The Major Arcana Heart of The Tarot Deck

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The Major Arcana Heart of The Tarot Deck


When you start to practice the art of tarot card reading you’ll quickly discover that The Major Arcana or Greater Secrets cards are at the heart of the tarot deck as they represent the spiritual aspects of the human experience that we all go through at some stage of our lives

Major Arcana cards relate to things linked to our personal development and journey through life that takes us from innocence to wisdom

Some tarot scholars believe that the sequence of cards depicts the enlightenment that we attain during our lifetime and is intended to be a path to follow to learn the meaning of our true selves

So, you can see from these details that the 22 Major Arcana cards are the heart of the tarot deck, and they have even been referred to as the 22 keys to life

The 22 cards that make up the Major Arcana are also known as the Trump Cards, and they’re not associated with any other suits or court cards that make up the rest of the tarot card deck

Many different designs, patterns and styles of Tarot have evolved over the years, but one of the most important - and now considered a standard design, is The Tarot de Marseilles that was made popular by Payl Marteau in the 20th, century

Before that, it was Court de Gebelin who studied and worked on The Marseilles to produce the Le Monde Primitif illustrations

Here's a brief list of the card titles: The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, The World. The number  zero card in the Major Arcana is The Fool

The Swiss Tarot is another popular style, different from The Marseilles where The High Priestess card is replaced by Juno, and The Hierophant by Jupiter

Things get more complicated when we look at The Minichate in Florence - a variation that uses a deck of ninety six cards - with some of the extra cards being based on the four basic world elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth, while the rest include astrological symbols that obviously need an extra depth of understanding by the reader

As a beginner in tarot card reading you must familiarize yourself with the Major Arcana because they are the key to our spiritual selves and all of our hopes, our fears, our joys and sadness and all of the things that we face in our everyday living

Once that you get used to their power you’ll find that they help to unlock and sharpen your intuition so that you can interpret the relationship between them and the rest of the cards in a tarot card reading

The Major Arcana – through it’s series of pictures steeped in symbolism - tells of the journey that has to be taken to achieve spiritual enlightenment in a persons lifetime, and it also addresses such things as family, social relationships and the working world that we all seek knowledge of as we travel through life

If you sit quietly and really take time to look at and study the pictures on The Major Arcana tarot cards you’ll find that the artwork is full of symbolism relating to our higher purpose for being on the planet, and that they are especially connected to our personal character development

These tarot cards represent life and all of it’s cycles from birth to death, and also symbolize the physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional aspects of man and his relationship with the universe

The Major Arcana tarot cards feature different archetypes of people that can be found in life. These archetypes represent either real or spiritual figures in our lives. There’s the nurturing mother type, an authoritative, strong commanding type, a traditional religious figure, a mystical spiritual figure, and more symbolic figures that decorate the 22 cards that make up this part of the tarot card deck

As you sharpen your skills and gain more experience in tarot card reading it’s likely that you’ll search through quite a few decks to find a favorite set. You’ll notice that some of the decks number the 22 Major Arcana using roman numerals and also have words describing each picture – top center on the cards

There’s speculation that the very earliest tarot card decks had only pictures and weren’t numbered or labelled because the majority of people back then were illiterate. And there are many decks today that still favor just having the vivid artwork on the tarot cards

Let's go take a look now at the meanings of the popular cards in the Major Arcana



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