Major Arcana Book Recommendations
Updated: Mar 5, 2021
Let's talk Tarot Cards. In a Tarot deck, the cards are split into two large groups; the minor arcana and the major arcana. The minor arcana focuses more on temporary personal details, events and situations that you are experiencing now that are fleeting. The major arcana focuses on the opposite, it focuses on something bigger than yourself. it connects you to something larger, and it stays with you and has a lasting effect. Exactly like a good book. A book that changes how you see the world, how you see your life. A book that makes a lasting impact on you and will stick with you forever.
I've chosen a few cards from the Major Arcana and grouped them with some of my favourite books in the hopes that the books, like the cards intend, connect you to something much larger than yourself.
The Fool: The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
The Fool card describes someone embarking on a new life. Someone who travels against the
current, an outsider. An outsider willing to risk everything. Someone who doesn't quite fit in. Someone like Jay Gatsby.
The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald's famous great American novel. The novel has been described as many things; a novel about old money and new money, about forbidden love, about ambition, but it is also about a dreamer. Gatsby starts an entirely new life, creates an illusion because he wanted to be something better than he was. Gatsby was an outsider, right until the end; he represented new money and all the gaudiness that came with it - the parties, the flashy cars, the multicoloured shirts. In the end, Gatsby was the fool of the tale.
Now, I recommend this novel, not because of Gatsby's delusional nature but because of the magic pen that Fitzgerald used to craft the novel. The imagery, the characters; the embodiment of the nihilism and glitz of the roaring 20s. You'll find new things to love and to hate no matter how many times you open the pages. It's a novel set in the 1920s, but the story is timeless.
"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther ... And one fine morning ---”
The Empress: Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum - Aemilia Lanyer
The empress represents strong female power. It's the figure of emotional control, maternal instinct and femininity. Now, there are so many books about female empowerment; about strong and brave women, but Aemilia Lanyer's poetry collection Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum stands out for me because of Lanyer herself.
Lanyer's collection was the first original collection to be published by a woman in England. Each poem in the collection was named after a woman who Lanyer admired, inspired and was influenced by. Her title poem talks about eve and the original sin, it essentially flips the religiously justified patriarchal society on its head and it's one of my favourites. It is essentially a celebration of femininity and that's why I love it and think it positions itself so closely to The Empress.
"Then let us have our liberty again,
And challenge to yourselves no sovereignty.
You came not in the world without our pain,
Make that a bar against your cruelty;
Your fault being greater,
why should you disdain
Our being your equals,
free from tyranny?"
Strength: The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
The Strength card is relatively self explanatory. the card represents triumph, of being able to show who you really are and fight for what you believe in.
Angie Thomas' The Hate U Give does just that. Not only a bestselling novel but also an amazing movie, The Hate U Give tells a very real tale of the police brutality and systematic racism that black individuals face everyday. The story is told through the eyes of the main character who loses her childhood friend at the hands of a police officer. Torn between two worlds, Starr must fight for justice. Not just for Khalil but for her community that are in danger from the police system as well as drug lords. It's a story about justice, bravery and strength. Starr finds her true identity and her voice, a voice she uses to speak about the injustice she lives through.
My words don't do the novel justice, but its truly an eye-opening book and I highly recommend it.
“I can't change where I come from or what I've been through, so why should I be ashamed of what makes me, me?”
The Lovers: The Kite Runner - Khaled Housseini
Now, The Lovers card can symbolise romantic love but it's also a card of union; a coming together of differences. It doesn't always mean romance.
So the book I recommend is Khaled Housseini's The Kite Runner. This one will have you in tears by the end, I guarantee it. This is a heartbreaking tale of an unlikely friendship between a wealth boy and the son of a servant. Set in terror stricken Afghanistan, Housseini explores the dynamics between Sunni and Shia Muslims, Rich and Poor, Old and Young. We see love and betrayal and sacrifice. It highlights familial love and loss. it's a beautiful novel and is well worth a read.
“For you, a thousand times over”
The Wheel of Fortune: The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller
The Wheel of Fortune card speaks about fate and destiny. When these forces are in motion, you have no other choice but to let them steer you. Your fate is sealed.
The Song of Achilles tells of a familiar tale. Based on Homer's Iliad, Miller's novel focuses on Achilles and his best friend Patroclus. We all know about Achilles' heel, about the weakness that leads to his downfall. The novel plays on this myth. What if his weakness wasn't brought about by his mother failing to protect all of his body from mortality but instead his weakness was a person. And we already know Achilles' fate, and soon the characters discover it too. It's an amazing read and I can guarantee it'll have you hooked right from the first word.
“This is what Achilles will feel like when he is old. And then I remembered: he will never be old.”
Justice: You Against Me - Jenny Downham
The Justice card speaks of doing what is morally good. It disregards any bias and tells us that justice should be absent of human error and mistakes. You should always do the right thing regardless of any personal bias you may have.
Downham's You Against Me does just that. The story begins in medias res; Ellie Parker's brother is accused of raping a girl, and Ellie is named as a key witness to testify in her brothers favour. The thing is, she ends up falling for the victim's brother and she is torn. Not only between romance and family but right and wrong. She needs to look beyond her personal connections and do what is right. Help her brother get convicted? Or preach his innocence?
I first read this book nearly 6 years ago now and it's stuck with me ever since. When I was thinking of a book to link to the Justice card this is the book that popped into my head - that's how much of a lasting affect its had on me. I highly recommend it.
“Why do I feel like you're not on my side anymore? Please don't give up on me.”