Welcome to lesson 2
In this lesson, you will learn:
- The Major Arcana from The Fool (0) to The Wheel of Fortune (10)
- How the major Arcana cards can be used as a guide for timing in a reading
- The Meaning of The Reversed Card
This second lesson will cover the first 11 cards of the Major Arcana, the remaining 11 will be covered in lesson 3.
As I mentioned earlier, this is an introductory course and by no means gives you all the information available on learning to read the Tarot. It will take time and practice to develop your skills, and at this early stage, keeping things simple should help you to build the confidence to do your own readings.
The Major Arcana represents a journey from earliest awareness (The Fool numbered 0) to fulfillment (The World numbered 21), and that the cards represent the qualities and experiences we must incorporate in our lives before we can realize our full potential, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Also that the Major Arcana naturally falls into two groups with the Wheel of Fortune significantly at mid point, this turning point between one half of life’s experiences and the other is very important.
In lesson one we covered the list of the Major Arcana that describes the element, planet and astrological sign associated with each card. Now we will look at how the Major Arcana cards can be used as a guide for timing in a reading, by looking at the astrological sign (we’ll cover this later in the lessons about spreads), so it’s very useful to familiarize yourself with these cards.
Essentially the dates of each astrological sign can be associated with the corresponding Major Arcana card in a reading. For example if The Emperor came up in a spread, it may be signifying a date between 21st March and 20th April.
Here is a table to help you learn the dates.
Try to keep these factors in mind as you learn the Major Arcana cards, however, we will be referring to this in more detail in the lessons covering spreads.
When you begin to draw the tarot cards, you may draw a few cards in the reverse position. Some people will not consider the reverse meaning. In this course, each card in the Tarot deck, both Major and Minor Arcana, has a positive meaning and a reversed or negative meaning.
Getting a tarot card in reversed position is not either good or bad by default. In general, the upright and respectively the reversed position of a card have totally opposite meaning.
However, a card in upright position may have a bad meaning, which mean that the reversed position brings good news.
The reversed Major Arcana cards in your reading mean that you have to learn yet the lesson related to that card.
The following definitions for each of the 11 major cards include key words associated with that card and the positive and reversed (negative) meanings.
Lesson 2 – The Major Arcana 0 to 10
What I would like you to do now is extract the cards numbered 0 (The Fool) to 10 (The Wheel of Fortune) and keep the remaining cards of your deck wrapped in your black cloth.
Have these 11 cards in order, with The Fool as the first card and the other 10 cards neatly behind it, so you are just looking at The Fool on its own.
- Read the definition of the cards (below), and practice trying to remember as much as you can about the card before moving on to the next one.
- In your notebook take notes of any words, images or descriptions that come to your mind when studying each card.
FYI – I have added my thoughts on some of the cards of how to interpret the card in a love reading. Remember these are my interpretations, and you will develop your own style and thoughts as you process the cards imagery and symbolism.
number : 0
- positive associations with this card: new beginnings, optimism, spontaneity, fearlessness, excitement, visionary, joy, inventiveness
- negative associations with this card: naïveté, thoughtlessness, immaturity, lack of responsibility, impulsiveness, lawlessness
- expect the unexpected when The Fool turns up in a reading, influences that could have a dramatic affect on the decisions and choices you make
- when The Fool appears it is a time for new beginnings, a journey perhaps into the unknown that will be exciting and fun. Any trials along the way will make you a more experienced and perhaps wiser person
- if The Fool falls in the first position of a reading exercise caution – it could indicate fool hardiness or perhaps the question you are asking is the wrong one or you are asking it for the wrong reasons
- The Fool can also represent a person in a reading, if so be prepared to meet a real maverick, an eccentric with lust for life
- The Fool represents the untapped potential in all of us
- ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’ however sometimes it can be wise ‘to look before you leap
number : 1
- positive associations with this card: action, power, originality, confidence, individuality, willpower, new beginnings, potential
- negative associations with this card: trickery, deception, lack of self- confidence, indecision, abuse of power
- The Magician is an excellent omen symbolizing new opportunities, the importance of new enterprise and that you will have the willpower and initiative to succeed in whatever you do
- the mercurial nature of The Magician means that you will be able to think on your feet and bluff your way through any difficulties
- negatively this card represents trickery or deception and is a warning to be careful of whom you place your trust in
- another negative aspect of The Magician is that it may suggest that you are lacking in self-confidence and being indecisive
The High Priestess
number : 2
- positive associations with this card: intuitiveness, understanding, wisdom, mystery, psychic ability, the divine feminine
- negative associations with this card: lack of intuitiveness, emotional insecurity, secretiveness, hidden obstacles or opponents
- the High Priestess is the guardian of secrets so when she appears in a reading it can mean a secret is to be revealed or there is a secret you wish to be revealed
- symbolizing our intuitiveness and the realms of our unconscious, the High Priestess is our guide to our inner self and potential
- when the High Priestess appears it suggests you should trust your instincts, let your intuition be your guide. she may even represent a person who will provide wise counsel and advice
- in a man’s reading the High Priestess can represent the most important woman in his life
- negatively the High Priestess can represent emotional insecurity and the danger of being tempted to use emotional blackmail
- another negative aspect is that a secret is being kept from you, perhaps unknown obstacles or opponents
- in a man’s reading the negative aspect of this card could represent a woman who is a bad influence on him
In a love reading…..
When the High Priestess appears in a spread she often advises you to take a step back from the situation and keep your own counsel for the time being. It would seem that there is more to be revealed in this situation than you may know, and this secret knowledge will be worth waiting for as it will give you greater insight into the situation. The message here is to hold back, avoid instant reactions, and allow things to unfold before you do anything rash.
This is also the card of psychic ability, and it may be that you are currently following a spiritual path. It is time to sit back and stop “trying” so hard, let the natural flow of the universe guide you. Your inner High Priestess is waiting to emerge, an event that will require you to let go of what you think you know and allow the truth to be revealed to you.
- positive associations with this card: fertility, birth, motherhood, harmony, nature, prosperity, joy, love, artistic ambition
- negative associations with this card: domestic upheaval, emotional blackmail, over-protectiveness, poverty, infertility, unwanted pregnancy, surpressed artistic expression
- The Empress symbolizes love, reassurance, prosperity and birth so when she appears in a reading in a favourable position she is a very welcome card
- she can represent pregnancy or actual birth of a child however she can also represent the creation or birth of a creative project or involvement with nature
- negatively The Empress can signal that you, or a woman in your life, is being too protective for comfort and may even resort to emotional blackmail to get what she wants
- she may indicate money worries and a need to handle your finances carefully
- another negative aspect of The Empress is that she can symbolize infertility or unwanted pregnancy
astrological sign: Aries
- positive associations with this card: achievement, authority, protection, support, trustworthy, discipline, provider, consolidation, reason, willpower
- negative associations with this card: weakness, immaturity, failed ambition, status driven, tyrannical, untrustworthy
- the Emperor is a sign of achievement and honour and in many cases can represent a stong male influence such as a father, husband/partner or man of significance in your life, or person of authority such as a boss
- when he appears in a reading he can suggest that a man of authority or significance as outlined above will stand by you and support you, in personal as well as business matters
- when The Emperor falls in position in a reading that refers to you he suggests that you will be able to influence people and have a great sense of your own authority
- negatively The Emperor can mean that either you or a man of influence in your life is using bullying tactics and being overbearing, an abuse of power
- another negative aspect of this card is failed ambitions, a craving for status and insecurity around a man of authority
astrological sign: Taurus
- positive associations with this card: advice, wise counsel, spiritual consolation, knowledge, identification, faith, conformity, tradition
- negative associations with this card: misinformation, lack of faith, deviousness, bad advice, confusion, disorderly conduct
- The Hierophant is a symbol of moral law, a wise and capable advisor, a practical instructor and spiritual guide
- he also represents the more conventional, tried and tested traditional values, therefore advising on more conventional thinking rather than novel approaches
- The Hierophant may actually represent a teacher, priest or advisor but is more likely to symbolise moral lessons to be learned from events
- this card can be an indicator of marriage or a desire for marriage, as well as point to legal responsibilities and official documents negatively.
- The Hierophant can symbolize feeling stifled by others wanting you to conform to their expectations rather than being yourself, and not wanting to take more traditional options. however there is an upside to this negative aspect of the card that can mean making your own rules
- another negative aspect of this card is that he can represent confusion, a crisis of faith or self belief that results in disorderly conduct
In a love reading……
Also known in some decks as FAITH or THE POPE, spirituality and education are the mainstay of this card.
You may be considering taking a new course of study or even following a new spiritual path using either your inner wisdom or a teacher in the real world.
The Hierophant is also the card of the adviser and it may be that you need some professional advice at this time in your life.
You are likely to be following a conventional path in your spiritual outlet (organised religion), your educational pursuit (traditional college or university) or your relationship paths (traditional marriage).
In a love reading this card can show that the partners are a comfort to one another and can be the adviser or guide to each other within the relationship, indicating shared Faith and commitment in the eyes of the Creator.
astrological sign: Gemini
- positive associations with this card: desire, new lover, relationships, physical attraction, love, sex, commitment
- negative associations with this card: lust, moral lapse, temptation, indecision, separation, failed love affair, emotional loss
- The Lovers can symbolize that a new love is going to enter your life even if you can’t see where from – you’re in for a surprise
- this is a card that symbolizes an importance choice that could affect the rest of your life
- The Lovers symbolizes a choice between duty versus your heart’s desire, take a risk and it could lead to greater happiness and emotional fulfillment, stay dutiful and life will remain the same
- this card means that your heart rules your head and a dramatic change of attitude will lead to happier times
- negatively the Lovers can represent an unhappy love affair or relationship yet you are unsure what decision or choice to make
- another negative aspect of this card is that it can represent intense temptation and warns of being unfaithful to your own morals
In a love reading…
At first glance this card appears to be all about love, but it is actually all about the choices we make in life and taking personal responsibility for those choices.
The three figures in this card can indicate that either a matchmaker or a third party is involved, someone may be cheating or having an affair. Perhaps you suspect that this is the case.
This is a very significant card and can indicate two people who care about each other very much and are making choices together about their future life.
The Lovers card can also indicate a choice between two potential partners, or between a lover and someone else in your life who is very important to you (possibly a parent), once again follow your heart.
When the Lovers represents you, it is time to start making decisions for yourself about life, love, career.
The Chariot – 7
- positive associations with this card: triumph, movement, change, self-belief, assertiveness, good news
- negative associations with this card: rage, tyranny, overinflated ego, selfishness, arrogance, delays, frustration
- The Chariot symbolizes conflicts ending in victory, so advises sustained efforts if in a current struggle or facing one, as you will win in the end
- this card also heralds unexpected good news and represents self reliance and belief in your own abilities
- travel and change is indicated by The Chariot as well as representing a vehicle – if in a favourable position it could mean you’ll get that car you’ve been wanting!
- negatively The Chariot can mean that either you or someone of influence around you is being a bully, arrogant and selfish
- another negative aspect is that it can represent frustrations and delays or travel plans that don’t go well
In a love reading….
This is a card of struggle but ultimately success.
If you really want something you can set out now and get it. Your ego is strong and you are able to overcome obstacles in life.
You’re not afraid to take new paths and have new adventures, life is a challenge and you are enjoying it.
In a love reading this card shows that you are trying to resolve differences between you and your loved one, for the greater good of your relationship and future life as a couple. You may also be planning a trip or holiday together.
Strength – 8
- astrological sign: leo
- positive associations with this card: strength, willpower, compassion, patience, courage, triumph, fortitude
- negative associations with this card: cowardice, fear, inertia, defeat, loss of opportunity
- when the Strength card appears it represents not just physical strength but the ability to cope with extreme pressure and win through in the end
- if ill health has been an issue this card indicates rapid recovery, if considering giving up an unhealthy habit such as smoking or drinking this card indicates a good time to start
- the Strength card signifies triumph over most things; challenges in your relationships or career, even defending yourself against jealousy, ignorance and oppression
- negatively this card represents insecurity, fear and giving up, perhaps being beaten by unfair means
- the Strength card warns of missed opportunities and not to give up when you could be so close to the finish line
The Hermit – 9
astrological sign: Virgo
- positive associations with this card: introspection, solitude, guidance, advice, patience
- negative associations with this card: obstinacy, suspiciousness, fear, impatience, folly, arrogance
- when The Hermit appears in a reading he symbolizes a need for careful consideration of issues and possibly a desire for peace and quiet and solitude
- he warns against making hasty decisions and recommends taking advice from someone you trust before making any decisions concerning health, The Hermit indicates a time of convalescence and rest
- negatively The Hermit can imply arrogance and obstinacy, suspiciousness and a refusal to accept advice when help would be beneficial
- other negative aspects of this card are impatience leading to bad decisions and loneliness
The Wheel of Fortune – 10
- positive associations with this card: destiny, movement, vision, good luck, new cycle, synchronicity
- negative associations with this card: obstacles, temporary bad luck, unpleasant surprises
- when The Wheel of Fortune appears it heralds a new cycle in life, good luck and fortune. it is fate that has brought this into your life rather than your own doing
- this card heralds an end to current problems and rewards for past efforts
- negatively The Wheel of Fortune is obviously turning in the opposite direction and heralds a time of misfortune and unpleasant surprises, however this is temporary – as the wheel turns downwards, in time it will turn up