To start off my tarot posts, I’d like to give an overview of the Major Arcana and the story surrounding the cards.
This is my interpretation from looking at the cards as well as some reading around the subject. I will include any sources I directly quote here, but I’ll have a further reading / full source list on the tarot page.
So what is the Major Arcana?
The Major Arcana is one of two halves of the tarot deck. Comprised of 22 cards in total numbered 0-21.
The Major Arcana follows a story to enlightenment. Starting with 0 The Fool, who is innocent, eager and represents new beginnings, then ends at 21 The World, who is complete, fulfilled and in perfect harmony with the world in general.
In terms of reading and understanding the Major Arcana, word association comes into play for many cards. However, some have gathered a rather negative association, cards such as 13 Death, 15 the Devil and 16 the Tower.
Let’s start with 13 Death; Death in tarot does not mean literal death, it means the end of something – and by extension the start of something new. The Death card represents transformation and transmutation. Things changing and growing. Death represents something inevitable, following the message from another card ( 10 The Wheel) life is always moving forward and nothing ever stays the same for too long, bad times don’t last but neither do good times.
The 15 the Devil; the Devil card doesn’t represent the devil as Christianity depicts it, rather it represents the chains that hold you down, and the Devil himself appears to be trying to intimidate the two people on the card. This is suggesting that the things holding you back appear bigger than they are, however in most decks the chains look to be easily removed.
Finally, 16 the Tower; the imagery on the Tower can be scary and concerning for many readers, a bolt of lightning striking a tower as people are falling from the now ruined tower. A shocking image that is for sure, and to many the Tower cards represents the end, that your life is about to be ruined. The keywords often associated with the tower are “sudden” and “painful” lead to this very scary and negative view of the card. However, the Tower really represents the rug being pulled out from under your feet at the same time the blindfold is being taken off, you might be knocked for six, but in doing so you gain better clarity and understanding of your position and where you need to go.
Overall, it is important to remember that there are no completely negative cards in tarot, there are cards that suggest you will have an unpleasant experience in order to grow but it is not inherently a bad or negative card. Remember every ending leads to a beginning, as one door closes another will open.
I hope your day is as pleasant as you are.