What are the 22 "trump" cards, or "major arcana" cards in a tarot deck?

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What are the 22 “trump” cards, or “major arcana” cards in a tarot deck?
I know that nowadays people are starting to use all kinds of symbols to form their own tarot decks. I’m just curious, though, about what the 22 trump historically were.

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James Ae

0 the Fool
1 the Magician
2 the High Priestess
3 the Empress
4 the Emperor
5 the Hierophant
6 the Lovers
7 the Chariot
8 Justice
9 the Hermit
10 Wheel of Forturne
11 Strength
12 the Hanged Man
13 Death
14 Temperance
15 the Devil
16 the Tower
17 the Star
18 the Moon
19 the Sun
20 Judgement
21 the World


I don’t know either, but I will be watching to get the answer. I’m sure somebody knows. I have a “normal” deck myself.


The ff. are the 22 maj. arcana of the classic tarot deck
0- the fool
1- the magician
2-The High Priestess
3-The Empress
4-The Emperor
5-The Hierophant
6-The Lovers
7-the chariot
8- Strength
9-the hermit
10-wheel of fortune
12-the hanged man
15-the devil
16-the tower
17-the star
18-The Sun
19-the moon
21-the world

John S

You have been given two literal answers above, but to take it further, they are all symbols. Each symbol indicates a line of thought. I won’t take up the space here to give you them all, but as examples, the Fool represents the New Beginning, the New Year, the Empty vessel waiting for fulfilment without any preconceived ideas. I use it on my New Year cards.
The Magician has all the tools of his trade at his fingertips. It indicates that he has quite adequate skills for the task at hand, but has not yet put them to use. The rest of the reading indicates what happens there.
The Hanged Man is usually taken to mean a sacrifice of some sort, but my interpretation is that the querent (the person you are reading for) should try to look at the situation from another viewpoint, like the man on the card, who sees what you see, but upside down.
Naturally, these are my own interpretations, and even they can change during a reading, or in different positions, and in different readings. As I said, they are all symbols, pictorial keys to your subconscious, and mean slightly different things at different times.
The actual pictures on the card serve no more function than thate, and if a different ‘theme’ takes your fancy, taking a different path to your subconscious, then that’s quite as legitimate as any other.
There is no consensus on what the pictures on the “original” cards were, or even where they came from, but the earliest found so far are from the thirteenth century. I think that the Rider-Waite pack is accepted is the “standard”. I don’t like them at all, and use David Palladini’s “Aquarian Tarot”, but that’s just a personal preference. Each reader must decide which works for them.

Rev. Two Bears

The Tarot is allegedly a way to retain the teachings of the Kabbalah which was brought into existence in the 1300s if memory serves.
There are 22 major arkana because there are 22 paths on the tree of life, and, and 22 letters in the Jewish alphabet.
there are 10 sephiroth on the tree of life, and the suits are numbered 1-10.
There are four elements, so there are four suits.


The word Trump actually comes from the Roman Truimpants or parades that would go through the towns. They were like circuses and you always knew which order they would go in. Eventually that word got shortened to Trumps and has been causing tarot readers to ponder it ever since 🙂
The original tarot cards had nothing to do with divination at all. They were a popular card game in the 14th century. It took the genius of some very bright scholars to plug in the 22 Hebrew letters with the 22 Major Arcana. Those 22 letters all meant something and so that allowed the Major Arcana to be applied to Tree of Life seemlessly. There are 22 paths connecting the 10 spheres of the Tree of Life and so each card has it’s path. You can view the entire Major Arcana as the Fools journey along the Tree of Life. On the journey you have the 12 astrological signs, the 7 planetary signs and 3 ancient elemental signs. On many decks you can still see these symbols in the cards themselves or at the bottom. This happened around the 1700’s.
I am a ceremonial magickian and the cards are not just used for divination, they can be used for skrying and general pathworking. Since they joined those up, people who have been using cards for divination and other things can plug into an energy pattern on the astral that corrosponds to that particular card. There is literally a well worn path between where we are and where each one of those cards lives on the astral. On the astral symbols function as a bridge between the big cosmic IT and the world of manifestation.
You can do a lot with the cards if you know where those paths go and how to get there.
With the new explosion of decks, some of the “why” has been completely forgotten. The problem is that when people start arbritrarily changing the maps no one knows where those cards go on the astral anymore. So many of the Art decks are completely useless for what I do. They are lovely and I own several, but I cannot read or do other things with them.
This link will show a picture of the cards layed out along the Tree:
It is actually fascinating stuff and nothing in the tarot in really arbitrary. All of it has a purpose and a place.
Enjoy your universe!

Sadhara Satguru

The 22 Trumps or Major Arcana are archetypal images that represent human nature.


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