Each of the Major Arcana cards represents an important lesson and archetypal theme. You can easily see them playing out in your own life, too. That makes these cards incredibly relevant, and a powerful source of spiritual wisdom and guidance.
It’s completely natural to feel a close affinity to one card over another. But it’s important to remember that each of the Major Arcana tarot cards has an invaluable gift to offer. By getting to know the deep lessons nestled within each card, you can glean deep insights into your heart and mind.
Major Arcana cards
There are 22 Major Arcana cards and they’re considered the foundation of the Tarot. That’s because the archetypes pictured on each one illustrate our strengths and weaknesses, our dreams and our fears, and everything in between.
Major Arcana should be seen within the context of the big picture and long journey through life. Each card represents an important step in an individual’s personal development. For this reason, Major Arcana lessons can be profound, deep, powerful, provocative and stirring.
The following Major Arcana cards are only seven examples of Major Arcana’s wisdom and relevancy. Which ones resonate with you? Which ones do you think you can learn the most from?
The Fool (Number 0)
The word “fool” typically represents someone foolish or ignorant. But that’s not the lesson to take away from the first, unnumbered Major Arcana card, “The Fool.” Instead, the concept of “fool” is more akin to being childlike in your attitude toward life and all that awaits you.
The fool is curious and carefree. The fool represents new beginnings and fresh starts, which we know can be daunting, in and of themselves. The fool reminds us to bring an open mind and an intrepid spirit to all our new beginnings.
The High Priestess (Number 2)
The world is busy with the opinions, ideas, and thoughts from everyone else. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of the other. The High Priestess is a timely reminder, inviting us to reflect and listen – not to the content and information broadcasted by everyone else.
Instead, she encourages us to listen to our own quiet, yet unwavering intuition. She asks us to trust own unconscious knowledge. This is often frowned upon as it is not regulated by logic and reason.
However, the symbols, myths, and dreams that inform our unconscious knowledge are exactly what each of us requires to move through life with presence, awareness, and consciousness. This is exactly what the High Priestess models.
The Empress (Number 3)
The Empress feels and feels completely. She is not afraid to engage with her emotions and fully experience this side of life. The Empress asks you to pay attention to life’s pleasures and enjoy them fully, too, whether that’s through beauty, sensuality, abundance, passion or creativity.
What makes you feel most alive? This is what you should engage in. What makes you feel most beautiful? This is what you should do.
The Lovers (Number 6)
The Lovers seem to imply romantic relationships. However, this Major Arcana card both includes romantic love and goes beyond it. For example, The Lovers point to the lessons we may need to learn from other people – not just romantic partners.
Going even further, The Lovers ask if you’re at odds with yourself. Are you being true to yourself? Are you honoring your boundaries? The Lovers remind you of the important choices you may have to make. By making a decision, or creating a healthy compromise, you can restore balance and dissolve dilemmas.
Chariot (Number 7)
We can’t move in the right direction if we don’t know who we are, what we want and what we need. And unfortunately, even within spiritual literature and guidance, we are often told that who we are doesn’t matter or that what we want is superficial, etc.
In a nutshell, in an attempt to grow in spirituality, many of us have been taught that the ego must die. And to a certain degree, it does need to relinquish its power if we are to live from a place of love, rather than fear.
However, the ego that the Chariot card refers to isn’t the micromanaging, fear-driven ego that we’re told to subdue in most spiritual discussions.
Here, the ego is our instinct and our deep and intrinsic self. Is it intrinsically evil? No, we all have one and we all need one to some degree – and that’s the key. We cannot let the ego overrule us or take over.
So, when you contemplate the Chariot, it’s asking you to check in and see who is the CEO of your life. Is it your fear-based ego, or is it you? Who is calling the shots?
Many times, people fail to live a true and authentic life because their ego is running the show. A well-lived life must be balanced. It is the result of knowing yourself, but not letting one aspect of your personality take over all the others.
Death (Number 13)
Few of us are comfortable with the concept and physical reality of death. Therefore, the Death card isn’t always as welcome as other cards, like The Fool, The Empress, or The High Priestess.
However, Death isn’t about the end of anyone’s earthly life. Instead, death always exists in tandem with birth; just as destruction always precedes creation, and winter before the spring.
Death encourages us to allow what must die to pass and perish so that whatever is awaiting birth can come into being. This may require you to confront your fears, and to change – even though it is painful at times.
What will emerge on the other side may be unknown, but don’t let that scare you. New possibilities are often beyond our imagination and wildest dreams.
The Star (Number 17)
The Star is like a calm after the storm, and fresh air after a heavy downpour. The Star is all about hope, a sense of purpose and faith that the universe is supporting you. If The Star had one mantra, it would be simply this: All is well. Because deep down, it is.
In a world that is fractured and broken, it’s easy to experience discouragement, anxiety, and fear. However, the Star encourages us to hope in the highest good. We can even lose faith in ourselves and feel we don’t have the wherewithal to carry on. However, the Star asks us to love ourselves and believe in our highest potential, too.
The archetype pictured in The Star always holds a basin from which she pours an endless stream of water. Her basin never runs out. When you meditate on The Star, remember that you have everything you need – an endless source of guidance, love, and abundance that will sustain you no matter what challenges you face or how drained you feel.
These are only some of the major life lessons from seven Major Arcana cards. Which ones resonated with you? Did you have a favorite? Follow this curiosity and experience how these lessons and insights can transform you on life’s journey.