Major Arcana

0 The Fool

A colourfully dressed fool dances a the edge of a cliff.

Meaning: The wisdom of innocence, originality, annulment of reason, frivolity without disciple, ecstasy, delirium, madness, foolishness.

I. The Magician

With his mental power the Magician rules the four elements: fire (Wands), water (Cups), air (Swords) and earth (Pentacles).

Meaning: Elementary knowledge, determination, skill, juggling, initiative, agitation, disgrace, immaturity.

II. The High Priestess

The High Priestess protects all secrets in nature with her power.

Meaning: Mystery, hidden knowledge, intuition, initiation, the unconscious, mental power, silence, superstition, presumption, superficial.

III.  The Empress

A beautiful woman with a crown of stars amidst a fertile landscape.

Meaning: Feminine wisdom and power, sensuality, beauty, culture, abundance, boredom, lethargy, temptation through earthly things.

IV.  The Emperor

A powerful emperor sits on his throne, the insignia of power in front of him.

Meaning: Masculine power, shaping of the material world, rulership, will, severity, stability, power and its danger, force.

V. The Hierophant

A church leader with his followers celebrates in a temple.

Meaning: Intellectual leadership, initiation, occult powers, secret knowledge, religion, humility, false guru, hypocrisy, theoretical knowledge, hierarchy, disbelief, distrust.

VI. The Lovers

Two lovers, surrounded by birds and flowers, stand at the shore of a lake.

Meanings: Union, love, blend of opposites, tantra, understanding of the cosmic dance, harmony, discernment, decision, enticement, temptation, doubts.

VII. The Chariot

Underneath a canopy of stars, a man in his chariot is pulled by two fast horses.

Meaning: Triumph, mental and physical balance, commitment, dynamic, examination, hard work, obstacles, failure.

VIII. Justice

A kind but severe woman guards justice, represented by a scale.

Meaning: Justice through knowledge of a higher order, union of opposites, balance, virtue, kindness, dignity, fairness, law, selfishness, lack of principles, injustice, prejudice, lack of harmony, stubbornness.

IX. The Hermit

A hermit lives in the mountains. At his feet, a light in the form of a lantern.

Meaning: Seclusion, solitude, wisdom, cleverness, distance, discernment, self-control, discipline, awareness, autonomy, guidelines, reliability, alienation, loneliness.

X. Wheel of Fortune

The world is a mandala. The zodiac turns around the centre. The planets are arranged to represent the tree of life. In the four corners there are the symbols of the four elements.

Meaning: Realization of the cosmic order, application of higher laws, dance of energies, constant changes, “as above, so below”, turning point, search for the centre, out of control, seeking power.

XI. Strength

A mysterious woman holds a magic cloth which mirrors a lion.

Meaning: Creative energy, enjoying the dance of life, strength, wildness, transformation of energies, determination to live, strive for power.

XII. The Hanged Man

A young man hangs with one foot from the branch of a tree. His hands are folded as a symbol of inner concentration.

Meaning: Overcoming obstacles through devotion. Changes, prudence, insight, peace of mind, widened consciousness, sacrifice, renunciation, self-deceit, selfishness, loss.

XIII. Death

The skeleton stand on a plain, together with his scythe and a black bird. Behind him the sun is rising.

Meaning: The end, transition, transformation, giving up the existing, boundary reached, time elapses, separation, settlement, stagnation, release, sorrow.

XIV. Temperance

A beautiful woman celebrates the ritual of temperance by pouring water into water.

Meaning: Harmony, mental equilibrium, the middle path, improvement, union, rejuvenation, patience, coordination, carelessness, indecision.

XV. The Devil

A terrible demon oppresses prisoners in his reign of evil.

Meaning:Victory of materialism, black magic, occult powers, dependence, slavery, passion, egoism, perversion, wrong proportions, overcoming own fears, perception of the inner demon.

XVI. The Tower

The eye of God shoots out lightening bolts. One of them sets a tower on fire. Two people and a crown tumble into the deep.

Meaning: Forced change, breakdown, ruin, fight, catastrophe, destruction, breaking up constricting convictions, arrogance, intolerance, disappointment, chance,for a new start, liberation.

XVII. The Star

It is night. A nude beauty and a flamingo stand at the border of a lake. A mighty star shines in the sky.

Meaning: Beauty, inspiration, hope, brilliance, clarity, to give and take, unconventional, dreams, fantasies, resignation.

XVIII. The Moon

Attracted by the forces of the moon, a crayfish crawls out of a lake.

Meaning: The unconscious, hidden mental power, to forget oneself, salvation, mercy, great love, darkness, secret, drunkenness, hysteria.

XIX. The Sun

The Sun shines upon a beautiful landscape where, surrounded by trees and birds, a child is sitting in the grass.

Meaning: Light, openness, completion, warmth, favourable relationships, satisfaction, energy, idealism, devotion, passion, home country, harmlessness, lack of criticism, arrogance.

XX.  Judgment

Three trumpets sound out of the cosmos and wake up the dead.

Meaning: Breakthrough, transformation, waking up latent powers, forgiveness, disillusionment, stuck to the old path, settlement.

XXI The World

Surrounded by the four symbolic beings, the world dances the eternally magical dance.

Meaning: Syntheses of the elements; the cosmic dance, unity, success, understanding, perfect application of what was previously learnt, forgetting the centre, fear of devotion, restricted views, inertia, selfishness, lack of commitment.


7 thoughts on “Major Arcana

  1. Hi There
    Like the site, though just wondered if you’d made a mistake with the 2 cards above as the sun and judgement have the same meaning.

    Just thought I would point it out, hope you don’t mind!

  2. Pingback: 09/02/12: Part of the Whole | Wheel of Fortune | A Fool's Journey

  3. Pingback: 09/02/12: Part of the Whole | Wheel of Fortune ⋆ A Fool’s Journey

  4. Pingback: 09/02/12: Part of the Whole | Wheel of Fortune - A Fool's Journey

  5. This was my first and only deck I use for readings. I’ve bound the major arcana to runes and a ruling letter for a message if applicable.
    I’ve had my deck for 20 years and the energy on them is remarkable. I had a private mentor for tarot and have a notebook but actually got a bit more info here so I’ll add some notes for future readings.
    Thank you 🙂

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