How to Interpret Major Arcana Cards
Last week I wrote about exploring the Major Arcana through the Fool's Journey. But what about in readings? How do we dive into the meanings of these striking cards when they show up in our spreads?
I like to think of the Major Arcana as the heavy hitters of tarot. These are the cards that engage with the big issues of life: our personal development, inner struggles, and deeper patterns. They appear in readings to direct us towards the important journeys of whomever we read for. If the minor arcana deals with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the majors refer to our deeper currents
Explore Major Arcana Card Meanings
Picture a deep, beautiful ocean. The wind might pick up and drive the surface into frothy waves or the sun might come out from behind the clouds and make the top layers balmy and warm. The wind is the influence of the minors - events in our daily lives that influence our state of mind.
The lower depths, however, are much different. They respond to mysterious currents and cycles not always visible from the top. In fact, oftentimes the fray on the surface doesn't reflect the slower, instinctual path beneath. In this way we can look at the Major Arcana as the currents of our lives - forces that lead us along our journey of growth and change.
With this in mind we can look at our spreads as forecasts for both layers. If the minor arcana cards paint a much different picture than the major(s) we can see if the current path is reflective of the querent's higher self/life path. For example, say we draw one major arcana card, The Hermit. Surrounding it are lots of tarot cards depicting conflict and tension like the Five of Swords and Seven of Wands.
This tells us that the action on the surface - the Five of Swords and Seven of Wands - is at odds with the larger journey of the querent. The deception and conflict is masking a strong urge to focus inwards and reconnect with their greater purpose. The querent may find themselves feeling destabilized and lashing out with unkind words, masking their discomfort with high-stakes actions, rather than allowing themselves to follow their own instincts and take some time for themselves.
Overall, the Majors invite us to think big. All facets of our life have a common theme: ourselves. Honoring each person's journey as something profound and meaningful can be quite healing. It also grants us access to helpful advice and guidance. Look to the majors to see what's truly important, what qualities to embrace, and where the querent is in their journey of the self.