While it can be argued that some cards (the Lovers, the Chariot, the Magician, and the Hanged Man) share both feminine and masculine energies, each of the 22 Major Arcana cards holds masculine or feminine energy.
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1. Masculine Cards Are Spontaneous Risk Takers; Feminine Cards Are Reserved and Calculative
Masculine cards, such as the Fool and the Emperor, are passionate and action-oriented. They are more likely to take risks to start new journeys and start over.
Feminine cards, such as the Justice, are reserved and calculative. They are more likely to observe a situation with fairness to find the truth before deciding.
2. Masculine Cards Lead in the Physical Realm; Feminine Cards Lead in the Spiritual Realm
Masculine cards, such as the Emperor and the Hierophant, lead feminine energies with safety, structure, and security. Their ability to ground in matters of time, energy, communication, and institutions allows the feminine cards, such as the High Priestess and the Empress, to spiritually lead masculine energies through creativity, freedom, intuition, and beauty.
3. Feminine Cards Are Patient and Infinite; Masculine Cards Are Excessive and Addictive
Feminine cards such as Temperance are balanced, practice moderation, and learn to integrate healthy and unhealthy desires to create freedom and infinite pleasure.
Masculine cards such as the Devil are binding, excessive, addictive, and attached. It becomes consumed by the joys of life, in fear that it will be lost or there will not be enough for all.
4. Masculine Cards Create Change Through Destruction; Feminine Cards Use Slow Spiritual Transformation
Masculine cards such as the Tower are impactful. The god of thunder takes action to destroy an egotistical foundation built too high and in the wrong direction.
Feminine cards such as Death shed skin and go through a silent ending, the evolution of the soul, and a change in perception.
5. Feminine Cards Illuminate Within the Subconscious Mind; Masculine Cards Shine in the Conscious Mind
Feminine cards such as the Moon and the High Priestess dive deep into the fears, illusions, and secrets hidden in the unconscious mind. They illuminate the shadows and depths of inner knowing and emotions that drive our desires. Their focus is intuitive and mystical.
Masculine cards such as the Sun and the Hierophant are proud, clear, and confident. Their focus is visibility and presentation.
6. Masculine Cards Are Authoritative and Disciplined; Feminine Cards Are Nurturing and Creative
Masculine cards such as the Emperor and the Chariot represent the energies of those with ambition who work on their structural bodies. They hold a determined resistance to reaching success with control and determination.
Feminine cards such as the Empress and the Star represent the energies of dancers, artists, and healers. They are more likely to focus on creative flow, beauty, and sensuality.
7. Feminine Cards Are Philosophical and Expansive; Masculine Cards Are Traditional and Rigid
Feminine cards, such as the High Priestess and the Star, are open-minded and unconventional. They are expansive and follow a spiritual truth that stems from a deep knowledge of eternal love and healing.
This allows them to see beyond the conformities, rules, and traditions found in masculine cards such as the Hierophant and the Emperor. These masculine cards follow a tradition based on structure and regulation.
8. Feminine Cards Are Abundant and Fortunate; Masculine Cards Seek Enlightenment Through Self-Sacrifice
The feminine cards, such as the Wheel of Fortune and the Empress, understand the cycles of nature and the changes of the season. By embracing the flow of harvest in the fall, abundance in the summer, and death in the winter, these feminine cards can surrender to the infinite abundance of the universe, bringing fortune, luck, and expansion.
Masculine energies such as the Hermit and the Hanged Man represent a need to release all material possessions and attachment to personal fulfillment to seek a higher calling of personal truth and wisdom.
9. Masculine Cards Create Their Destiny; Feminine Cards Have Faith in a Predetermined Future
Masculine cards such as the Magician have the power to will the energy of any element (fire, water, earth, air) and manifest the path in front of them. "As above so below,” the Magician believes that by connecting to the will of his higher spirit, he can use nature to create the world he desires.
Feminine cards, such as the Star, use the power of faith and hope for the future. The woman in the card wishes on a star to guide her through the unknown dark path before her, having faith that nature and all that is connected will cleanse the course ahead.
10. Feminine Cards Are Vulnerable and Emotional; Masculine Cards Are Passionate and Practical
Feminine cards, such as the Star and the World, display a naked woman. The woman in the Star card is a guiding light for those unable to see past their fears and anxieties. In the World card, she is an example of the wisdom acquired by being true to herself, following her intuition to complete the cycle of all the seasons towards her true north.
Masculine cards, such as the Judgement and the Devil, show a different approach to reaching success. By facing their inner desires and the shadows of their inner devil, they can judge their actions practically and logically to achieve their goals.
Integrating Masculine and Feminine Cards Into a Tarot Reading
Though each Major Arcana card holds a masculine or feminine archetype, they are not set in stone. Each Major Arcana can be feminine and masculine depending on the type of energy embodied in a tarot reading.
For example, the Magician uses elemental forces with masculine (air and fire) and feminine (water and earth) energies to manifest. At the same time, the Chariot uses the power of the light horse (masculine energy) and the dark horse (feminine energy) to move toward his vision. This shows that we all embody masculine and feminine energies, and we cannot move without integrating both archetypes into our lives.