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.
Modern decks are beginning to include The Happy Squirrel card but it is probably best not to number this card. Consider it a null value which is entirely optional to use in your divinations since its' existance is something of a joke. That's not just my opinion, it was literally a joke in an episode of The Simpsons television show.
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.
Trumps, also called the Major Arcana, represent the array of central concepts at the core of human existence. Their order indicates a logical progression rather than a chronological one; the trumps cards are organized from the ground up, (the cards positioned at the beginning are the ones fundamental to human consciousness, the ones towards the end are the agglomerated complex of human achievement). Trumps are about abstract ideas, and the minor arcana (the rest of the cards) are applied concepts: archetypes in practice.
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