Tarot for Beginners is an ongoing series designed to take you from newbie reader to confident card slinger (while having a ton of fun along the way!)
Catch up on Tarot for Beginners #1 here.
Welcome back, sweet card slinging friends!
Today we’re diving into the Major Arcana, meeting and greeting the first seven characters of the cards.
Originally I planned to cover all 22 cards in one blog post, but, ha, I should have known better; even when keeping things as concise and focused as possible the Majors need a little more room to play!
As such, this is the first in a three-part grouping of Major Arcana blog posts. Do be sure to check out the additional two posts, which I'll be sure to link below as soon as they’re ready to go.
Once we've covered the Majors we'll be moving on to explore the Minor Arcana, Court Cards and how to give an in-depth reading. Yay!
As mentioned in Part 1 of our Tarot for Beginners series, The Major Arcana archetypes carry major energy - typically denoting significant archetypal energies, situations and moments of one's life path.
Running from The Fool (0) to The World (21), if we put the Majors in chronological order we get a journey from innocence, naivety, newness to consciousness, completion, mastery.
Also mentioned in our previous post (but always worth repeating!) we often experience Major Arcana energies in our lives in a random order, rather than strictly in sequence from start to finish.
Life is a topsy-turvy journey full of twists and turns, making for a non-linear evolution as we go.
We can think of the Major Arcana cards as telling our story, signalling and bringing to light significant phases journeyed through from birth to our eventual death.
Just as The Fool travels from the innocence of birth through childhood towards increasing independence and spiritual sovereignty (often referred to as The Fool’s Journey), so do we, encountering key archetypes along the way.
Leaving home, splitting from mainstream beliefs and ideas, meeting a soulmate and building a new life together, doing a 180 with our career and living in further alignment with our guiding values and core beliefs, travelling the world, embarking upon a grand project of some kind, raising a family, looking after our elderly parents, preparing for our passing are all life events illustrated by the Majors.
When we tap into such archetypal energy via the cards, energy shared across time and space, around the world, ancestors and descendants alike, energy ultimately held within, we’re able to get to grips with our path, understanding where we are, where we’ve been and where we’d like to go from here.
#TarotTip - Before reading ahead and exploring the Major Arcana card by card, take a moment to lay out all 22 cards in front of you, jotting down your first impressions of each.
Can you sense a story unfolding as The Fool meets The Magician, journeying through until eventually reaching The World?
After gathering together your initial intuitive insights and reading through the card profiles ahead, see if you can find an example from your own life story in alignment with each of the cards.
If any have you stumped, look further afield at the lives of your loved ones or even celebs. Can you see The Fool’s Journey in action?
Putting the foundations in place for your personal card slinging practice
Each card profile includes an energetic description of the archetype at play, keywords/guidance, life stages/phases + journal prompts to help you tap into such energy on a deeper, more personal level from here.
This is very much a tarot taster rather than a super in-depth exploration; with the foundations in place you're free to take your tarot practice in any number of directions from here.
And of course, your intuition is key, so if something doesn't resonate feel free to put it to one side in favour of your own impressions or further study. Whatever works for you, sweet friend!
Ready? Let’s dive in!
The Major Arcana 0 - 6 (The Fool – The Lovers)
The Fool (0) - The Adventurous Wanderer
We begin our Major Arcana journey with the dear Fool, ready and willing as he is to step into the unknown, blissfully unaware of the potential pitfalls ahead.
Such ignorance can be a blessing when embarking upon something new, for without prior knowledge or past experience to cloud our confidence we’re free to fall in full faith of the Universe’s ability to catch us and support us as we go.
The Fool encourages us to take a risk, to embrace a leap of faith and to fly in the face of doubt. He represents new beginnings, chapters in our lives calling for a confident commitment to the unknown ahead.
With one foot in front of the other, we find our way into and through the experience at hand.
He also cautions against extreme naivety when faced with an idea that isn’t as problem-free as it may seem; sometimes our responsibilities require us to back away from the cliff-edge, however tempting taking flight might be.
(As always, context is key when determining how a card's energy resonates with you, sweet friend!)
Take a chance! Release past experiences and welcome the opportunity at hand as new and unique. Jump, and the net will appear. If you never try, you never fly.
Have faith in your ability to figure it out as you go. Enjoy being held by the Universe. Welcome spontaneity. Take a road trip! Try something new.
Caution: pay attention. Look before you leap. Commit, don’t quit. Research further before diving in. Tend to your responsibilities.
Birth, beginnings of all kinds, setting off on an adventure, starting a new creative endeavour, pushing past your comfort zone, launching a biz, changing careers, retirement (beginning a new chapter), putting yourself forward for a scary yet amazing opportunity/experience.
How do you feel about change? What adventures have you been on in the past? Where might you be called to embrace spontaneity and super-charged self-belief?
The Magician (1) – The Magic Maker
Moving on, we meet The Magician, the tools of tarot’s four suits displayed upon his table. A sword for thought and the flash of an idea; a cup for heartfelt connection to Self and others; a wand for passionate action and motivation; and a pentacle for rooting plans in fertile soil, bringing to life our hopes and efforts.
When The Magician appears he encourages us to pick up our tools and use them to our advantage, making magic as we go.
For we are conscious creators, capable of setting our sights on a course of action and following through should we only believe in ourselves enough to begin. Our raw power is remarkable, mesmerising at times. We have such potential!
So long as we're sure to ground our intentions and choices in our heartfelt beliefs and guiding values, we can be incredible change-makers acting for the highest good of all.
When creating from a space of authentic intent in such a way, we're able to channel the Universe's energy, Spirit flowing from our hands, a sense of ease and steady rhythm underpinning our efforts.
This is what it is to be "in the zone", time fading away, our Spirit-given (for we are Spirit) creative ability spilling forth.
On the flip-side, should we feel tempted to use our tools in less harmonious ways, creating from a space of fear, lack mentality, aggressive competition, we’d do well to be aware of the resulting damage such actions can cause.
The sense of unease generated in attempting to create in such a way is reflected in the resulting clunky rhythm felt, the tension within, the uncomfortable force required to push such creations into being.
Look within for the tools you need to succeed. Embrace your role as conscious creator. Consider how each of the four elements feels to you; is there a sense of balance? Focused intention + heartfelt action = magic.
Reclaim your power and take action accordingly. Consider your motivations; are you acting from a place of compassion, expansion and abundance? How might you harness your power for the greater good?
Starting school (student of the four suits!), focusing on a goal/desire/course of action, recognising your ability to create and actively shape your reality as opposed to feeling as if life is something happening to you, deciding where you’d like to direct your energy and what you’d like to bring into being.
What does power mean to me? Do I recognise yourself as a magical creator? What is my magic? What do I feel called to create? Are my intentions grounded in my truth?
The High Priestess (2) – The Seer
Turning within and connecting to our Soul Voice, to our intuitive knowing, to Spirit within, is The High Priestess’s domain.
When we don’t seem to have an answer and aren’t quite sure how to make our next move, she invites us to sink into silence and patiently witness the unfolding of our understanding over time.
Often The High Priestess appears as a way of saying “I’m not going to give you an answer; you must dig deeper.” And so we are encouraged to create space for stillness, trusting that whatever it is we need to know will reach us when we are most ready tor receive it.
“I don’t know” is sometimes used as a way of avoiding the intuitive truth we carry within, especially if such a truth brings us discomfort or uncertainty. For recognising the whispers of our Soul Voice is one thing, to act upon such whispers quite another.
The High Priestess reassures us that it's safe for us to root action in inner revelation, and that this is the only way to live a life in alignment with what resonates.
For our Soul Voice is directly connected to, and composed of, Spirit, and as such is an incredible power source to embrace.
While it might be tempting to mock or dismiss our inner knowing in a world favouring tangible evidence and irrefutable proof prior to action, our true power resides within the acceptance of our intuition, mighty fuel for The Magician's outer magic making.
We must take our “I don’t know” and be willing to dive beneath the surface of such a statement; for we know more than we consciously realise we do, and it is in stillness that such knowing rises.
If we choose to ignore or resist our Soul Voice, we shall have to sit with the discomfort and pain that follows.
Go within and ask yourself your question, for there is much knowing beneath the surface. Patience is a virtue; trust in divine timing – if you are seeking clarity, have faith that it will reach you when the time is right.
Embrace unknowingness as a sacred opportunity for your curiosity and Soul Voice to lead the way. When in doubt, pause.
Accessing your own inner knowing when faced with a decision, trusting intuitive nudges, pondering life’s big questions, feeling your way into The Magician’s magic making potential (blending a thirst for action with an intuitive awareness of the path ahead).
What do I know to be true in this moment? What would I do if I trusted my Soul Voice to lead the way? How do I feel about uncertainty? Am I checking in with my inner knowing and taking responsibility for my questions?
The Empress (3) - The Divine Mother
Abundance, fertility and embracing the physical in all its forms are represented by The Empress, divine mother of the tarot.
She is at home within her body; held, supported and enriched by Mama Earth’s textures, colours, fragrances, materials.
When The Empress appears in a reading she encourages us to dive into our senses, awakening to the sheer beauty and magnificence of what it is to be here in our physical incarnation. How fortunate are we to witness such sensations and surroundings!
The Empress is mother, birthing new life in all its forms. Whether pregnant with physical life, having birthed our ancestors and now birthing our descendants, or with projects and goals to bring into being, she moves from conception to gestation to birth and beyond.
Her body is a creative temple, capable of holding and nurturing all that is made manifest in the physical realm. The Empress is painter, writer, musician, chef, creator in all her forms.
She recognises Spirit within the physical. Within a heartbeat, a footstep, the scent of a blossoming flower, the dizzying taste of fresh fruit, an ecstatic orgasm, dancing in the rain, dipping our feet into salty seawater, we find our inner Empress and her love for all life.
The Empress is the divine feminine in action, inviting us to step into our feminine power of receptivity, intuitive knowing (the High Priestess coming through here, too), compassionate conception, our intimate connection to Mama Earth and her cycles.
In doing so we pave the way for a deeper connection with our land, with our bodies, with each other while recognising the truth of our oneness. One mother, one womb, one Earth, one global community.
There is sometimes a need when The Empress appears to introduce a little order and routine for our creative endeavours to truly flourish and reach their highest potential.
Embrace your creativity. Nurture your creations with compassionate care. Sink into your physical body and enjoy engaging with your senses.
Explore your body. Move your body. Get outside and ground into Mama Earth. Witness your inner seasons and cycles as well as those found in nature. Embrace your divine feminine power.
Creating for the sheer joy of creating. Pregnancy, birth, parenthood. Reconnecting with your body and with your senses. Getting out into nature. Protecting nature and community. Seeking pleasure in creation, the body and the natural world. Mothering ourselves and our loved ones.
Where am I in the birthing process? What do I feel called to nurture? How might I connect with my body today? What truths do I find in nature? Which of my senses do I feel most connected to? Which of my senses would I like to explore? How do I experience divine feminine energy within?
The Emperor - (4) The Divine Father
How we perceive The Emperor perhaps has a lot to do with our relationship with rules, structure and routine.
Should we find such concepts stifling or limiting, we may have a hard time embracing The Emperor’s energy, yet leadership doesn’t have to be forceful or restrictive.
As divine father and divine masculine, The Emperor invites us to consider how structure and order may in fact support and encourage our creativity rather than result in the oppression of our self-expression.
For when we have a supportive foundation in place we’re better able to make like The Fool and leap into the unknown, reassured by the constant support championing our efforts and blessing us with a determination to thrive.
If such a foundation seems shaky or unstable we may not feel quite so safe in taking a risk; what if we lose ourselves or fall, without a safety net to catch us?
And so the structure brought by The Emperor is vital to our creative pursuits; whether external structure given to us when younger, such as a supportive and encouraging home life or an enjoyable education, or structure we consciously decide to introduce when adults.
If we’re finding it difficult to get going with our plans or to see things through from start to finish it might be worth checking in with our inner Emperor, embracing our divine masculine energy by way of introducing supportive scaffolding to help generate a sense of rootedness and support as we face the grand unknown that is our creativity in action.
When such divine masculine energy becomes distorted, we find ourselves confronting terrifying tyranny and cruel dictatorial decisions, whether on a personal level if we’re embodying The Emperor in such a way, or on a national or global level if those in positions of power and privilege are doing so.
Recognising that true power and healthy leadership requires a coming together of the divine feminine and divine masculine is key, as is witnessing our truth as spiritual beings having a physical experience, the illusion of separateness just that - an illusion.
For there is no true leader over another, no true authority when we recognise that we are each sovereign beings, standing on an equal footing even when those in power ignore such sacred siblinghood.
Introduce and embrace structure and routine. Structure as paving the way for creative expression and play. Divine masculine energy in action.
Get organised. Prioritise and get going with your plans. Ground into your Root Chakra. Parent yourself with loving encouragement. "In this moment I am safe.” Explore your Divine Masculine energy.
Parenting, entering into structured systems such as education and training, filing your tax return, respecting/challenging authority, conforming to/rebelling against societal norms, parenting yourself with the divine masculine.
How do I feel about structure, routine and systems? In what ways have I related to The Emperor in the past? In what ways am I called to explore The Emperor now? How do I feel about my foundations?
The Hierophant - (5) The Divine Teacher
Having experienced Divine Mother and Divine Father energy, we now come face to face with Divine Teacher.
The Hierophant represents our core beliefs and guiding values, as well as tradition and our connection to Spirit.
When younger, we often adopt the web of cultural beliefs and values we’re born into and raised within, acting from such a taught understanding of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.
As we enter adolescence and adulthood we’re able to consciously explore such beliefs, deciding for ourselves what does and doesn’t resonate with who we are and with where we find ourselves at this point on our path.
We might go through a period of rejecting the flavour of our upbringing, experimenting with values and beliefs at odds with those held by our immediate family and local community.
Perhaps we begin to move away from organised religion, or perhaps we embrace it wholeheartedly. When it comes to the traditions established by those who have walked before us, we may find that there is great value in sometimes merging with the mainstream and coming together as a community united in belief and spiritual practice.
The Hierophant invites us to both embrace traditions that resonate while remembering our sacred sovereignty; for we are all capable of connecting with the Divine without a middle man, finding Spirit within and around us at any given moment in time.
While honouring the beliefs, values, traditions and teachings of our ancestors and present moment soul kin can be an enriching, empowering, healing thing, it’s always worth bearing in mind that questioning our beliefs and keeping an open mind is vital should we wish to grow and expand with ease.
Remaining open to the shifts and evolution that come with being human helps us navigate our way through moments of doubt, uncertainty and curious longing for meaning. For our core beliefs are not fixed but fluid, shifting as we grow and as we experience new things.
It makes sense, then, to remain open to the learning process, rather than simply adopting or clinging on to ideas and concepts without question, surrendering our sovereignty in doing so.
The Hierophant reminds us that a questioning mind is a connected mind, and that doubt is a crucial part of active, compassionate faith.
We are also encouraged to recognise the sacred sovereignty of our sisters and brothers, acknowledging multiple truth rather than striving to enforce our individual truth and way of worship on the collective.
Explore your core beliefs and guiding values. Embrace/release traditions as you see fit. Learn from those who have walked before you.
Embrace your sacred sovereignty in connecting with the Divine from within. Go your own way.
Family traditions, including religious upbringing, building a personal relationship with Spirit in a way that resonates, learning from your elders, forging your own path in contrast to the path expected of you by others, embracing tradition and taking the road well travelled should it feel right to do so.
What are my core beliefs and guiding values? How have these shifted and evolved over time? What traditions do I feel called to integrate? How do I experience Spirit? How might I embrace my sacred sovereignty?
The Lovers - (6) The Vow Maker
Traditionally a card of choice and commitment, what better example to represent such a promise than that of vowing to journey with another for a lifetime?
The Lovers isn’t just about deep, soul satisfying romantic connection, although it absolutely can be. If we dig a little deeper we can see that the idea of making a vow, a promise, of committing to our choices and actions is something we experience in many ways as we move along our path.
The Lovers encourages us to act from a place of heartfelt alignment, grounding our choices and commitments in a true understanding of our beliefs, values and aims.
She is a card of integrity and authenticity, reminding us of our ability to make wise choices and to jump all in when an opportunity truly aligns with our divine purpose.
Our purpose is much broader and far more exciting than one narrowly defined mission or action.
Tapping into our present moment purpose, for our purpose is ever shifting and evolving yet always tied together by love, requires us to step into our beliefs, values, passions, skills, lessons at any given moment in time and to live from within such context.
When we approach choices in such a way we naturally make the vows we’re here to make, committing to pathways – and people – that feel like a good fit for us.
If we’re facing a significant choice and The Lovers appears, it would be wise to consider what feels authentic and genuine in this moment. What do we feel called to commit to, and how might we best live in alignment? Which opportunity is likely going to give us scope for bringing our values to life?
If our choice involves committing to another, do we share values, and are we likely to soar together throughout life’s inevitable shifts and cycles?
Align belief, intention and action. The time has come to make a heartfelt choice. When making a commitment, do so from a place of integrity and authenticity. Recognise the potential consequences of your decisions.
Be honest with yourself when contemplating committing to a course of action or to a person. Assess your values and beliefs before making a decision.
Falling in love, entering into a romantic relationship, making significant choices, committing to a course of study/career path, marriage or long-term partnership, getting clear on what feels in alignment to you.
What do I feel called to commit to? What am I already committed to? What choices am I currently faced with? How can I take heartfelt action in alignment with my core beliefs, values and desires?
You've made it!
Take a little breather and reflect on your tarot journey so far. Which cards do you relate to? Which cards, if any, feel a little less comfortable or familiar?
Make some further notes if you feel called to, make another cuppa and get ready to sink into our next Major Arcana instalment.
See you in our next post!