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It has been said that Tarot describes the Architecture of the Soul. The heart of the deck are the 22 Major Arcana cards which cover nearly all aspects of life and tell the story of consciousness unfolding through time and space. 

The rest of the deck features 4 suites of 10 cards each followed by 4 court cards. The former represent the 4 elements of antiquity, while the latter represent the elements transmuted and made conscious.

 The 22 Major Arcana, beginning with The Fool (Le Mat) and proceeding left to right in three tiers ending with The World (Le Monde). 

All Images on this page are taken from the Jodorowsky-Camoin edition of the Tarot Marseilles

0 - The Fool (Le Mat actually translates to The Death)

Represents the part of us that is unbounded and irrational, unpredictable, unblemished, free from stain, ambiguous, primordial, innocent


In a reading:

This card makes all others uncertain, shows foolishness, naïveté or a lack of direction, indicates a tremendous amount of energy, indicates purity or innocence, a cog in the machine - deus ex machina, an irrational or disruptive element in one’s plans, the need to face oneself, the beginning of a journey, sadhus and wandering holy men or wandering crazed homeless people, schizophrenia or experiences that could be described as such. It is a symbol of Tao, Brahman or Godhead and is represented by numbers 0 and 22

I - The Magician

Represents the part of us that is ingenious, curious, youthful, spontaneous, a trickster


In a reading:

This card can indicate, inventiveness, new beginnings (especially in business matters or any radically new phase of life), students, tricksters and thieves, salesmen, magicians, soothsayers, alchemists, druggists, herbalists, zany and strange people, flirtatiousness, overconfidence, beginner's mind, improvisation

II - The Female Pope or High Priestess

Represents the part of us that is receptive, nurturing, emotional, studious, sacrificial

In a reading:

This card can indicate a lack of movement, being chained to one’s perceived purpose or role, deep study and contemplation, book smart, well read or over-read, gestation, isolation, cloistered, mother figures and older women generally, chastity or repression of creative and sexual urges, scholars, teachers of obscure or arcane subjects, nuns, sacred or holy sites

III - The Empress

Represents that part of us that initiates growth and spontaneity, action and movement, the store of raw creative energies (often times called sexual energy)


In a reading: 

She represents a spontaneous burst of energy with no defined purpose or awareness, being headstrong and determined to reach a goal (or a person who is such), young-prepubescent girls or young women and young mothers, rash innocence, visceral forces and experiences, the unchecked essence of Venus, desire and passion, spring and the energy of new life, raw beauty

IV - The Emperor

Represents that part of us that is concerned with manifesting, managing and maintaining stability in everyday life, managing our affairs, logic, order, reason, fulfilling our duties and responsibilities in the world at home and at large


In a reading:

He represents old men or fathers and any paternal figures, judges and magistrates, bosses, powerful people like CEOs, governors or rulers, rationality, cold hard judgements or opinions, tradition and legacy, repression of emotions, lack of spontaneity, rule with an iron fist, doing what is right and good for keeping the peace and creating stability above all else

V - The Pope or Hierophant

Represents the part of us that seeks knowledge and Truth beyond the mundane affairs of life, our capacity to seek something greater in life, curiosity that takes us beyond our comforts


In a reading: 

He represents seekers after wisdom, teachers or gurus, priests and the church, sacred/holy sites, especially those constructed by people, ashrams, holy books and the wisdom contained therein, the future, prophecy and divination, a crisis that leads one to seek Truth in the world

VI - The Lover

Represents that part of us that seeks growth through pleasure and intimate relationship, the capacity to act/live so that one’s creations/deeds/words etc. are reflected clearly in another or in the world


In a reading:

This card shows the quest for love and the problems that may attend it, pleasures, desires, being in a rock and a hard place, the beginning of intimacy and interacting with others and the responsibilities one finds resulting from such associations, inspiration from arcane forces, blindness to one’s desires, parties, orgies, any situation that is extremely enjoyable in and of itself

VII - The Chariot

Represents that part of us that seeks conquest, adventure and the exploration of new terrain so as to realize our Destiny - (Destiny/Dharma in all things)


In a reading:

This card shows movement and mobility, a conquering spirit or a conquering person, war or battle, rugged individualism, a youth heavy with new responsibilities (perhaps a recent college graduate), a lonely road/path to tread, embarking on one’s own for the first time or for the first time in a very long time, finding one’s place/purpose within the greater whole, journeys to faraway lands, exploring unknown territory, the outcast, the rebel

VIII - Justice

Represents the part of us concerned with perfection, with right and wrong, with Justice, with finding/creating True balance


In a reading:

It carries the theme of karmic readjustment and the resolution of a set of karmas, the results of how we have lived and organized our time and lives, the ideal of perfection, the mother and especially stern/masculine/harsh single mothers, judgement or judgmental figures, judges and legally binding situations, brutal honesty (not mincing words), indecision and inaction due to inability to weigh different possibilities against one another, lack of objectivity, the realization that perfection lies in seeming imperfection, passively waiting for karma to take care of problems or resolve issues etc.

IX - The Hermit

Represents the part of us concerned with deep inner growth and wholeness; the part that actively seeks profound inner knowledge devoid of ideology/socio-cultural trends/religion etc.


In a reading:

This card shows a deep inner crisis that leads one further inside than ever before and subsequently to greater insights and wholeness - or to chaos and madness (loss of self); it shows older people of all kinds, especially those who have consciously chosen to break social boundaries and live on the edge or outside the confines of what is socially acceptable, it can also show the father, wanderers, sadhus and ascetics, loneliness, isolation, drunkenness and addicts, people with psychological disease or trauma, people who are disconnected from reality and live in a fantasy world, escapism in all its forms

X - The Wheel of Fortune

This represents the part of us that bridges the gap between the conscious/unconscious, the rational and the irrational, the part of us that intimately senses the duality of all things, people and experiences


In a reading:

This card shows that an end has been reached and a new beginning is just up ahead, it is a card of pause, of rest, and sometimes of indecision, it beckons us to move forward when we may be wanting to lapse backward, it can show sudden turn of fate - a sudden rise in fortune or a sudden blow to our expectations, it evokes the riddle of the sphinx from Oedipus and therefore riddles in general or situations in which one wrong move leads us to slip into an abyss or fall from grace, circuses and zoos, comedy and entertainments in which we don’t actively participate, fortune, the illusion of manifestation and material order, Balance bringing together all components of self and life

XI - Strength

This card represents our capacity to tame our inner beast, connect positively to our animal and creative nature and use them consciously; raw will power


In a reading:

It evokes strength, tremendous will power, softness of touch, power and mastery over beasts or being overcome by fear of them, strong and independent women (in the truest sense), a person just beginning to investigate their unconscious or their more animal side, a person just beginning to make peace with the side of their nature that has been feared or scorned by themselves or by society at large, it shows new potentials as well

XII - The Hanged Man

This represents our capacity to improve ourselves in those areas we are deficient, to subject ourselves to great tests, tasks and strain in order to become the best we can - self improvement is its message


In a reading:

It evokes extreme self discipline for a definite purpose, bondage, forcing one’s hand to attain a much sought after goal, self sacrifice and martyrdom, limiting circumstances that arise out of necessity, gymnasts, trapeze artists and tightrope walkers, young ambitious men, claustrophobia, concentrated work, perfection in work and perfectionists in general, Focus, bondage, "hands tied"

XIII - Nameless or Death

This represents that part of ourself that is given to total destruction with the purpose of starting anew (Regeneration), this often happens without our conscious participation but it need not always

In a reading:

Radical transformational experiences that are impossible to stop and often occur regardless of choice, deep emotional wounding or catharsis, betrayals from authority figures, iconoclasm, severing ties with parents or mentors, in some cases actual death is shown, tamasic experiences or states of being, extreme and debilitating fear, morbid and strange subject matter, forest fires, demolition, arid lands or situations and people who drain the life out of you, the beginning of real transformation (Yoga or depth psychology or trauma etc.)

XIV - Temperance

This card represents our capacity to bring our inner/emotional world into order and to benefit from tranquility, happiness and faith


In a reading:

Guardian Angel and help from beyond the veil, protection, closed loop, emotional tranquility, healing and healers, magic, victory over darkness, the silver lining or light at the end of the tunnel, fertility and pregnancy, emotional openness, attunement to situations and people

XV - The Devil

This card represents the adversary in us all, the one we must face in order to really know ourselves, and as a result it represents the shadow and the untamed and wild forces of energy pulsing through all aspects of life


In a reading:

This card shows temptation, all taboos, bondage to fears or unresolved issues, BDSM, kink and leather, psychotropic drugs, narcotics, drug addicts or addictions of any kind, any and all things illegal, depth psychology, that the dark side is very much present within the greater context of the reading, adversaries and those who oppose you, projection and transference onto others, chaos, forces beyond one’s control, power and manipulation, contracts*, underground movements in art/culture, violence, frauds, illumination through crisis and the exposure of The Truth through the shattering of lies

XVI - The Tower

This card represents a fail-safe for the release of energies that are pent up, our capacity for play through chaos and destruction and our ability to consciously release energies that have been built up over time 


In a reading:

It shows collapse, instability, sudden change which brings with it the toppling of the established authority or security present in any circumstance, the necessary result of facing The Devil (see above) especially when Truth is brought to light, earth shattering experiences, orgasm, downfall, playfulness, destruction of buildings, terror attacks, bombs, explosions, mass hysteria, extreme and uncontrollable laughter, Kundalini experiences (especially premature ones that do more harm than good), self undoing because of pride or any other extreme of behavior

XVII - The Star

This card represents the mature feminine aspect in us all and thus shows our capacity to be comfortable and vulnerable in who we really are when all superfluous things have been stripped away

In a reading:

This card shows embracing vulnerability, being comfortable with oneself, nakedness (literally or metaphorically), a person at peace with their desires and passions, a person who brings the expression of Truth together with the faculties of passion and willpower, environmental work, replenishing forests/rivers/lakes or arid environments, letting go of old wounds, especially those that one created for oneself through over-identification or ideology, honesty, peace through communing with nature, humility (kneeling), prayer

XVIII - The Moon

This card represents the play of unconscious forces and the inner life, our imagination and our capacity for madness


In a reading:

This card shows deep emotional subject matter or experiences, unsettled mind, the unconscious, The Great or Cosmic Mother (or the personal mother but overblown), magic, splendour, illumination (full moon), objectivity, madness, lunacy, imagination, fantasy, the dream world, astral travel, psychic experiences, emotions of all kinds, a lot if inner machinations or activity, communing with spirits (good or ill, helpful or harmful)

XIV - The Sun

This card represents our connection to source and shows The Divine Spark (our Soul) that animates us

In a reading:

It shows Truth, rebirth, brotherhood, The Divine or Cosmic Father (or the personal father blown out of proportion), blinding light, stupor, vision, purpose, a return to youthfulness, eternal life*, friends, help from friends/others, objects or things that illuminate such as lamps/torches/bonfires/light houses etc., escape from bondage, traversal of walls or limitations

XX - Judgement

This card represent our capacity to respond to the call of greatness whenever/wherever it may beckon


In a reading:

It shows a call to Destiny or to serve in The Divine Plan, a return to society or one’s family after rebirth has taken place (rebirth after rebirth - see The Sun), being perceived by others as holy (probably often more than one actually is), mourning, tombs, cemeteries, loud noises (trumpets), angelic visitations and full blown visions that take us out of ourselves, Samadhi and the healthy Kundalini experience, the illusion of death, reincarnation and past life memories, a summons, a call to engage with the world after a prolonged period of not doing so 

XXI - The World

This card shows our capacity for completion of any project or being complete and content within ourselves and in any and every part of life


In a reading:

It shows Completeness, Wholeness, Purity of The Soul, a return to innocence, virginity, virgins and young girls (and young boys who tend to look very androgynous), Sophia, the completion of any project, perfect bliss (or perfect orgasm!), mastery of the four elements and the four aspects of oneself, Ananda, those who are called "innocents"

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