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tarot arcana

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All cards in a tarot deck (78 total) have both upright and inverted meanings, though this is more obvious for the major arcana; whereas the minor arcana have positive and negative meanings overall, the major arcana work on a case to case basis.

Minor Arcana

  • Wands - The suit of wands represents the classical element of Fire. It also represents energy and willpower.
    • Upright meanings: creativity, strength
    • Inverted meanings: weakness, illness
  • Cups - The suit of cups represents the classical element of Water. It also represents emotions and spirituality.
    • Upright meanings: wholesomeness, ease of mind
    • Inverted meanings: restlessness, loneliness
  • Swords - The suit of swords represents the classical element of Air. It also represents knowledge and volatility.
    • Upright meanings: intelligence, spirit
    • Inverted meanings: being powerless towards manipulation
  • Coins - The suit of coins represents the classical element of Earth. It also represents worldly matters and the body.
    • Upright meanings: wealthiness, thriumph
    • Inverted meanings: greed, corruption

Major Arcana

  • 0./XXII./∞ The Fool
    • The Fool traditionally has a picture of a young man with a rose in one hand, his possessions in the other, a dog at his heels and the edge of a cliff before him. The Fool has the potential to become anything, since the number 0 does not mean anything. It suggests to take action despite unknown consequences.
    • Upright meanings: infinite possibilities, taking action
    • Inverted meanings: childishness, naivity
  • I. The Magician
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a young man with a wand in one hand, and the other pointing at a wand, a cup, a sword and a coin on the table, each representing a suit of the Minor Arcana. The Magician represents talents and capabilities as well as indicating guidance for choices. However, the Magician's guidance can be manipulative and self-delusional.
    • Upright meanings: friendship, trust, power
    • Inverted meanings: manipulation, hesitation
  • II. The High Priestess
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a woman sitting on a throne with a "lunar crown" atop her head, a book with the word "TORA" on her hands, and surrounded by a black pillar with the letter "B" and a white pillar with the letter "J" - both represent "Boaz" and "Jachin", the twin pillars before Solomon's Temple as recorded in ancient Jewish texts. The High Priestess represents secrets and wisdom as opposed to the revelations of the Magician.
    • Upright meanings: wisdom, spirituality
    • Inverted meanings: excessive truth-seeking/obsession, ignorance
  • III. The Empress
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a pregnant woman sitting on a throne amidst lush greenery. The Empress represents creation, most commonly of life and art. While the Magician reveals the "what" and the High Priestess reveals the "how," the Empress gives the actual birth of an idea. The Empress can also reveal an "over-mothering" side, showing signs of being overbearing.
    • Upright meanings: motherliness, feminity, caring
    • Inverted meanings: selfishness, wastefulness
  • IV. The Emperor
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a crowned man sitting on a throne. The Emperor represents a masculine need for control and the power and authority needed for it. This card can also reveal rigidity and inflexibility, possibly from internal forces.
    • Upright meanings: authority, masculinity, survival
    • Inverted meanings: cruelty, terror
  • V. The Hierophant
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a man in religious habit and mitre with a staff on his left hand, a right hand raised giving a sacred gesture, and priests bowing before him. The Hierophant represents religion, traditional education, and conservative theology. This card reveals spiritual preparation, advice from friends, and religious matters. This card can also reveal bad advice, lies, and persecution.
    • Upright meanings: stability, spirituality, education
    • Inverted meanings: fanaticism, lies
  • VI. The Lovers
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a nude man and woman on opposite sides, blessed by an angel atop the clouds. The Lovers represents represents sexuality, choices, and affinity. This card reveals a need to find something that the soul desires and the importance of relationships with others. This card can also reveal temptation, difficult decisions, and irrationality.
    • Upright meanings: true love, affection
    • Inverted meanings: hatred, unfaithfulness
  • VII. The Chariot
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a man in a chariot pulled by a black and a white sphinx. The Chariot represents struggle, loyalty, motivation, and a difficult victory against internal or external forces. This card can also reveal ego-centrism, lack of control, and ruthlessness.
    • Upright meanings: support, living on
    • Inverted meanings: giving up
  • VIII. Strength (sometimes XI.)
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a woman taming a lion by placing her hands on its jaws. The lion represents the primal level of the mind and the woman represents the higher level; therefore, the internal battle of Strength is different than Chariot's. Strength represents courage, energy, or a good friend. This card can also reveal anger or pride.
    • Upright meanings: heroism, victory
    • Inverted meanings: cowardice, fear
  • IX. The Hermit
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a hooded old man holding a lit lantern. As opposed to the Magician and the High Priestess, the Hermit is an introverted card focused on the self rather than others. The Hermit represents introspection, the dispensation of wisdom, and solitude. This card can also reveal isolation, lack of growth, and silence.
    • Upright meanings: inner power
    • Inverted meanings: solitude
  • X. Wheel of Fortune
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a wheel surmounted by a sphinx, a serpent and a jackal-headed man , and surrounded by an angel, a winged lion, a winged bull, and an eagle. The Wheel of Fortune represents random change.
    • Upright meanings: luck, continuation, change
    • Inverted meanings: irresponsibility, loss
  • XI. Justice (sometimes VIII.)
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a woman with a sword in one hand and a set of scales in the other. Justice represents logic, rationality, balance, and objectiveness. This card can also reveal coldness, an unbalanced lifestyle, and bias.
    • Upright meanings: lawfulness, honour
    • Inverted meanings: frustation, abuse
  • XII. The Hanged Man
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a man suspended upside-down from a tree by one foot, expressionless and with a somewhat relaxed posture. The imagery is similar to a crucifix, and the meaning of sacrificing the self for the greater good is also present. The Hanged Man represents suspension, patience, and surrendering. It can also reveal inaction, giving up, and timelessness.
    • Upright meanings: heroic sacrifice
    • Inverted meanings: problems, melancholy
  • XIII. Death
    • The card traditionally has a picture of an armored skeleton carrying a black flag riding a white horse, with a bishop, a woman and a child kneeling before him, and a dead nobleman under the horse. Death represents change, transitions, and endings.
    • Upright meanings: change, rebirth
    • Inverted meanings: spiritual death, the end
  • XIV. Temperance
    • The card traditionally has a picture of an angel pouring liquid from one cup to another and with one feet on the water and the other on land. Temperance represents the mixture of spritual and physical needs. It can also reveal the unity of the known and the unknown.
    • Upright meanings: balancing opposites, harmony
    • Inverted meanings: conflict, disappointment
  • XV. The Devil
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a devil with a naked male and female chained to his seat. This card is the opposite of the Hierophant. The Devil represents stagnation, entrapment in patterns, instinct. It can also reveal the presence of too much restraint, obsession, and addiction.
    • Upright meanings: egoism, true evil
    • Inverted meanings: instinct, humour, freedom
  • XVI. The Tower
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a tower struck by lightning, with two people falling. This card is regarded as an ill omen and disastrous. The Tower represents crisis, disasters, and explosive transformation. It can also reveal the presence of truth, sudden change, and shock.
    • Upright meanings: catastrophe, extreme and quick change, loss of stability
    • Inverted meanings: unchanging life, oppression
  • XVII. The Star
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a naked woman pouring liquid into the waters with a star above her head. This card has the similar duality of Temperance. The Star represents renewal, happiness, and regeneration. It can also reveal magic, excessive waste, and detachment.
    • Upright meanings: optimism, inspiration, hope
    • Inverted meanings: emotional instalibity, inability
  • XVIII. The Moon
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a dog and a wolf looking up at the moon. The Moon represents confusion, lack of clarity, and mystery. It can also reveal fantasy, romanticism, and psychological conflict.
    • Upright meanings: mystery, emotionality
    • Inverted meanings: depression, darkness, fear
  • XIX. The Sun
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a sun with a face and a child riding a horse. The Sun represents certainty, life, and health. It can also reveal irrationality, irresponsibility, and blindness to real issues.
    • Upright meanings: happiness, talent, warmth
    • Inverted meanings: egoism, pride, destruction
  • XX. Judgement
    • The card traditionally has a picture of an angel blowing a trumpet and raising the dead from their graves. Judgement represents birth, salvation, and redemption. It can also reveal guilt, condemnation, and recurring appearances of people.
    • Upright meanings: true good, freedom
    • Inverted meanings: misunderstanding, lateness
  • XXI. The World
    • The card traditionally has a picture of a woman above the clouds, surrounded by an angel, a lion, a bull, and an eagle. The World represents completeness, rewards, and harmony. It can also reveal idealism, dependency, and expectations.
    • Upright meanings: perfection, understanding, reaching goals
    • Inverted meanings: confusion, incompleteness