The Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings Explained
While each tarot card possesses its own special meaning, the 22 Major Arcana tarot cards are by far the most recognized cards of the bunch! The first 22 cards in a tarot deck, known as the Major Arcana, represent perspective and guidance to reveal your true life path. While the remaining suites, known as the Minor Arcana – swords, cups, pentacles, and wands – help to guide you on day-to-day actions and decisions.
Each Major Arcana tarot card depicts an archetypal character or theme that takes you through a story known as The Fool’s Journey. We’re first introduced to the main character of this story, The Fool (card 0), and as we make our way through the first 22 tarot cards we unveil his journey meeting new teachers, learning life lessons, overcoming setbacks, and how he ultimately finds enlightenment.
All 22 of the Major Arcana tarot cards hold a special meaning to help guide you through life lessons, universal experiences, falling in love, karmic influences, the path to spiritual enlightenment, and more. This allows you to gain a better understanding of the big picture. The Major Arcana tarot cards hold a deeper understanding of human behavior, common obstacles we may face, and intuitive guidance so we can accomplish our dreams. Where will your life journey truly lead you?
To gain a better understanding of the Major Arcana tarot card meanings, allow me to explain each card and its general meaning.
The Major Arcana Meanings Explained
0 – The Fool
The very first card of a tarot deck and the main character of The Fool’s Journey. The Fool represents innocence, openness, new beginnings or a fresh start, a childlike wonder, or taking a leap of faith into the unknown. When you receive The Fool during a reading, keep an open mind on what’s yet to come and focus on living and enjoying in the present moment.
1 – The Magician
A little reminder that you CAN create the life you’ve been dreaming of! The Magician card represents manifestation through action. He reminds you that you already have the skills and unique abilities to get you where you want to be. So, don’t just wait for things to happen for you. Ignite your inner power and start moving forward towards making your dreams come true!
2 – The High Priestess
When faced with a difficult decision, trust your gut! The High Priestess represents intuition, your subconscious mind, and sacred knowledge. Sometimes it’s best to take a moment and search within ourselves for the answer.
3 – The Empress
Representing beauty, abundance, Mother Nature, and sensuality; The Empress embodies divine femininity. She encourages us to make time for self-care, enjoy the beauty in life, and connect deeply with her energy in nature.
4 – The Emperor
Embrace your inner power and leadership skills! The Emperor card represents power, leadership, structure, and discipline. He’s also about Birthright – the right to live free and make choices that allow for your ideal life. Whether you’re in a new relationship or career path, make sure you take your time to focus on the details and get things right.
5 – The Hierophant
Stay true to your values and do what feels right to YOU. The Hierophant acts as a guide and encourages you to follow your most trusted beliefs and values. When you pull this card, know that you will find wisdom, comfort, and security by accessing your inner power.
6 – The Lovers
Trust, unity, communication, and honesty are all at the forefront of this card. The Lovers card refers to your relationships, but it may also represent knowing and following your own desires. It can also act as a mirror or a reflection of one’s behavior through another. When you see the other, you see yourself more clearly.
7 – The Chariot
Feeling determined? The Chariot card represents a level of energetic transportation from one place or state to another, along with your desire or willpower to succeed. Pulling this card shows that you’re close to victory! The Chariot is here to offer you support and hope for what’s to come. Stay focused and keep going. It’ll pay off soon!
8 – Strength
It may seem obvious, but by pulling the Strength card you’re advised to find your inner strength, courage, and confidence. There’s no need for physical strength here. This card reminds you to approach your endeavors with confidence, grace, and bravery.
9 – The Hermit
Maybe it’s time for a bit of reflection and solitude. The Hermit card calls for a retreat inward to seek the truth when you’re alone. Find time to meditate, be still, listen to your inner voice, and the answers will come.
10 – The Wheel of Fortune
A gentle reminder that change is ever constant and balance is a necessity. Nothing in life is permanent. One day you may be on top of the world and the next you’re deep down on your luck. The Wheel of Fortune is always turning so this card may represent divine timing, order, major turning points in your life, luck, or karma.
11 – Justice
Justice symbolizes fair karmic balance through accountability and absolute truth. You can’t change what you’ve done in the past. No matter good or bad, this card means “it is what it is”! Leave the emotion out and take time to explore the core of the matter.
12 – The Hanged Man
Why stress about things we can’t control? When you decide to give up control and surrender, you may discover you’re exactly where you need to be at this moment. The Hanged Man is hanging upside down, meditating and relaxed, on purpose. He’s surrendering to the present and accepting what is.
13 – Death
Don’t be scared by the Death card. This represents transformation, change, cycles, new beginnings, and releasing what no longer serves you! When one door closes, another one opens. It’s time for a new chapter!
14 – Temperance
When the Temperance card is pulled, it’s time to relax, be patient, take it easy, and go with the flow. This card encourages you to find balance and moderation and to be adaptable no matter the obstacle.
15 – The Devil
When pulling The Devil card, you may feel stuck, powerless, or imprisoned. However, you hold the key to your freedom. Evaluate your relationship with material things, addiction or overindulgence, and any unhealthy attachments. You have the ability to overcome your own limitations.
16 – The Tower
As we already know, change is inevitable. The Tower card confirms an unexpected change, destruction, or sudden ending. Whatever challenge you’re going through, know it’s for the best to let it fall. You can rebuild with a stronger foundation than before!
17 – The Star
After any major downfall, let there be hope! The Star card offers us a calm and optimistic view that can guide you home. Have faith and take this time to heal and regain your strength! Furthermore, the Star can provide us with an appealing vision for ourselves that we can manifest.
18 – The Moon
Focus on your emotions and notice any illusions when you pull The Moon card. It may shine a light on unresolved trauma, doubts, fears, or the unknown. Take this time to listen and address your feelings.
19 – The Sun
Feel the warmth of The Sun’s rays shine down on you! The Sun card is a highly optimistic card that represents joy, clarity of purpose, good health, and vitality. It’s also important to note that it shines the light of truth on whatever is being presented. When you pull this card, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve found happiness, been shown the truth, and good things are on the way.
20 – Judgement
We’re getting close to the end of The Fool’s Journey. Now is the time to decide on your life calling! The Judgement card represents major life decisions, a rebirth, or reawakening. It’s never too late to make a change to follow the path you’re being called towards.
21 – The World
You’ve reached your heart’s desire! The World is the last card of the Major Arcana symbolizing completion, fulfillment, accomplishment, or success. You should be feeling satisfied and at peace with where you currently stand in your journey.