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The Meaning of Each Tarot Card

Sacred Tarot - The Major Arcana

The meaning of each tarot card in the major arcana will vary depending on the tarot deck used. The major arcana cards, also known as trump cards, represent the significant lessons a soul learns on its journey through lifetimes. The symbols of each major arcana card, and the meaning of each tarot card depend on both the person interpreting the card, and also where it falls in the overall tarot reading. The interpretations that follow of the meaning of each tarot card are based on my use of the Rider Waite tarot deck, though I include some of the alternate names and symbols used in other decks.

  • The Fool - represents the divine child, one who is completely trusting of God. The Fool is beginning a journey and has no idea where it will lead, but is peaceful and content, and is living from his heart.

  • The Magician - represents creative power and many options and potentials. Also called the Magus in other tarot decks, the Magician has access to all four elements of the tarot, to use to manifest the divine work he has come to Earth to achieve.

  • The Priestess - represents the psychic self, intuition, dreams, and a time of learning to develop ones inner spiritual guidance.

  • The Empress - represents the ability to adapt and flow according to the needs of the moment. This is an important learning process that is a balance to a more goal and task oriented approach to life.

  • The Emperor - is the balance to the Empress, and represents work, money, grounding, and the ability to fully manifest on the material plane.

  • The Heirophant - traditionally a symbol of religious authority like the Pope, this card is a symbol of ones own inner spiritual authority, also known as your Higher Self. It is also a compilation of the previous four cards, synthesizing these initial stages of spiritual grown to a new level.

  • The Lovers - represents the awareness of opposites, the relationship between opposites, and the ability to balance what appears to be different aspects of the self.

  • The Chariot - represents an alignment of your personal will with divine will, the transformation of the ego level personal self towards a more planetary consciousness.

  • Justice - represents a karmic rebalancing process, so what has been out of harmony within your consciousness will be brought into right relationship with God's love. Often this rebalancing process is challenging because you are asked to face issues and feelings that you would prefer to avoid. This card is known as "Adjustment" in some tarot decks.

  • The Hermit - represents a time when the soul must learn to walk alone through darkness, guided by God and the inner light of spirit. The time of the Hermit is a test that asks the soul to draw upon all that has been learned, and to rely on ones own resources.

  • The Wheel of Fortune - represents a time of awakening to the awareness of ones own destiny and soul purpose.

  • Strength - This is another time of testing and purification that has to do with dealing with desire, and learning about what one truly wants. The Strength card also represents the integration between the higher and lower self. This card is sometimes interpreted as the learning process of seeing yourself as capable of having what you want.

  • The Hanged One - this card represents a deep spiritual surrender where all is given to God. The process of surrender turns the soul "upside down" so that life and God can be experienced from a new perspective.

  • Death - the Death card represents a letting go process related to old emotional patterns, especially in relationships.

  • Temperance - is a card of integration, transformation and alchemy which represents the transformation of opposites into a new element.

  • The Devil - represents the awareness of ones own negativity and darkness, and can also represent an encounter with negative energies.

  • The Tower - represents the shattering of illusion, the shattering of an old structure, which can be either a personality structure or an outer one. The learning process related to the Tower is difficult because it comes through sudden and abrupt change which often produces fear, grief and shock. At this time, the higher self is present and available to hold you through the difficulties.

  • The Star - represents divine spiritual healing, and an opening to the higher dimension of light. This was made possible through the previous lessons which released the soul from illusion.

  • The Moon - symbolizes creativity, nurturance, family, and also the emergence of subconscious negativity which has come to the surface to be healed and transformed.

  • The Sun - represents confidence and the emergence of ones true self, stepping out into visibility in your full spiritual and physically embodied self.

  • Judgment - This is the card that represent resurrection and rebirth. It is a complete transformation, like the one spoken of in Isaiah of "a New Heaven and a New Earth". The Judgment card is symbol of this time we are living in, the time of total transformation. This spiritual learning always catapults the soul to a new level of learning and development.

  • The World - Also known as the Universe, this card represents a celebration of dance of life, and a time of completion of a major cycle. The World card includes all the previous cards, just as we are all a total of all the steps we have taken on our path. It is a time of fulfillment and joy.

It is important in your own reading of the tarot to attune deeply to your own intuition. What I have shared about the meaning of each tarot card is offered as a guideline. There are many interpretations about the meaning of each tarot card that can expand your understandings of the symbols of the tarot and their message. The process of reading the tarot is one of opening your own inner wisdom and spiritual guidance. Please remember that the tarot cards themselves are sacred symbols to open your own intuition, and are not intended to remove you from the responsibility of making wise choices and decisions in your spiritual journey.

More on the Meaning of Each Tarot Card

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