The Story and Meaning of The Major Arcana Tarot Cards

The Major Arcana has a story behind it; it represents the first card set and is distinct from the Minor Arcana. This does not resemble regular playing cards; rather, they are allegorical symbols which stand for the journey of The Fool. This journey is one that we must all take and nearly every aspect of our lives can be interpreted within it. 

Story and Meaning Behind The Major Arcana Cards

Starting with zero the first character is the carefree Fool that will be on a path throughout the story. The Fool appears dim and unaware but his actions will become different in the Tarot. His innocence makes this journey possible. He will meet the High Priestess and The Magician first on his journey. While the Magician stands for masculine energy and encourages you to hone your abilities towards bettering yourself, the High Priestess stands for pure feminine energy of arcane knowledge. She embodies intuition and femininity, powerful but intangible forces.

When The Fool meets his feminine and masculine aspects he then meets the external manifestation of these two, namely The Emperor and The Empress. These are earthly counterparts of the previous two cards and become parents of the Fool. The Empress tarot major arcana is giving and a feminine provider nourishing her subjects. The Emperor with the father’s energy protects his realm. They both inculcate knowledge into the young Fool.

However, the Fool has to leave his home and this is when he meets the dogma and The Hierophant. Now, knowledge passes down from the heaven through teachings focusing on religious institutions. The Fool learns how to choose, symbolized by Lovers card. He understands that his future can be controlled by himself. After being educated the Fool has to use this knowledge in the real world. The Chariot acts like his graduation. He can now step into the adventure and meet his first challenge, this is Strength and the Fool has to realize that mind is stronger.

From here the Fool is then thrust into the world of The Hermit. He is now alone with his thoughts and meets the Wheel of Fortune. He realizes that life is full of ups and downs and learns to accept this wild ride. This is done through the Justice card wherein decisions are taken through a fair trial. However, the Fool soon finds that he is in a dilemma like The Hanged Man and caught between two worlds. He also realizes that what he had accepted as truth are actually beliefs of his teachers. The Death card then frees him from such untruths. 

The Fool is therefore changed through this experience and his newly-gained knowledge is represented by the Temperance card. This shows a deep spiritual understanding wherein emotions are regulated. This however exposes the Fool’s hidden blind spots and this is revealed in the Devil card. The Devil speaks to unconscious urges of Fool’s psyche but the manipulation is only temporary and released by the magic of the Tower. This makes his inner world crumble leading to emergence of the Star.

The Star represents a magical moment in the Fool’s journey when new ideas get planted.  But this too has its shadow in the form of the Moon that reminds the Fool that everything is uncontrollable. But night does not stay forever and the journey approaches an end. The Sun rises again with the hope of homecoming. The fool reaches the gates of his castle all set to share everything he has learned so far. The revelation is in the Judgment card and the World stand for the journey’s end.

Written by George K.

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