Major Arcana Tarot Archetypes and Jungian Concepts
of Identity and Individuation

The original "Empress" card from my Inner Compass Oracle and the "Emperor" (Leadership) card from my Inner Journey Tarot. Relatable to Jungian archetypes of "Creator" and "Hero".

"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you really are.”

The journey of understanding and defining our identity is a profound and transformative process, deeply resonant with Jungian psychology. Carl Jung’s concept of individuation—integrating various aspects of the self to achieve wholeness—aligns beautifully with the Major Arcana of the tarot. Each card offers rich symbolism that can guide us in this journey of self-discovery and integration.

In Jungian psychology, the concept of identity is intricately connected to the individuation process, where an individual strives to integrate various aspects of the self to achieve wholeness. Carl Jung believed that our identity is shaped by both our conscious and unconscious minds, including the personas we present to the world and the hidden facets of our psyche. Central to this idea is the exploration of archetypes—universal symbols and patterns that influence our behaviors and experiences. By understanding and integrating these archetypes, as well as confronting our shadow self—the parts of our identity that we repress or deny—we can achieve a deeper, more authentic sense of self. Jung’s emphasis on self-awareness and the balance between our inner and outer worlds provides a profound framework for exploring and understanding our identity.

Jungian Archetypes and Major Arcana Tarot Archetypes both serve as powerful tools for exploring identity. Jungian Archetypes are universal, primal symbols residing in the collective unconscious, representing fundamental human motifs. Similarly, Major Arcana Tarot cards embody archetypal themes and stages of human experience. When used together, these archetypes provide deep insights into one’s psyche. By drawing and reflecting on Major Arcana cards, you can uncover hidden aspects of your identity, understand personal narratives, and facilitate the process of individuation, ultimately guiding you toward a more integrated and authentic self.

The Self in Jungian Psychology

The self

At the core of Carl Jung’s model lies the archetype of the self — an enigmatic force that beckons individuals toward wholeness and integration. Unlike the ego, which is confined within the boundaries of conscious awareness, the self transcends individual identity, embodying the essence of unity and wisdom.*

The 22 Archetypes of the Major Arcana with a Jungian Approach: My "Inner Journey Tarot" cards

Relating Major Arcana Cards to Jungian Identity And individuation concepts

The Fool (0)

  • Represents the beginning of the individuation journey. It symbolizes new beginnings, innocence, and the potential for growth and discovery of one’s identity.

The Magician (I)

  • Embodies the conscious self and the ability to manifest one’s desires. It signifies awareness of one’s capabilities and the harnessing of inner resources to shape one’s identity.

The High Priestess (II)

  • Represents the unconscious mind and inner knowledge. It signifies the deep, intuitive aspects of identity and the wisdom that comes from within, aligning with Jung’s concept of the Collective Unconscious. 

The Empress (III)

  • Symbolizes the nurturing aspect of the psyche and creative potential. It is connected to self-expression and the nurturing of one’s identity and personal growth. Female/receptive Energy.

The Emperor (IV)

  • Represents the structured, authoritative aspect of the self. It is associated with the development of self-discipline and the establishment of one’s identity within societal and personal structures. Male/active energy.

The Hierophant (V)

  • Symbolizes tradition, spiritual wisdom, and the guidance of established norms. It signifies the influence of cultural and spiritual beliefs on one’s identity and the process of integrating these aspects into the self.

The Lovers (VI)

  • Reflects the integration of opposites and the union of different aspects of the self. It signifies the harmonization of the anima and animus, leading to a more integrated identity.

The Chariot (VII)

  • Symbolizes the conscious effort to control and direct one’s path. It is connected to the assertion of one’s identity and the pursuit of personal goals, emphasizing willpower and determination.

Strength (VIII)

  • Represents the inner strength required for self-acceptance and integration. It signifies the courage needed to confront and embrace all aspects of oneself, including the shadow.

The Hermit (IX)

  • Embodies introspection and the search for inner truth. It signifies the deep dive into one’s own psyche to discover the essence of one’s identity, resonating with Jung’s concept of the Self.

Wheel of Fortune (X)

  • Symbolizes the cycles of life and the forces of fate that shape one’s identity. It signifies the understanding of life’s ups and downs and how they contribute to personal growth and individuation.

Justice (XI)

  • Symbolizes fairness, balance, and moral integrity. It is connected to understanding one’s ethical values, which are crucial aspects of identity and individuation.

The Hanged Man (XII)

  • Represents surrender and the reevaluation of one’s identity. It signifies the release of old patterns to embrace new perspectives, aligning with the transformative aspect of individuation.

Death (XIII)

  • Symbolizes transformation and the end of old identities. It is connected to the process of shedding outdated aspects of the self and rebirth into a new, integrated identity.

Temperance (XIV)

  • Represents balance, harmony, and the integration of opposites. It signifies the blending of different aspects of the self into a cohesive identity, aligning with the goal of individuation.

The Devil (XV)

  • Reflects the shadow self and repressed aspects of the psyche. It signifies the parts of one’s identity that need to be acknowledged and integrated for true wholeness.

The Tower (XVI)

  • Symbolizes the sudden breakdown of false identities and structures. It signifies the radical change needed to realize one’s true self, aligning with Jung’s concept of necessary crises in the individuation process.

The Star (XVII)

  • Represents hope, inspiration, and the aspiration toward wholeness. It signifies the ideal vision of one’s identity and the guiding light in the individuation journey.

The Moon (XVIII)

  • Embodies the exploration of the unconscious and hidden aspects of identity. It signifies the journey through the inner landscape, dealing with illusions and uncovering deeper truths.

The Sun (XIX)

  • Symbolizes clarity, enlightenment, and the realization of one’s true self. It signifies the full expression and recognition of one’s true identity, the culmination of the individuation process.

Judgement (XX)

  • Represents awakening, reflection, and self-assessment. It signifies a call to evaluate and understand one’s purpose and identity, aligning with the final stages of individuation.

The World (XXI)

  • Embodies completion, fulfillment, and integration. It signifies the realization of one’s true self and the achievement of wholeness, the ultimate goal of the individuation process.

While traditional esoteric divination with tarot focuses on predicting future events and gaining insight into external circumstances, using tarot for self-discovery and psychological integration is a more introspective practice. This approach leverages the archetypal imagery of the tarot to explore the subconscious mind, facilitating personal growth and spiritual development. By reflecting on the symbolic meanings of the cards, individuals can uncover hidden aspects of their psyche, integrate their experiences, and gain deeper self-awareness and inner harmony.

Identity Quest Tarot Spread

Exploring identity through the tarot within the context of Jungian psychology is a powerful journey of self-discovery and transformation. By engaging with the Major Arcana and using spreads like the “Identity Quest Tarot Spread,” you can gain valuable insights into who you are, how you are perceived, and how to align with your true self. Embrace this journey with an open heart and mind, and let the wisdom of the tarot guide you towards a deeper understanding and integration of your identity.

REMEMBER, you are the only one who can define your identity – and it evolves over time. YOU get to decide who you want to be via your values. Use this spread more like a fun, intuitive way of exploring with a curious and open mind.

1. The Core Self (Who Am I?) This card represents the essence of your true self, the core of your identity that remains constant despite external changes. It reveals your fundamental nature, strengths, and inherent qualities.

2. The Outer Persona (How Do Others See Me?) This card reflects how you present yourself to the world and how others perceive you. It highlights the traits, behaviors, and roles that define your external identity and the impressions you leave on those around you.

3. The Hidden Self (What Am I Not Seeing?) This card uncovers aspects of your identity that are hidden from your conscious awareness. It reveals subconscious patterns, repressed traits, and blind spots that may be influencing your life without your knowledge.

4. The Path to Authenticity (How Can I Align With My True Self?) This card offers guidance on how to live more authentically and align your outer persona with your core self. It provides actionable steps and insights on embracing your true identity and expressing it fully in your daily life.your

How to Use the Identity Quest Tarot Spread:

  1. Prepare Your Space: Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can focus without distractions. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself and set your intention for the reading.
  2. Shuffle Your Deck: While shuffling, think about your identity and what you hope to learn from this spread.
  3. Draw the Cards: Lay out the four cards in the order specified, either in a straight line or in a pattern that feels right to you.
  4. Interpret the Cards: Reflect on the meaning of each card in its position. Take note of any feelings, thoughts, or images that arise as you interpret the cards. You may want to journal your insights for deeper reflection.

May this spread help you uncover the layers of your identity and guide you towards a more authentic and fulfilling expression of yourself. Happy exploring!

“The nautilus shell has a pattern that repeats itself while growing ever larger, just as we ourselves have a pattern that is preserved even as it grows.” – Gary Bobroff

Journaling Questions to Help you Reflect On Each Card


  • The Core Self (Who Am I?)

    • Journaling Question: How do the qualities and characteristics revealed by this card resonate with my understanding of who I am at my core? In what ways do I see these traits manifesting in my daily life?
  • The Outer Persona (How Do Others See Me?)

    • Journaling Question: How does this card’s depiction of my outer persona align or conflict with how I perceive myself? Are there aspects of my behavior or presentation that I feel need adjustment to better reflect my true self?
  • The Hidden Self (What Am I Not Seeing?)

    • Journaling Question: What hidden aspects of my identity does this card bring to light? How might these subconscious patterns or repressed traits be influencing my thoughts, actions, and relationships? How can I begin to integrate these parts of myself more consciously?
  • The Path to Authenticity (How Can I Align With My True Self?)

    • Journaling Prompt: Reflecting on the guidance provided by this card, what specific actions or changes can you make to align your outer persona with your core self? Consider how these steps can help you live more authentically, express your true identity, and pursue your goals with clarity and confidence. What challenges might you face along this path, and how can you overcome them to fully embrace your true self?5

In exploring Jungian concepts of identity through the lens of the Major Arcana Tarot archetypes, we can gain profound insights into our journey of individuation.

Using a psychological, archetypal approach to the Tarot each card serves as a mirror, reflecting different aspects of our psyche and guiding us toward a deeper understanding of who we are and who we are becoming.


Perfect for a Self-Discovery Tarot Experience using the Archetypes of the Major Arcana!

Includes a Bonus 70-Page eWorkbook

to start your Identity Quest

with the Tarot

*cited from