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Two Ways to Interpret Major Tarot Cards

5 Two Ways to Interpret Major Tarot Cards

The traditional Rider-Waite tarot consists of seventy-eight cards divided into forty minors, sixteen court cards, and twenty-two major.  While the minors and court cards show things that are in our control – such as how we use our energy or manage our emotions – the major cards represent something different.

Major cards reveal what is going on in our world in broad strokes.  Messages from the majors indicate things that are beyond our control.  They ask us to pay attention to themes and situations and become aware of how we are participating as part of the greater whole.


Major cards can reveal stages of life, a project, or a thought or energy cycle.  For example, the Wheel is the tenth card and is in the middle of the twenty-one majors.  The Wheel can indicate a time of inevitable movement; nothing we do can make the wheel turn faster or slower.  You may interpret the Wheel to mean that you’re in the middle of a project and that a period of waiting may be necessary before the project can move forward. 

Conversely, if the World (the twenty-first and last major) card appears in your reading, you may be at the end of a stage.  Have you finished a particular chapter in your life, such as a job or relationship?  What have you completed that is worth celebrating and then releasing so you can start a new cycle?

Themes and Opportunities for Personal Growth

Another way to interpret the majors is to think of them as personal growth themes.  Remember, the majors are broad overarching concepts that ask you to interpret them and then reflect.  If you receive the High Priestess, how can you be more attuned to your conscious and subconscious mind?  What ways can you think of that would allow you to tap into your intuition regularly?

Majors ask you to be open to a variety of interpretations.  Look at the major card and ask yourself where you may be passing judgment or having unrealistic expectations.  Often, majors reveal where we need to shift our attitude or perspective in subtle ways.

The beauty of the tarot majors is that they represent broad messages.  They ask us to look within for answers and to be more self-aware about how we interact with the world at large.  You can continue your personal growth journey and find deeper meaning in the cards you draw by remembering that the majors represent stages and themes to examine and reflect upon.


Written by Brooke Davis

Brooke Davis is a tarot teacher and wellness coach who enjoys helping the tarot-curious learn about the cards by using intuition and insight, not just definitions from a book.  Her four-course Tarot 101 series is offered online through Discover Your Spiritual Gifts. Register for the next session here.

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