Major Arcana

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The Major Arcana or trumps are a suit of twenty-two cards in the tarot deck. They serve as a permanent trump suit in games played with the tarot deck, and are distinguished from the four standard suits collectively known as the Minor Arcana. The terms "Major" and "Minor Arcana" are used in the occult and divinatory applications of the deck, and originate with Paul Christian. [1]

Each Major Arcanum depicts a scene, mostly featuring a person or several people, with many symbolic elements. In many decks, each has a number (usually in Roman numerals) and a name, though not all decks have both, and some have only a picture. The earliest decks bore unnamed and unnumbered pictures on the Majors (probably because a great many of the people using them at the time were illiterate), and the order of cards was not standardized.[citation needed] Nevertheless, one of the most common sets of names and numbers is as follows:

The images on the Major Arcana are often very heavy with symbolism, with far more to the illustration than a mere depiction of the card title. The Major Arcana are usually regarded as relating to matters of higher purpose or deep significance, as opposed to the Minor Arcana which relate to the everyday world and matters of immediate significance.[citation needed]


  • The game Shin Megami Tensei or Persona, the protagonist and the plot revolves on the tarot cards as weapons and social links. However, it is only at Persona 3 and 4 where The World is used.
  • In the manga Earl Cain or Godchild, Cain Hargreaves father, Alexis Hargreaves is the head of the organization Delilah, which uses Tarot Cards as ranking.
  • In the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, it is a.o. used to tell what has happened, or foretell what will happen.
  • The House of the Dead series of light gun games by Sega makes numerous references to the Major Arcana; each of the bosses in the series is named after one of the Major Arcana cards.
  • The Silent Hill series of survival horror video-games by Konami are influenced by the Major Arcana. Some characters are based on the Major Arcana trumps. Series official guide - The Book Of Lost Memories - makes various references to the Major Arcana.
  • The Megami Tensei Persona games revolve around the major arcana with a variety of mythological figures representing his or her own arcana, such as Satan being of the judgment arcana, Orpheus being of the Fool Arcana, etc.
  • In Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django there are items fashioned after tarot cards, such as The Sun, The Moon, The Star, The Tower, The Lovers, etc. The items have effects relative to the cards interpretations, though some variation exists.
  • In Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia the player can collect ring accessory items of all of the cards. "Wheel of Fortune" is renamed simply "Fortune".
  • The characters in the Magical Drop series are all named after and based upon Major Arcana cards, except for the Black Pierrot.
  • In the manga series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, the first set of Stands in the third story arc, Stardust Crusaders, are all derived from the Major Arcana.
  • In the game Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen, liberating towns and temples allows the player to draw tarot cards, all of which come from the Major Arcana. These cards have various beneficial and detrimental effects on the party that liberates the town or temple.
  • Tarot cards and their use play a major role in a Season 4 episode of the television series Supernatural titled "Criss Angel is A Douchebag". The Magician card in particular is featured prominently towards the end of the episode.[2]
  • In Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, the Divination teacher Professor Trelawney successfully predicts the death of Albus Dumbledore when she draws the Tower, which symbolizes upheaval and loss.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh, there is a set of cards based on the Major Arcana called "Arcana Force."[3]
  • In Baroque, all meta-beings that appear in main dungeon are based on major arcana[4].
  • In the .hack video game-series for the PS2, there are usable items named after a few major arcana. "The Devil" inflicts Curse, "The Hanged Man" inflicts Paralysis, "The Moon" inflicts Sleep and "The Lovers" inflicts Charm.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series, Luxord wields a deck of cards as weapons, most of which are named after the Major Arcana (The only exceptions being "Wheel of fortune" and "Judgment", replaced with "The Joker" and "Fair Game".)
  • In the book Sepulchre (by Kate Mosse) the Major Arcana are featured as the main plot point that tie the past and present characters in the novel together by representing their personalities in the images of the (fictional) Veriner Tarot.
  • In the video game series Guilty Gear are also based in major aracana such as the character "Justice" and "Judgment". Some of the Characters are also based form it because of relativity to the Major Arcana Cards.
  • In the game Max Payne, Lisa Punchinello, the wife of the mafia don in the game, has dealt three of the cards from Major Arcana, seen in Chapter 5 of Part II of the game. The cards are the Tower, Death and the Devil.
  • In the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog Doctor Facilier, aka "The Shadow Man", is an expert in Tarot. he reads the Cards for Prince Naveen and Lawrence, Prince Naveen's valet, during his introduction
  • In the book The Secret Twin The sniper leaves a tarot card at almost every murder, the first being death-for changes.
  • In the game Bomberman 64, the boss Spellmaker uses a deck of 8 Major Arcana cards, out of which he draws to determine his next attack.
  • In the movie Operation Endgame, the agents are all given codenames using the Major Arcana, some are referenced offscreen but not all 22 are used. One character (Chariot) even gets annoyed at Judgment's over indulgence of emphasizing his title in all of his conversations.
  • In the game Drowned God, the player collects a set of Major Arcana, some of which depict ancient astronauts.
  • The 1987 puzzle game The Fool's Errand is set in a land of Tarot cards, with story and puzzles themed around both Minor and Major Arcana.
  • In the 2008 audiobook companion to the Horus Heresy series, The Dark King, Primarch Konrad Curze uses the lesser arcana to predict Horus's treachery against the Emperor. Later, in The Lightning Tower, Malcador the Sigillite uses the same technique to show Primarch Rogal Dorn that his fear was his brother Curze was right; and he didn't listen to him.

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