Major Arcana

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What is the Major Arcana?

Amongst all of the divination tools a psychic will use, the tarot cards have to be the most popular. Normal playing cards back in the early 1400’s in Northern Italy, had an extra suit added (Trump or Major Arcana) including The Fool as card zero. It was then that they were used as a divination tool to read people’s destinies. It really didn’t pick up as a divination tool however until the 1700s. The tarot is split into two categories, major and minor. Major arcana cards represent vices, triumphs, adversities or failures and hold the strongest advice messages in the deck especially when they are laid next to a Minor Arcana card. The Major Arcana constitutes 22 of the 78-card deck. The other 56 are the Minor Arcana, which are four suits of cups, swords, wands and pentacles.


The Major Arcana

The Major Arcana is made up of 22 cards. They are numbered 0 to 21 with The Fool being the zero. The journey that the Major Arcana cards take us on is intricate covering many life lessons on the way. They come together forming a narrative which some refer to as the ‘Fool’s Journey’ beginning with the mysterious Magician right through to the end of the journey being the World. Every card refers to landmark challenges that we may have in life. The Fool learns his lessons as he proceeds along a path full of adversity, challenge, triumph and loss.

Remarkably the Major Arcana always seem to arise in a reading when we are facing difficult decisions and obstacles, showing us the way forward if we have the courage and faith to follow their direction. Also known as the trump cards, they do exactly that, they trump all of the Minor Arcana and Court cards, being the Page, Knight, King and Queen. When a Major Arcana is in the sitter’s/reader’s (we shall now refer to them as the querent) spread, they must always take note of that particular card before any of the other surrounding cards. There may be clues to what the card is referring to by the surrounding cards. For instance, if a Major Arcana is surrounded by pentacles, it may be giving advice around money, work life or your stability.

The beautiful illustration of the cards has evolved to many having the most intricate of detail making them a joy to look at as well as interpret.

The Fool 0
New beginnings. Fresh Start. Leap of faith.
Influenced under the element of air and represents the air signs in the zodiac, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. By noting the zodiac sign, querents may be able to identify a relevant person around them or indeed themselves during the reading.
The Fool encourages the querent to make a fresh start and make change in the knowledge that everything will be successful along the way.

The Magician 1
Manifesting. Resources to attain life’s goals. Trickery.
Influenced by the element of air and so falls under the zodiac signs of Libra, Gemini and Aquarius.
The Magician encourages the querent to start making efforts to manifest what they truly want in life. They have to be careful what they wish for however, as The Magician can be sly on occasion. He also encourages the querent to think of approaching his goals with an inner intent with a view to almost ‘cosmic ordering’ the desired outcome.

The High Priestess 2
Intuition. Inner knowing. Clarity of the mind.
Influenced by the element of water and so falls under the zodiac signs of Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio.
The High Priestess encourages the querent to go within and allow the inner voice to be heard over logic and spontaneous actions. She has mastered the practice of using her intuition before anything in any given situation and encourages the querent to do the same through meditation and mindfulness.

The Empress 3
Fertility. Abundance. Creativity. Pregnancy.
Influenced by the element of earth and so falls under the zodiac signs Virgo, Taurus, Capricorn.
The Empress shows the querent that all ideas, thoughts and projects are fertile and just need nurturing. Represents grounding and connecting to the energy of the earth in planning out new ideas and mastering abundance.

The Emperor 4
Leadership. Authority. Discipline. Structure. Father figure.
Influenced under the element of fire and so falls under the zodiac signs of Leo, Sagittarius and Aries.
The Emperor encourages the querent to make a plan and encourage others by their leadership to help bring the plan into fruition. Disciplined approaches to life’s goals are also highlighted as well as having the will and power to create desired outcomes.

The Hierophant 5
Tradition. Religion. Belief.
Influenced by the element of earth and so falls under the zodiac signs Virgo, Taurus, Capricorn.
The Hierophant encourages the querent to stand by their traditions and belief systems during adversity or challenge. Ownership of self-belief is also important under this card.

The Lovers 6
Love. Soul mates. Union. Emotional bonds.
Influenced by the element of air and so falls under the zodiac signs of Libra, Gemini and Aquarius.
The querent is encouraged to evaluate their bonds with their soul mate and loved ones. It also represents recognition of mutual passion, love and respect. An alignment of common goals and mutual desires is also highlighted.

The Chariot 7
Victory against adversity. Momentum. Assertion.
Influenced by the element of water and so falls under the zodiac signs of Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio.
The querent is assured that all obstacles can be averted with a mind to carry on no matter what. Fast change, action and movement in life or a situation is also highlighted.

Strength 8
Courage, Inner strength. Self-control.
Influenced under the element of fire and so falls under the zodiac signs of Leo, Sagittarius and Aries.
The querent is encouraged to remain strong during any difficult situation. They are also guided to strong during challenging times and not be affected by other’s actions or words. Resilience under pressure is advised and maintaining self-control during difficult periods.

The Hermit 9
Solitude. Going within. Soul-searching. Re-assessment.
Influenced by the element of earth and so falls under the zodiac signs Virgo, Taurus, Capricorn.
The querent is encouraged to withdraw from a given situation and think about the best way to approach it. Time alone is highlighted to establish what the querent truly wants for the best outcome in their life.

The Wheel of Fortune 10
End/beginning of a cycle. Karma. Fortuitous times.
Influenced under the element of fire and so falls under the zodiac signs of Leo, Sagittarius and Aries.
The querent is encouraged to let go and let the natural flow of life make change. Normally shows up in a reading when a new cycle of life is about to begin and promises potential fortune with this change. Also highlights the need to grab opportunity before it passes by.

Justice 11
Legal issues. Balance. Fairness. Cause and effect. Compromise.
Influenced by the element of air and so falls under the zodiac signs of Libra, Gemini and Aquarius.
Depicts favourable outcomes on any legal matters. Fairness to all involved who have opposing views. Positivity against opposition so as not attract a bad outcome from opposing forces. Accepting compromise.

The Hanged Man 12
Suspension. Lack of movement. Letting go.
Influenced by the element of water and so falls under the zodiac signs of Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio.
The querent is encouraged to stand back and assess their current situation if nothing is moving forward and rethink another strategy. The need for patience and letting go of frustrations around a static situation are also highlighted.

Death 13
New beginnings. Endings. Letting go. Moving on.
Influenced by the element of water and so falls under the zodiac signs of Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio.
Whether this is unexpected change or a knowledge of it coming, the querent is encouraged to let go, accept the change and move on. The change does not necessarily mean death, just the end of an old way of being and having to adapt to new change. Encouragement to change life circumstances, embrace new challenges and let go of old habits, relationships and lifestyles is also highlighted.

Temperance 14
Healing. Balance. Patience. Wellness. Divine timing.
Influenced under the element of fire and so falls under the zodiac signs of Leo, Sagittarius and Aries.
Highlights a time to be at peace with oneself and be patient with desired outcomes. Encourages the querent to establish balance in their life and promote well being and better health. Divine timing will take place when it needs to.

The Devil 15
Toxicity. Restriction. Unwillingness to let go. Bondage. Addiction
Influenced by the element of earth and so falls under the zodiac signs Virgo, Taurus, Capricorn.
The querent could be in a toxic relationship and unwilling to let go. Feeling stuck in an unhealthy situation and unable to move forward. Can also refer to addiction and unwise life choices with a failure to leave or deal with the situation.

The Tower 16
Sudden unexpected change. Surrender. Loss of stability. Failure.
Influenced under the element of fire and so falls under the zodiac signs of Leo, Sagittarius and Aries.
Something drastic has taken place in the querent’s life leaving them reeling in the aftermath. Advice to surrender to the situation and embrace the change that it will bring. Breaking down of a project, plan or way of life is also highlighted.

The Star 17
Hope. Spiritual guidance. Faith. Wish fulfilment.
Influenced by the element of air and so falls under the zodiac signs of Libra, Gemini and Aquarius.
The querent is encouraged to make a wish and expect it to come true. Faith in what is to come with happy expectations is highlighted in this card. Can also refer to being acknowledged on a grand scale by the public. Being guided by the divine and intuition can also be implicated when this card shows in a spread.

The Moon 18
Illusion. Dreams. Dishonesty. The unknown.
Influenced by the element of water and so falls under the zodiac signs of Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio.
The querent could be in a situation that isn’t clear and could be overthinking what is surrounding them. Feelings of illusion when the truth can’t be reached. Possible deception by surrounding forces. Intuitive dreams. The need to find clarity in a situation when everything seems confusing and cloaked with mystery.

The Sun 19
Improved health. Vitality. Success. Positivity. Happiness.
Influenced under the element of fire and so falls under the zodiac signs of Leo, Sagittarius and Aries.
The most positive card in the deck and signifies success, abundance, happiness and completion in all aspects of the querent’s life. Recovery perhaps after a time of illness and feelings of vitality. Exuding a bright light that is attractive to others. An overwhelming feeling of contentment and positivity.

Judgement 20
Inner calling. Completion of self-analysis. Life purpose.
Influenced under the element of fire and so falls under the zodiac signs of Leo, Sagittarius and Aries.
The querent has reached a time of mastering their inner voice and life purpose. Change has come about and is welcomed as past experience and life lessons have made the querent stronger and more focused. Following a destined path knowing that it will be fulfilled.

The World 21
Completion. Accomplishment. Success.
Influenced by the element of earth and so falls under the zodiac signs Virgo, Taurus, Capricorn.
This final card tells the querent that everything that they have worked towards has now come into being and has been accomplished successfully. This can refer to personal goals as well as physical projects. Everything has come together and now is to be enjoyed from a job well done. The querent in essence has reached their utopia.

All of the cards can mean different things if reversed, (upside down). They usually mean the opposite to what the upright card describes.
It is well worth studying each card and attuning to the imagery as most of them will illustrate what they represent.
The most common deck that is used by most Tarot readers is the Rider Waite deck. The cards are clear and are easy to remember and study. Once you have mastered this deck then all of the more extravagant cards can be easily recognisable.

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