Major Arcana | Tarot Cards
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Hello, I’m Ellen Goldberg and welcome to a Tarot moment from the School of Oracles.
This segment is an introduction to the Major Arcana. The Tarot, the 78 cards of the Tarot, are divided in two groups — the Major Arcana, meaning the major secrets and the Minor Arcana, the lesser secrets.
The Major Arcana are comprised of 22 cards often referred to as the trump cards and they go in a series from 0 through 21. They’re easy to recognize because these are the cards that have a title along the bottom. They start with The Fool with zero. Well, you will find some people who put the fool in other places, and I cannot say they’re wrong because the zero is everywhere. Really the zero is in and out of every card, so it’s the beginning and the end. But we will take them in this series, from The Fool right through to the last card, The World card.
These images are what one might call archetypal images. What is an archetype? This is a pattern that has been repeated so many times since the beginning of time in all cultures, in all places in the world, that it’s actually become a memory deposit in our own subconscious.
As the wonderful psychologist Carl Jung mentioned, “We are not born a tabula rasa. We are not born a clean slate. We are born with the archetypes of the collective unconscious, the consciousness we share with all mankind, sleeping already in our central nervous system.” And these archetypes can be awakened in many ways. They are often awakened through art, which is why in some invocations in the Tarot, they refer to the cards as consecrated cards of art.
Jung also mentioned that this image series of the Tarot was a pictorial representation of the archetypes of transformation. Every culture has them, and whether we were thinking of a lost tribe in the rainforest of the Amazon, or here, in New York City, in the fanciest penthouse party and jet set society, these same archetypes, attested for a time, place, culture, show up in every society. Every society has a fool, a warrior, a holy child, a wise man, a love goddess, a priestess, a trickster, a shadow figure. They come again and again, and they are in the Tarot, and we are going to learn how to awaken these, how to learn them, and how to become friends with them.
Thank you for being with me. Bye for now.