What is the Major Arcana? In Tarot, Arcana means mystery. One can say, therefore, the major arcana represents the bigger mystery and the minor arcana represents the smaller mysteries.
As mentioned in the previous posts they contain a set of 22 cards starting from the fool numbered zero to the world numbered 22.
What their origin is is still a mystery. Many reasons have been given for the purpose of these illustrations and what they represent. Nevertheless, each card follows a sequence depicting a purpose. If you look closely, they show the fools journey from the beginning to the end in a way representing life itself.
The events in our life, the up’s and downs, what can inspire us or what is hidden from us…etc. Most importantly they are universal in their characterization. The beauty of these cards is they take the shape and meaning according to the situation at hand. In fact, the more Major arcana cards appear in a reading, the better the news. In short, they depict important changes and stages in life.
Every card in the tarot uses symbols to reveal hidden meaning, They are heavily used in the major arcana cards. For example, the High Priestess (II) is surrounded by various objects such as an orb, a crescent at her foot, the pillars or even the book in her hands. She represents the mysteries of life, the hidden secrets yet to be unveiled or knowledge of the unknown.
Similarly, all the other cards are symbolized to depict something larger than the mere literal meaning of the card. No card turns up in a reading without a purpose and so one should consider all this while interpreting the meaning.
Just like the Minor Arcana’s share the elements so do the Major Arcana. They too are influenced by fire, water, air, and earth. (I will be drawing up a chart in my following posts to cover all the 22 cards and their elements.) They too denote certain times in the querent’s life and can be used to suggest timings of events.
Tarot cards are first and foremost a journey. It is not a mere tool for ‘predicting’ the future but a method to uncover and understand ourselves. If we can help others to gain an understanding of themselves then well and good but I don’t think one should use the Tarot cards merely for ‘predicting’. I think of them as a tool for counseling or therapy. They can guide us to understand our situation or our desires more aptly.
As stated earlier, My intention is to combine Tarot with Astrology to make most of their use making it simple and coherent for the reader as well. In fact, numerology also plays an important role in Tarot which we will get into later. But now, let us start with each of the Major Arcana Cards. For representation purposes, I will be using the RWS tarot cards. Beginning with – The Fool (0)
THE FOOL (0)
Number – 0
Element – Air
Planet – Uranus
Let us start with the pictorial description. Usually, the fool (man/woman) will be shown as someone young and carefree. In the above picture, the young lad is shown standing at the edge of a cliff, a dog jumping in joy at his side, a flower in his hand, a stick in the other and the sun shining brightly in the background.
At first glance, we see the fool as free, not worried about anything, fearless, at the starting of a journey. The sun being a sign of good things also signifies new beginnings. Thus, one can summarize that a fool marks the start of something new in one’s life, it denotes new experiences, a new chapter.
The card shows the potential of the seeker/querent’s beginnings. In a reading, it can either show that the seeker is climbing new heights or falling hard from the cliff. It shows one’s naivete and enthusiasm. It can be either a wonderful or disastrous experience depending on the situation. Hence can have a positive or a negative impact.
New, Beginnings, Carefree, Risk taker, Freedom, Naive, Reckless, Superficial, Choice