The second line of the major arcana is a deep dive into the self, and questioning the structures we learned about in the first line. This part of the majors teaches us about the value in the inbetween and unknown.
Spirit is all about our will within. It is our ability to gaze into ourselves and find our deepest desires, the emotions that hang like a shadow behind every word we say and thing we do.
The figure here is meeting their reflection in a valley between mountains, finding power and strength in their knowledge of self. The twisted snakes mirror the card above this, The Conjurer, calling to the original state of power and confidence found in existence. They now perform a dance that is not only representing desire, but communication with one's deep self. An infinity symbol connects the conscious to the subconscious in a never ending conversation.
Spirit is about the relationship we have with our desires and our needs. It is about the act of listening to ourselves when the road becomes challenging. It is about moving forward from the struggle of The Command (VII) and into our own power. It is also very much about analyzing our desires and the intentions behind our actions, as a next step from The Conjurer above it. In what ways do we uphold patterns and concepts that the conscious self would reject? In what ways are we hurting our own spirit by not listening? This card is about the power in truth.⠀
Traditionally known as Strength.
Guide is about following a path, looking inward or around us to find the map, the instructions, the clues of the universe.
The figure is draped in robes, slender and still. The drape of the clothing forms a path at the bottom of the image, that rises up through the Guide's lantern and into a plume of smoke. The lantern holds within it the star, a reference to the 17th major arcana card, The Dream. Behind it all are the pillars present on The Diviner, which sits above this card in the majors.
As the next step from Spirit, Guide is a reminder to access our inner truth at our critical crossroads. When we cross into a world of more meaning than material success or simple stability, we must confront not only what we want but how we know this to be true. Within us all is our own Guide, and this Guide also lives in everyone and everything around us. Our intuition and our perception of our right path is built by our lived experiences. We can strengthen our relationship to ourselves, and our trust in all forms of this guide, by slowing down and listening.
As a next step from the card above it, The Diviner, Guide represents stepping into a more purposeful state of pause. Now, listening isn't just about information gathering, but about planning and pushing forward. It is an inspiration for the journey ahead, and a map to a destination yet unknown. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Traditionally known as The Hermit.⠀⠀⠀⠀
Exchange shows us the unknowable balance of the universe, and the ways we are constantly both giving and taking.
This card marks the last of the majors to connect to minor arcana counterparts through number. This point in the progression of majors marks a turning point from individual focus to broader focus. Where prior to this card, the archetypes largely speak to how we interact with ourselves, from this point on we consider these themes a part of an experience between us and the universe.
Exchange is a wheel, yet it hangs suspended in the clouds. Its placement is a metaphor, the forever out of reach and hard to grasp reason behind the pendulum swings of the universe. Though the wheel's center pieces are uneven with the pieces sitting on either side of them, over all there is an even number of larger and smaller pieces. This symbolizes the way ups and downs may feel unfair or unexpected, but balance each other out. This is a quite simplified way of looking at the complexity of the path we are all on, but this speaks to the virtue of trusting without completely knowing.
The four elemental symbols mark the wheel to reinforce the connections between elemental energy and the major archetypes. These symbols also reinforce the change in perspective from suits to elements that exists after the first line of majors. At first, we must learn these energies by example, using the suits as tools to familiarize ourselves with these concepts. But by Exchange, we are able to see them as ideas bigger than what can be held or harnessed.
Exchange was titled this way because it speaks directly to the balance of the universe. It asks us to look at what we give and what we receive. Whether on a large scale or in the microcosm of our day to day interactions, do we nurture reciprocity? Do we believe we are worthy of equal exchange?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Traditionally known as The Wheel of Fortune.
Equity represents being fair and balanced, in a matter which mirrors the checks and balances we see in the universe, as presented in the previous card, Exchange. It sees justice as something worthy of sacrifice and accountability.
Equity stands solid, but not stubborn. Their scales hang on their shoulders, a weight that falls on them to uphold. But these scales are not only personal, they are also universal. Their strings are taught, up and past the beam that connects them and into the sky. They connect to the tapestry of all conflict and all resolution. Equity knows that their actions will inform a greater truth, and impact those they cannot see or imagine.
As a response to the truth of balance seen in Exchange, Equity is not about the unyielding preservation of what already exists (seen above them in The Preserver), but rather about sustaining a practical fairness. Equity is the moment of truth in each conflict, where one must to the hard thing and choose fairness over tradition, or over their own needs. They choose to listen to that which is unknown, unrepresented, or misunderstood. It is a selfless service to the balanced nature of the universe to act with equity, to be aware of potential bias and pass judgement with care for the human spirit.⠀
Traditionally known as Justice.
Revelation is about personal awakening, and stepping into your own enlightenment.
The figure on Revelation is the first human figure since The Stray to have such a magnificent halo. Their clothing flows up like that of The Conjurer, displaying their autonomous attitude. For the first, and only time in the deck, their clothing has loose edges. As the garment is opened, it disintegrates. As the veil is parted, the illusion of barriers fades away to reveal a singularity within.
Revelation as a title steers us away from the gendered language of "man" but also away from the precarious concept of being hung. Although there is reason to believe the Hanged Man has hung himself to achieve this enlightenment, The Crux shows that vulnerability in a way that cannot be misconstrued with punishment. The figure in revelation is not hung, they are open. Their garments are parted to reveal and access an inner truth. Revelation may feel private, but it ultimately prompts a change in behavior and world view that can make one more of a target.
The card above Revelation is The Designer. While The Designer has their place, the rigid structure presented there places many in the position of follower, and not leader. Learning under a teacher, or seeking guidance from another is perfectly fine, but we must all find our own trust in ourselves. Revelation is to be authentic, and to step away from schemes or illusions that promise to know you better than you know yourself. As a next step from Equity, this card is about embodying the truth and change you pass judgement on.
Traditionally known as The Hanged Man.
Resolution teaches how endings can be healing, and how limitlessness and endings can coexist.
Resolution contains three figures, though they are all connected through the center entity. The ghostly figure at the center is in a liminal space, seeing below them the physical decomposition which all physical things must experience. Above and around them, is the spirit which inhabits all things, free and euphoric.
Resolution dissects endings not as anything objective, but as subjective experiences. As glances beyond, allowing us to see the weight that we once carried, and the void it leaves. Endings may not always be simple or easy, but they are necessary. Parting with ideas, people, and paths all are a part of making room for growth. Even when it feels all is lost, the spirit remains, in our memory, in our actions, in our words, and in our future. The ghost of all that leaves us is an ally, teaching us about what we want and need.
Resolution follows Revelation, a natural release of all which guided us to that moment of enlightenment. Before we can truly become connected with our truth, we must erase the boundaries, and make peace with that loss. The Union, above Resolution, teaches us about the joy and euphoria of connection and bonding. Resolution offers us an alternate, non-contradictory truth: dissolving structure and bonds can be just as healing.⠀
Traditionally known as Death.
Synthesis is a call to union with the universe, to see a worth in, and a relationship to everything.
The figure on Synthesis carries a halo like Revelation, and their clothing is open as well. But inside you see not singularity, but the fluid dance of identity and relationships. Synthesis stands obstructing an infinity sign, but from our perspective it looks as though they are being pulled away from themself, or perhaps drawing others in. They fill the scene with this intense energy and display, as they put to action what the second line of the majors have taught them: the illusion of opposites must be dissolved if we are to meet our full potential.
Synthesis does call us to be mindful or otherwise "temperate" in our combining of ideas and identities, but whether or not we choose to identify with something, we have a relationship with it. We cannot be isolated, hidden, or denied our complexity. Even if something or something is opposite us, its opposition makes our stance stronger.
This card goes beyond the physical act of combining, or the emotional concept of temperance and restraint, and leans into the glory of interconnection. The web of the world makes us who we are, and there is no way to silence this. Synthesis revels in the non-binary, the unlabeled, the unknown, and even those who find identity in a lack of identity. These shapeshifters are seen here, in the dance of Synthesis.
Before Synthesis is Resolution, and in that death one glimpses the truth. All is connected, and one day will be dissolved in one way or another. Synthesis responds not with despair or apathy, but with joyous euphoria. If all can be taken away, all has meaning and worth. Above Synthesis we see The Command, a card that speaks to controlling one's path and creating success through will and power. Synthesis is powerful and successful and fulfilled by their ability to move mutable through the world. Their fluidity allows them to move through challenges with ease, and see the way even their worst moments are formative and productive.
Traditionally known as Temperance.