The standard tarot card deck contains 78 cards. 22 of those cards are known as the major arcana : a collection of "profound secrets" that underlie and explain our universe. Perhaps we as tarot scholars are alchemists perfecting our craft so that we may harness nature and master our world.
The major arcana are also referred to as the trump cards, as in triumphs. This is because tarot began as a trick-taking card game in the renaissance era that centered around the trump cards and their hierarchy.
The cards of the major arcana are the core of the tarot deck. If we think of the deck as a movie production, the major arcana are our directors, writers, producers, and starring actors. They determine the final outcome more than the supporting cast, extras, and behind-the-scenes people (minor arcana). Those people have an important role to play too and are vital to the final production, but our focus should center on the major arcana cards because they control the vision of the project.
The major arcana cards symbolize universal aspects of human nature that we all recognize. They are archetypes that represent conscious and unconscious thoughts, beliefs, and actions expressed by humanity throughout the ages.
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