The Major Arcana
Tarot Trump CardsThe Major Arcana are the Tarot cards with the most symbolic and divinatory importance. There are 22 Major Arcana, numbered from 0 to 21, each of which is individually named and illustrated.
The major Arcana are also known as the "trumps" (from "triumphs") of the Tarot deck. Some call them Atu - hence "Atu XVIII" refers to The Moon.
MeaningsPeople often ask what the cards "mean". That's an impossible question. Each individual Tarot deck has its own imagery and symbolism which must then be filtered through the psyche of the reader and the context of the question. Understanding the meaning of Tarot cards is ultimately a very personal thing. That's why it's important to try several different decks before settling on one - even then you'll probably find that different decks are best suited to different questions or just different moods.
That said, for the benefit of beginners I've put together a very basic introduction to the most common interpretations of the Major Arcana. The exact names of the cards along with their symbolism vary depending on which deck you buy. The list below is reasonably typical, though obviously influenced by my personal approach.
On the pages that follow I'll give my interpretation of the meaning of each Tarot card in the Major Arcana.
(Note: some decks use slightly different numbering).
|Tarot Card Meanings - Major Arcana|
|1||The Magician||12||The Hanged Man|
|2||The High Priestess||13||Death|
|4||The Emperor||15||The Devil|
|5||The Hierophant||16||The Tower|
|6||The Lovers||17||The Star|
|7||The Chariot||18||The Moon|
|10||The Wheel of Fortune||21||The World|