The Major Arcana Tarot Cards

A guide to the Tarot deck's trump cards


Most classic Tarot decks are comprised of 78 cards, divided into a Major Arcana (22 cards) and a Minor Arcana (56 cards). The Major Arcana cards, also called trump cards, are important because they represent significant life events on a large scale, or they can stand for literal people in your life -- sometimes you'll draw a card that even resembles the person in question!

Gi talks about the Major Arcana...

Introducing Gigi Santella! Gigi is a 4th generation Tarot reader based in Portland, OR. Aside from his passion for Tarot, Gi is an excellent chef and talented musician. Tarot.com is excited to bring you the insight Tarot has to offer from Gi's perspective, as taught to him by his generations past.


From Gi's video: "I use the Minor Arcana for more serious, advanced readings. If you're doing a simple 3-card reading, the Minor Arcana kind of gets in the way. The Major Arcana is such a flawless system that's there anyway. The metaphors are so abundantly clear you can't miss them. Once you put the subtleties (of the Minor Aracana), it get more complex. It's more about the relationship we have with the person you're doing a reading for. The Major Arcana has a bunch of characters in a row that play with each other and know each other. They all are friends. You grow to love the characters and have personalities for each of them. The more time you spend with them the better you get to know them. Walk around with one card in your pocket all day and think about and relax with it. They develop super strong personalities."


In general, Major Arcana cards impart messages of greater weight than the Minor Arcana cards, so beginning Tarot readers should learn the meaning of these cards first. It's wise to note when your Tarot reading turns up many Major Arcana cards, because that's a good indicator you are going through a dramatic period in your life.

Each Major Arcana card is numbered, following a sequence of archetypal life stages from the beginning (the innocent and eager Fool) to the end (The World, a card of completion). The cards depict universal characters and situations, moving through the ups and downs of life, and they take on different meanings depending on what type of question you ask, where they turn up in your spread and whether they display right-side-up or reversed.

As you learn more about Tarot, you'll want to explore the deeper hidden messages within the symbolism of every card and how to work with reversals in your spread. Get a classic Celtic Cross Tarot reading now to see which cards turn up for you!

Browse the meaning of the Major Arcana Tarot cards:

The Fool The Magician The High Priestess The Empress The Empress The Heirophant The Lovers The Chariot
The Fool The Magician The High
Priestess
The Empress The Emperor The
Hierophant
The Lovers The Chariot
Strength The Hermit The Wheel of Fortune Justice The Hanged Man Death Temperance The Devil
Strength The Hermit The Wheel
of Fortune
Justice The Hanged Man Death Temperance The Devil
  The Tower The Star The Moon The Sun Judgement The World  
  The Tower The Star The Moon The Sun Judgement The World