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.

TERM OF THE DAY

Cups

The suit of cups is one of the four suits of the minor arcana of the tarot cards. Sometimes they are called chalices or bowls.

Read the full Cups definition

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