Learning The Major Arcana Cards: What Do They All Mean?

There are two major groups in the Tarot, the major arcana, which has 22 cards, and the minor arcana, which has 56 cards.

In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know about the major arcana.

First, let’s talk about what the major arcana represents.

The major arcana is also known as the Trump cards, and it represents big archetypal themes, karmic influences, and life lessons that influence your life and your journey to enlightenment.

It includes 21 numbered cards and 1 unnumbered card (The Fool).

So in total, there are 22 major arcana cards.

All the cards in this arcana have complex and deep meanings, both positively and negatively. 

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.

The Major Arcana

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.

When Major Arcana Dominates in A Tarot Reading

If the cards in your reading are mostly made up of Major arcana cards, you are in a life-changing period of your life, where your decisions will have long-lasting effects.

So, you should pay attention to the signs and consider every choice you make from thereon.

When a majority of the major arcana cards are reversed, you are not paying attention to the life-changing events happening around you, and you need to learn from these events or lessons to move forward.

The Fool’s Journey

“The Fool’s Journey” is a term often used to describe the way that tarot cards tell stories.


We first meet The Fool at 0, nothing – and then follow this character on an intriguing journey much like those heroes in myths or legends followed when they were looking for something of significance.

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 is made up of such archetypes, some more familiar than others.

The Hermit and Death card are both good examples.

the hermit

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

They stand as reminders that we must all face our own mortality one day because no matter how old you think yourself to be now – there will eventually come 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 starting from the beginning to the end of the journey.

When it comes up in a reading, we are to 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.

The magician

It lets you know that you have everything you need to move forward and become great.

The High Priestess – #2

This card is an intuitive card that urges you to listen to your inner voice and follow your instinct.

The Empress – #3

This card 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 the power and control you have over the things happening in your life.

The Hierophant – #5

This card encourages you to always follow the rules.

the hierophant

The Lovers- #6

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

the lovers

The Chariot – #7

This card reminds you that success is achievable, but you have to be determined to get it.

The Strength – #8

The strength represents your ability to withstand anything in life and come out more powerful.

The Hermit – #9

When the hermit comes up in your reading, it means your answers need to 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 passing through at the moment is based on your past decisions.

The Hanged Man – #12

When this card shows up in your reading, it’s time to make some sacrifices and 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 this card shows up in your reading, you are encouraged to go with the flow instead of forcing your life to go fast.

The Devil – #15

This card carries heavy feelings of powerlessness and restraint.

You have to remember that you hold the keys to your own freedom, and you have the choice to open the lock.

The devil

The Tower – #16

When this shows up 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

This star comes up in your reading to remind you that the universe is working in your favor.

the Star

The Moon – #18

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

The Sun – #19

This is a powerful card that represents optimism, joy, and vitality.

It means things are working in your favor.

Sun tarot

Judgement – #20

Judgement card comes up to remind you to review your past decisions and make amends.

The world – #21

This is the last card in the major arcana, representing success, completion, and fulfillment.

The world tarot card

Overcoming Issues

Many times we try to overcome our difficulties, but fail repeatedly.

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

The lesson of the Hanged Man – let go and surrender in order- is one that needs repeated contemplation before it can become fully incorporated into life’s lessons.

Often this process will take place out of sequence with otherworldly adversity early on.

This is followed by success later down the line, for those who have had harder lives than others.


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 own messages, but when put together they form an entire story about life’s trials and tribulations as well as guidance for what comes next in your journey through this world we call “home.”

Thanks for reading and hopefully this has helped in learning the major arcana cards