Updated: Jun 24, 2020
"Tarot readings help a person understand what he or she needs to know about a particular situation. Decks are best used as a tool of inner wisdom and guidance, as readings give a person insight to past, current and future events based on the person's current path at the time of the reading
The Major Arcana is a 22 card set within the tarot that is considered to be the core and the foundation for the deck. All of the deck is filled with archetypal significance, but this is most pronounced within the Major Arcana.
These cards follow a storyline that tells of the spiritual travels taken from the innocent wonder of The Fool to the oneness and fulfillment of The World. In other words, these cards tell the story of humanity's spiritual evolution into enlightenment and individuation.
Each Major Arcanum depicts a scene, mostly featuring a person or several people, with many symbolic elements. In many decks, each has a number (usually in Roman numerals) and a name, though not all decks have both, and some have only a picture.
Every tarot deck is different and carries a different connotation with the art, however most symbolism remains the same. The earliest decks bore unnamed and unnumbered pictures on the Majors (probably because a great many of the people using them at the time were illiterate), and the order of cards was not standardised.
Strength is traditionally the eleventh card and Justice the eighth, but the influential Rider-Waite-Smith deck switched the position of these two cards in order to make them a better fit with the astrological correspondences worked out by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, under which the eighth card is associated with Leo and the eleventh with Libra. Today many decks use this numbering, particularly in the English-speaking world. Both placements are considered valid.
The Major Arcana's
0 The Fool
15 The Devil
16 The Tower
17 The Star
18 The Moon
19 The Sun
21 The World
†Traditionally‡In Rider-Waite tarot deck
And so, as we follow the journey of the Fool, we can start seeing common parallels between our own stages in life and those in the cards, each card teaching a specific lesson and a concept to meditate over.
Because they form the basis of the tarot, some readings can sometimes be conducted with only the Major Arcana as well.