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Major Arcana


The Minor Arcana and Court Cards represent the everyday; our physical and emotional concerns, our environment, friends and relatives. The Major Arcana represent our higher selves, the spiritual and the outside forces that influence our lives. These cards, their meaning and symbolism, makes them the most important cards in the deck. Here is a brief overview of the first 10 cards of the Major Arcana:

 

1. The Magician


The Magician represents directing your energies to some purpose. He is creative, skillfull, clever and capable. He uses his knowledge, power, creativity and force of will to transform the elements; to create. When you get this card it is an indication that you are focused, confident, and ready for the task at hand, or that you need to become so. It is a time of creativity and purposefulness. The Magician is associated with the planet Mercury (communication),

 
2. The High Priestess


The High Priestess represents inner knowledge, wisdom and timing. The High Priestess is associated with the Moon (mystery, intuition, compassion), She is wise, pure (virginal), and possesses "hidden knowledge". Receptive and composed, she prefers seclusion to the limelight, but she is willing to share her knowledge should the student seek it. When you get this card it suggests that you already have the knowledge necessary to deal with what faces you. It may be buried deep within you and may be difficult to call to the surface, but it is there. You may be more receptive, intuitive, or in touch with yourself at this time.


3. The Empress


The Empress represents the maternal. When you get this card in a reading it is an indication that you are or need to be nurturing or creative. It is a time when you can bring ideas to fruition. She is fruitful, nurturing, creative and has an appreciation of the finer things. She is indulgent and is in touch with herself and her environment.  The Empress is associated with the planet Venus (love and beauty),

 

4. The Emperor


The Emperor represents authority, a father figure, power, leadership, building, protection, ambition, order, organization and confidence. When you get the Emperor, it indicates a need to set things in order, to organize and plan how to meet your goals. It could be a time when your ambitions are driving you or are being felt more keenly than usual. You are in a position to take charge and guide things on their proper course. The planet associated with the Emperor is Aries (action, assertion, courage),

 

5. Hierophant


The Hierophant is a teacher. He represents spiritual training and discipline, convention, tradition and dogma. When you get this card it could indicate that you are bound in some way by tradition or orthodoxy. Perhaps it is time to examine your belief system to see if it still serves your needs. Perhaps you are seeking a teacher or leader, a new path to follow. The sign associated with the Hierophant is Taurus.

 

6. The Lovers


The most obvious meaning of the Lovers is a relationship, attraction or love, however this is only a secondary meaning of the card. The Lovers represents a choice. It can also represent the coming together of  opposites. When you get this card it indicates you must use your powers of discrimination to unite or chose between two opposing energies. Included in this is the idea of relationships, which are also a form of uniting two different energies. The sign associated with the Lovers is Gemini (twins, duality, synthesis),

 

                                                                      
Symbols


As the Tarot relies heavily on symbolism pairing it with a system like the archetypes was a natural. Do you need to understand the archetypes and Jungian psychology to read Tarot? No you don't, but learning this material will give you additional insights into the interpretation and meaning of the cards. I recommend you first master the basic meanings of the cards. If you are familiar with Jungian psychology, by all means use this knowledge to add depth to your interpretations, but if you are not familiar with it, don't worry, The same can be said for Kabala, Astrology, Numerology and other systems which are often linked with  Tarot. Learning them adds depth, but not  knowing them will not prevent you from becoming a good interpreter and reader of Tarot.

 

Example

 
As an example, using the Rider-Waite deck, let's examine the six of wands. We see a man on a horse carrying a staff with a laurel wreath on top. If we look up laurel in a dictionary of symbols we find "Triumph, victory", so  we can get an idea of what the card meant from the symbolism augmented by the picture, which also suggests a triumphant march. If we were not sure of the type of wreath, and looked up the word "wreath", we find "..glory, victory, supremacy..." which still conveys the meaning.

 

Tarot and Creativity

 
I believe that most people who are attracted to the Tarot are creative in some way. We are visually stimulated by the cards, they capture our imagination and speak to us. The Tarot will  certainly help to enhance your creativity.

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