The Major Arcana

Major Arcana Card Meanings

The Original Rider-Waite Deck

In the table below you’ll find the meanings for all of the Major Arcana cards of the Tarot.

The Major Arcana are the trump cards of the Tarot. They are a series of archetypal images representing spiritual evolution, and psychological influences. The Major Arcana cards are the most powerful images of the Tarot. They are universal themes that affect our lives on very personal levels.

The images shown are from the Rider-Waite Tarot, the most popular modern deck.

Tarot Card Represents in a Reading
The Fool is about being aware of opportunities.
It shows curiosity, innocence and naivety.
A fresh start.
A journey into unfamiliar territory.
Undertaking a search for experience and wisdom.
Spontaneity and risk.
Unlimited potential for spiritual growth and personal development.
Can reveal someone embarking upon a new business or relationship.
The MagicianThe Magician is about being conscious of your abilities.
This card represents manifestation.
The qualities of focus, willpower, discipline, and mastery.
He is a teacher and guide in the physical world.
Skill, action, capability, confidence, application, and a sense of purpose.

The High Priestess card shows the strengthening of intuition.
It is a card of secrets, mysteries, and psychic powers.
It reveals an understanding of your purpose in life.
Reflection, perception and insight.
The most spiritual aspects of the feminine.
The Empress is a supporter and nurturer.
She is someone who is emotional and gentle.
The Empress shows the wisdom of nature. She is fertility, growth, and abundance,
This is a card of fruitfulness, serenity, patience, and creativity
The Empress is Mother Nature herself.
She can represent the fullness of life, domestic stability, generosity, contentment, and potential fulfilled.
The Emperor is a person who is traditionally minded, severe, and confident.
He is a natural leader who is usually firm in his opinions.
An earthy, materialistic nature.
This card symbolises authority, ambition, security, reliability, and practicality.
The Emperor is the fatherly aspect within any relationship.
He represents order, stability, the rational mind, and rulership.
When this card turns up in a spread, it may indicate an encounter with an authority figure, such as the head of the company, or a police officer.
The Hierophant card represents guidance and inspiration.
The Hierophant can represent a teacher, or assistance from a wise and compassionate person.
Conformity. tradition, respect, education, and obedience are all meanings attributed to this card.
The Lovers card can represent a lover, or the feeling of love itself.
This is a card of trust, harmony, and of partnerships in their many forms.
Sometimes it refers to attraction, relationships, and marriage.
A balance between passion and responsibility.
The card called 'The Chariot' is about triumph through the use of willpower and discipline.
It shows the creativity that results from conflict.
Determination and control.
How to overcome and unify opposing tendencies.
The value of positive aggression.
When this card turns up in a spread, it can indicate a person with a determined nature.
The Strength card is about the interaction of physical and emotional forces.
Self-control can be gained by acknowledging our base desires, then using that energy for creative, constructive measures.
Inner strength and self-awareness.
Courage, endurance, perseverance, goodness, and fortitude.
This card can represent a peaceful person, or one who has the quiet determination to see a project through to the end, regardless of the hardships involved.
The Hermit shows attainment, acceptance, solitude, and reflection.
Extra time could become available in your schedule—use this time for introspection.
This card warns against taking sudden action without contemplation of all the possible results.
Take time to meditate or think about your past and your future.
The Hermit can also represent a teacher of mundane or esoteric subjects.
The Wheel of Fortune card is about luck, destiny, momentum, and a change of fortune.
Like the cycle of the seasons, this card shows that the universe is always in a state of change.
The main message of this card is simply that the ebb and flow of fortune is a constant part of our existence.
Know that the wheel will always turn, and life is not always under your immediate control.
The card called 'Justice' is about seeing the truth about yourself and passing judgement on your own thoughts and actions.
This shows a situation requiring careful consideration in order to find a fair and rational solution.
The card Justice is often related to legal matters, and indicates that you must maintain fair dealings and honesty with others.
It can also serve as a warning to check that others are acting justly towards you.
The card called 'The Hanged Man' suggests to have patience.
This card shows a present sacrifice for a future benefit.
Reflection, acceptance, and viewing situations from a different perspective.
Be willing to adapt to changing circumstances.
When The Hanged Man appears in a spread, it can indicate a period of introspection, which leads to a greater understanding of one’s circumstances.
The card known as 'Death' shows the end of a cycle of life.
It is about transformation or a significant change to your situation or lifestyle.
This card represents finality—an ending that is necessary for all involved.
The ‘death’ of an old way of life occurs so that a new beginning can take place.
Change is an unavoidable part of life, and by accepting this, you can prepare for the new start that becomes available after the demise of the current situation
Temperance is about using cooperation, and moderation.
The need to balance your rational and emotional self.
Harmony between your material and spiritual nature.
Temperance blends inner wisdom with outer knowledge and promotes the discovery of a meaningful life.
The card called 'The Devil' shows a longing for material possessions, or a situation where wealth is being used for power.
On an inner level, The Devil represents the deep-seated, instinctual aspects of our physical and sexual desires.
The Devil can symbolise repressed fears or needs which must be overcome.
He can also indicate a situation that limits or binds you.
The emphasis of this card is physical force, psychological power, guilt, selfishness, obsession, violence, repression, and addiction.
It can reveal a feeling of being ‘chained’ to circumstances over which you feel you have no conscious control.
This card also suggests someone may be trying to dominate or control you.
The Tower is a card of sudden conflict and disruption.
A change of employment or residence, or perhaps just a significant change within your usual routine at work or home.
Major changes in thinking, intellectual breakthroughs, and sometimes mental breakdowns.
Upheaval (and even violence) in a relationship can be indicated by this card.
The Tower is symbolic of unexpected action with widespread repercussions.
This card represents a time of chaos and confusion, but it leads to an awareness of more appropriate options.
The Star is a card of renewal and revitalisation.
It is about taking ideas and manifesting them in the real world. Maintaining balance.
Creative thinking, guidance from the universe, and an increase in good fortune.
It suggests calmness, and innovative concepts.
The Moon is a card of imagination, instinct, change, and vivid dreams.
Because of the feminine nature of this card, the changes that are implied in a reading should be regarded as being of a subtle nature, relating to the inner level of experience.
The Sun is a card of activity, cheerfulness, and good health.
This card also represents optimism, simplicity, pleasure, achievement, and acknowledgement.
It’s a card of warmth and illumination and it heralds the brightness, love and understanding that is coming your way.
Happiness, strength, prosperity and growth are likely to find their way into your life in the very near future.
The Sun card brings an opportunity to connect with the child within.
When this card turns up in a reading it suggests a time of confidence which generates good luck and success.
The card known as 'Judgement' reveals a stirring of the mind to a higher purpose.
It is about a renewed sense of urgency to accomplish important tasks of a meaningful nature.
This card can represent settlement, an announcement, or a decision which is made that leads to a change for the better.
It shows an evaluation of circumstances with a promise of reward.
An awakening from illusions.
The World is a card of accomplishing a long-term objective, such as a graduation, or a promotion.
This is a card of achievement, completion, integration, and closure.
It signifies the end of a project with appropriate rewards for your efforts.
From this vantage point you can see how far you have journeyed and you have a better perspective of your achievements.