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Major Arcana

Tarot de Marseille

Tarot cards used on this website represent a restored card version of the Tarot de Marseille. This tarot card deck comes originally from the 15th century and it is one of the oldest surviving tarot sets at all. These tarot cards therefore combine the spirit of modern times and tradition proven by many centuries. During the restoration process, original Tarot de Marseille cards from authors as Jean Noblet (17cent.), Jean Dodal (18cent.), Nicolas Convert (18cent.) and others were used. Only twenty-two so-called Major Arcana cards (Tarot trumps) were created during the restoration. These carry especially concentrated symbolic meanings and are therefore reflecting the most important life situations.

Tarot de Marseille

The Fool tarot card The Magician tarot card The High Priestess tarot card The Empress tarot card The Emperor tarot card Belief tarot card The Lovers tarot card The Chariot tarot card Justice tarot card The Hermit tarot card Wheel of Fortune tarot card Strength tarot card The Hanged Man tarot card Death tarot card Temperance tarot card The Devil tarot card The Tower tarot card The Star tarot card The Moon tarot card The Sun tarot card Judgement tarot card The World tarot card

Description of Major Arcana

Tarot de Marseille is composed of seventy-eight cards of Arcana. The word Arcana comes from the Latin Arcanum that indicates something secret, hidden or magical. The concept of Arcana tells us, that you can look for a deeper hidden meaning in tarot cards.

Cards of Major Arcana can easily be recognized from other cards thanks to their number in the upper part and the label at the bottom, where the card name is located. Two exceptions are the first card (the Fool) which does not have any number, and the thirteenth card (the Death) which does not have any label and is therefore nameless.

The first section of the Major Arcana (cards I to X) portrays significant and mostly human figures. Their meaning is clear and straightforward. The second section of the Major Arcana (cards XI to XXI) represents rather complex compositions and situations with multiple characters. Understanding its symbolic meaning is more complicated.

Major Arcana as life path symbol

Cards of Major Arcana is a complete series of images, which recalls the spiritual development from the lowest earthly steps to heavenly enlightenment. The path that everyone goes through during the lifetime. From the Fool card, which stands for innocence, sincerity and ignorance, to the World card, which symbolizes awareness and completing. The first and the last card therefore represent the alpha and omega of the whole imaginary series.

In the first part, the Fool meets his parents (the Emperor, the Empress) on his way, the spiritual leadership (the High Priestess, the Faith), deals with love and relationships (the Lovers, the Hermit), his career and possibilities (the Wheel of Fortune, the Strength, the Hanged Man) life changes, balance and temptation (the Death, the Temperance, the Devil). From the sixteenth card (the Tower) the sky starts to play an important role and figures recede into the background. The Fool focuses on a higher spiritual values of his life. Gradually we see stars, the moon, the sun, and finally an angel and the heavenly ring which completes and crowns Fool's journey.

Positive and negative meaning of tarot cards

Two cards often evoke negative feelings. It's the card called Death and the card called Devil. However, you can easily free yourself of the concerns, because, like all others, these cards should be understood metaphorically, not literally. For example, the Belief card depicting the Pope does not mean, that you will soon travel to Vatican for an audience of the Holy Father. Neither the Magician card indicates, that tomorrow David Copperfield himself will knock on your door. Meaning of all cards must always be found in your personal story, such which you feel as your own.