Tarot card meanings vary depending on the card and its orientation. There are twenty-two Major Arcana or Trump cards that carry the most meaning, and fifty-four Minor Arcana that help to supplement a reading with more information. The upright meaning of the cards is different than the reverse meaning of the tarot cards. Upright Tarot card meanings are just as important as their reverse, but we should understand what the card means as a whole to truly understand what they are telling us.
The 22 Major Arcana – Upright Tarot Card Meanings
Here are the tarot card meanings of the 22 Major Arcana when they are upright. The list always begins with number 0, The Fool, and moves through to number 21, The World.
0. The Fool: The Fool means that new beginnings are heading your way and probably have a deep spiritual meaning. The Fool shows the energy and purity of a child. It is a positive indicator in all areas of your life.
1. The Magician: If you find the Magician in your reading it is a call to make better use of your spiritual, emotional and other powers. It, too, can signify new beginnings and expectations and is a powerfully positive card.
2. The High Priestess: The Priestess is a signifier of spirituality with sexuality and often means that you should rely on your intuition rather than your logical mind. Men may find that this card in their reading can signify an unattainable woman, while women may suddenly find men throwing themselves in their direction.
3. The Empress: The Empress calls for the querent to be in touch with their feminine side, to listen to their intuition and give emotion priority. People will likely be more attracted to you if this card comes up in a reading whether romantically or just for your help or advice. This card can also signify a coming pregnancy for women.
4. The Emperor: Conversely, the Emperor calls for logic over emotion. You will be facing hard choices that require concentration and focus. You may feel more assertive and confident. You may also garner a father figure or older lover in your life!
5. The Hierophant: This card is all about spirituality and ‘doing the right thing’ that is right for you, as well as those around you. If you find this card in your reading it may be a good idea to set up some rituals as these will help settle you and help you find out what your ‘right thing’ is.
6. The Lovers: Though this card often represents a relationship, it can also signify an inner conflict between our hearts and our minds. If you find yourself feeling torn between two outcomes, follow your heart.
7. The Chariot: The Chariot symbolizes determination and ambition. It is the card that says, ‘You know what you want, now go and get it’. Move forward with your plans, give it your all. The chariot calls you to use both your heart and mind to succeed.
8. Strength: Strength is not physical strength, but strength of mind and heart. It calls you to focus on the things you desire rather than things in your life that you don’t want. It is a rallying cry for you to focus on bringing about good in your life and the lives around you. Keep your head on straight and find some time alone to focus.
9. The Hermit: Another call to spirituality, the Hermit is about the whole and doing the right thing for all included in it. However, like the hermit, you may need time alone and if this card comes up, you will be even more encouraged to take that time to still your mind and listen to your soul.
10. The Wheel of Fortune: The Wheel of Fortune is a symbol of change. It is most often a symbol of positive changes, but remember even positive changes can seem heart-breaking and negative when they are happening.
11. Justice: The is the card of karma and reminds us that all actions have consequences. If this card appears but you can’t figure out why it’s appearing for you, remember that sometimes karma asks us to stand in the place of someone else, unfair as that may seem.
12. The Hanged Man: The Hanged Man is the sign of a cross-roads and a clear indication that you should stop, meditate and let go of things before trying to make a decision. If you feel there is ‘something’ you want to do, but you aren’t sure what, this card is there to tell you to let go of your attempts at control.
13. Death: This card is not a signifier of real, physical death, but a card of change and transformation. Something in your life will be going away, and you will not be able to utilize it in the same fashion any longer. Let go of the need to control, and try to be as accepting as you can.
14. Temperance: Temperance is a call for balance in your life. If you feel as though you’re spread in too many directions, this card will be calling for you to take the time to look at your relationships and figure out what to prune. This card is telling you to take time for yourself.
15. The Devil: Though a terrifying looking card, this card speaks to metaphorical or internal bondage. You must look beyond appearances and focus on the deeper truth and meaning of a situation, just like with this card. This card is the reminder that you hold the keys to your internal freedom.
16. The Tower: This card symbolizes that you are holding too tightly to the status quo and calls for you to be open to change and willing to change.
17. The Star: Just as star gazing brings a sense of wonder and hopefulness, so does the Star symbolize a hopeful future and the confidence that needs will be met. You may get this card when you’re feeling at one with the world around you.
18. The Moon: This card appears when you need to sit and wait. Things in life may be confusing, but rather than trying to force an outcome, the Moon asks you to sit back and let things fall into place naturally.
19: The Sun: The sun brings freedom, more freedom than you may have felt in years. It signifies a good time to let go of the world and do things like a vacation!
20: Judgement: The card of judgement is telling you to step back from hasty judgements, give people second chances, and let yourself experience a true spiritual awakening.
21: The World: Much like Atlas carries the world on his shoulders, so does this card signify that you are feeling its weight. This card is a warning that you are doing too much and need to ask others to help.