2. The Major Arcana: In a Nutshell

The following are brief, traditional meanings for the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana.  If you are just beginning to read the tarot, it would bode you well to memorize these meanings.  However, don’t make the mistake of locking yourself into a set pattern of any kind with the tarot—it’s too unpredictable.  Your own intuition will pick up information from these cards that you never could have imagined.

The Fool:  start of a phase, leap of faith, openness to life, beginning a journey, starting a project, not thinking something through
The Magician:  guidance, new opportunities, creative initiative, power, magick, and the occult
The High Priestess:  esoteric knowledge, intuition, wisdom, a warning to listen to your inner voice, strong feminine influence in the spiritual realm
The Empress:  abundance, fertility, receptivity, female issues, a dominating feminine presence
The Emperor: Ambition, authority, worldly success, an overpowering male influence, control,
The Hierophant:  Spiritual purpose, self-discovery, inner wisdom, strict conventionality, rigidity, intolerance
The Lovers:  a choice, sacrifice, the testing of a relationship, a couple in question, sometimes infidelity, soul mates
The Chariot:  conflict, internal struggle, potential for resolution, a journey, choices, issues with transportation
Justice:  balance, wisdom, fairness, and legal matters
The Hermit:  patience, solitude, reflection, finding one’s path, meditation, lighting the way
The Wheel of Fortune:  endings and beginnings, a change of circumstances, the completion of something, an issue coming full circle, and success
Strength:  courage, self-confidence, inner resources, maintaining control of a situation, and manipulation
The Hanged Man:  sacrifice, transition, spiritual transformation, self-sacrifice, and martyrdom
Death:  endings with new beginnings, rebirth, transformations, and transitions
Temperance:  cooperation, compromise, moderation, balance, finding common or neutral ground
The Devil:  frustration, inhibitions, blocks, fears, addictions, bindings, and self-inflicted incarceration of the soul
The Tower:  upheaval, restructuring, a new order, the ‘shit hits the fan’ card
The Star:  hope, good fortune, faith in a better future, good luck, and spiritual growth
The Sun:  energy, optimism, joy, confidence, finding happiness in a situation, and golden opportunities
The Moon:  uncertainty, fluctuation, intuition, illusion, secrets, lies, and mental illness
Judgment:  reward, completion, a new lease on life, a time to face judgment, a revelation that will bring judgment
The World:  success, achievement, realizations of a goal, something coming full circle, the successful completion of a project

 

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