tarot archetypes arcana

Archetypes are patterns our mind creates to cast complex concepts into a familiar form. This form then represents all possible variations of that concept. This leads our subconscious minds to process life’s experiences like a comic book story involving key players and pivotal moments — the archetypes.

As if engraved in our ancestral memory, archetypes are universally shared across communities around the world. They vividly pop up in the tarot deck as well.

Major Arcana

The major trumps in the Rider-Waite tarot deck represent major occurrences in the Fool’s Journey as he goes through life from beginning to end. There he encounters the pivotal protagonists that we still see today in novels, theater plays, and blockbuster movies.

In short, here are the archetypes and their energy for each of the Major Arcana:

  • 0. The Fool. The wanderer embarks on a journey into the unknown. Energy: Naïve
  • I. The Magician. The master presents tools and techniques needed to realize the dream. Energy: Dynamic and determined
  • II. The High Priestess. Guardian of hidden knowledge. Energy: Silent and enigmatic
  • III. The Empress. Provider of a home to meet physical needs. Reveals sensory magic and luxury. Energy: Motherly
  • IV. The Emperor. Maintains discipline and social norms. Energy: Authoritative father
  • V. The Hierophant. Passes on ancestral knowledge. Energy: Traditional
  • VI. The Lovers. Play between opposition and attraction. A dilemma shows up. Energy: Open and expressive
  • VII. The Chariot. Finding commitment to drive things forward. Energy: Courageous, driven
  • VIII. Strength. Taming the beast within to prevent distractions. Energy: Infinite love
  • IX. The Hermit. Has physical space to seek answers in solitude. Energy: Reflective
  • X. Wheel of Fortune. Creates change toward a new direction, weaving the protagonist new, custom tapestries of life. Energy: Interconnectedness
  • XI. Justice. Teaches the lesson that getting requires giving. Energy: Objective, binary thought
  • XII. The Hanged Man. Provides a mental space to develop an own perspective. Energy: Patient
  • XIII. Death. Entering a new life chapter with a new identity. Energy: Merciless rebirth/renewal
  • XIV. Temperance. Seeking a middle way, putting on different thinking hats. Energy: Carefulness
  • XV. The Devil. Shows how materialism keeps us shackled. Energy: Adversarial, dark, lubricious
  • XVI. The Tower. A sudden release of pent-up energy to crumble the protagonist’s worldview and start a revolution. Energy: Shocking
  • XVII. The Star. Provides the light to make intuitive decisions. Energy: Healing
  • XVIII. The Moon. Reveals our animal nature that carries our secrets like a shadow. Energy: Madness
  • XIX. The Sun. The spirit of saying “yes” to new actions. Energy: Joy and gratitude
  • XX. Judgment. The final call to action, now liberated from emotional baggage. Energy: Confronting like a mirror
  • XXI. The World. The goal is completed, the person whole. Energy: Celebratory

Minor Arcana

Each card in the suits of the Minor Arcana embodies its own theme and generally relates to short-term events. Of the court cards, pages are messengers, knights represent mission and progress, queens embody wisdom, and kings are keepers of high knowledge in the realms of creativity, emotionality, intellect, and business.


The Wands suit pertains to creativity, motivation, and purpose:

  • Ace. A new start, invention, or family
  • 2. Courage
  • 3. Partnership
  • 4. Celebration after work
  • 5. Violent competition
  • 6. Success
  • 7. Opposition
  • 8. Hastiness
  • 9. Recovery
  • 10. Unwisely used power
  • Page. Good news
  • Knight. Enthusiasm
  • Queen. Zest
  • King. Honesty


The Cups suit relates to love and emotions:

  • Ace. Great love
  • 2. Bond
  • 3. Festivity
  • 4. Melancholia
  • 5. Despair
  • 6. Nostalgia
  • 7. Over-imagination
  • 8. Abandonment
  • 9. Satisfaction
  • 10. Blissful marriage
  • Page. Creative ideas
  • Knight. Invitation
  • Queen. Care
  • King. Emotional control


The Swords suit belongs to the mental sphere of life:

  • Ace. Triumph
  • 2. Stalemate
  • 3. Sorrow
  • 4. Overload
  • 5. Desertion
  • 6. Transition
  • 7. Risky tactics
  • 8. Stifled progress
  • 9. Misery
  • 10. Defeat
  • Page. Curiosity
  • Knight. Impulsivity
  • Queen. Sharpness
  • King. Self-discipline


The Pentacles suit betokens material possessions:

  • Ace. Financial opportunity
  • 2. Juggling
  • 3. Teamwork
  • 4. Hoarding
  • 5. Poverty
  • 6. Redistribution
  • 7. Investment
  • 8. Apprenticeship
  • 9. Prosperity
  • 10. Family matters
  • Page. Studentship
  • Knight. Laboriousness
  • Queen. Responsibility
  • King. Security

Final word

By seeing the links between archetypes, readers come to understand how the symbolism in the different cards is interconnected. For a deeper understanding of archetypes, psychologist Carl Jung’s Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious is recommended reading.

Hopefully, this article will help you become a better tarot practitioner, whether you’re trying to find your soulmate or the best web design agency in Chicago!

By Anurag Rathod

Anurag Rathod is an Editor of Appclonescript.com, who is passionate for app-based startup solutions and on-demand business ideas. He believes in spreading tech trends. He is an avid reader and loves thinking out of the box to promote new technologies.