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The tarot is a pack of playing cards, used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot. Although many people associate it almost exclusively with tarotology/cartomancy, the invention of using it for this purpose did not come in vogue until the eighteenth century. Though there are pseudo histories trying to give it an ancient origin story.

General info

Like common playing cards, the tarot has four suits (which vary by region). Each suit has 14 cards, ten cards numbering from one (or Ace) to ten and four face cards (King, Queen, Knight, and Jack/Knave). In addition, the tarot has a separate 21-card trump suit and a single card known as the Fool. Depending on the game, the Fool may act as the top trump or may be played to avoid following suit.

Tarot cards are used throughout much of Europe to play card games. In English-speaking countries, where these games are not played, tarot cards are used primarily for divinatory purposes. The trump cards and the Fool are sometimes called "the major arcana" while the ten pip and four court cards in each suit are called minor arcana. The cards are traced by some occult writers to ancient Egypt or the Kabbalah but there is no evidence of such origins or of the usage of tarot for divination before the 18th century.

Considering tarot corrupt or evil began long before it was considered to have mystical aspects. In the seventeenth century it as not uncommon for preachers to rail against the card game alone. But up to present day there are still many churches which teach that it has ties to the occult and should be avoided.


Tarotology is the term for the theoretical basis for the reading of Tarot cards, a subset of cartomancy, which is the practice of using cards to gain insight into the past, present or future by posing a question to the cards. The reasoning behind this practice ranges from believing the result is guided by a spiritual force, to belief that the cards are instruments used to tap either into a collective unconscious or into the subject's own creative, brainstorming subconscious. In order to give a purported justification for the concept of a reading that doesn't violate naturalism. Despite this, there is little evidence of the reading providing any relevant insight beyond an overlay for psychological ideas.

Many involved in occult and divinatory practices attempt to trace the Tarot to ancient Egypt, the kabbalah, divine hermetic wisdom, and the mysteries of Isis. These are considered pseudo histories however. Possibly the first of those was Antoine Court de Gébelin, a French clergyman, who wrote that after seeing a group of women playing cards he had the idea that Tarot was not merely a game of cards but was in fact all of those above things. Since that time, various esoteric meanings have been attached to it, and certain occultists have began to consider it a means to uncover and depict truths about the relations that compose the universe itself.


The actual source of the occult Tarot can be traced to two articles, the first written by him himself. second has been noted to have been even more influential than Gebelin's. The second author takes De Gebelin's speculations even further, agreeing with him about the mystical origins of the Tarot in ancient Egypt, but making several additional, and influential, statements that continue to influence mass understanding of the occult tarot even to this day. Claiming that the terot is the book of thoth, that it came from gypsies who he considered to have ties to ancient egypt, and introduces the concept of tarot readings.

In megaten, tarot cards show up in the persona games, often with characters or demon races representing the attributes of different arcana. In Persona 4, Igor uses the Tarot cards to read the protagonist's fate. They are also used by Margaret, the protagonist, and the Investigation Team to summon their Persona by being struck with either by hand or a weapon. In Persona 5, Chihaya Mifune performs divination with the Tarot Cards.

Note that since different demon races are represented by different arcana, an implication being given is that tarot represents structures that pervade reality and their attributes themselves. In the same way demons represent certain ideas and aspects of reality, the arcana associated with them implies a similar relation and understanding. And that the cards can be used to understand and give context to what demons might be involved with what role and properties in reality.

Eliphas levi. The concept of the cards as a mystical key was extended by Eliphas Lévi. Lévi rejected Court de Gébelin's claims about an Egyptian origin of the deck symbols, going back instead to the Tarot de Marseille, calling it The Book of Hermes, claiming it was antique, that it existed before Moses, and that it was in fact a universal key of erudition, philosophy, and magic that could unlock Hermetic and Cabbalistic concepts. According to Lévi, "An imprisoned person with no other book than the Tarot, if he knew how to use it, could in a few years acquire universal knowledge, and would be able to speak on all subjects with unequaled learning and inexhaustible eloquence."

ccording to Dummett Lévis' notable contributions include: being the first to suggest that the Magus (Bagatto) was to work with the four suits. Associating the Hebrew alphabet with the Tarot trumps. Linking the ten numbered cards in each suit to the ten sefiroth. Claiming the court cards represented stages of human life. And Claiming the four suites represented the Tetragrammaton.


Some forms of Hermetic Qabalah relate tarot cards to aspects of the tree of life.

Since his time, Tarot has often become used in conjunction with the study of the Hermetic Qabalah. In these decks all the cards are illustrated in accordance with Qabalistic principles, most being influenced by the Rider-Waite deck. Its images were drawn by artist Pamela Colman Smith, to the instructions of Christian mystic and occultist Arthur Edward Waite and published in 1909. A difference from Marseilles style decks is that Waite-Smith use scenes with esoteric meanings on the suit cards.

Carl Jung. Although it is common now to tie tarot to jungian ideas, jung himself actually didn't write much about it. He did however say that he wished he was able to, but was not able to find the time. One writer did say of him however that: “Jung suggested investigating cases where it could be supposed that the archetypal layer of the unconscious is constellated*—following a serious accident, for instance, or in the midst of a conflict or divorce situation—by having people engage in a divinatory procedure: throwing the I Ching, laying the Tarot cards, consulting the Mexican divination calendar, having a transit horoscope or a geomantic reading done. If Jung’s hypothesis is accurate, the results of all these procedures should converge.”

Jung said “[This investigation would consist of] studying an incident (accident) by the convergence . . . of a multitude of methods, with the help of which we could try to find out what the Self “thought” of this particular accident. . . . The generally rather vague formulations of divinatory techniques resemble these “clouds of cognition” that, according to Jung, constitute “absolute knowledge.” and “Under certain conditions it is possible to experiment with archetypes, as my ‘astrological experiment’ has shown. As a matter of fact we had begun such experiments at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich, using the historically known intuitive, i.e., synchronistic methods (astrology, geomancy, Tarot cards, and the I Ching). But we had too few co-workers and too little means, so we could not go on and had to stop.”

The Fool's Journey is a metaphor for the journey through life. Each major arcana card stands for a stage on that journey. It is referenced in various persona games. it begins with the Fool, a card which represents beginnings. The Fool stands for each individual as they begin their journey of life. He is a fool because only a simple soul has the innocent faith to undertake such a journey with all its hazards and pain. It goes through each card in order, ending with the world, representing that the fool reenters the World, but this time with a more complete understanding due to his experiences. He has integrated all the disparate parts of himself and achieved wholeness. He has reached a new level of happiness and fulfillment. This concept of the fool's journey is a basis for why the main character's main arcana is generally fool in persona games.

Tarot Reading


Some cards from the Rider Waite deck, one of the most popular tarot decks.

Tarot reading. One of the main criticisms of tarot card reading is its distinct lack of a common reading method among its practitioners. During a tarot card reading there are three mains steps that the reader will use, but how each of these steps is carried out varies significantly between practitioners. That being shuffling, laying them out, and interpreting them. Additionally, a reader may have their own distinct way of interpreting the cards; some tarot cards can have up to ten meanings, and it is up to the reader to use their intuition to interpret them.

Readings are often done by laying out three cards in a row, or alternately five in a cross shape. Readings can also be done with or without allowance of reversing cards. Reversing cards means that if the card shows up upside down, you will present it that way, and it will lead to an alternate interpretation. Reversed cards often have a more negative connotation, but not necessarily a pessimistic one, but rather one that can just imply some form of inhibitment in a particular area, often meaning reversal of the ordinary meanings. The cards each have very general meanings, leaving the one doing the reading to use intuition to try to tell a story. Readings are generally done only with the major arcana, though some versions do include minor arcana.

Major Arcana

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The deck in persona 5 is based closely on the Tarot de Marsseilles. But each card is changed to represent a sinful element, in keeping with the game's themes.

The Major Arcana or trumps are a suit of twenty-two cards in the 78-card Tarot deck. They serve as a permanent trump and suits 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 Jean-Baptiste Pitois, writing under the name Paul Christian.

In the Persona series, the Personas' Arcana were originally functionally equivalent to demon races. According to the Persona World guide, each Arcana in Megami Ibunroku Persona equals a specific race, however these racial equivalences were not kept in Persona 3 onwards, where they began to be more mixed. But all the same, one can look at the races for interesting context of them used as a symbol. Likewise, one can compare the characters associated with each arcana to see what their social link was trying to express.

Note that some persona games, especially those which have re-releases with additional Social links will have bonus arcana which are based on the thoth tarot deck which changes some of the card names. Which is why at the bottom of this chart there will be a few alternate arcana. Note that some decks also have justice and strength in reversed places, but here it is shown the way persona does.

Card Association Persona 1 and 2 Demon race equivalent Persona 3 S.Link Persona 4 S.Link Persona 5 S.Link
0 - The Fool New Hope, Take chances, beginnings, innocence, travel National Spirit SEES Investigation Team Igor
1 - The Magician Power, Skill, creativity,

turn your visions into reality

Genma Kenji Tomochika Yosuke Hanamura Morgana
2 - The Priestess Secrets, intuition, mystery,

trust yourself

Megami Fuuka Yamagishi Yukiko Amagi Makoto Niijima
3 - The Empress Birth, parenting, fertility.

Can also mean mother earth.

Lady Mitsuru Kirijo Margaret Haru Okamura
4 - The Emperor Father Figure, authority, regulation, solid foundation Deity Hidetoshi Odagiri Kanji Tatsumi Yusuke Kitagawa
5 - The Hierophant Tradition, religious ceremony, conformity, group identification Kishin Bunkichi and Mitsuko Kitamura Dojima Sojiro Sakura
6 - The Lovers Love, relationship, bonds, balancing of two things Fairy Yukari Takeba Rise Kujikawa Ann Takamaki
7 - The Chariot Action, change, journey, vehicle, will power, victory Fury Kazushi Miyamoto Chie Satonaka Ryuji Sakamto
8 - Justice Justice, fairness, cause and effect Wargod Chihiro Fushimi Nanako Dojima Goro Akechi
9 - The Hermit Soul searching, being alone, introspection Holy Maya Fox Futaba Sakura
10 - The Wheel of


Good fortune, turning point, luck, destiny Beast Keisuke Hiraga Naoto Shirogane Chihaya Mifune
11 - Strength Strength, courage, patience, confidence, self love, health Snake Yuko Nishiwaki Kou ichijo or Daisuke Nagase Caroline and Justine
12 - The Hanged


Wisdom, self sacrifice, martyrdom, unique perspectives Fallen Maiko Oohashi Naoki Konishi Munehisa Iwai
13 - Death Change, endings, beginnings, letting go Reaper Pharos Hisano Kuroda Tae Taekmi
14 - Temperance Balance, moderation, patience Avatar Andre Laurent Jean Geraux Eri Minami Sadayo Kawakami
15 - The Devil Addiction, greed, envy, materialism, sexuality Tyrant President Tanaka Sayoko Uehara Oya Ichiko
16 - The Tower Disaster, shaken foundations, sudden change, revelations Vile Mutatsu Shu Nakajima Shinya Oda
17 - The Star Renewal, hope, spirituality, inspiration Yoma Mamoru Hayase Teddie Hifumi Togo
18 - The Moon Illusion, fear, insecurity, mystery Night Nozomi Suemitsu Ai Ebihara Yuki Mishima
19 - The Sun Fun, warmth, love, positivity, enlightenment, vitality Avian Akinari Kamiki Yumi Ozawa or

Ayane Matsunaga

Toranosuke Yoshida
20 - Judgement Judgement, rebirth, inner calling Herald SEES Seekers of truth Sae Niijima
21 - The World Completion, integration, accomplishment Dragon Used by Elizabeth Everyone together -
Alternate World - Universe - - Used to seal Nyx - -
Alternate Judgement - Aeon - - Aigis Marie -
Alternate Fool - Jester - - - Adachi -
Alternate strength - Hunger - - - Adachi -

Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana (or Lesser Arcana) are the 56 suit cards of the 78-card deck of tarot playing cards. The Minor Arcana comprise four suits with 14 cards each. Although there are variations, the Minor Arcana commonly employ the Italo-Spanish suits: Wands (alternatively, batons, clubs, or staves), cups (or chalices), swords, and pentacles (alternatively, coins, disks, or rings). In contrast, the corresponding French suits are clubs (♣), hearts (♥), spades (♠), and diamonds (♦). They are often not included in tarot readings. Note the obvious close relation between tarot minor arcana and regular playing cards.

In persona 2 personas from the minor Arcana are featured in these games via mutation only. These personas cannot be summoned normally in Velvet Room nor their tarot cards ever exist. In 3, The Minor Arcana cards appear during Shuffle Time and grant the player various effects depending on which card is chosen: Cups restores the protagonist's or party's health if drawn (amount depends on number), wands or staves grants bonus experience or stats if drawn (amount depends on number), pentacles or coins grants bonus Yen if drawn (amount depends on number) and swords rants the player a random weapon (power depends on number). The most important relation of minor arcana is the relation between cups and hearts, in game specifically talking about the holy grail. This is foreshadowing of how the phantom thieves of hearts are related to the holy grail indirectly.

Although the minor arcana do not show up as obviously in megaten, we can still list their associations. The minror arcana are even more ambiguous than the major, with many card having many different interpretations, some even contradictory. Here we will list a few of the more common ones.

- Cups Coins Swords Wands
Faculty Emotional Physical Reason Creativity
French Suit Hearts Diamonds Spades Clubs
Element Water Earth Air Fire
Class Clergy Merchants Nobility Peasants
Ace New baby, relationship, or marriage Ne wjob, raise, promotion, investment, or income source New ideas, job, or conflict, surgery, mental clarity New romance, project, or job, inspiration, the urge to create
Two Romantic love, partnership, proposal Multi tasking two choices or jobs, weighing options Time to compromise, balancing two forces Waiting for results, travel planning, making a choice
Three Friendship, celebration, a circle of support Skill, quality craftsmanship, teamwork, home repairs Heartbreak, divorce, loss, depression, surgery Teamwork, commerce, expansion, travel
Four Apathy, feeling unfulfilled, unexpected gifts Desire for long term security, fear of change Retreat, rest, renewal, solitude, recovery Homecoming, celebrations, family, friends, wedding
Five Loss, regret, feeling abandoned or uninvolved Poverty, ill health, worry, isolation, financial loss. Bullies, theft, violence, abusive relationships Rivalry, challenges, obstancles, sport, play
Six Nostalgia, innocence, gifts, reunion, friendship Giving or recieving loans or debt, generosity Necessary transition, relocating, moving, travel Victory, award, recognition, good news, being the boss
Seven Too many choices, commitment issues, abuse Patience, hard work, delayed sucess, waiting for payoff Theft, betrayal, dishonesty, running away, divorce / affair Self defense, protect against competition, solo project
Eight Abandonment, withdrawal, retreat, travel, moving on Mastering your craft, creating a body of work Self imposed restrictions, isolation, imprisonment Speed, action, quick changes, news arrives, air travel
Nine Wishes come true, material abundance, good health Luxury, self sufficiency, financial gain, solo pleasures Nightmares, anxiety, grief, hospital, rehab, depression Test of courage, persistence, boundaries
Ten Marriage with children, family reunions, love and support Leaving a legacy, inheritance, retirement Painful conclusion, rock bottom, back problems Stress, exhaustion, too many responsibilities
Page / Jack Irony, creativity, synchronicity, surprise Time to dream, openness to new possibilities Curiosity, energetic, bravery, foolhardiness Too many possibilities, profit if you act immediately, don't wait
Knight Pride, weakness of pride, romance, charmingness Efficiency, routine, resolution to finish a goal Charging ahead, regardless if it is wise, being opinionated or hasty Grasping the opportunity and moving forward, Promises of sucess from current course
Queen Obsession, clinging to harmful feelings, intuition, compassion, calm Pondering, too much pondering, potential for personal growth, down to earth, motherly aspects Quick thinking, perception, power, and knowledge how to use it, victory without battle Knowing how to keep posessions, potential for increase from creative action
King Take nothing for granted, fine to be pleased but don't cause jealousy, emotionally balanced Thinking ahead, holding on to success, discipline, being controlling. Clear thinking, intellectualism, things that can't be changes regardless of battles Wealth that may be lost, the poison of envy, visionary