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Tarot Card Meanings - The Major Arcana, Cards 11 through 21

The Major Arcana cards represent significant lessons, trends and influences of a persistent nature. Meanings of the Justice, Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, Devil, Tower, Star, Moon, Sun, Judgement and World cards may be found on this page. Click on the card to view a larger image.

11 - Justice

Truth. Balance. Fairness. Equality. Doing the right thing, even if it is not the most desirable thing. The Justice card speaks not only of getting one’s just deserts, but also of acting in fair and just ways. Perhaps a past injustice will be corrected. Although this card sometimes can represent courts and the legal system, it is generally a lesson to be fair and honest with one’s self and with others. It could indeed indicate winning a court case, however. Justice also suggests that the seeker should pay attention to promises, debts and obligations. Traditionally, balance, harmony, equity, integrity, fairness.

Justice Tarot Card

Reversed

Injustice. Imbalance. Unfairness. Inequality. Not looking at the situation objectively. Disregard for what is right. Failure to be honest with one’s self or with others. Unfair or excessive criticism. Possible legal problems. Inappropriate or overly severe application of the law. Traditionally, bigotry, intolerance, false accusations, abuse of the legal system.

12 - The Hanged Man

Greater understanding. Sacrifice. Humility. Introspection. Acceptance. Contemplation. The Hanged Man is about opening one’s mind and overcoming preconceptions and prejudices. A card of meditation and revelation. Also a card of faith and trust. Disengage and look at the big picture. Perhaps others may be right about some things. Perhaps what had seemed so important really isn’t when you stop to think about it. Traditionally, selflessness, wisdom, suspension, entrancement, devotion, submission, intuition, regeneration.

The Hanged Man Tarot Card

Reversed

Pretty much the direct opposite. Stubborness. Refusal to see other points of view. Distrust. Narrow mindedness. Unwilling to sacrifice or compromise. Traditionally, selfishness, procrastination, irresponsibility, lack of faith.

13 - Death

Transformation and Rebirth. A stern and unwavering messenger heralding change that is inevitable and is coming soon. This is a card of new beginnings. An old building is demolished so that a new and better one may be constructed. So also, old habits and lifestyles will be abandoned for new and better ones. Discarding past encumberances will make room for a better future. The demolition of the old and the construction of the new will not be easy or painless, but ultimately will make things better. Traditionally, transformation, mortality, destruction, deterioration.

Death Tarot Card

Reversed

Something that should die but it won’t. A cycle should end but is wrongly perpetuated. Resisting or delaying change. Inability to move on after a tragedy. There may be an upside to the reversed meaning, though. It might represent a "Blast from the Past", something that was lost but is once again found. In contexts where the card represents another, it typically symbolizes a threatening figure, but possibly with sexual implications. Perhaps a passionate but dangerous relationship. Sometimes a warning of sexually transmitted disease or nerve damage. Traditionally, stagnation, immobility, pessimism, destruction.

14 - Temperance

Moderation. Balance. Harmony. Synergy. Merging apparently opposite elements to create a whole greater than the parts. Adapting to the environment. Promoting, managing or directing to create a single product from the efforts of many. When interpreting a Tarot spread, Temperance is often significant relative to the cards around it. Perhaps apparently unrelated influences can be made to work in unison. Traditionally, moderation, adaptability, economy, unity, discretion, management, accomodation, and of course, temperance.

Temperance Tarot Card

Reversed

Pretty much the direct opposite of upright. Out of balance. Disharmony. The attempt to merge opposite elements fails. Individuals you are working with may be uncooperative. When focusing on health issues, Temperance reversed warns of possible serious illnesses such as food poisoning or infectious diseases made worse by stress or an out of balance metabolism. Traditionally, discord, bad combinations, lack of cooperation, conflict, competition, serious illness. Sometimes suggests religion and the church.

15 - The Devil

Excesses and extremes. Careless and unrestrained sexuality. Drug abuse. Alcoholism. Obsession. Perversion. Giving in to temptations. Exploring one’s deepest fantasies and desires. The Devil helps us unleash the repressed animal instincts we have inside. Look closely at the card... This Devil is not Satan, this is Pan, the Greek Goat God of Pastures and Shepards, known for his extreme appetites. And also look at the chains around the necks of his "captives". The chains are so loose they could easily remove them. It is not by force the Devil holds them, it is by their own choice. They could remove the chains and walk away at any time, but they choose to remain on the Devil’s leash. When representing a person in a reading, the Devil is someone powerful and persuasive, likely a controller or manipulator, but also perhaps a teacher. Traditionally, violence, disease, force, drunkeness, passion, bondage, self destruction. When looking at one’s physical well being, be alert for physical or emotional abuse, addiction, or sexually transmitted diseases.

The Devil Tarot Card

Reversed

Most often, escape from the bondage of self destructive behavior. The subject is likely to realize the damage they are doing, and start down a more constructive path. Traditionally, liberation, recovery, understanding, virtue. In a few cases, though, the Devil reversed can represent succumbing totally to obsession or addiction, which explains the darker traditional meanings of pettiness, lust, bondage and bewitchment. In health matters, the Devil reversed suggests recovery from illness .

16 - The Tower

The Tower is probably the most feared card in the Tarot deck. Unexpected catastrophe. Turmoil. Upheaval. You are sitting snug and happy in your castle tower, seemingly safe from the dangers below. Suddenly, a bolt from the blue smashes into your life, casting you out of your secure world. In some ways, this card is not entirely different from Death. It also represents new beginnings, not by choice but by necessity. The Tower card brings us back down to earth. In a few situations, it is also suggested that this lightning bolt could represent the electricity of irresistible passion or true love striking the seeker. Traditionally, calamity, catastrophe, ruin, cataclysm, punishment.

The Tower Tarot Card

Reversed

Not much better than upright. Postponement, avoidance, deferral. Illusions of solving the problem without really doing it. Perhaps a temporary truce, but the war goes on. You may think you have smoothed things over, but catastrophe and turmoil are waiting for you around the corner because you have not really addressed the underlying problems. Traditionally, disruption, subjugation, persecution. Overcoming opression, but at great cost.

17 - The Star

The Star represents hope for the future. The water is being poured from the jugs to replenish the land and sea. Rejunvenation will come, although perhaps not just yet. Though doors have closed, windows will surely open as time passes. Traditionally, hope, inspiration, faith, promise.

The Star Tarot Card

Reversed

A lack of hope, at least for the present. Opportunities are absent, and troubles persist. Traditionally, disappointment, instability, poor choices.

18 - The Moon

Mystery. Nightmares. Dreams. The fears that grow in the dark. Secrets. The Moon lights the gateway between the physical and metaphysical, the conscious and subconscious realms. Entering the Moon’s world is frightening, but can also be revealing and inspirational. The Moon suggests creativity and intuition. Possibly psychic revelations. Utilize the inspiration. Perhaps write or paint. But also respect the dangers lurking in the dark. Beware of deceptions and phony people. The subject must be very careful to avoid hiding their fears behind alchohol or drugs, as the Moon indicates increased vulnerability to these self destructive behaviors. Traditionally, hidden enemies, deception, illusion, danger, terror, lunacy, plots, dreams.

The Moon Tarot Card

Reversed

The upright Moon is not a comfortable card, but the reversal in ways is more frightening. Although it indicates less danger of external hidden enemies and deceptions, it suggests heightened fears or denials. Perhaps overly emotional or delusional behavior. Irrational and intense fear could cause psychological problems. The wildness and chaos of the dark may be getting out of control. This is also a card of travel, in a different sort of way. It is said to sometimes portend Astral Travel, the experience of consciousness traveling outside of the body. When looking at health issues, the Moon represents sleep disorders, mental illnesses, drug overdoses and coma. Traditionally, inconsistency, instability, fantasy, ambush, fraud, usery.

19 - The Sun

The Sun is a happy card. Bright children enjoying a beautiful new dawn. Emergence from the darkness of the night into the light of the day. Radiance. Energy. Success. Prosperity. Clarity of thought, enhanced by previous trials, but also fueled by youthful optimism. Pessimism is overcome. Depression fades. New ideas. Creativity. Enthusiasm merges with experience. Sometimes suggests a marriage or childbirth. Traditionally, revelation, enlightenment, success.

The Sun Tarot Card

Reversed

Not entirely the opposite, but something obscures the clarity of the upright aspect. Refusal to open one’s eyes to the possibities. Most likely this will be a temporary delay. The enthusisasm and abilities are there, but the focus is clouded. Ultimately, the clouds should clear up. Traditionally, lesser happiness, passion, pride, misunderstanding. The prize is right there, but to attain it, cynicism must be overcome.

20 - Judgement

Resurrection. Accepting the past and throwing off it’s burdens. Forgiveness, especially of one’s self, but also of others. Major decisions which may result in major lifestyle changes. Traditionally, renewal, awakenings, repentance, change.

Judgement Tarot Card

Reversed

Inability to change or progress. Troubled or affected by the past. Perhaps held back by others. Possibly unable to move forward as a consequence of past deeds. When looking at health issues, Judgement may suggest allergies and discomfort from allergic reactions. Traditionally, delay, stagnation, postponment, indecision.

21 - The World

Realization. Attainment of major goals. Reward. Recogniton. Triumph. The World card speaks of understanding the big picture. Everything falls into place. The end of the Fool’s Journey, but the beginning of other journeys. Now it is time that all the knowledge and experience can be used to do great things. A card of travel. Perhaps you are a diplomat on a mission to negotiate treaties, or a business leader opening new markets. The World indicates understanding, success and achievement. Traditionally, completion, fulfillment, perfection, promotion, honors, good health. A good omen for successful childbirth.

The World Tarot Card

Reversed

Not an opposite meaning so much as a delay. The tools seem to be there, but the successful completion is as of yet unattained. Perhaps fear of what lies beyond is preventing completion. Sometimes thought to represent hollow or half hearted efforts. A person with great credentials resting on their laurels. Travel may be delayed or interrupted. Combined with the wrong cards in a reading, The World reversed could represent failure or serious problems. In health matters, The World generally represents good health and successful childbirth, unless negatively influenced by other cards in a reading, in which case it can suggest skeletal or orthopedic problems. Traditionally, inertia, stagnation, obstacles, failure, imperfection.

Back - Major Arcana Cards 0 -11



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