The Major Arcana – An Overview
The Major Arcana represent the major issues in our lives and are archetypical in nature, making them cross culture in application.
We see representations of spirituality in the High Priestess and Hierophant, personal morality in Justice and Judgement, virtues and vices, in the Chariot, the Lovers, Strength and the Devil, death in the Death card, power structures in the Empress, Emperor, the Tower, and the environments around us, in the Star, Moon and The World.
We also see very archetypical characters in the Magician, the Fool, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Hermit, Death and The Devil that we can recognize from myths and folklore from around the world.
Each Major Arcana card has many layers of meaning. They all have positive, negative and neutral aspects to them, just as people and situations do.
Many systems of associations or correspondences have been developed for these 22 cards. Some common ones are astrology, numerology, elemental, and the Tree of Life from the Qabbalah. There are many others, from flower essences and essential oils, minerals/crystals to Runes, colours, seasons, trees/plants, etc.
Students are encouraged to use associations that are meaningful to them and that they find simple to apply, as they progress in their studies. For now this information is given so you are aware of it as you may see various systems in Tarot books.
An Exercise to become familiar with the Major Arcana
Look at each card and see if you can remember a story or myth that has a character or situation that is depicted in the card. Write it down so you remember it in a notebook or Tarot Journal. See if you can remember at least one for each of the 22 cards.
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