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The Major Arcana & The Journey of the Fool

There are several reasons why we start with Major Arcana when embarking on the study of tarot. First of all, it's been shrouded in mystery since its inception. Over the years, it's been extensively researched and written about - most famously by psychologist Carl Gustav Jung.

Since it's only 22 cards (0-21), the Major Arcana is often considered simpler to memorize. The 22 cards symbolize overarching themes of the human experience, depicted in the form of a pictorial storyline. Finally, it serves as a correlative reference to the Minor Arcana.

A Little History:

The Major Arcana hails back to the early 15th century. It was originally used as a recreational game in the royal Italian courts. The deck's occult affiliations came during the 18th century, when Freemasons paired it with the cards now known as the Minor Arcana.

This new, combined deck continued to make its way through the hands of various other occultists - who each added to it in their own way. The cards were influenced by elements from traditions like Egyptian medicine, Romani mysticism, and Kabbalah. In 1909, all these influences culminated in the creation of the most popular tarot deck in history: The Rider-Waite.

Swiss psychologist and occultist Carl Jung had a deep fascination and familiarity with tarot cards. It's theorized by some that parts of his work may have been influenced by what he knew of these cards. His own work on human archetypes would also go on to heavily inform the way the Major Arcana is interpreted today.

Major Arcana Wheel of Fortune Card