Are you looking for guidance and encouragement from Someone – or Something – wiser than you? Something that can cut through the distractions of daily life? Have you considered the Major Arcana cards of Tarot? If not, maybe it’s time you do.
Tarot has 22 Major Arcana cards, and they’re considered the foundation of the Tarot because they represent the big picture in life. On every Major Arcana card, there is an archetypal figure who illustrates important life lessons and themes – themes that probably play out in your life, too.
It goes without saying that you may feel deeply connected to some cards, while others will resonate less with you. Having an affinity and connection to different Major Arcana cards is a reflection of where you are in your life journey.
To help you understand the hidden wisdom of the Major Arcana cards more deeply, we cover eight Major Arcana cards here. Be sure to check out the other articles, Important Lessons and Life Lessons for a review of all 22 Major Arcana Cards.
Having a better understanding of the lessons and themes in the Major Arcana can enrich your spiritual practice and help you better understand the same themes playing out in your life right now.
The Hanged Man (Number 12)
Drawing the Hanged Man card may be unnerving at first. After all, it seems pretty ominous. However, that is your ego talking. The truth is, the Hanged Man is actually a reminder that when life feels like it’s literally upside down and spinning out of control, the best thing to do is simply surrender and wait it out.
Of course, our ego would rather hop in the ring and join the fight. But stepping back and allowing things to play out is what the Hanged Man invites you to do.
Temperance (Number 14)
Without a doubt, balance is one of the greatest challenges we face in our earthly experience. In our modern lives, we feel this challenge even more so. Between our relationships, careers, personal goals and spiritual growth, it’s hard to cultivate temperance – that delicate mix of moderation and restraint.
We should look at Temperance in the Major Arcana as something boring and disciplinarian. We should see it as a call to live your life artfully. Just as a great pianist must practice her playing to create the perfect balance between her right and left hands, so, too, do we need to cultivate our own system of checks and balances so we experience a life that flows with ease and grace.
The Devil (Number 15)
Like the Hanged Man, the Devil may trigger fear inside you. However, even the Devil is a good reminder that our consciousness has a dark side, too. It can indulge too much in power and be addicted to unchecked impulses.
Our inner demons can be slaves to dependencies, dysfunction and unhealthy relationships – both with people and with things. For this reason, The Devil is the perfect card to follow Temperance. Temperance is exactly what we need to face our demons, and to use our energies in a way that serves our highest good, not to drag us down.
The Tower (Number 16)
How often do we repress our truth, ignore our challenges and ignore dissonances in our life – all because we want to “keep the peace” and avoid conflict? All too often, right? However, this is like a time bomb waiting to explode, as it does here in the Tower.
If you do not face the truth, the truth will face you, one way or another, and the Tower reminds us that it can be messy. Drawing the Tower card is a reminder to face uncomfortable truths, or to ride it out if you’re in the midst of upheaval. This, too, shall pass.
The Moon (Number 18)
The Moon is rich in symbolism and invites us to focus on the subconscious mind and to go inward, rather than to act, or even worse, to react. The Moon is an invitation to reflect on our own limiting beliefs that dominate the subconscious mind. Some may refer to this as “Shadow Work.”
Limiting beliefs are like thick clouds that block the moon’s illuminating light. Our limiting beliefs prevent us from tapping into our imaginations, our intimate emotional world, and our psychic abilities. The Moon is a reminder to let hidden things come to the surface and be seen. The ego may resist this initiative, but it will ultimately free you from the limiting beliefs that have overtaken your subconscious thinking.
The Sun (Number 19)
After spending time in the moonlight, and reflecting on our limiting beliefs and working to change our subconscious programming, it’s time to step into the joyful sunlight. This is the experience waiting for us when we face our demons and dissolve old mindsets of lack and fear. Now that we have removed the clouds and darkness, we can welcome sunlight, and even more importantly, life itself.
The Sun reminds us that life is good and that you – a part of this good life – are also inherently good and whole. This Major Arcana card is an invitation to see the world as a positive and happy place. No, this isn’t wishful thinking. When we ourselves create positivity and joy within, we cannot help but identify these qualities in our surroundings, too. Why? Because they are there. We simply need to learn to see them, and the Sun teaches us how.
Judgement (Number 20)
The Sun provides enlightenment, and this enables us to practice mindful judgement. This Major Arcana card is not a green card to judge and criticize others, however. Instead, it asks us to be brutally honest with ourselves and identify the beliefs, words, and habits that no longer serve us on this earthly journey.
It’s time to live true to yourself and to your divine purpose. What is it that is holding you back and preventing you from doing so? At the crossroads of life, Judgement helps you decide with prudence and peace. It is Judgement that helps you make the perfect adjustments and shifts.
The World (Number 21)
As the last card of the Major Arcana, the World could be interpreted as “The End.” However, try not to think of Tarot as linear. Instead, think of them as moving cyclically. Have we ended, or are we simply starting again?
Drawing this card may indicate that you’ve closed one chapter in your life, but get ready, this isn’t the end of the book. You have another chapter waiting for you. Don’t be surprised if you move through the Major Arcana cards once again. Maybe others will resonate more with you this time around. Or, maybe you will recognize new wisdom in old favorites.
There is so much the 22 Major Arcana cards can teach us. Each one is a powerful lesson, in and of itself. Yet each one is intricately connected to the others, too. The Major Arcana cards represent the overarching themes that form and shape a lifetime, where ups and downs, birth and death, struggle and transformation are all inherent parts of every person’s journey.