Major Arcana
 Interpretation of the Major Arcana cards

0- The Fool

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The Fool is the protagonist of the major arcana story and he is symbolized by Zero. This circular symbol of the infinite beginning and end, dresses the Fool with his most typical quality: he can be whatever he chooses to be. The Fool dressed in the motley clothes of the king's jester begins his journey carrying a tiny bag with his scarce belongings. He is holding a white rose in his hand and gazes at the sky, feeling optimistic and hopeful for his new venture. The Fool is full of his appetence for a new life, ready to launch into new adventures, to follow an unknown yet alluring path and he couldn't care less about what other people think! He's a curious and impulsive soul, an ardent lover of new experience and experiment, full of carelessness and innocence, the Fool represents each of us when we plunge into something new!

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1 - The Magician
 

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The Magician is the first card in the Major Arcana sequence and he often stands for the individual who uses his talents and resources wisely in order to achieve his goals. On his table lie the four symbols of the Minor Arcana: a cup, a sword, a wand and a pentacle. All of these tools are at the Magician's disposal. He can use them as he wishes. The Magician himself is holding a double-edged wand and points to the sky. With his free hand, he points to the ground. This position indicates the Magician's awareness that it is both useful and necessary to combine both spiritual and mundaine energy in order to achieve our goals. Each of these energies is incomplete without the other. This is something the pactical Magician knows well, judging from the infinity symbol above his head.    

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2 - The High Priestess

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The High Priestess (or Papess) is one of the most mystical cards in the deck. The High Priestess is sitting between a black and a white pillar, each bearing a letter: B for "Boaz" ("negation") and J for Jachin ("start"), as they were inscribed at Solomon's Temple. She is bearing the crown of Isis, the moon is resting at her feet and she's holding a papyrus with the inscription "Tora". This word may be an anagram of the word Tarot or a reference to the Hebrew Pentateuch (Torah). Behind the High Priestess a veil embroidered with pomegranates, the fruit of oblivion, prohibits all access to her kingdom. This is a beautiful, highly symbolical card.

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3 - The Empress

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This is one of the most favorable cards in the entire deck. The Empress is the archetypal Morther-Earth, a symbol of fertility, fruition and creation. She is sitting on her throne in the middle of a richly sown field, with a full-flowing river in the background. She's wearing a beautifully embroidered dress and a crown with twelve stars (symbolizing the twelve constellations of the zodiac). She's holding a golden scepter and her heart-shaped shield, with the symbol of femininity carved on it, rests by her feet.

 

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4 - The Emperor

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The Emperor is sitting on a stone throne decorated with rams' heads.
He is dressed in a rich red garment above his armor and he is holding a globe in one hand and a scepter in the other. This is the archetypical Father, a symbol of power, law and order. 

 

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5 - The Hierophant

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The Hierophant represents spiritual authority and power in our lives. He is the senior priest who is holding the keys of wisdom and spirituality and for this reason he is honored by the pilgrims. He is the leader who guides, advises and soothes by applying his wisdom and spirituality. The Hierophant also stands for traditional beliefs and the social status quo.

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6 - The Lovers

 

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The Lovers of the major Arcana is a rather complex card. On its illustration we can see a naked couple receiving the blessings of a large angel who takes up most of the card. It is evident that the issue of this card is love and unity. In some other Tarot decks though, for example in the Marseilles Tarot, the illustration of this card shows two women pulling at the same man. Thus, this is also a card of important choices and dilemmas. Love is not just about sexual intercourse: it is also the driving force which leads to choices and life-changing decisions.

 

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7 - The Chariot

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This grandiose card with the charioteer dominating its illustration, is a card of power and assertiveness. The charioteer is decisive, has a steady hand and  handles the chariot with precise and disciplined moves. He holds the reigns and enjoys the responsibility. This is a card of success and triumph. But the charioteer is never spared a battle. 

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8 - The Strength

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The Strength is one of the most powerful cards of the Tarot. Οn the illustration of this card we see something quite impossible: a young woman is taming a lion with her bare hands. How could this be happening? The answer is simple: intellectual superiority can defeat a seemingly stronger opponent. 

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9 - The Hermit

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Against an empty, gray landscape, the Hermit is raising his lantern in the darkness of the night, looking fr his own path on his long and lonely journey. He is a seeker and a wanderer. Wrapped from head to toe in his heavy cloak, the Hermit moves away from the world, walking the narrow and rugged path of his personal quest. 

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10 - The Wheel of Fortune

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The Wheel of Fortune stands for the good and bad luck that alternate with each other and all the opportunities brought to us through this constant change of fate. Whatever the situation now, positive or negative, remember that the wheel never stands still. It turns and turns and brings us both pleasant and unpleasant surprises, both good and bad luck. Everything is tied to the same wheel. 

 

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11 - Justice

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Justice is, in my opinion, the wisest major arcana card. Its most important lesson is that life is little more than a game of balance. The woman illustrated on the Justice card is seated between two pillars and she's wearing a red cloak and a golden crown. In her hand she's holding scales and in the other a raised sword. In some editions, the woman is blindfolded. The symbolism of the card refers to the ancient Greek ideal of justice: it must be impartial and it may sometimes have to apply the law by the sword.  

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12 - The Hanged Man

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The Hanged Man is one of the most complex cards in the Tarot. Its illustration is dominated by the figure of a man hanging upside down from a tree, with his hands tied behind his back and a halo glowing around his head. This is a clear reference to Odin, the most important god of Norse mythology. According to a popular myth, Odin traveled in many far-away lands in search of wisdom. His travels though, were to no avail. Thus, he decided to sacrifice himself. He hanged himself upside down from the tree of life and stayed there, without food or water for nine days and nine nights. At the end of this period, the runes of wisdom fell from his pockets on to the ground. At that point, Odin freed himself, collected the runes and set off to share his newly acquired wisdom with the people of his land.

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13 - Death

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This is a misunderstood card. Before starting my analysis, I feel I need to stress in the most explicit and definite way that the Death tarot card DOES NOT predict actual, physical death. All tarot cards are illustrated with archetypical symbols and shouldn't be interpreted literally. Therefore, the Death card, despite its ominous illustration of the skeleton on his horse dispersing death and terror, symbolizes the painful ending of a situation. Something in our life is "dying" in order to give way to something new. 

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14 - Temperance

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On the illustration of the Temperance card, we can see a red-winged angel mixing the contents of two cups. One foot in sinking into the lake, the other is resting on the ground. This card is about collaboration and mixing of the opposites. When the Fool met the angel of Temperance, he was surprised by the mix of water and fire the angel was applying. "The key is to mix the right quantities of the right elements” said the angel. This is the meaning of the Temperance card.  

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15 - The Devil

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The Devil card stands for one of the greatest fears of man: the uncontrollable forces of evil that haunt or punish us for our deeds. This card often causes feelings of fear or panic, but like the Death card, this is a widely misunderstood card. Let's see what the Devil Tarot card is about. 

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16 - The Tower

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The Tower, also called “the House of God” in some decks, is a very powerful card. It usually stands for sudden destruction, shock and chaos. But this is just a superficial approach... Just like the Death card, the Tower is a rather intimidating card because it is connected with important sides of life. The Tower symbolizes the foundations on which our life is built, the walls that protect us from any enemy. You can imagine what comes after the destruction of our Tower...On the illustration, we can see a high tower being struck by lightning in the middle of the night! Fire breaks out and the unsuspecting inhabitants of the Tower who were sleeping in their rooms, jump off the windows in order to save themselves.... The Tower, however, is very high and it is built on top of steep rocks. The people are killed, the tower collapses and the fire eats up the debris. The destruction is absolute and beyond any repair. The people couldn't have done anything to avoid the lightening ... But is it really so? 

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17 - The Star

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The Star is one of the most positive major arcana cards. On its illustration we can see a nude girl pouring water from two urns into the lake and on the fertile ground. In the sky above her, there are many shining stars but the one in the center is the brightest of all. This is her guiding star!  

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18 - The Moon

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The Moon is a major arcana card that causes mixed feelings. It symbolizes the subconscious and unconscious, intuition, imagination, instincts and suppressed emotions. On the illustration of the card we can see a full moon (with a crescent one inside it) rising between two identical columns guarding the entrance to the realm of the unconscious. There is also a dog and a wolf howling at the bright moon and a scorpion coming out of the sea, a symbol of the emergence of the unconscious to the surface. 

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19- The Sun

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The Sun is one of the most favorable major arcana cards. It is shining brightly in the sky symbolizing light, optimism, solutions, joy and beauty. On the illustration of this card, we can see a large, bright and invigorating sun washing a naked child in its glow. The smiling boy is riding a white pony and he's waving a large red banner, a symbol of joy and victory, amidst a fully-bloomed garden. The Sun is the card of happiness! 

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20 - Judgement

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Judgment is one of the most powerful cards of the Tarot. This card, illustrated according to the christian Judgment day, shows the dead being judged and resurrected at the call of archangel Raphael. This is the last of days and in the Tarot it symbolizes important changes and life-changing decisions. 

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21 - The World
 
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The last card in the sequence of major arcana, the World symbolizes completion and success. It is widely considered to be the best card in the Tarot deck. On its illustration, a naked girl is dancing with her legs crossed, and holding two double-edged rods, at the heights of heaven, surrounded by a laurel wreath of victory and joy. At the four corners of the card, there are three animals' and a human head, symbols of strength, triumph of consciousness and wisdom. The woman is celebrating her unity with the universe, dancing her celestial dance of joy and fulfillment. 

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