A tarot reading generally has 78 cards – 56 cards belong to the Minor Arcana, which is associated with lower energy, and 22 belonging to the Major Arcana, which is associated with higher energy.
The Major Arcana
The major arcana cards are considered to have deep, strong energy. They describe universal themes which are phases of spiritual growth:
0 The Fool - All options are open, fresh start, innocence, optimism
I The Magician - Power, implementation, confidence
II The High Priestess - Mystery, subconscious, intuition
III The Empress - Abundance, happiness, fertility
IV The Emperor - Structure, authority, order
V The Hierophant - Tradition, institutions, rules
VI The Lovers - Deliberation between 2 options – heart vs. mind
VII The Chariot - Convenient, stable, secure situations, but without true control
VIII Strength - Boldness and strength will yield success
IX The Hermit - Meditation, isolation, enlightenment
X Wheel of Fortune - Change of fortune, destiny
XI Justice - Law, fairness
XII The Hanged Man - Sacrifice, choice, relinquishing old ways, surrender
XIII Death - Transition, renewal, progress
XIV Temperance - Balance, reconstruction, moderation
XV The Devil - Destructive patterns, corruption, indulgence, ignorance
XVI The Tower - Release, destruction of existing structures, cleansing
XVII The Star - Hope, comfort, faith, innocence, optimism
XVIII The Moon - Mystery, fears, subconscious
XIX The Sun - Success resulting from external forces, clarity, celebration
XX Judgment - Awakening, rebirth, growth, restoration
XXI The World – The material world, routine, completion, attainment
The Minor Arcana
The Minor Arcana comprises 56 cards, divided into 4 series:
- Wands series – associated with the fire element, signifies entrepreneurship, investment, tactics and progress.
- Cups series – associated with the water element, signifies emotion, spiritual experience, wavering, love, life, satisfaction, desperation, nostalgia.
- Swords series – associated with the air element, signifies a destructive force, intellect and reason and justice.
- Pentacles series – associated with the earth element, signifies material issues, practicality and security.
Each series contains 14 cards - numeric cards, Aces and court cards. The numeric cards represent various emotions or events, such as love, sadness, happiness disaster, celebration, etc., while most of the court cards are related to the astrological signs and are more abstract.