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    What Do the Major Arcana Tarot Cards Mean?

    What is a Tarot card, you ask? Reading Tarot cards is a method of fortune telling that uses a set of cards to interpret an individual’s past and present and then use this to see what may be in store in the future. Understanding Tarot card meanings can provide great insight into your life.

    Tarot cards are a mystical practice that has enchanted people for centuries, originating back to as early as the mid-1400s.

    Though Tarot reading in its earliest days may have incorporated a simple deck of playing cards, a deck specifically for divination was developed over the years. Modern decks feature 78 cards — 22 of which are major arcana Tarot cards. 

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    Think of major arcana Tarot cards as the face cards in a traditional playing deck. They feature illustrations of different characters, places and experiences. They represent cornerstone life experiences that have a great impact on a person’s life and/or development.

    A Guide to the Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings

    The Fool

    The first card of the major arcana Tarot, the fool represents youthful innocence. He has not yet had the life experiences to teach him caution and wisdom, so he bounds into the unknown without much thought. When this card is right side up, it encourages spontaneity. 

    The Magician

    This card is a reminder of your inner strength and power, telling you that you have everything at your fingertips to accomplish your goals. When this card appears, the Universe is telling you that the ability to manifest whatever you desire is at your fingertips.

    The High Priestess

    This card represents intuition, spiritual connection, and sacred knowledge. Upside, this card is one of secrets and a direct  connection with the divine.

    The Empress

    The Empress is the card with the most feminine energy as it encapsulates compassion, love, nurturing, and nature. This card is about abundance and sitting on the throne of your Divine Feminine (which is present in everyone, regardless of gender).

    The Emperor

    The Emperor represents authority and leadership. It can symbolize structure and power. When the Emperor appears, you’re being asked to come into your power. There may be something you’re ready to initiate.

    The Hierophant

    Receiving the Hierophant card is a sign from the spirit world. He provides advice, wisdom and tradition. This card often talks about our official commitments, whether that be a marriage, or a religious practice.

    the lovers tarot card

    The Lovers

    It’s no surprise that the Lovers card often symbolizes relationships and love — though it can refer to any relationships in your life. It also deals with values and choices. 

    The Chariot

    This card refers to your sense of motivation. It is a reminder of your determinations and ability to achieve. When this card appears, you may have a move on your horizon.


    This card represents multiple manifestations of strength — courage, bravery, and resolutions. This card is associated with the astrological sign of Leo.

    The Hermit

    The Hermit reminds us to take a step back and be introspective. It can represent a period of soul-searching or a need to retreat and realign yourself. This card suggests that everything you need to know, you can find within.

    Wheel of Fortune

    The Wheel of Fortune major arcana Tarot reminds us of the ups and downs of life. The wheel is constantly spinning — bringing with it constant change. It is a reminder that this is a part of life. If you’ve had bad luck lately…you’re on the precipice of change.


    Unsurprisingly, this card represents justice and fairness. It can also signify honesty. Finally, this card can also relate to marriage and committed partnerships of all kinds. It can relate to the scales of karma coming back into balance.

    The Hanged Man

    Though this card may appear negative because of the image, the Hanged Man represents sacrifice and letting go. When this card appears in a reading, the Universe is asking you to look at your situation with a different perspective.

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    Though Death gets a bad rap, this card has little to do with death in the physical sense. It is a sign of major change and transition. It may symbolize the need to let go or move on. This card is associated with the astrological sign of Scorpio.


    Balance and moderation are the main takeaways from the Temperance card. It may appear to remind you to be patient. This card can also relate to the need for sobriety, in a literal or metaphorical sense. Things have gone too far, and patience will be necessary to return to equilibrium.

    The Devil

    The Devil card is often interpreted to symbolize some kind of vice or even addiction, but it can also represent a different side of yourself. This card usually appears when some level of toxicity is present. The main theme is “obsession” so it can represent needing to let go of the illusion of control. There may be manipulation at play. On a positive side, this can speak to transforming through sexual experiences.

    The Tower

    This card depicts a tower that is being destroyed, representing sudden change or a kind of awakening. This is one of if not the most feared cards in Tarot, but that only represents people’s fear of change…which is truly the only constant in life. When the Tower appears, things will fall apart so that they can fall back together more aligned.

    The Star

    This is a card of hope and renewal. It reminds us to reflect on ourselves and to remain optimistic. This card usually appears after more difficult times in life. It reminds us to keep hope and that the storm will soon pass. There are things to look forward to coming up over the horizon.

    The Moon

    The Moon card is the opposite of the sun, representing things that we keep hidden below the surface — fears and anxieties. The Moon can also symbolize needing to tap into your intuition. While things might not be clear on the surface, when you tune into your inner knowing, the answers are waiting there. All will be revealed in time…but now is not it!

    The Sun

    This card embodies happiness and positivity. It may be a symbol of success or a way to say that you are on the right path. If you’re curious about someone’s motives or intentions, this card is completely pure. There is an openness and childlike play evident in this card- and you can trust what you see.


    The Judgement card asks you to look within and reflect on your own choices. It symbolizes growth, healing, and rebirth. The Judgement card can also represent a finality in whatever you’re asking about. The ambiguity is gone, and all that’s left is the final word. 

    The World

    This is the card of fulfillment — the world is yours. You are feeling complete and whole if this card appears in your reading. It can also be a card of completion, and therefore endings. This is more about coming full circle, though, than anything harsh or scary. You feel at peace that whatever it is has come to its rightful close.

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    Explore the World of Tarot

    Now that you have a basic understanding of the major arcana Tarot card meanings, it’s time to expand your practice. Find a deck that fits you, light up your Tarot card candles to set the ambiance, and start practicing your readings.

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