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Major arcanas


Major Arcanas tarot rider-waite - Raphael Pathé Psychic Medium

The Major Arcana or trumps are a suit of twenty-two cards in the Tarot deck. They serve as a permanent trump and suits in games played with the Tarot deck, and are distinguished from the four standard suits collectively known as the Minor Arcana.[1] The terms "Major" and "Minor Arcana" are used in the occult and divinatory applications of the deck, and originate with Jean-Baptiste Pitois.

Dummett writes that originally the Major Arcana had simple allegorical or exoteric meaning, mostly originating in elite ideology in the Italian courts of the 15th century when it was invented.[3] The occult significance only began to emerge in the 18th century when Antoine Court de Gébelin (a Swiss clergyman and Freemason) published Le Monde Primitif. The construction of the occult and divinatory significance of the Tarot, and the Major and Minor Arcana, continued on from there.[4] For example, Antoine Court de Gébelin argued for the Egyptian, kabbalastic, and divine significance of the Tarot trumps: Etteilla created a method of divination using Tarot: Eliphas Lévi worked hard to break away from the Egyptian nature of the divinatory Tarot, bringing it back to the Tarot de Marsailles, creating a "tortuous" kabbalastic correspondence, and even suggested that the Major Arcana represent stages of life.[2] The Marquis Stanislas de Guaita established the Major Arcana as an initiatory sequence to be used by initiates to establish their path of spiritual ascension and evolution.[3]Finally Salie Nichols, a Jungian psychologist, wrote up the tarot as having deep psychological and archetypal significance, even going so far as to encode the entire process of Jungian individuation into the Tarot trumps.[5] These various interpretations of the Major Arcana developed in stages, all of which continue to exert significant influence on our understanding of the Major Arcana even to this day.