Western thought has long been dictated by scientific inquiry and skepticism. We generally pride ourselves for being rational and logical. However, despite our adherence to scientific thinking, there is a growing interest in the spiritual – a Force or Energy that we can’t actually codify and analyze.
This rising interest in spirituality may be due to the growing uncertainty of our world and the dissatisfaction we have toward long-standing institutions. They are failing to give us the underpinning we’re desperate for.
Despite the sensible scientific-ness of it all, people are hungry for guidance and encouragement from Someone – or Something – wiser than us. Something that exists beyond the noise of modern life.
This is not to ditch academic research or the incredible advancements that make modern life both convenient and safe. But we are more than just rational, reasonable and sensible beings. We have a soul and a deep need for spiritual connection – a need that often goes unfulfilled.
Enter Tarot and the Major Arcana cards.
Major Arcana cards
The Major Arcana cards are the foundation of Tarot. The figures on these 22 cards aren’t random. They are archetypes who carry our strengths and our weaknesses, our dreams and our fears, and everything in between.
Just as the Major Arcana is the foundation of Tarot, it is the big picture of life, depicting an important step within each of our journeys. This makes them a relevant and powerful tool for personal development and spiritual growth.
When you spend some time with the Major Arcana, you’ll recognize your own story within the deck. Their narratives play out in your own life. But even more importantly, you can gain insight, wisdom, and comfort from these cards.
The Magician (Number 1)
The bestselling author of Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert, teaches that there is no such thing as an uncreative person. Everyone is a creative being, and we all have the power to create. It’s just that some of us use our creative powers and some of us don’t.
This brings us the first Major Arcana, The Magician.
Within every single one of us, there is the great power to create that which our soul is eager to bring into existence. The Magician encourages you to recognize all the tools and resources available to you, both within and surrounding you. You have tremendous power and creative force within. Will you let it shine through?
The Emperor (Number 4)
Whereas the Empress (Number 3) is a deep-feeling and emotionally-connected archetype, the Emperor represents the security and soundness of social frameworks. This is about finding yourself within a structure and playing by the rules. It also means establishing yourself as an authority figure by creating boundaries and honoring them. This card can help you ask where and if you give away your authority.
This is not oppressive, restrictive or limiting. This is about creating plans and following through with them. It’s about learning to live freely while honoring and respecting the rules and individuals around you. This is the wisdom of The Emperor.
The Hierophant (Number 5)
“Hierophant” isn’t a common word these days, but it essentially means someone who interprets and teaches spiritual doctrines. The Hierophant asks each of us to take a closer look at our values and to question them. Where do they come from? And are they still relevant today?
Oftentimes, we just accept spiritual, intellectual and social paradigms without having any clue why. But are they serving you? Or, are they holding you back? Be your own hierophant and question your status quo. Are you living in alignment with your values and your truth?
Strength (Number 8)
Strength depicts a female figure embracing a lion. What does she represent? No matter where we are in life’s journey, our emotions, feelings, fears, and desires rise to the surface. Depending on our social structures, and even our childhoods, many people do not feel safe expressing their emotions. Instead, we suppress them.
If we have been taught by society that certain beliefs, ideas, and actions are rewarded, we will stifle the beliefs, ideas, and actions that don’t line up. We want to avoid criticism and rejection. We want to be rewarded instead.
But this is not whole-hearted living. Do you have the strength of a lion to allow emotions to surface? Can you be lion-hearted and follow your passions?
Your passions and emotions are not so intimidating as you might think. And facing them and engaging with them is far less scary than burying them in “neatness,” “acceptability” and “status quo.”
The Hermit (Number 9)
The High Priestess (Number 2) is a silent reminder to return to, and listen to, your unwavering intuition. However, the inner landscape is not a place where we tend to spend much time. It takes practice and commitment to silence the noise and take up residence in these quiet places.
Drawing the Hermit shows that it’s time to find your guiding light again. The Hermit refers to your mentor or teacher. And maybe you’ve already found him or her. It can be someone you personally know, like a yoga instructor, a therapist or friend. Or, it can also be a figure you learn from, such as the Dali Lama, Louise Hay, etc.
If you’re not sure how to find your Hermit, ask yourself these questions: Who inspires you? Who uplifts you? Who gives you a sense of peace and reminds you that the world is okay after all? How can you spend more time gleaming from their wisdom?
The Wheel of Fortune (Number 10)
Remember the first card we discussed – the Magician? The Magician is an empowering archetype, reminding us of the powerful creative forces we have at our disposal, along with all the resources that help bring our dreams to fruition. In a beautiful way, the Magician is very me-centered. The Wheel of Fortune reminds us that we are not always in control and that we are a part of a much bigger picture. The Wheel of Fortune touches on karma and cycles of transformation.
In life, patterns sometimes occur that are difficult to analyze and don’t make much sense. This can leave us feeling discouraged, despondent and even bitter and angry.
If your current situation is down, rather than up, The Wheel of Fortune reminds us that life is in constant motion, and that bad times don’t last. What’s more, as long as you find yourself with some “bad” luck, can you open your perspective and find the deeper lessons here? Can you adapt and roll with the punches?
The Wheel of Fortune also reminds us that yes, even good times can pass, too. This isn’t a doom-and-gloom view on life. Instead, it’s about non-attachment. Enjoy the good times and revel in their joy, but don’t become attached to them. The wheel will start turning again, and you want to be free of it once it does.
Justice (Number 11)
If the Wheel of Fortune made you think life is all about what happens to you, Justice sets the record straight. No matter if your wheel is cruising along or stuck in a rut, you don’t have to be a passive bystander. You are an active participant. You always have free will and the ability to take action.
This doesn’t mean we should resist what is and brandish our sword. It doesn’t mean we should fight for the sake of fighting. That will only keep you stuck in the past or trapped in a power struggle.
Instead, Justice reminds us of our own personal responsibility and the importance of being accountable. Justice means taking action for our best interests today.
Justice demands that we be truthful with others, and most importantly, with ourselves. It means holding our sword – as Lady Justice does – and cutting through the lies. It reminds us to acknowledge our thoughts and actions and to never forget how much they matter. They can attract or detract what we want (or don’t want) in life. Justice asks us to tell the truth to ourselves so that what we attract actually serves us and others.
Do you have a favorite Major Arcana card from these seven? Which one resonates the most with you? Get curious and spend some time with it. There may be many magical lessons waiting for you.