Major Arcana

The Tarot cards in the Major Arcana can be seen as more important than their counterparts in the Minor Arcana as they tend to relate to life changing events, or themes of deeper significance. Each card in the Major Arcana has a number, and a traditional name in both English and French. The cards can also be associated with an astrological ruler; this either an element, planet or zodiac sign. Finally, given that the cards have a history in Hindu religious customs it is perhaps unsurprising that the modern day cards have a link with Qabalah, a Hindu philosophical question. For each card I have given the Hebrew letter it relates to, as well as the path number which places it on one of the branches of the Qabalistic Tree of Life. Click the image above to see a larger version of the Tree of Life, or click any of the cards below for a very large version of it.

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 00 - The Fool0: The Fool – Le Mat
Astrological Ruler: Element: Air
Path Number: 11
Hebrew Letter: Aleph
Dignified: Fresh beginnings, optimism, important decisions
Ill-dignified: Lack of commitment, immaturity, recklessness

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 01 - The Magician1: The Magician – Le Bateleur
Astrological Ruler: Planet: Mercury
Path Number: 12
Hebrew Letter: Beth
Dignified: Good communications, confidence, practical skill
Ill-dignified: Dishonesty, hesitancy, lack of confidence

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 02 - The High Priestess2: The High Priestess – La Papesse
Astrological Ruler: Planet: Moon
Path Number: 13
Hebrew Letter: Gimel
Dignified: Inner wisdom, foresight, understanding
Ill-dignified: Lack of foresight, potential denied

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 03 - The Empress3: The Empress – L’Impératrice
Astrological Ruler: Planet: Venus
Path Number: 14
Hebrew Letter: Daleth
Dignified: Well being, creative abundance, fulfillment
Ill-dignified: Insecurity, domestic disturbances

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 04 - The Emperor4: The Emperor – L’Empereur
Astrological Ruler: Zodiac: Aries
Path Number: 15
Hebrew Letter: Heh
Dignified: Authority, male influence, rationality
Ill-dignified: Rebelliousness, immaturity

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 05 - The Hierophant5: The Pope (or Hierophant) – Le Pape
Astrological Ruler: Zodiac: Taurus
Path Number: 16
Hebrew Letter: Vau
Dignified: Conformity, good counsel
Ill-dignified: Unconventionality, misleading advice

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 06 - The Lovers6: The Lovers – L’Amovreux
Astrological Ruler: Zodiac: Gemini
Path Number: 17
Hebrew Letter: Zain
Dignified: Relationships, conflicting choices
Ill-dignified: Ill-considered choices, frustration

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 07 - The Chariot7: The Chariot – Le Chariot
Astrological Ruler: Zodiac: Cancer
Path Number: 18
Hebrew Letter: Cheth
Dignified: Strength of character, effort leading to success
Ill-dignified: Unresolved difficulties, loss of control

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 08 - Strength8: Strength (sometimes appears as number 11) – La Force
Astrological Ruler: Zodiac: Libra
Path Number: 22
Hebrew Letter: Lamed
Dignified: Strength of will, confronting problems
Ill-dignified: Misdirection of energies, lack of self control

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 09 - The Hermit9: The Hermit – L’Hermite
Astrological Ruler: Zodiac: Virgo
Path Number: 20
Hebrew Letter: Yod
Dignified: Solitude, introspection
Ill-dignified: Isolation, obstinacy

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 10 - Wheel of Fortune10: The Wheel of Fortune – La Roue de Fortune
Astrological Ruler: Planet: Jupiter
Path Number: 21
Hebrew Letter: Kaph
Dignified: Cyclical change, good fortune
Ill-dignified: Unexpected difficulties

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 11 - Justice11: Justice (sometimes appears as number 8) – La Justice
Astrological Ruler: Zodiac: Leo
Path Number: 19
Hebrew Letter: Teth
Dignified: Justice, balance
Ill-dignified: Injustice, bias, adverse legal decisions

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 12 - The Hanged Man12: The Hanged Man – Le Pendu
Astrological Ruler: Element: Water
Path Number: 23
Hebrew Letter: Mem
Dignified: Transition, sacrifice leading to attainment
Ill-dignified: Personal stagnation, resistance to change

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 13 - Death13: Death – Mort
Astrological Ruler: Zodiac: Scorpio
Path Number: 24
Hebrew Letter: Nun
Dignified: Dramatic change, new beginnings
Ill-dignified: Resistance to change, stagnation

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 14 - Temperance14: Temperance – Tempérance
Astrological Ruler: Zodiac: Sagittarius
Path Number: 25
Hebrew Letter: Samech
Dignified: Capability, harmony, self-assurance
Ill-Dignified: Discord, impatience

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 15 - The Devil15: The Devil – Le Diable
Astrological Ruler: Zodiac: Capricorn
Path Number: 26
Hebrew Letter: Ayin
Dignified: Self-delusion, anger, bondage
Ill-Dignified: Regeneration, increased frustration

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 16 - The Tower16: The Tower – La Maison Diev
Astrological Ruler: Planet: Mars
Path Number: 27
Hebrew Letter: Peh
Dignified: New life, unexpected events, drastic change
Ill-Dignified: Misfortune, long-term difficulties

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 17 - The Star17: The Star – L’Etoile
Astrological Ruler: Zodiac: Aquarius
Path Number: 28
Hebrew Letter: Tzaddi
Dignified: Renewal, serenity, hope
Ill-Dignified: Closed attitudes, happiness delayed

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 18 - The Moon18: The Moon – La Lune
Astrological Ruler: Zodiac: Pisces
Path Number: 29
Hebrew Letter: Qoph
Dignified: Introspection, confusion, delusion
Ill-Dignified: Health problems, minor confusions

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 19 - The Sun19: The Sun – Le Soleil
Astrological Ruler: Planet: Sun
Path Number: 30
Hebrew Letter: Resh
Dignified: Achievement, joy, success
Ill-Dignified: Eventual fulfillment

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 20 - Judgement20: Judgement – Le Judgement
Astrological Ruler: Element: Fire
Path Number: 31
Hebrew Letter: Shin
Dignified: Achivement, change, decisions
Ill-Dignified: Underachievement, self-reproach

 

Tarot Cards Major Arcana 21 - The World21: The World – Le Monde
Astrological Ruler: Planet: Saturn
Path Number: 32
Hebrew Letter: Tau
Dignified: Completion, enlightenment, satisfaction
Ill-Dignified: Delays, disappointment

For more information on interpreting the Major Arcana cards check out this complete guide for beginners. It includes illustrated meanings of all the major cards in normal orientation and reversed, and in different spreads, as well as information on the Minor Arcana suits.

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