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Tarot and the Major Arcana: What Does It All Mean?

If you want to get to know the Tarot deck, the Major Arcana is a great place to start. That's because these cards are the backbone of the deck. They represent the life lessons, karmic influences, and the big archetypal themes that influence our lives. The cards' complex meanings represent the structure of human consciousness and hold key life lessons.

Here is a short breakdown of both the upright and reversed meanings of the 21 cards of Tarot and The Major Arcana.

The Fool

The storyline introduced in the Major Arcana is known as The Fool's Journey. Hence, the Fool is the main character of the Major Arcana. The Fool makes his journey, meeting teachers, and learning life lessons along the way.

UPRIGHT: New beginnings, innocence, naivety, hidden talents, impulsive

REVERSED: Problems brought on by recklessness, immature

The Magician

UPRIGHT: Intelligence, knowledge, communication, resourcefulness, originality

REVERSED: Trickery, manipulation, poor planning, untrustworthy

High Priestess

UPRIGHT: Insight, solutions, change for the better, psychic experiences

REVERSED: Deception, confusion, disconnected from intuition, withdrawal, and silence

The Empress

UPRIGHT: Motherly, fertility, beauty, nature, nurturing, abundance

REVERSED: Restriction, a creative block, dependence on others

The Emperor

UPRIGHT: Power and authority, structure, paternal, establishment

REVERSED: Tyrannical, domination, controlling, oppressive, inflexibility

The Hierophant (High Priest)

UPRIGHT: Religion, spiritual wisdom, conformity, tradition, conservative values

REVERSED: Indoctrination, obsession, propaganda, spiritual and physical oppression

The Lovers

UPRIGHT: Partnership, harmony, relationships, important decisions, new opportunities

REVERSED: Indecision, contradictions, imbalance, misalignment of values, disharmony

The Chariot

UPRIGHT: Progress, willpower, success through determination

REVERSED: No self-discipline, opposition, lack of direction or skills


UPRIGHT: Balance, truth, fairness, cause and effect, legal matters

REVERSED: Bigotry, lack of accountability, bias

The Hermit

UPRIGHT: Warning, caution, soul-searching, introspection, wisdom

REVERSED: Isolation, loneliness, ignored warnings, false information

Wheel of Fortune

UPRIGHT: Good luck, karma, life improvement, destiny, turning point

REVERSED: Resistance to change, bad luck, unwillingness to change


UPRIGHT: Self-control, courage, persuasion, influence, compassion

REVERSED: lustful, self-indulgent, low energy, emotional

The Hanged Man

UPRIGHT: Sacrifice, giving, letting go, spiritual advancement

REVERSED: Punishment, pain, loss, selfishness


UPRIGHT: Transformation, transition, endings, change

REVERSED: Resistance to change, hopeless, despondency


UPRIGHT: Optimism, cooperation, balance, moderation, patience, purpose

REVERSED: Imbalance, excess, failure to adapt

The Devil

UPRIGHT: Physical desires, temptation, addiction, materialism, selfishness

REVERSED: Limiting beliefs, self-destructive, misuse of power

The Tower

UPRIGHT: Destruction, sudden change, upheaval, chaos, revelation, insight

REVERSED: Unnecessary suffering, fear of change, lack of self-preservation

The Star

UPRIGHT: Hope, confidence, purpose, renewal

REVERSED: Lack of faith, despair, self-deception, disconnection

The Moon

UPRIGHT: Imagination, introspection, subconscious, intuition

REVERSED: Escapism, illusion, fantasy, unseen dangers

The Sun

UPRIGHT: Happiness, joy, good fortune, positivity, success, vitality

REVERSED: Unsatisfactory achievements, sadness, overly optimistic


UPRIGHT: Spiritual awakening, rebirth, inner calling, absolution

REVERSED: Self-doubt, indecision, wasted opportunities

The World

UPRIGHT: Achievement, completion, harmony, fulfillment, accomplishment, travel

REVERSED: Seeking personal closure, loss of momentum, stagnation

Tarot and The Major Arcana

In a Tarot reading, Tarot and The major Arcana mean that you are going through or headed for life-changing events with long-term effects.

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