The standard tarot deck is composed of 78 cards and is divided into two groups: the major and minor arcana.
The major arcana in a reading typically represents the main influences that govern a situation or a particular circumstance.
On the other hand, the minor arcana portrays the ‘small yet big’ things that are affecting the composition of an outcome.
The Major Arcana
The major arcana is composed of impactful readings that are to be taken seriously. It can be linked to a major turnaround or a leading influence causing great setbacks in your progress.
The major arcana are composed of 22 cards as listed below:
The Fool: Leave the past, cut your ties with the future, and cherish the present moment.
The Fool in a reading suggests that you take an open and willing mind by leaving worry behind.
The Magician: The Magician in a reading reminds you to be conscious of your power and capability to be the best that you can be.
The High Priestess: The High Priestess is both feminine and intuitive – implying you to step back, reassess, and develop your relationship with your highest self before taking any action.
The Empress: The Empress is connected to Mother Nature and is a symbol of compassion, kindness, beauty, and love.
The Emperor: The Emperor in a reading is highly masculine in nature. Seeing this in a reading may imply that you already encompass the wisdom and knowledge to take on a higher plane.
The Hierophant: The Hierophant is inclined to follow tradition and apply the wisdom of the old. Seeing this in a reading may mean that you already know what you need to know about a situation.
The Lovers: The Lovers is closely linked to your close relationships which could be affecting your wellbeing or the other way around.
The Chariot: You lead the way. The Chariot in a reading may have just appeared to tell you that your choices have consequences.
Strength: Quite literal, but not physical. Strength can mean the fortitude of your heart and your courage in dealing with a certain situation.
The Hermit: Listen and observe. The Hermit suggests you take a step back and practically reassess the situation before speaking yet another word.
Wheel of Fortune: Enjoy impermanence. This card encourages you to loosen your grip to anything you “own”.
Justice: Karma is a universal law and it is real. Seeing this can either be good or bad, depending on the context.
The Hanged Man: The hanged man represents you, in a limbo. You might be blocked or stuck in idleness for a moment. Seeing this in a reading suggests you to finally take action.
Death: Death of bad habits, sourness, anger, depression, and envy. Leave and dispel toxic behaviors that cloud your connection with your true self.
Temperance: Moderation is key. The temperance in a reading tells you to pause, rest, and moderate whatever you have been overindulging with.
The Devil: You hold the keys to your success. Quit feeding on misleading information that raises self-doubt.
The Tower: Endings are inevitable in this impermanent life. Accept, acknowledge, and rebuild.
The Star: The universe hears you! Your manifestations are slowly being led to your path.
The Moon: Reconnect with yourself and acknowledge what is in there. Power comes from knowing what you have and what you have yet to improve.
The Sun: Appreciate and see the beauty and light around you. You are blessed!
Judgment: You are not defined by your past nor your future. You have the chance to change for the better.
The World: Success, fulfillment, and satisfaction. The World reminds you that you already have what you need and want in this lifetime to achieve your goals.
The Minor Arcana
The lesser or the minor arcana, although defined as ‘less’, should not be taken lightly. Drawing a card from any of the suits also implies some of the ‘small’ influences that are affecting a situation in the long run.
Each suit is represented by symbols that are linked to the four elements: Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.
Cups: The suit of cups characterizes the water element. Encountering this in a reading could mean that a situation is closely linked to your relationships, creativity, and connection with the Divine.
Wands: The suit of wands is governed by the fire element and is associated with your passion, charisma, and drive towards a particular circumstance.
Swords: The suit of swords is linked to the air element responsible for keeping your logic and practicality towards a certain pain point in your life. It is ruled by the air element.
Pentacle: The suit of pentacles is materialistic in nature as it identifies the Earth itself.
Now, it may seem to be overwhelming to read about all these meanings. Surprisingly, you do not have to memorize everything on the list.
Get acquainted with the meanings but focus your attention on how you feel with each card. Your intuition matters more than what they “mean” as you focus on the divinatory aspects of each card on its own.