The Tarot Cards of the Major Arcana

The MagicianThe twenty-two cards of the major arcana are usually the tarot cards that most people learn first and almost all readers consider them to be the most important and with good reason. When they appear it usually means that life is currently, has been, or shortly will be, more profound or deep and meaningful than usual. That seems straightforward but because of their significance within a reading it is critical that you interpret their meanings correctly.

Please note that on our website we have Strength as 8 and Justice as 11. Some older decks and some foreign decks have them the other way around but almost all decks from the Rider-Waite onward (which was responsible for the switch) have them as we do because the correspondences arrived at by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn did not make sense astrologically with Justice as 8 and Strength as 11. The Rider-Waite deck switched the order.

Nearly all modern decks and certainly those in the Western world have them as we do as does the American Tarot Association and other respected interpretive websites. Either way round is perfectly valid so if your deck has a different order – don’t panic!



Image Attribution: “RWS Tarot 01 Magician” by Pamela Coleman Smith – a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley ( for the public domain, and retrieved from (see note on that page regarding source of images). Via Wikipedia.