The Major Arcana Revealed: Discover Life Lessons and Karmic Insights with Tarot

The Tarot is divided into two main groups: the major arcana with 22 cards and the minor arcana with 56 cards.

The major arcana is also known as the Trump cards.

It represents big archetypal themes, karmic influences, and life lessons.

They influence your life and your journey to enlightenment.

This group includes 21 numbered cards and one unnumbered card, The Fool.

Thus, the major arcana comprises 22 cards in total.

Each card in the major arcana possesses intricate meanings that can be interpreted positively and negatively.

Table of Contents

What Major Arcana Means in A Tarot Reading

Major arcana cards often hold a deeper meaning in a Tarot reading than all the other cards.

Major Arcana Tarot cards

When a major arcana comes up in your reading, it may mean you should reflect on your life and the things that are currently happening.

  • Role of the Major Arcana: Comprising 22 cards, the Major Arcana, also known as the Trump cards, encapsulates significant archetypal themes, karmic influences, and life lessons.
  • Impact on Readings: Major Arcana cards carry deeper meanings and highlight pivotal life changes. They urge introspection and awareness, with each card offering unique insights.
  • Significance in Personal Growth: These cards not only guide through life-altering periods but also encourage learning from pivotal events and challenges, aiding in personal and spiritual development.

Explore the profound journey of enlightenment with the Major Arcana, guiding you through life’s trials and tribulations with powerful, introspective lessons.

Hanna Burgess

When Major Arcana Dominates in A Tarot Reading

A reading with mostly Major Arcana cards indicates a life-altering period.

Your decisions have lasting impacts.

So, it’s crucial to be mindful of the signs and carefully consider each choice.

If you overlook significant events around you, it suggests that most of the Major Arcana cards in your reading are reversed.

Learning from these events and lessons is essential for your progress.

The Fool’s Journey

“The Fool’s Journey” is often used to describe how tarot cards tell stories.


We first meet The Fool at 0, nothing. We follow this character on an intriguing journey.

It’s much like heroes in myths or legends who sought something significant.

There are learning experiences where we gain important insights into ourselves.

Moments where our sense clarity soars high above all others…and periods not just destruction but also great loss as well.

But ultimately, there will be more than enough energy left over towards completion.

You’ll reach your destination-the World card itself (cards can take different forms).

What is an ‘archetype’?

The Major Arcana comprises such archetypes, some more familiar than others.

The Hermit and Death cards are both good examples.

the hermit

A hooded figure with a staff who lives alone atop mountains or at the edge of forests.

They remind us that we must all face our mortality one day.

No matter how old you think you are, there will eventually be an end.

A Deeper Look Into the Cards of the Major Arcana

Let’s begin learning the major arcana cards.

Are you ready to start?

The Fool – 0

The Fool is the main character in this arcana, though other cards tell their individual story.


This particular card tells a familiar story we all know.

A description of his life’s experiences as he grows, the setbacks he encounters, and the lessons he learns through life.

This card tells our complete life story from the beginning to the end of the journey.

When it comes up in a reading, we must follow through without worry because the end is certain.

The Magician – #1

When the Magician comes up in a reading, it reminds you of your unique skills and gifts that make you different from others.

It lets you know you have everything you need to advance and become great.

The High Priestess – #2

This intuitive card urges you to listen to your inner voice and follow your instincts.

The Empress – #3

The Empress is connected to Mother Nature, so she encourages love, beauty, and compassion.

the empress

The Emperor – #4

The Emperor represents power and leadership.

The Emperor

It reminds you of your power and control over the things happening in your life.

The Hierophant – #5

The Hierophant encourages you always to follow the rules.

the hierophant

The Lovers- #6

When the Lovers card comes up in your reading, it means you are at a crossroads in your relationship and must consider all the consequences of your choice.

the lovers

The Chariot – #7

The Chariot reminds you that success is achievable but must be determined to achieve it.

The Strength – #8

The Strength card represents your ability to withstand and become more powerful.

The Hermit – #9

When the Hermit comes up in your reading, your answers must come from within.

the hermit

Wheel of Fortune – #10

Nothing is permanent, and the wheel of fortune reminds you of this when it shows in your readings.

Wheel of Fortune

Justice – #11

Just as its name implies, Justice reminds you that whatever you’re going through is based on your past decisions.

The Hanged Man – #12

When the Hanged Man card appears in your reading, it’s time to make sacrifices, let things go, or detach yourself from a situation.

the hanged man

Death – #13

This card doesn’t mean physical death.


It means the end of cycles, past relationships and situations, and taking comfort in knowing that there are new beginnings in every ending. 

Temperance – #14

When the Temperance card appears in your reading, you are encouraged to follow the flow instead of forcing your life to go fast.

The Devil – #15

The Devil carries heavy feelings of powerlessness and restraint.

You must remember that you hold the keys to your freedom, and you can open the lock.

The devil

The Tower – #16

When the Tower appears in your reading, it reminds you to tear down the weak parts of your life to build something sturdy and strong.

the tower

The Star – #17

The Star card in your reading reminds you that the universe works in your favour.

the Star

The Moon – #18

When the Moon card comes up in your reading, you are greatly anxious about your past or the future.

The Sun – #19

The Sun is a powerful card representing optimism, joy, and vitality.

It means things are working in your favour.

Sun tarot

Judgement – #20

The Judgement card reminds you to review your past decisions and make amends.

The world – #21

This is the last card in the major arcana.

The World card represents success, completion, and fulfilment.

The world tarot card

Overcoming Issues

Often, we encounter challenges that can be difficult to overcome despite repeated efforts.

Knowing the tarot card meanings can help us learn more about ourselves.

The Hanged Man’s lesson emphasizes the need to let go and surrender.

It requires deep and repeated contemplation to integrate into one’s life fully.

This learning process often occurs non-linearly, starting with significant challenges early on.

Those facing greater hardships follow this process and later succeed in their journey.


The Major Arcana cards are the most recognizable and impactful of all the 22 Tarot deck’s 78 cards.

These powerful images stand alone with their messages.

They form an entire story about life’s trials and tribulations when put together.

They also offer guidance for what comes next in your journey through this world we call “home.”