Learn Tarot with Harry Potter: Major Arcana Overview

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:

0THE FOOLXIJUSTICE
ITHE MAGICIANXIITHE HANGED MAN
IITHE HIGH PRIESTESSXIIIDEATH
IIITHE EMPRESSXIVTEMPERANCE
IVTHE EMPERORXVTHE DEVIL
VTHE HIEROPHANTXVITHE TOWER
VITHE LOVERSXVIITHE STAR
VIITHE CHARIOTXVIIITHE MOON
VIIISTRENGTHIXXTHE SUN
IXTHE HERMITXXJUDGMENT
XWHEEL OF FORTUNEXXITHE 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.

0THE FOOLHarry PotterInnocence, beginnings 
ITHE MAGICIANAlbus DumbledorePower, manifestation
IITHE HIGH PRIESTESSSybill TrelawneyIntuition, divination
IIITHE EMPRESSMolly WeasleyNurture, mother, emotion
IVTHE EMPERORArthur WeasleyResponsible, Father 
VTHE HIEROPHANTCornelius FudgeLaws, authority, society
VITHE LOVERSLilly & James PotterLove, soulmates
VIITHE CHARIOTThe FireboltChoices, directions
VIIISTRENGTHLuna LovegoodInner strength,courage
IXTHE HERMITRemus LupinQuiet, contemplative
XWHEEL OF FORTUNEThe ProphecyFate, Chance
XIJUSTICEThe WizengamotLegality, trials, fairness
XIITHE HANGED MANSeverus SnapeSuspension, stuck
XIIIDEATHThe ThestralsTransition, fear, letting go
XIVTEMPERANCEPotions ClassBalance, measurement
XVTHE DEVILLord VoldemortNeglect, addiction, bound
XVITHE TOWERDumbledore’s DeathDestruction, upheaval
XVIITHE STARThe Stag PatronusHope, rescue, light 
XVIIITHE MOONThe PensieveIntuition, deeper journey
IXXTHE SUNThe BurrowHappiness, warmth, joy
XXJUDGMENTPriori IncantatemResurrection, rebirth
XXITHE WORLDPlatform 9 3/4Completion, 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.

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