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Major Arcana Meanings 
Tarot Cards Reading 101

Discover the Major Arcana Meanings, the first step to learn how to read tarot cards.

The Major Arcana or Trump cards represent the milestones in one's life, the major changes and the important events. They are made up of twenty-two cards, numbered from zero to twenty-one and they make the main part of a tarot card deck. Their rich imagery is evocative and filled with symbols that touch our subconscious mind.

Reading with Major Arcana

These cards have such a rich symbolism and deep message that you can do a tarot reading only with Major Arcana, especially if you reckon that the question is especially meaningful.

Major Arcana in a Spread

When a lot of Major Arcana appear in a reading it means that there is an important lesson to be learned and something that requires our full attention. 

The Major Arcana meanings describe a progress through life and a journey of spiritual growth.

The main character in this journey is the Fool, the number zero and the first card of the Major Arcana and each of the following cards represent a step in his development.

On this page you can read more about Major Arcana meanings and the Fool's journey .

Major Arcana Meanings and Reversed Cards

At the side of each card you'll find a quick explanation of the Major Arcana meanings, for an in depth description and interpretation click on each title.

For the meaning of each card you’ll find here the general explanation and the reversed card meaning. Reversed cards are cards that come upside-down in a spread.

You can decide if to just turn them right side up or read them as reversals.

Some tarot reader consider reversed cards as carrying a negative, darker meaning or simply a slowing down of the energies at work in a situation.

Other readers reckon that every card has in itself many layers of meaning and reversals just confuse the reading.

The choice is yours!

0 The Fool

Optimism, innocence, new beginning, spontaneity, serendipity, new start, journey, creativity, confidence.


Risk, poor judgment, rushed decision, naiveté, unexpected problems.

1 The Magician

Achiever, ability to take decisions and creative action. Self-confidence. Using knowledge and abilities. Technology user. Adaptation, creativity.


Indecision, blocked creativity, frustration, delays. Arrogance, overconfidence. Manipulation.

2 The High Priestess

Intuition. Spiritual power. Hidden influences. Mysteries. Premonitory Dreams. Subconscious knowledge. Sexless love. Changeable moods.


Loosing contact with inner needs. Repressed feelings. Hidden enemies. Out of control emotions.

3 The Empress

The mother. Creativity. Nourishment. Nurturing. Fruitful action. Prosperity. Abundance. Comfort. Marriage. Fertility.


Blocked creativity. Frustration. Miscarriage, abortion, infertility. Loveless sex. Scarcity. 

4 The Emperor

The father. Power, control, order and stability. Rational thinking. An influential man. A Powerful person. A job promotion. Ambition. Self-control. Material wealth. Leadership. Stability. Logic. Social status.


Lack of discipline. Immaturity. Refusal to grow up. Peter Pan complex. Repression. Power abuse.

5 The Hierophant

Tradition. Orthodoxy. Conventional wisdom. Wise counselor or mentor. Spiritual authority. Organized religion. Institutions. Teaching and learning. Religious ceremony, wedding.


Dogmatism. Religious extremism. Fanaticism. Religious Fundamentalist. Rebellion against the rules. Bad counseling.

6 The Lovers

Choice. An important decision. Union. Duality. Attraction. Romance and love. Commitment and marriage.


Adultery. Wrong choices. Impatience. Infidelity. Difficult relationship. Divorce or separation. Unsolved conflict. Indecision. Jealousy.

7 The Chariot

Determination. Control. Balance of opposites. Focus. Progress. Ambition. Triumph over difficulties. Achievement. Motion. Transportation and vehicles.


Lack of direction and ambition. Loss of control. Addiction. Waste of energy. Insecurity. Bossiness. Canceled or delayed travel.

8 Strength

Inner strength, honesty, loyalty and reliability. Self-confidence and discipline. Courage. Energy. Action. Recovery after an illness.


Fear, insecurity, weakness. Illness. Self-doubt and lack of confidence.

9 The Hermit

Meditation. Solitude. Contemplation. Patience. Self-discovery. Reassessment and planning. Retreat.


Loneliness. Obstinacy and refusal to listen. Self absorption and deception. Rejecting sensible advice.

10 Wheel of Fortune

Twist of fate. Lucky change.  Opportunity. Open door. Ups and downs of fortune. A fortunate event. The end of a phase and the beginning of a new one


Unlucky turn. Disappointment. Recession. Downside cycle. Resistance to change.

11 Justice

Balance, equilibrium. Legal affairs. Arbitration. Order. Careful choices. Rationality. Legal agreements.


Unfair trial. Delayed justice. False accusations. Difficult negotiations. Failing an exam.

12 The Hanged Man

Suspension. Taking time. See things from a different angle. Sacrifice for a higher good. Wisdom, contemplation. Patience.


Meaningless sacrifice. Useless deprivation. A causeless martyr. Apathy. Poor decisions. Inability to make necessary sacrifices. Refusing inevitable change.

13 Death

Transformation. Sudden and unexpected change. Entering a new phase of life. Liberation. Renewal and rebirth. Grieving a loss.


Resistance to inevitable change. Inertia. Stagnation. Fear of change. Depression.

14 Temperance

Moderation. Blending. Tolerance. Merging. Balance. Healing. Syntheses. Cooperation. Harmony. Artistic creativity.


Extremism. Disagreements. Moodiness. Unleashed passions. Unbalanced emotions. Overindulgence and addictions.

15 The Devil

Greed. Lust. Indulgence and addiction. Obsessions and unchecked passions. Excessive attachment to the material world. Inordinate exuberance.


Release. Positive attitude. Freedom from chains. Overcoming fears an phobias. Abuse. Dependency. Exaggerated greed or lust.

16 The Tower

Collapse. Awakening, sudden revelation. Illumination. Shocking and unexpected change. Transformation. Loss of a safe heaven.


Upheaval, chaos, disruption. Captivity.

17 The Star

Hope. Optimism. Peace. Inspiration. Harmony. Protection, comfort and relief. Restoration. Healing.


Unjustified pessimism, disappointment. Delays. Anxiety. Depression.

18 The Moon

Mystery, secrets. Illusion. Deception. Intuition, imagination and hidden emotions. Dreams.


Lunacy. Deception. Depression. Illusions and daydreaming. Hidden motives. Trickery and insincerity. Nightmares.

19 The Sun

Happiness, vitality. Success. Fulfillment. Exuberance, joy and creativity. Friendship. Health. Energy. Marriage and children.


Delay. Arrogance. Egotism

20 Judgement

Rebirth, rejuvenation. A transition. Rite of passage. An important choice. Graduation.


Delayed decision. Fear of change.

21 The World

Completion, fulfillment. Triumph. Wholeness. Liberation. End of a cycle.


Unfinished projects. Frustration.

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