The Major Arcana

Tarot Trump Cards

The 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.

Meanings

People 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
0The Fool 11Justice
1The Magician 12The Hanged Man
2The High Priestess 13Death
3The Empress 14Temperance
4The Emperor 15The Devil
5The Hierophant 16The Tower
6The Lovers 17The Star
7The Chariot 18The Moon
8Strength 19The Sun
9The Hermit 20Judgement
10The Wheel of Fortune 21The World