The Major Arcana are the 22 cards that are all about life’s BIG mysteries (and Major Arcana even means “big secret”). These are the cards with roman numerals, numbered from 0 to XXI. These cards aren’t like life checkpoints: I got a new job, I broke up with my boyfriend, I moved across town… Instead it’s more like, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?! WHO AM I? WHAT AM I DOING ON THIS PLANET? These are broad themes, broad experiences, and broad energies in our lives. These are the major archetypes we go through in our lives and as a result, who we are emerges. While these certainly feel very personal, in some ways they aren’t. They’re the major experiences that we ALL go through; it’s just part of being human.
The Major Arcana cards from 0 to 22 are sometimes called the Hero’s Journey or Fool’s Journey. Cards 0 (The Fool) through 8 (The Chariot) are the basic foundation of that journey and it’s these cards where our personality and who we’re becoming are formed. This is all about our conscious journey in life. Jeanne Fiorini, founder of TarotWorks, has a great video explaining this foundational journey on her YouTube channel.
Cards 8 through 14 (Strength through Justice) are all about growing. It’s the journey where we begin to explore our subconscious. All those hardships we overcome (yayyy) that allow us to learn about life on a deeper level. These are helping us develop as people and helping us explore ways to respond to obstacles. How do we deal with challenges? What is our response to adversity?
Finally, cards 15 through 22 (Devil through World) are all about TRANSFORMING! It’s not about us anymore – it’s about the big picture, and is considered the super-conscious. These are forces outside our life and the stakes are high. You either need to figure out how to grow or stay stuck where you are. This is where higher learning and ultimately our transcendence comes from. It’s the opportunity to eclipse the surface level bullshit to get to a greater understanding of ourselves and our connection to the universe.
If you’re hungry for more info about the Major Arcana, self-proclaimed “Kickass Witch” Joanna Devoe has a wonderful intro video about the topic. She radiates enthusiasm and makes heavy subject matter incredibly fun. Check out her video here.
Lastly, this isn’t a linear path. The journey is a cycle – the fool can be the beginning or the end.
I hope you enjoyed my first post – of course I started with the most complicated part of the tarot. Kicking things off by running towards the fire. xo
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