What is a Major Arcana Card

The Major Arcana Tarot cards (also known as the trump cards) form the foundation of the Tarot deck and consists of twenty-one numbered cards and one unnumbered card (the Fool).

They represent a path to spiritual self-awareness and depict the various stages we encounter as we search for greater meaning and understanding. In this way, they hold deeply meaningful lessons.

the-world

Rider Waite Tarot Deck

The Major Arcana Tarot card meanings illustrate the structure of human consciousness and, as such, hold the keys to life lessons passed down through the ages. The imagery of the Major Arcana Tarot cards is filled with wisdom from multiple cultures and esoteric traditions, including the Egyptian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi, Hebrew and Christian religions.

In his book Pocket Guide to Tarot, Alan Oken suggests that the twenty-two Major Arcana cards are like the mandalas of the Tarot. Mandalas are detailed images painted onto canvas and used as spiritual study and meditation aids by the Tibetans.

Therefore it is important to study the images of the Major Arcana cards and contemplate their messages. Look beyond the simple keywords and traditional Tarot card meanings, and seek out your own personal meanings of these significant cards. The more you understand about their symbolism, the deeper your understanding of what they represent.

The Major Arcana cards can also represent Carl Jung’s archetypes – consistent, directing patterns of influence that are an inherent part of human nature. They are themes which mark, portray and symbolize stages in our psyche whereby we aim to become a balanced and integrated person. Along this journey, we encounter challenges, face adversity, perform labors, make hard decisions and fight opposing forces. Each step of the way brings us closer to enlightenment. This is often referred to as the journey of the Fool.

Major Arcana Cards in a Tarot Reading

When a Tarot reading is predominantly made up of Major Arcana Tarot cards, the client is experiencing life-changing events which will have long-term influences. There are important lessons which the client must pay attention to in order to progress further in their spiritual and personal quest.

If many of the Major Arcana Tarot cards are reversed, however, it is indicative that the client is not paying attention to these important life lessons and must return to the lesson of the previous card before moving forward.

Description

In the centre of the World is a dancing figure, rejoicing in the completion of the journey and celebrating not only this completion but also the new beginnings it promises. The dancer has one leg crossed over the other, just like the Hanged man. She is, in a sense, his opposite (i.e. the Hanged Man upright). As the Hanged Man looks infinitely inward, the dancer in the World card looks infinitely outward. In each of her hands she holds a wand or baton, representative of evolution and balance. She is surrounded by a thick, green wreath, symbolic of success, victory, achievement and accomplishment, and tied with the red ribbons of eternity. The red ribbons form the infinity symbol, representing the infinite rewards of positive effort in improving both ourselves and those around us. Within the laurel wreath are stars of light indicating attainment of enlightenment or cosmic consciousness.

The figures in each of the four corners of the World card are the same figures that appear on the Wheel of Fortune. Interestingly, the World card is very much associated with the Wheel of Fortune, reflecting the cyclical progression of time and the human experience. The four figures (a lion, bull, cherub and eagle) represent the four fixed signs of the zodiac – Leo, Taurus, Aquarius and Scorpio. These are symbolic of the four elements, four suits of the Tarot, four compass points, four seasons, and the four corners of the universe. And all are within the dancer’s sight and power. The planetary ruler is Saturn, the symbol of time.

Meaning

When the World card is upright it represents completion. When reversed, however, the World suggests that you are trying to achieve completion in your life but you may not be taking all the steps necessary to achieve your goals. There is a tendency to take the easiest or quickest path to attain your goal but often this does not lead to the outcome you had originally intended. Instead, through facing up to the challenges along the way, you will learn and grow exponentially and will feel such an amazing sense of achievement when you finally make it to your goal. So, do not be afraid to set yourself ‘stretch’ goals, even if it means enduring hardships or challenges along the way. This will make victory even sweeter.

The reversed World can also indicate a time when you are close to reaching completion but for whatever reason, you lose focus and slack off right at the end. You only have a short way to go, so why lose focus now? Or you have run out of resources to finish a project, or have been disappointed someone or something right at the end of completion. Re-energize yourself and remind yourself how wonderful life will be when you have finally reached your goal.

You May have thought things would be different this time. But are now having difficulty breaking free from old patterns.

You may also be experiencing a lack of closure in your life, preventing you from embarking on the next journey or challenge. I often see this reversed card when a relationship suddenly comes to an end without explanation. The partner cannot make sense of what has happened and is struggling to come to terms with the end of the relationship. Things are left unsaid and people are left hanging, not knowing what to expect or where they stand.

Sometimes, the reversed World can indicate that desired change will be delayed and that more time and energy must be devoted to your project or life transition before you can experience the promised completion. This may feel very frustrating but patience and perseverance will pay off in the end. You may feel stifled, even trapped but do not give up. Keep on a steady course for now.

However The World reversed can also indicate a small victory or private accomplishment. It may be that you have accomplished something but when you compare your accomplishment to that of someone else your esteem is diminished. If this is the case remember that your own progress is best measured against your own past.

Finally this card might show up reversed when you are clinging to a past victory in order to delay moving on to the next thing.

 

Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet Again

Blessings

Tiana

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