During these previous months, we embarked on a journey to understand the Tarot. We’ve explored the four Minor Arcana suits (Pentacles, Swords, Wands, Cups) and seen how each suit corresponds to a specific area in our lives.
But what about the Major Arcana? The Major Arcana (22 cards, numbered from 0 to 21) are cards with powerful symbolism and evocative imagery. They are meant to stir your intuition and guide you on your journey.
When you see a Major Arcana tarot card appear in your reading, you know something big is happening!
The Deeper Meaning of The Major Arcana
The 22 cards represent all the karmic lessons, pivotal changes, transformative events, and key energies in your life. Each card is an archetypical theme in your quest for personal growth — and when placed together, they create “The Fool’s Journey.”
The Fool’s Journey is the journey from wide-eyed innocence (Card 0: The Fool) to realizing your potential, achieving wisdom, and coming full circle (Card 21: The World). Its name comes from the figure on the first card in the Rider-Waite deck, the Fool. It can be divided into three stages: the beginning (Major Arcana cards 0-6), the middle (Major Arcana cards 7-13), and the culmination (Major Arcana cards 14-21).
Let’s take a deep dive into the seven first Major Arcana cards.
Zero: The Fool
-New adventure, spontaneity, going into the unknown
Whether you’re moving to a new place, going on a trip, starting a new job or relationship, or otherwise making a significant change in your life, the Fool is here to help you take the first step. This is the time to have fun, experiment, and take risks. If not now, then when? The Fool is an optimistic card; exciting change is just around the corner! Your positive energy, your creativity, and your sunny outlook on life will be powerful during this time. Just make sure not to take too many unnecessary risks, as this card may also mean you tend to be reckless.
One: The Magician
-Power manifested, skills, being in control of a situation
Everything you need to succeed is already within your grasp. The Magician is a representation of your power and abilities. As the Magician is surrounded by all the tools of his trade, showcasing his control over all the different Elements, so you are able to handle all the different aspects of your life and manifest the changes you want. You just need to remember and respect the rules of the Universe: “As above, so below.” When this card appears, it can also be a sign that you have been relying a lot on other people. Take matters into your own hands.
Two: The High Priestess
-Inner wisdom, the subconscious mind, trusting your intuition
Just like the Magician urges you to trust in your abilities, so does the High Priestess urge you to trust your intuition. This card represents the Inner Realms of your soul, the place where your magic is strong, and where that little voice in your head never leads you astray. When this card appears, keep an eye out for messages that may appear to you in dreams or visions — it’s also a great time to hone your gift of divination. Sit still rather than being impulsive, listen rather than talk. Pay attention, and you’ll find the answers you seek.
Three: The Empress
-Fertility, abundance, female energy
When the Empress shows up in a reading, you know it’s time to honor the Divine Feminine energies in your life! This card is about all that’s good in life: physical pleasures, an abundance of material goods, and loving and nurturing emotions. The Empress is an indicator of fertility, whether literal (a pregnancy) or metaphorical (it’s time to give birth to that creative project you’ve been mulling over). It also speaks about motherhood, about nurturing others (humans, animals, or plants), and about learning to love and nurture yourself. What can you give birth to, at this point in your life?
Four: The Emperor
-Power, authority figure, male energy
The Emperor is one of those cards that can be interpreted both literally and figuratively. In its literal sense, the card represents a strong male figure in your life: a husband or possible partner, a boss or teacher, a parent. You rely on this person for help and answers, and although they can be overbearing, they have your best interests at heart. But the Emperor also represents your inner power and your ability to take control and rule your own life. You can establish order when you need to. People will listen.
Five: The Hierophant
-Outer wisdom, the conscious mind, following the rules
Where the High Priestess urges you to look within for wisdom and answers, the Hierophant urges you to look to the outside world to books, educational institutions, and rules and regulations. When this card appears in a reading, you need to pay attention to things such as university studies, contracts, religious and social rituals. You need to play by the rules and show respect to your elders to get ahead — the Hierophant tolerates no shortcuts or rebellious spirits. But this card may also mean that you tend to gravitate towards conformity. Do you resist new ideas just because they’re new?
Six: The Lovers
-Harmonious relationship, making a choice, finding your pair
The Lovers is one of those cards everyone rejoices when they appear in a tarot reading. Although, of course, it can signify physical intimacy and a new lover coming your way, most of the time, its energy is more metaphorical. It’s about pairing up with someone and about leaving your ego aside, approaching a partnership (whether romantic or professional) with a sense of fairness and a willingness to give as much as you take. It speaks about harmonious relationships of all kinds. But the Lovers can also be a warning that you need to make up your mind about something — or someone.
A Tarot Spread for Yule
During Yule, the energies of midwinter transition once again from darkness to light, making it a great time to consult the spirits and your ancestors about this upcoming year. Do this spread on Yule’s Eve.
What you’ll need:
- your favorite tarot deck
- your favorite oracle deck
- a white, red, green or gold candle
- a pinch of cinnamon
- a tarot reading cloth (white, red or green)
What you’ll do:
- Spread the tarot reading cloth.
- Position your candle at the center of your working surface.
- Place the tarot deck on the candle’s right and the oracle deck on the candle’s left.
- Place your right hand over your tarot deck and your left hand over your oracle deck. Meditate with them a bit.
- Invoke your ancestors and your deities to help with your reading (you can also invoke deities associated with Yule, such as Apollo, Mithra, Ra, or Jesus Christ).
- Focus on your overall goal (to find what the return of the light will bring to your life) and knock on your tarot deck lightly once or twice.
- Start pulling your cards, one by one, using the guide below:
Card one: The sacred darkness
From Samhain until today, we have been immersed in darkness. We’ve been forced to slow down and look inwards, to uncover secrets and messages from our ancestors. This card represents everything you’ve learned during this time.
Card two: The longest night
Today is the longest night of the year, but from tomorrow onwards, the light will slowly start winning again. Certain energies and habits will wane this new season. This card represents all the things that may have played a big part in your life until today, but that you will need to leave behind respectfully.
Card three: The rebirth of the Sun
Hope and renewal. Like the idea of Sun being reborn this day, so will the energies depicted in this card will be reborn into your life.
Card four: How can you be the light for others
Yule is all about coming together, sharing gifts, and making merry. This card will show you how you can help others by shining your light on them.
Card five: How you can be the light for yourself
And finally, you need to learn how to be your own light. This card shows you how to best harness your light qualities so that you can keep yourself happy and optimistic in the future.
- Once you have all five cards from your tarot deck, proceed to the oracle deck. Knock on it lightly once or twice and pick three cards.
Cards six, seven & eight (Oracle cards): Season greetings from your spirit guides or your ancestors
These are the gifts your ancestors and spirit guides are bestowing upon you during this time. These energies, people, or concepts will help you grow during this next turning of the Wheel.
- When done, sprinkle cinnamon on the flame of your candle to seal this session with success and bring happiness to you and your home.