If you haven’t yet, you may want to read my first post in this series before reading this one. It explains the Fool’s Journey and talks about why Harry Potter is a great tool for learning tarot.
The Major Arcana
A good place to start learning tarot is with the first 22 cards known as the Major Arcana. The Major Arcana cards represent different aspects of the Fool’s Journey. Most commonly, these cards are studied as a chronological progression through the stages of life, moving from the ‘new’ or ‘innocent’ beginning to the ‘wise’ and ‘learned’ World. These cards explore the bigger, more abstract concepts of life having to do with relationships, love, loss, death, rebirth, truths and transformations.
In most decks, the cards are as follow:
|I||THE MAGICIAN||XII||THE HANGED MAN|
|II||THE HIGH PRIESTESS||XIII||DEATH|
|IV||THE EMPEROR||XV||THE DEVIL|
|V||THE HIEROPHANT||XVI||THE TOWER|
|VI||THE LOVERS||XVII||THE STAR|
|VII||THE CHARIOT||XVIII||THE MOON|
|X||WHEEL OF FORTUNE||XXI||THE WORLD|
Within the Major Arcana are a few different aspects of the journey. These include archetypal people (or inner traits) that we encounter along the way, events or transitions that are thrust upon us and which are beyond our control, and ‘meaning of life’ concepts for us to consider. These are the overarching themes in our lives and are represented by figures and symbols that helps us explore them.
The Major Arcana as Inspired by Harry Potter
Because of its allegorical nature, Harry’s journey lends itself to an amazing correlation with the these classic Rider-Waite tarot cards. In subsequent posts we will explore each of the Major Arcana cards in-depth using characters, events, and symbols from the Harry Potter universe. For now though, I’ll give a brief overview of each card and the Harry Potter character that will match it.
I’ve chosen these representations carefully to tie in with the most commonly accepted meanings for each car d. I do my best to explain any controversial choices, however, as with any tarot deck (or interpretation of a card), my understanding or chosen representation might not fit perfectly with something you’ve learned in the past or how you read that situation. That’s ok! I encourage you to study each example and make your own connections, even if that means discounting mine in lieu of another character or scene from the books. I encourage discussion and contemplation, as that will further your understanding of the cards!
Below are the traditional cards, the Harry Potter character that best represents them, and a few keywords.
|0||THE FOOL||Harry Potter||Innocence, beginnings|
|I||THE MAGICIAN||Albus Dumbledore||Power, manifestation|
|II||THE HIGH PRIESTESS||Sybill Trelawney||Intuition, divination|
|III||THE EMPRESS||Molly Weasley||Nurture, mother, emotion|
|IV||THE EMPEROR||Arthur Weasley||Responsible, Father|
|V||THE HIEROPHANT||Cornelius Fudge||Laws, authority, society|
|VI||THE LOVERS||Lilly & James Potter||Love, soulmates|
|VII||THE CHARIOT||The Firebolt||Choices, directions|
|VIII||STRENGTH||Luna Lovegood||Inner strength,courage|
|IX||THE HERMIT||Remus Lupin||Quiet, contemplative|
|X||WHEEL OF FORTUNE||The Prophecy||Fate, Chance|
|XI||JUSTICE||The Wizengamot||Legality, trials, fairness|
|XII||THE HANGED MAN||Severus Snape||Suspension, stuck|
|XIII||DEATH||The Thestrals||Transition, fear, letting go|
|XIV||TEMPERANCE||Potions Class||Balance, measurement|
|XV||THE DEVIL||Lord Voldemort||Neglect, addiction, bound|
|XVI||THE TOWER||Dumbledore’s Death||Destruction, upheaval|
|XVII||THE STAR||The Stag Patronus||Hope, rescue, light|
|XVIII||THE MOON||The Pensieve||Intuition, deeper journey|
|IXX||THE SUN||The Burrow||Happiness, warmth, joy|
|XX||JUDGMENT||Priori Incantatem||Resurrection, rebirth|
|XXI||THE WORLD||Platform 9 3/4||Completion, awareness|
If you already practice tarot, you may be making some of your own connections. If you’re new to reading the cards, you probably have questions. In my next post, we’ll begin the Fool’s Journey by exploring Harry Potter as card 0, The Fool.