Tarot Readings

The mysterious Tarot deck, that is said to guide seers toward answers to questions they could not possibly otherwise know, does have some standard and universal characteristics. Each deck is comprised of 78 cards, and these include both the Major and Minor Arcana. While styles may vary, these standard names and categories of individual cards will be consistent from deck to deck.

The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, while there are 56 in its counterpart section. It is believed that cards in the Major Arcana represent long-term and traditional aspects of the issues at hand, while those in the Minor Arcana imply short-term and fleeting aspects of our life experiences.

Derived from Latin origins, Arcana means "secret". Major Arcana cards, from 0-21, symbolize major events and decisions. Their order tends to be in the same standard progression, regardless of the style of deck that is in use. Elements, zodiac signs, planets, and other influences help to suggest directions and effective courses of action, given their position in the given Tarot reading.

    0 — The Fool — Change, New Beginnings: Uranus (Air)
    1 — The Magician — Strength, Power: Mercury
    2 — The High Priestess — Intuition: Moon
    3 — The Empress — Passion, Motherhood: Venus (Earth)
    4 — The Emperor — Leadership, Arrogance: Aries
    5 — The Hierophant — Conformity, Marriage: Taurus
    6 — The Lovers — Relationship Status: Gemini
    7 — The Chariot — Will, Triumph Over Fear: Cancer
    8 — Strength — Confidence, Gentle Love: Leo (Sun)
    9 — The Hermit — Self-Reliance: Virgo (Ice)
    10 — The Wheel of Fortune — Change, Fate: Jupiter
    11 — Justice — Analysis: Libra
    12 — The Hanged Man — Spiritual Awareness: Neptune
    13 — Death — Letting Go: Scorpio
    14 — Temperance — Moderation: Sagittarius (Water)
    15 — The Devil — Temptation, Excitement: Capricorn
    16 — The Tower — Time to Change Course: Mars
    17 — The Star — Renewal, Humility, Hope: Aquarius
    18 — The Moon — Imagination, Daydreams: Pisces
    19 — The Sun — Joy, Optimism, Sexual Desire: Sun
    20 — Judgment — Possibility, Optimism: Pluto
    21 — The World/Universe — Life Opening-Up: Saturn

Cards appearing in reverse, or upside-down, during a Tarot reading should be interpreted as the opposite of their standard meaning. Reading layouts may be performed in a number of varying structures.

The main idea is that the reader must clearly understand the question at hand before attempting to interpret meaning from the placement of the upturned cards, as they relate to one another. It is their relationship to one another that enables an accurate Tarot reading, and effective subsequent recommendations about how to solve the problem at hand, to unfold.


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