Major Arcana Key with Movie References
Compiling Since the 1990's, Updated: Autumn 2020
0 The Fool:
Examples of Ancient/Modern Manifestations: Trickster Coyote, court jester, the divine child. In movies Wizard of Oz, (Dorothy), Alice in Wonderland, Easy Rider, This is Spinal Tap, Forrest Gump, The Truman Show, Being There (Chance Gardener), Pow Wow Highway (Philbert), The Little Tramp, Big, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, the Big Lebowski (the Dude), Oh Brother Where Art Thou, and Inside Llewyn Davis. The Fool is about adventure, travel, openness to exploring new experiences, unexpected opportunities, fortune in misfortune, taking a flying leap of faith. He is an 'innocent' unfamiliar with fear and so will try anything for experience's sake. Its not that he is an idiot, it’s more he is so curious and amazed by everything going on around that he doesn’t tend to focus on what’s about to happen. He hasn’t become conditioned by society so still follows his heart and free spirit…with all the potential for possibilities or peril.
I The Magician:
Ancient/Modern Examples: Merlin, wizards, alchemists, shamans, hypnotists, illusionists, snake oil salesman, grifters. Movies: Lord of the Rings (Gandalf), King Arthur (Merlin), Matinee (John Goodman's character), Dead Poet's Society (the teacher Keating), the Usual Suspects, Beetlejuice, Being John Malkovich, and Ed Wood. The Magician focuses on communication and mental powers. The use of focused intent. Mind over matter. Bringing more magic into life. Illusion and intrigue. The Magician inspires us to explore. Self reliance, imagination and creative skill. Manipulating the elements to attract and captivate an audience. The Magician is that part of ourselves that showcases our talent and skill. That which mesmerizes, attracts or even cons others.
II The High Priestess:
Ancient/Modern Examples: Delphi Oracles, Sphinx, 'Virgin' Goddesses, (like Persephone), nuns, sorceresses and Pagan High Priestesses, (para) psychologists, librarians and fortune tellers. Movies: Dead Man Walking (Sister Helen), King Arthur (Morgan) Joan of Arc and Soul Boy (2010, Kenya) The High Priestess has to do with independence, self study, intuitive and psychic development, wise counsel, mystery and the magic arts.
III The Empress:
Ancient/Modern Examples: Isis, Hera, Demeter, Mother Nature, Queen, godmother, anima, nurses, mothers, creators, designers. Movies: Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment, Little Man Tate, Mother, Triplets of Belleville (Grandma), and Juno. Empress is about giving birth either literally, or metaphorically to creative projects, nurturing and protection of others and oneself. One who is deeply connected to nature. Feminine influence, universal love. It can also mean a level headed, intuitive businesswoman or a political leader for human rights, the preservation of natural resources and the New World order.
IV The Emperor:
Ancient/Modern Examples: Zeus, kings, leaders, Chiefs, presidents godfathers, warriors, directors, father figure, animus, boss/authority. Also the TV (communicates in 4 Square reality) and computer. Movies: Braveheart, The Godfather, Goodnight and Good Luck, King Arthur, Lord of the Rings (Aragon), and Sanjuro. The Emperor has to do with being assertive, pioneering, authoritative, and possessing strong leadership skills while also dealing with mathematics and logical, rational thinking.
V The Hierophant:
Ancient/Modern Examples: High Priest, Shaman, Rabbi, Pope, Buddha, Jesus, theologians, advisors, inner guide, and non-conformist type teachers. Examples of such role models are Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, Michael Moore and other spokespeople for social change. Movies: To Sir With Love, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Gandhi, and Milk. The Hierophant is about learning, teaching, working within social structures or redefining them.
VI The Lovers:
Ancient/Modern Examples: Adam and Eve, Romeo and Juliet, unified anima and animus, yin/yang, sun/moon. Movies: When Harry Met Sally, Moonstruck, Annie Hall, Room with a View, Sense & Sensibility, Before Sunrise, Paper Heart, Moonlight, and Only Lovers Left Alive. The Lovers has to do with choices and being at a crossroads where choices related to relationships and one's destiny are being considered, aside from the obvious connection to love and the pairing of opposites. It often has to do with a lover's triangle and choosing between two diverse lifestyles or paths.
VII The Chariot:
Ancient/Modern Examples: Apollo the Charioteer, Alexandra the Great, knights, gladiators, conquerors, pioneers, crusaders, vehicles, Space shuttles and explorers. Movies: Contact, Star Wars, Star Trek, Thelma and Louise, Caro Diario, Mad Max Fury Road and Punch Drunk Love. The Chariot is about becoming more assertive and confident, exploration, challenge and overcoming obstacles. Also, being pulled in two directions while trying to pursue the goal.
Ancient/Modern Examples: Maat, Scales, measuring devices, judges, trials, juries, dharma. Movies: To Kill a Mockingbird, Sling Blade, Norma Rae, Erin Brockivich, Memento, Do the Right Thing and True Grit. Also Justice can be depicted as characters like Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, X-men, Iron Man or the bride in Kill Bill. Legal issues, contracts, balance & harmony, social issues, or overcoming injustice, bigotry and intolerance. It can also mean standing up for one's rights and beliefs. Poetic justice.
Ancient/Modern Examples: Monks, sages, philosophers, bears, lamps, lanterns, guides, illuminators, detectives, spies, journeymen. Movies: The Razor's Edge (Larry Darrell), 'Pi', and Ghost Dog. The Hermit is focused on solitude, introspection and self study, evaluating beliefs and replenishing. One who is independent, introspective and on the path to individuation.
X The Wheel:
Ancient/Modern Examples: Goddesses Juno and Fortuna. Mandela, rosaries, worry beads, the roulette, concepts of destiny and fate, 7 chakras, Ferris wheel, clock, medicine wheel. Movies: The Big Lebowski, Small Change, The Man Who Wasn't There, Down By Law, The Man Without a Past, Croupier, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Short Cuts, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Extract. The Wheel is about beginning a new cycle. A change in luck, Seeing an alternate view from a different spoke in the wheel. The laws of Karma. The art of timing. Taking responsibility for one's fate. Learning to go with the flow, realizing there is a reason for everything. An awareness of the laws of change, natural cycles, seasons, circular patterns.
Ancient/Modern Examples: Hercules, Samson, Gandhi, Lion trainers. Movies: Run Lola Run (Lola), Terminator II, Midnight Cowboy, Aliens, Buffalo 66 (Layla), and Winter's Bone. Strength is about courage, facing fears and triumphs of love over hate, compassion over cruelty, awareness over ignorance and fear. Gentle strength and inner mastery.
XII Hanged Man:
Ancient/Modern Examples: The Bohhi Tree, Osiris, (crucifixion/resurrection), spiritualists and shamans that go through great pains or sacrafice for humanity and enlightenment. Movies: Casablanca, Cool Hand Luke, the Last Samurai, Life is Beautiful, Edward Scissorhands, and Spiderman. The Hanged man shares about reflection, meditation and feeling the need to sacrifice oneself for a cause, for the greater good or others. Looking at one's personal 'hang ups' and surrendering fixed ideas, attitudes and beliefs. Seeing the world from an opposing view.
Ancient/Modern Examples: Skeleton, Grim Reaper, the snake shedding skin, the butterfly, Lady Death, the phoenix, a black rose. Movies: Dead Man Walking, Fearless, the Crow, Pulp Fiction (Jules), Wristcutters, Pan's Labyrinth, and Stranger than Fiction. Death is all about letting go of outgrown forms to make way for new growth, rebirth and regeneration. The sorrow associated with the pain of moving on and closing some doors to the past. The stripping away of outgrown feelings or beliefs. The end of the old and the birth of a new cycle. The need to surrender to the inevitability of change. An ending that is illusory when viewed from a higher perspective. The natural conclusion of a familiar situation or relationship that stifled individual growth and change.
Ancient/Modern Examples: Gold miners, artists, musicians, alchemists, mythologists and symbolists. Movies: Chocolat, Like Water for Chocolate, Lost in Translation, Rivers and Tides, and Paterson. Temperance is about harmony or the alchemy of adding diverse elements together to create something new. It is the communication between the unconscious and conscious, and how one thing wrong with the machine can screw up the whole system; the fluidity of a harmonious system or relationship.
Ancient/Modern Examples: Goat, Pan, Satyr, Bacchus, Dionysus, Hades, Eye of Siva, Yoni, Tantra, and the Christian concept of Lucifer as well. Movies: Leaving Las Vegas, 12 Monkeys, Dracula, U-Turn, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Moulin Rouge, Being John Malkovich, Cape Fear, and the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. The Devil has to do with inner power struggles, manipulation, irony, a wicked sense humor, mischievousness, stirring unrest and sensuality, passion, lust, total obsessions and going to extremes or feeling out of control.
XVI The Tower:
Ancient/Modern Examples: The tragic twin tower attack of 9/11 in NY, Tower of Babel, Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Hindu Goddess Kali, buildings, furnaces and fire places. Movies: Brazil, Streetcar Named Desire, Titanic, Mad Max, American Beauty, Requiem For a Dream, '9', Avatar, Boys Don't Cry, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and US. The Tower is about cleansing; tearing down rigid beliefs that no longer serve. Radical change and upheaval. Renewal thru the act of destruction. This can mean tragedy if an awareness is ignored or refused. This card doesn't stand for the realization but instead the cause. A traumatic escape from 'prison' and confining structure.
XVII The Star:
Ancient/Modern Examples: Star of Bethlehem, Star of David, Pagan pentagram, movie stars, and stars on the flag. Movies: Rocky, Rudy, Amelie. The Star is about things looking optimistic and bright. Feeling renewed and inspired. Recognition for achievements. Wishing upon a falling star or having faith in something.
XVIII The Moon:
Ancient/Modern Examples: Moon Goddess Diana/Artemis, the collective unconscious, portals, gates, lunar cycles, ocean tides and the depths of the unconscious. The 3 aspects of the Triple Goddess as she relates to 3 cycles of the Moon; new, full and waning - and of women, (as maiden, mother, crone). Movies: City of Lost Children, Mystery Train, Naked Lunch, The Piano, Everything is Illuminated, Pan's Labyrinth, Ghost World, and Sex and Lucía. The Moon has a lot to do with the ebb and flow of emotions, intuition and creativity and being drawn into the unknown. Surreal imagination and dream work. It can mean fear of the unknown resurfacing in dreams. The moon is metaphorically seen as the womb which both gives and takes life, so can also stand for being sensitive to the inner knowing of when to bring something into one's life as well as letting something go when the learning or spiritual process is complete.
XIX The Sun:
Ancient/Modern Examples: Apollo, Sun God, solar energy, Eye of Ra, Osiris, Jesus and other myths of a living, dying and resurrected God, Siva, sunflowers. Movies: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Randle McMurphy), Forrest Gump, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Bottle Rocket. The Sun is about growth optimism and rekindled enthusiasm. Achievement of goals. Basking in the warmth of loved ones and success. In a negative context, it can mean burnout.
Ancient/Modern Examples: The Last Judgment, Goddess Nuit, diplomats, mediators, judges, and St. Peter the gatekeeper. Movies: Shawshank Redemption, The Color Purple, It's a Wonderful Life, High Fidelity, Waking Life, Monster's Ball, Schindler's List, The 6th Sense, Everything is Illuminated, Seven Pounds, and Moonlight. Judgment is about dealing with transitions. Evaluations of yourself and others, having a clean slate, making peace with the past and paying off karmic depts. Rising above negativity to resolve a situation.
XXI The World:
Ancient/Modern Examples: Gaia, Mother Earth, the universe, the womb, the Great Void, Kundalini, global consciousness, eggs, globes and orbs. Movies: Forrest Gump, Time Bandits, Rivers and Tides, Karen Valentine, Bagdad Cafe, and Black Panther. The World is about celebration and abundance. Family and community. Harmony, liberation and expansion but also an awareness of the earth as a living entity and a desire to protect her. Completing a major stage or cycle in life. A state of universal consciousness.