Major Arcana Tarot Cards Meaning and Symbolism

There are 22 different types of cards present in the major arcana tarot card numerology.

Several card decks are present among the Major Arcana Tarot Cards & their order is different in each deck. These cards point towards different types of emotions & experiences which are related to the life of that particular person.

Here we are only concerned about the meaning of the arcana card and not the numeral order.

These cards are used to predict the upright & the reverse sides of an individual so as he or she can use the strengths for good and work on the weakness part.

Video: Major Arcana | Tarot Cards Explanation

What is the meaning of Major Arcana Tarot?

The Major Arcana Tarot Cards are the representations of the life lessons and other forces that can influence the life of an individual. It helps the person and directs the soul of the body to the path of enlightenment.

The meaning of each of the 22 cards is different from one another.

Deep and complex interpretations are drawn from these cards in very beautiful and mesmerizing ways by the tarot card readers.

Each card depicts the exact structure of the life of that particular human being and also the ways to restructure the haphazard life and get it back on track.

The Major Arcana Tarot cards are also famous by the name of Trump cards.

These include 21 cards which are numbered and 1 card which is not numbered. The non-numbered card is known as the Fool card.

The Fool card is considered to be the most important card in the Major Arcana Tarot.

This card meets new cards on his journey and learns new life lessons at each point in life. It finally meets the world card and completes its Fool Journey.

This Fool’s Journey helps in understanding the deeper meaning of the card present in the world of Major Arcana Tarot.

The Folklore of Major Arcana Tarot

The tarot card reading technique appeared somewhere around the beginning of the 14th century in the French region.

It was initially referred to as Tarocchi, which means tarot in French language.

Then it was bleakly used in the regions near France and Italy.

Finally, around 1781, France and England came together & started the concept of tarot card reading.

Whenever a major tarot card is drawn, it brings with itself various upright and reverse sides which helps him or her to reflect on the various life lessons and the themes which are being experienced in the current state.

Generally, the main Arcana card is issued which is complemented by the remaining cards to get the essence of the issues and the future opportunities.

It is believed that if most of the tarot cards are reversed, then it is an indication of the fact that the person is not paying enough attention to the life details.

One should always consult a tarot card reader for the same.

Thus, it has always been advised by the experts that in such situations the individual should first understand these important life lessons, rectify them and then move forward with other things in life.

What are the major arcana tarot cards?

Based on the upright & the reverse qualities which an individual can possess, there are 22 main tarot cards present in the world of card reading which is used by the experts.

These cards are used to determine the future and the personality traits of the people. The list of 22 cards are also known as the Major Arcana Tarot Cards.

These cards are as follows:

0. The Fool Tarot Card

The Fool tarot card is the first card in the list of 22 Major Arcana Tarot Cards . This card is numberless so it placed as the zeroth card.

Fool Tarot
Fool Tarot Among Major Arcana Tarot Cards

This card signifies that the spiritual development of the individual is just in the nascent or the beginning stages.

Talking in terms of the overall development, this individual is considered to be an infant as in real life also, an infant does not have the senses and the ability to distinguish between the good or the bad.

Upright: Innocence, spontaneity, beginning.

Reversed: Risk-taking ability, holding back, recklessness.

1. The Magician Tarot Card

This is the 1st card in the list of 22 Major Arcana Tarot Cards. Technically it is considered to be the second card, just after the 0th card.

Magician Tarot
Magician Tarot Among Major Arcana Tarot Cards

The extent to which one solution can deviate from the reality is shown by the means of this tarot card.

The planet mercury is the key element of this card. The magician can be seen on the face of the card.

The magician can be seen pointing one hand of his towards the universe and the other hand showing the direction of the earth.

This pointing of the magician’s hand is symbolic of his connection with the real world realm and the cloth world realm.

The magician is considered to be very powerful and also has the eternal power to convert the things in the direction of his choice.

The clothes of the magician are red and white which represents the technical expertise and know-how and the gesture of purity respectively.

Upright: Power, manifestation, resourcefulness.

Reversed: Poor planning and manipulation.

2. The High Priestess Tarot Card

The second card, which is known as the High Priestess card among the Major Arcana Tarot Cards . It is always known as the symbol of deep knowledge and the activator of the subconscious part of the mind.

High Priestess
High Priestess Among Major Arcana Tarot Cards

It is used to get the connection between the seen and the unseen things and facts. This card is also the symbol of power and stability.

Thus, it conveys the message of balanced power.

It gives the gesture to the individual to believe and have faith in the intuition of himself or herself.

It is also considered a symbol of open knowledge and also the facts which are hidden from the normal world.

Upright: Sacred knowledge, subconscious mind, intuition.

Reversed: Withdrawal and secrets.

3. The Empress Tarot Card

As the name suggests, the Empress tarot card has a beautiful woman made on its face which has blonde hair. The photo has a peaceful aura about itself.

Empress Tarot
Empress Tarot Among Major Arcana Tarot Cards

A crown, consisting of 12 stars can be seen on her head which depicts her connection with the realm and the different cycles present in the natural world.

A mesmerizing and beautiful forest can be seen around the empress.

This signifies the connection of the empress with nature, the earth and with the eternal life cycle. This is the 3rd card among the Major Arcana Tarot Cards.

Upright: Beauty, abundance, femininity, nature.

Reversed: Dependency on others, creativity quotient.

4. The Emperor Tarot Card

The emperor tarot card is considered to be the father of Major Arcana Tarot Cards list. Here, a king can be seen sitting on his wonderful throne.

Emperor Tarot
Emperor Tarot Among Major Arcana Tarot Cards Series

As goes by the name, the emperor card has a very majestic and commanding presence.

This card is a symbol of power and authority which only a leader possesses.

This card reflects the personality of a person who is an action taker or a doer of tasks. He is sometimes also considered to be a war maker.

These types of persons can easily be seen offering guidance to others which are very useful for them.

If the emperor card appears in reversal, then it is a symbol of the loss of power or control from an individual.

Upright: Established, authority, father figure, structured.

Reversed: Inflexibility, dominance, lack of discipline, excessive control.

5. The Hierophant Tarot Card  

The Hierophant is the 5th card in the order of Major Arcana Tarot Cards. It is considered to be the counterpart of the High priestess card.

Hierophant Tarot
Hierophant Tarot Among Major Arcana Tarot Cards Series

This is normally ruled by the Taurus and known as the teacher of the cards.

The symbol of Hierophant is a man sitting in between the 2 pillars withholding a papal cross which is a symbol of his religious significance.

This card is considered as a symbol of any ritual or ceremony. It is also a sign of acceptance from others and society.

In other terms, it can also be defined as the desire for institutional approval.

Upright: Religious beliefs, conformity, spiritual wisdom.

Reversed: Freedom, personal beliefs, challenging the status quo.

6. The Lover Tarot Card

The lovers’ card is the sixth card in the Major Arcana Tarot Cards list.

The picture in this card shows a couple standing under the Angel whose name is Raphael. The meaning of this name is God will Heal.

Lovers Tarot
Lovers Tarot Among Series of Major Arcana Tarot Cards

It is believed that the angel bless the man and the woman and also constantly remind them about the presence of the divine spirit.

It also indicates that a person should make a decision and then overcome the temptation of other things.

This card is symbolic to the stability of emotions and also getting a reality check of ourselves.

Upright: Relationships, love and harmony.

Reversed: Imbalance and self-love.

7. The Chariot Tarot Card

The Chariot tarot card is considered to be the seventh card among the Major Arcana Tarot Cards. This card has a warrior who is standing inside his Chariot.

Chariot Tarot
Chariot Tarot Among Series of Major Arcana Tarot Cards

The Crown which he is wearing is a symbol of success and victory.

It also shows that one can control anything with his will and power. It also symbolizes success and triumph which can even conquer the forces of nature.

Reversed Chariot is sometimes seen as a representation of victory which is achieved by illegal means.

Upright: Will power, control and success.

Reversed: Opposition and self-discipline.

8. The Strength Tarot Card

The Strength tarot is the eighth card in the list of Major Arcana Tarot Cards. In this card, the photo of a woman who is gently stroking a lion on the forehead can be seen.

Strength Tarot
Strength Tarot Among the Collection of Major Arcana Tarot Cards

The lion is considered to be a symbol of passion and desire and the woman is showing her animal instinct and passion which can be expressed in positive ways with the help of inner strength and resilience.

When the strength card appears in the reversed position it is considered as a symbol of someone whose life is ruled by materialistic gains instead of having an emotional and spiritual balance.

Upright: Courage, strength, compassion and influence.

Reversed: Self-doubt, raw emotion and inner strength.

9. The Hermit Tarot Card

The Hermit card is the 9th card in the list of Major Arcana Tarot Cards.

Hermit Tarot
Hermit Tarot Among Series of Major Arcana Tarot Cards

On the face of this card, a person can be seen who is standing alone at the top of a mountain.

It also shows a mountain range covered with snow which symbolizes growth and spiritual accomplishment can be seen.

It also symbolizes that a person has a chance of getting the wisdom from the divine himself.

When this card comes in the reversed form then it shows someone who is not interested in listening to the wisdom given by the elders.

Upright: Introspection, inner guidance and soul searching.  

Reversed: Loneliness, isolation and withdrawal.  

10. The Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card

The Wheel of Fortune card has a photo of a giant wheel on its face along with three figures present on the outer edge. The letters TORA are also present which means Tarot in Latin.

Wheel of Fortune Tarot
Wheel of Fortune Tarot – Major Arcana Tarot Cards Collection

The middle wheel has various symbols which represent water and salt along with Mercury.

This wheel is not always governed by the chances for the wait but it contains the power which has the capability of changing our lives.

If this card appears then one can expect success if it is dealt with intelligence and creative evolution.

It also symbolizes that one has to show courage and his intelligence if they want to take big steps.

Upright: Karma, destiny, good luck and the turning point.

Reversed: Resistance to change, bad luck and breaking the cycles.

11. The Justice Tarot Card

The justice tarot card has a figure of justice on space which shows a lady.

It signifies compassion as a purple veil can be seen hanging between two pillars which were similar to the high priestess card.

Justice Fortune Tarot
Justice Fortune Tarot

A sword can also be seen in her right hand which depicts the logic and a well-ordered mindset.

The sword points upwards which symbolizes that the decision is firm and final.

This card also acts as a reminder to us the mercy and compassion when you are judging someone & also tells you not to be harsh to someone unnecessarily.

This is the 11th card among the Major Arcana Tarot Cards list.

Upright: Fairness, justice, cause and effect.

Reversed: Lack of accountability and unfairness.

12. The Hanged Man Tarot Card

The hanged man tarot card shows a man who is suspended from a t shaped cross which is made up of wood. He also possesses halo around his head.

The arms are bent and the hands are kept behind is back.

Hanged Man Tarot
Hanged Man Tarot

The man can be seen wearing red pants which represent human passion and a blue vest which is a symbol of knowledge.

This card gives a sense of self-absorption and the habit of human beings being wrapped up in material matters.

Upright: Letting go, surrender, pause and new perspectives. 

Reversed: Stalling, delays, indecision and resistance.

13. The Death Tarot Card

The death tarot card has the photo of a messenger of death who is in the form of a skeleton. The Skeleton is dressed in black armor & is riding a white colored horse.

Death Tarot
Death Tarot

The dark colour is symbolic of the mysterious and mourning scenario. People seem to fear this particular card but as such, there is no proven reason behind this.

This card can also show someone who is not willing to adapt to the changes or is not open to accepting new challenges. It is the 13th card among the Major Arcana Tarot Cards.

Upright: Change, endings, transformations and transitions.

Reversed: Personal information, resistance to change and inner purging.

14. The Temperance Tarot Card

The temperance card is the 14th card in the Major Arcana Tarot Cards. These cards show that every human must learn how to transfer the imagination into real activity.

Temperance Tarot
Temperance Tarot

It also tells us that this can only be done after we have developed our will. 

When this card is in the reverse form the temperance is considered to be the indicator of poor combinations of relationship and bad business investment which can lead to corruption.

Upright: Modernization, purpose, balance and patience.  

Reversed: Self-healing, excess, realignment and imbalance.

15. The Devil Tarot Card

The devil tarot card shows the creature that is in the form of half-human being and half goat. This shows the balance between good and evil and also depicts male and female.

Devil Tarot
Devil Tarot

This is considered to be a card of addiction and also bad decision making.

The reverse form of this card is a brighter picture in the form of removing the chains of the materialistic nature & humans attaining spiritual understanding.

Upright: Attachment, restriction, addiction and shadow self.

Reversed: Exploring the dark thoughts and releasing the limiting beliefs.  

16. The Tower Tarot Card

A tall Tower which is present on the top of a rocky mountain is pictured in the tower tarot card. The Lightning can be seen striking the building and 2 people are seen leaping from the window.

Tower Tarot
Tower Tarot

This particular card is considered to be a symbol of gradual and evolutionary change.

This card also indicates that someone is hoping to break free from a difficult relationship or is trying to leave a very complex job situation.

Upright: Upheaval, sudden changes, revolutions and chaos. 

Reversed: Fear of change, personal transformation and averting disaster.

17. The Star Tarot Card

On the face of the star tarot card, a naked woman is portrayed who is kneeling at the edge of a small pool.

She is holding two containers filled with water and is pouring them on the ground which is symbolic of the cycle of fertility.

Star Tarot
Star Tarot

This card is considered to be a symbol of meditation and also the revelation of truth. It is the 17th card among the Major Arcana Tarot Card series.

When this card is reversed it becomes a symbol of pessimism & also portrays a person who is lacking the perception to grow spiritually and emotionally.

Upright: Purpose, hope, renewal and faith.

Reversed: Despair, lack of faith and self-trust.  

18. The Moon Tarot Card

The moon tarot card has the photo of a full moon present in the night sky which can be seen between two large towers.

The moon is considered to be a symbol of dreams and unconsciousness.

Moon Tarot
Moon Tarot

Dog and wolf can also be seen in the photo which represents that they both have wild aspect mind.

When the moon appears reversed then it means that the psychic abilities of the person are blocked. It is the 18th card among the Major Arcana Tarot Card Series Collection.

Upright: Anxiety, intuition, illusion and fear. 

Reversed: Repressed intuition and inner confusion.

19. The Sun Tarot Card

The sun tarot card is a symbol of positivity and optimism. On the face of the card, a very big and bright sun can be seen in the sky which is a symbol of all the sources of the life present on earth.

Sun Tarot
Sun Tarot

In the background, we can see a young naked child who is sitting on top of a white horse who is a symbol of the joy and his nakedness is the sign that he is not hiding anything.

The white horse is considered to be a symbol of strength and purity. It is the 19th card among the series of Major Arcana Tarot Cards collection.

Upright: Warmth, positivity, success and fun.

Reversed: Feeling down, inner child and overly optimistic.

20. The Judgement Tarot Card

The Judgement tarot card is a symbol of life which has been lived to its fullest. It also symbolizes the renewal on a spiritual and emotional basis.

Judgement Tarot
Judgement Tarot

When this card is in the reverse form then the sign of judgement is considered to be a symbol of weakness and also the fear of commitment.

It also shows that someone has failed to find happiness because of a lack of effort.

Some also relate this reverse card to losses in terms of material possession or the end of a relationship or a marriage.

Upright: Inner calling, judgement, absolution and rebirth.

Reversed: Ignoring the call, self-doubt and inner critic. 

21. The World Tarot Card

The world tarot card shows a naked woman who can be seen wrapped in purple cloth. The woman is dancing inside a wreath.

World Tarot
World Tarot

The wreath is a symbol of the container cycle of the successful completion and also symbolizes new beginnings.

Discard can also be seen as a symbol of freedom and attaining Triumph in all the undertakings.

When this card is in the reverse form then the world shows us that success has not yet been attained.

It also symbolises someone who is overly attached to the job for materialistic things.

Upright: Integration, accomplishment and completion.

Reversed: Shortcuts and seeking personal closure.  


The Major Arcana Tarot cards are used to depict the various set of emotions and experiences that a person has or is going through in his or her life.

The order of the tarot cards as shown in the article is not the same all the time. This order depends on the deck of the card which one is using.

We have tried to depict the Rider-Waite deck.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What is the meaning of Major Arcana in the world of Tarot cards?

All the trump cards present in the deck of tarot cards are referred to as the Major Arcana by the occultists.

Which card is considered to be the most powerful card among the tarot cards?

The Fool, which is also termed as the zeroth card is considered to be the most powerful among all the tarot cards.

Which tarot card deck is considered to be the best?

The Rider-Waite Deck is considered to be the best among all the tarot card decks present in the world.