Major Arcana

Definition of Major Arcana

The major arcana makes up one of the two main segments of a deck of tarot cards. These cards are also known as trump cards. There are 78 tarot cards in a deck, and 22 of these are the major arcana. They represent archetypal images and energies, and tell the story of the Fool, as he starts at number 0 and travels through all of life’s experiences, ending with the World card at number 21.

The imagery on the trump cards is taken from a myriad of traditions and cultures, and not all of these pictures are pretty or peaceful. Some of them are disturbing — but then some facts of life are disturbing, too, and the major arcana cards reflect life and the situations faced. The trump cards in a tarot reading signify an area of importance, and ask that particular attention be paid to this issue.