The Major Arcana

The word ‘arcana’ is the plural of ‘arcanum’, which means ‘profound secret’. To the alchemists of the Middle Ages, the ‘arcanum’ was the ‘secret of nature’. Therefore, the Tarot is a collection of the ‘secrets’ that underlie and explain our complex Universe.

The Major Arcana alone can interpret their messages regarding the soul’s journey through life, and the archetypal aspects of your character. The Major Arcana symbolizes the aspects of the Universal human experiences. They represent the archetypes and patterns of influence that are an inherent part of human nature.

The symbols of the Major Arcana represent every experience and underlying influences that man can encounter on the Earthplane. These are circumstances which are out of human control and are more commonly referred to as ‘destiny’ and ‘fate’. They also represent things which are not apparent in day-to-day life, but which are hidden from view in the subconscious.

The Major Arcana is considered the ‘journey of life’, from the innocence and wonder of childhood, through the tests, trials and tribulations to maturity, and then onto old age, death and spiritual transcendence. The Major Arcana reflects the path in life by using Universal symbolism.

The twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana are considered to hold in-depth knowledge and relate to a higher plane:  that is, they often signify a spiritual aspect of our lives, or an important trend in our life’s journey. Most aspects of human experience are found in the Major Arcana cards.

Each card of the Major Arcana has a name and a number. Some names of the Major Arcana cards convey a direct meaning, such as Strength, Justice and Judgment, whilst others personify individuals who portray a particular approach to life, such as The Hermit, The Magician and The Fool.  Astronomical names and attributes are also given to some cards of the Major Arcana, such as The Star, The Moon and The Sun. These cards represent the forces and/or attributes associated with these heavenly bodies.

The Major Arcana shows different stages of an individual’s journey of inner-growth. Each card stands for a quality (or qualities) or experiences that must be incorporated into our soul’s journey during our lifetimes before we can fully realize our ‘wholeness’ and ‘oneness’. Our specific paths are unique, but or milestones are Universal. The 22 Major Arcana cards are markers along the path of inner-development, leading from our earliest awareness through to experience, integration and ultimately, fulfilment. The Major Arcana contains many levels and models of experience and hold all the patterns of growth throughout our lives.

There is an intimate relationship between the 22 Major Arcana cards and the Cabalistic Tree of Life. Cabalistic lore is intricate and complex. It is not necessary to have a sound knowledge of its workings to successfully read the Tarot.

The Major Arcana deals only with the spiritual aspects and the eternal soul or spirit of man, whilst the Minor Arcana cards chart the ‘ups and downs’ of daily life, and they register changes in feelings and thoughts. Using both the Major and Minor Arcana gives an in-depth perspective and an overall view of what is happening in your life.

There are three sets of seven cards that express the stages of the process of life:

the basic challenges of life and the formation of an ego, the inner journey to an independent self, and the confrontation with Universal forces and the creative experience of the world.

All of the Major Arcana cards are associated with astrological and numerological meanings and letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

Joanne Walmsley           Sacred Scribes


  1. I downloaded an app on my Android tablet, and its accuracy/ insight is uncanny. It's easy for people to say, "It's just a machine, you're reading into it... how could it know anything?" Things like that; however, having studied, in varying detail everything from neuroscience (in which I have an honours degree and a specialization), metaphysics (another degree), quantum physics, and spirituality (a minor in religious studies), along with astronomy, cosmology, astrology, theoretical physics, geopolitics, history, alternative history, forbidden anthropology (ie, the taboo, where the respected peers and authorities of academia dare not go), forbidden knowledge (of Thoth and Ra specifically), etc, etc, etc... I can say that, at the very least, we are made of the same STUFF as the computer.

    In my honest, but not very humble, opinion, the fundamental and foundational consciousness of the universe means that the machine, at its core, is consciousness too, however basal and likely less aware in comparison to the individual (ie, to a human with its own spark of the divine). That being said, whether it's being manipulated by the will of the observer (quantum physics 101), by one's spirit guides or otherwise a-physical entities, or just by the same physical conditions as we in the here and now... I see no reason why the machine would not be influenced in such a way as to be just as viable as a pack of Tarot cards.

    At the very least, a skeptic should be equally as skeptical of the machine as they are of the deck of cards. :)

    That being said, we put our energy into the devices that we use every day. Between "collapsing the waveform" that is our experience of the device, where renowned philosopher and theologian George Berkeley would suggest that, for example, when we have our back to the wall and there is nobody else in the room to bare witness, the wall ceases to exist... or, at the very least, it ceases to be whatever it is that we would call a wall were we to then turn around and witness the wall again. The idea and experience of the wall, versus the wall as it is in and of itself... and the same goes for the tablet, with its Tarot app, or even a proper deck of Tarot cards. When we witness them not, the objects of our lives are allowed to return to the state of energy that they never really stop being, regardless of the "waveform collapse" that we, in theory, render by observation alone.

    [Actually, to wander here just a little bit, and who knows if anybody will ever even read this post, which makes it just as real as Berkeley's proverbial wall... given the amount of time, measured in micro-seconds, between the light refracting off the "object" to be absorbed by our own retinas, converted to an electrical neural impulse, processed and interpreted by our brain, and eventually experienced by whatever it is that we ourselves truly are... the particles that we refer to as "the wall" will have already changed in such a way as to render the concept of "waveform collapse" redundant, since the information exchanged in the collapse of the waveform, between the electrons of the atoms of the particles of "the wall" and embodied thereby within the refracted photon of light, has already changed and become some other state as soon as the light has refracted, thereby rendering the information redundant, and the waveform collapse history. There need not even be a waveform collapse in order for us to experience whatever it is that we call a collapsed waveform in the first place. The universe can continue to be itself regardless of whether or not we're paying attention... it just seems to behave a little bit differently when we are looking, as opposed to when we are not. That, in itself, is basically the foundation of quantum physics (and phenomenology), and so, if you didn't already know all that, then... you're welcome.]

    1. That was such a good read. Thank you for that

    2. wow!!! How can one write so well.

  2. Thank you. I'm glad to know my thoughts have been appreciated. It's years of "compulsive" research, connecting the dots, "random" synchronicities, and the occasional downloading if info right to my brain. I get visions of understanding that take me years sometimes before I can rationalise it and turn it into knowledge, then communicate it. I've just continued to follow all leads and go with my gut.

    Also, a good skeptic must always be skeptical of their own skepticism.