The tarot was originally designed as playing cards with four suits (wands, swords, cups, and pentacles) and a trump suit. In game play, the major arcana cards are the trump suit. In tarot readings they represent archetypal energies, and their presence in a spread suggests something the querent should pay careful attention to.
Quickly before I get to the major arcana cards, understand that even the suit cards are significant. They have numerological associations, imagery rich with symbolism, and each of the suits represents a classical element and an aspect of life.
- Wands represent the classical element of fire. Their primary energy is "I desire," and they are associated with the spirit.
- Pentacles represent the classical element of earth. Their primary energy is "I have," and they are associated with the physical and the body.
- Swords represent the classical element of air. The primary energy is "I think," and they are associated with the mind.
- Cups represent the classical element of water. Their primary energy is, "I feel," and they are associated with the heart and emotions.
- Archetypal energies
- Their position in the major arcana - which other cards precede and follow them
- The symbols and images on the card
- The colors on the card