The Major Arcana

The 22 cards in the Major Arcana (sometimes referred to as the Trump cards) depict major symbols or archetypes. Among them are the Fool, the Lovers, Death, and the World, all of which signify major ideas, phases or forces of life. The term "Major Arcana" actually means the "Greater Mysteries."

Some believe that the progression of the cards in the Major Arcana actually tell the story of a soul's progression through Karma, or a seeker's path through his or her life. The word "Arcana" is actually Latin for "life secrets." The deck begins with the Fool, an enthusiastic and naïve person eager to set out on his life path, regardless of what lies ahead, and ends with the World, which represents a perfect attainment of completion, or Nirvana.
Think of the Majors as archetypal events, the big issues that concern character and destiny. They "breathe with the collective unconscious of the human race" (MacGregor). They are the most powerful cards in the deck.
Frequently these cards are used alone when reading for divination since they are the archetypal symbols of human existence and mark stages of self-discovery and self-awareness.

When a Major Arcana card is drawn, special attention should be paid to its position.

Each Major Arcana card also has an astrology association and a numerology connection that can also be taken into an account when doing a reading.

Note: While we did include reverse meanings here, it is up to you as to whether or not you use them. For some, a reverse card simply indicates direction (as in whether something is coming or going), others don't use reverses at all. Go with that your instincts tell you. In time, you will naturally develop your own way of reading the cards.


The Major Arcana

 

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