Spent some time this morning to really explain the Major Arcana in the view of a goal from start to finish. It’s a long read, but well worth it. I hope it provides a lot of practical background to the cards because I feel that most websites that offer a background on them are more so centered on the Fool’s Journey and what it translates to in basic/personal meanings. This overview is centered around goals and life struggles. So whether you use the overview as a 22 card spread to divine a goal/undertaking, or learn how the individual cards apply in spreads—- I hope you enjoy!
0. Fool- (Child; Significantor, Identity) Who you are when the journey will begin. Are you ready? Now is a time to do some soul-searching and figure out where your life will go during a new goal in mind, who you’ll meet along the way, what hardships you’ll gain, etc. Remember that every story has an end, and never lose focus in the goal. Sometimes along your path, you might find a star in the sky that will guide you in moments of faithlessness. Remember to allow past experience aid you in all that you attempt to do.
1. Magician- (God; Energy, Creation, Power) What Passion or Task will you embark upon? What will you create? Can you? How do you begin or initiate? This is where you decide what goals will become manifested into reality, but it will take some time. Let yourself come to the tools necessary to begin this journey to life fulfillment. Seek help if you need it, but know that you’re never alone, that although you’ve begun this task, you can turn back at any time and also that you are the Magician yourself. You have the potential to create, so no matter how hard your path is, remember that giving up is your choice. There are many outlets in life to find answers. Look within if the world is silent.
2. High Priestess- (Wisdom, Decisions, Mystery) Has the decision been made? What experiences will you gain along the way? How will you know? Remember that in life, physical success is marvelous, but never forget the sacred realm that lies beneath. It will always be there, waiting for you. There are mysteries underneath the world that we perceive, and all that we accomplish physically with emphasis must be one day readdressed during the peak of our successes— that there is another realm beyond the veil, the Spirit.
3. Empress- (Mother; Nature, Growth) What comforts/materials will you need that will allow you to grow? Will you skip hard work and time to grow? As the Empress goes, she embodies that which a child must learn only through nurture. What will you miss out on in the process of the maturity cycle of your achievements? Is there a motherly figure in your life who will support you and offer you the fixed energy of a mother in foundation, home, and care? When times get tough or you need rest, will you be able to sit a while and rejuvenate? Even a sapling needs shelter from the sun while it’s growing to become a mighty tree.
4. Emperor- (Father; Authority, Organization) What sense of guidance will allow you to achieve? What are your blueprints for creation? How will you command your vision created? Do you have a fatherly figure supporting you with encouragement, shared passion, and structured know-how? What will you do to maintain your entire kingdom while still focusing on a goal at one time? Perhaps you must have foundation before you start a project. How will you maintain a calm demeanor when challenged, and will a loss of temper prevent you from achieving your goals successfully? An emperor must act in a state of calmness, even when under fire. Never let passion turn to anger, and never let anger turn to foolishness. The Emperor knows control very well, even in himself.
5. Hierophant- (High Priest; Fear of Loss, Traditions) What’ll prevent your goals from blossoming? Will you lose sight given fears of failure and more? What motivational wisdom must you keep close to the heart? Never forget your belief system and why you wanted to pursue this path of achievement in the first place. What do you regard as the holiest methodology for achievement in life? During the discourse of your journey, will you remember these virtues or lack thereof, or gain new ones, throw old ones away? There are man-made laws (Emperor) inspired by observing nature (Empress) and then there are spiritual laws handed down by masters to civilizations. When we create in this world, we must have a sense of belonging culturally and work within systems or tear them down to include our own unique identities.
6. Lovers- (Amorousness, Wanderlust, Temptation) Will you ever lose that Passion in favor of a new focus? Or will you gain a partner or new inspiration? What’ll you fall in love with? What sensations of spiritual/psychic attraction might deter you from your path in complete change or minor alterations? Is it celebrated? Disliked? Be careful what decisions you make along the path to accomplishment for lies and regrets might surround them one day. Keep your eye on the prize no matter what life throws at you. Question your beliefs if you feel something is deterring you. Sometimes, it was meant to be, but others, it was a failed design waiting to be understood when you meet The Devil.
7. Chariot- (Soldier; Competition, Self-Control) Who or what will oppose you? Will you compete for achievement? What can you do to succeed in lieu of challenges? Will you doubt or be insecure when times get rough? Sometimes, we are our own enemy as well. Be confident and secure in your convictions! Before battle, remember, nervousness is only a feeling of being unprepared. Everyone gets scared, but sometimes we must go where we never imagined we could go with the preparedness and bravery of a soldier, and rush in. Fear is your enemy; control it before it controls you.
8. Strength- (Controlled Passions, Tamed Beast) How will you be strong to carry on and fight for your Passion when times get harsh? What coping mechanisms will you employ to soldier on or how weak might you grow in the face of challenges? What is your ‘weapon’ or skill that keeps you up? Strength is often perceived as being purely physical, that one can exercise force to get what you want in life, but true strength is mental. In life, you must have the mental and emotional strength to calm the beast within that may cloud judgement or to calm the beast within others to gain advantage through cleverness, rather gain through force. Strength teaches that our goals can be achieved through other forms of action, a compassionate approach, rather conquest, commandeering, dominance, killing, and war.
9. Hermit- (Reconnection, Thinking, Worldly Enlightenment) Will you rethink and reconnect with Vision/Purpose when you are yearning? Will you need healing or mental rest? What advice is there for deep truth and meaning out of this life you began? If you become lost, what new Visions will inspire your path? What deeper understanding of your entire life will contribute to providing answers in times of frustration and mental unrest? Are you just working too hard? Perhaps relaxation from action is needed and mental seeking is needed to free the mind for gaining new insight from looking back on everything you’ve done and take stock of things. Are you going about things the right way or have you largely missed something? Ponder.
10. Wheel of Fortune- (Fate, Destiny, Change) What forces along your path will affect you? Are there people who will aid you positively or negatively? Will fate be in your favor to give you Luck? Will tasks be less perilous if after a time of hardship and a lack of direction? Will you be able to commit to new changes to gain your achievements? Sometimes life brings answers out of pure luck, but never count on this flow as a reliable source. Learn to differentiate your ability to manifest your desires with the Universe being kind to you when it’s most needed. Sometimes, you’re just owed whatever karmic energy you’re owed, good or bad, facilitating or deconstructing.
11. Justice- (Balance, Fairness, Cause/Effect) How do you find equilibrium in your life to make this task a reality? Will you adjust to life’s situations? Is there a sense of fairness on your side, if not, how do you overcome life when it seems unfair and difficult? Will you forget the spiritual side to life? Remember that if you align your thoughts to the Spirit, all that is fair will occur. When this happens, even the unwanted could be trumped by the needed, be open to letting expectations go so you understand blessings and thank them. But in your pursuits, be aware of trickery from yourself and from others. Act in accordance to your right to Life and the pursuit of Happiness.
12. Hanged Man- (Perspective, Suspension) When life gets you down and there is a need for new understanding, allow yourself to free your mind, quit the body, pause, and meditate on reality. Evolve your perspectives and attempt to see how your achievements will benefit you long-term in all areas of Life, or change who you’ve become. Do you still press on? This is a moment to define your Spirit, to reconnect with the spiritual side of life. Are you forgetting the High Priestess’ message? Will there be a time of heavy pause or suspension to move forward because of yourself, rather the outside-world challenges?
13. Death- (Rebirth, Cycles, Ending) What transformations of character will you gain during or after the journey to accomplish your goals? What bad habits or unproductive methods will you have to get rid of in order to achieve? Can you fight your fears and cast them off to make a better you? Death is about rebirth, and sometimes we must psychologically die or let our passions die to rise birth to new ones in its place. Now that you gained new perspectives, Will your initial foolish goal have been in vain the whole time or was it never meant to happen as you saw it? How do you emotionally and spiritually deal with loss and ‘death’ in your life? In Death, how can you improve the Self in Body, Mind, and Spirit?
14. Temperance- (Moderation, Balance, Poise) What lessons of Duality are at play in your life? When there are blockages, how do you synthesize two opposites to become a third path? What will you understand between mundane/spiritual, light/dark, or right/wrong that will give you a unified sense of self-achievement? Given your worldly aspirations within and without, will your Self be balanced, perfectly blended together to bring a poise that supplies health, wellness, and energy to all where it must be? This is what your Spirit does, the perfect blend of Mind and Body.
15. Devil- (Corruption, Sin, Power) What resides in your life right now that acts as carnal desires that wish to ruin your achievements from coming to fruition? What inside of you needs addressing, expressing, or free from denying that’s been inhibiting your goals? The Devil isn’t a bad guy, merely the personality archetype to the material realm when in negative form. But as duality goes, even duality has duality. Whereas the Magician is creation, the Devil can be destruction, but reversely, the Magician can destroy with his creation-power by taking an innocent life for wronghood, and the Devil can create with his destruction-power like how a volcano destroys but paves way for a richer forest. What will you do to soar to your highest heights given your sinful/primitive desires, how will you utilize spiritual concepts learned such as Temperance and Justice to soar as high as kings have? Material isn’t bad, its what you do with it. So if granted this achievement, where will you go with it? Who/What will keep you back?
16. Tower- (Ego, Destruction, Lies) What along your path will you do to reach success? Will you step over others unfairly or do terrible things to rise to power? In the midst of spiritual connection and temperance, you must remember your core beliefs, principles, and scruples, as well as the forces at work in this world that we are innately bound by. Such as the Wheel of Fortune’s karmic luck, Death’s forceful change and sorrow, and Justice’s swift fairness that most times are unexpected bad news to our ears. Will your worldly aspirations have been made of falsehood and lies that one day you will pay for? At what cost does success come? Will you know the destruction of all that you have built some day? Will you be left destitute of all worldly possessions? What insights will you gain on how to improve your methods of accomplishing?
17. Star- (Hope, Guidance, Destiny) During the darkness and confusion of your struggles to achieve your goals, where do you derive faith? Do you have a purpose, person, idea, or meaning lying behind what drives you to accomplish this task? There is a star for everybody, an entire Universe filled with all possible futures that we could look up to in times of current building and current desolation. This star is what drives us, keeps up focused, and moves us spiritually through all hard times. It is the destination of our destiny, our end goal, the end result, the prize. Is it in sight through all ego, illusion, and challenge. What we do to get there is the journey, arguably the best part of a story, but remember, it’s only the beginning, like the Soldier (Chariot) meant to teach.
18. Moon- (Intuition, Imagination, Unconscious) What creative ideas or intuitions about the future of your goal will you come upon? Will there be any feelings that cloud logic and rationality? When you allow the unconscious mind to rule, you often might get sucked into the illusions of the imagination that deter you from focusing on the reality that reigns in the physical realm. The bubbling imagination can produce a mad brilliance that adds a zappy epiphany or revolutionary idea for progress, but make sure it is then grounded in the common sense of the mind. Remember Temperance, come to a state of being where you are at poise with Mind, Body, Spirit, Heart, and Soul. The moon will show you also what the conscious mind cannot, the fears and anxieties at play that may have caused a lack of progress this whole time, or things that have been ignored in the Devil. With the Moon, take advantage of its magic, that which the High Priestess allured to. All that you will ever need deep within lies, you must be aware of the unconscious mind as you are the conscious mind. Keep track of your weaknesses and tendencies to addictions or bad habits that will be your undoing, or that which comes from others. What do dreams in your sleep tell you? What true psychological fears do you have within you that would interrupt your goals?
19. Sun- (Total Enlightenment, Joy, Glory) Through every struggle, pain, confusion, and understanding, will you gain the ultimate sense of experience from the journey you will take for your task/goal? What indicates the success of your goal being achieved? What extra steps must you do with newly given ideas, visions, and perspectives to further solidify the achievement It’s not always indicative when you begin a journey that you will enjoy it, lose yourself on it, start a new secondary or primary journey from a position on that path, or even make it to the end. Here, you will know the rewards of the beginnings to an end, and the aftermath success or failure involved with the finality of the journey.
20. Judgement- (Messages, Karma, Sentence) Will you gain a sense of grand fulfillment once the journey has ended and you’ve received knowledge of prize entitlements in life? When one has worked so hard and so long to obtain a goal, given the ups and downs of life and the temptations to good and bad, we’re often left feeling a sense of guilt deep down inside of our soul. We are remembered of what it took to achieve our goals, who we stepped on, who we fought and won against, who we lost to and still persevered. Judgement is a moment where you reflect on your journey from beginning to end, and come to terms with the past events it took to achieve the present. Were you cruel and wicked, or righteous and scrupulous? The act of judgment is self-administered, this is where you accept or deny your prize after all this work out of principle. Do you deserve it? Are you ready to step forth with this new goal, the past as the foundation laid to build a new kingdom upon it? Will there be demons resting within? With the ego fallen and the true spiritual self awake, can you come to terms and accept fault to strive to move forward?
21. World- (Achievement, Glory, Finality) You are finally reborn of the journey, back where you left off, that same spot where you came up with an idea to accomplish something, decided what to do, how to do it, what steps it took to obtain it, the challenges you had along the way, and all the scars left in your mind, body, and spirit. Now you are ready to begin something new or even pause for a moment to reflect. You may have obtained the goal or chose to run away with the Lovers card. Perhaps you got clouded by the Moon during a bad time or gave in to competition out of low self-esteem. Whatever the course of action, it’s fully clear now and all the experience gained during the process was an ultimate gift. There’s never any reason why the same attempt could be reproduced, but differently with added wisdom that you didn’t have prior to beginning this journey.