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What is the Major Arcana in Tarot?

Tarot cards are organized into suits -- called the minor arcana -- and a set of 22 additional cards that represent the mythic hero's journey or evolution of the soul -- called the Major Arcana.  

The journey takes place on multiple levels of reality simultaneously:


the physical plane  * the mental plane   * the spiritual

​The cards on the physical plane represent people and situations of power and reflect messages about being overwhelmed or abused by power, in alignment with it, or making beneficial use of it in the real world of your life or the situation under investigation in the reading.

The cards on the mental plane represent traits, feelings or processes having to do with beliefs, perspectives, change of mind, and transformation.

The cards on the spiritual plane represent challenges, pitfalls and rewards the soul encounters as it nears a karmic completion.

As you might be able to see, the mental and spiritual plane cards have some images in a traditional tarot deck like that pictured above that at first glance could be startling, if not frightening.  

The Hanged Man symbolizes a change of perspective, not a lynching.  The Death card symbolizes a change of form or transformation, not literal dying.  The Devil card symbolizes fear or temptation, not evil that will get you.  The Tower card symbolizes the necessary deconstruction of old beliefs so that new beliefs can support you in your journey. And the Judgment card symbolizes opportunity to set things right.

Every deck will have some version of these so called scary cards.  The non-traditional decks like I use have imagery that is quite different in most cases and do not evoke the same kind of fear.  

There is nothing to be afraid of in the Tarot.  The cards and their interpretations all represent but one set of possibilities at but one moment in time.  They are meant to be factor in to other sources of information as you make decisions and form opinions about what to believe and act on.

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