What is the Hero’s Journey in Tarot?
Did you know that the circle of the Major Arcana in the Tarot is about the Journey of the Hero?
Today I want to tell you how an archetypal story about a person’s life is sewn up in the Major Arcana.
It all starts with the Fool. It is not accidental that he is considered the zero Arcana. Our story begins with him and tells how the naive and careless Fool gains life experience.
0. The Fool
The Hero sets off on the Journey. He is carefree, naive. In the Tarot the Fool is the significator of a child. On the image of the card, the Fool stands on the edge of the abyss, oblivious to the danger that is in front of him. The world seems to be a big exciting adventure for him. For now, our Hero lacks a critical outlook on life and he is subject to the momentary urges.
1. The Magician
Our Hero on this Arcana begins to understand that his desires will not come true on their own – you need to make efforts. The Fool learns to manage his Life, realizes that he himself is the creator of his own reality. He realizes that even if you are a Magician, you still need to wave a magic wand and know what specifically you want to create.
2. The High Priestess
The Magician is the consciousness, the active side, the masculine energy. But this is not enough to understand the World. This is because the world has a second side which is passive, feminine. The High Priestess is the subconsciousness.
Now the Hero sees the World as a whole since the High Priestess and the Magician are two parts of one whole, like the left and right hemispheres, day and night, logic and intuition.
3. The Empress
The Empress personifies the generous Mother Nature, warmth, and happiness. She is an inexhaustible source of love and selfless care. This is the archetype of the mother in the Tarot.
4. The Emperor
The Emperor Arcana is about power, order, and control. This is the archetype of the Father. The Hero learns to obey the rules and to follow the laws.
5. The Hierophant
The Hero learns morality and to appreciate the traditions. The Hierophant is the keeper of the wisdom of the ancestors about religion and rituals. He passes the knowledge that has been honored from ancient times to the Fool.
6. The Lovers
The Fool must learn to make choices. He needs to feel the temptation, and it’s his right to succumb to it or reject it. On Arcana The Lovers, the Hero learns what Love is.
7. The Chariot
Once he made a choice, the Hero must show Will to move forward towards his goal with the Chariot. He must be able to control the situation, his feelings, and his mind.
8. The Strength
The Fool learns his Strength. The card depicts a woman that is taming a lion. This is a bestial, instinctive nature in the form of a Leo under the control of the human Soul.
9. The Hermit
Now our Hero is ready to recognize himself. The Fool learns to appreciate the spiritual instead of the material. It’s time for him to find the spiritual Journey in the ipostaze of the Hermit.
10. The Wheel of Fortune
The Hero learns that the Journey of life is impossible without ups and downs, that everything in the world is cyclical, that there is a Destiny from which one cannot escape. You have to be in the flow of the Wheel of Fortune and feel where the Universe is directing you.
The Hero learns the principle of Justice. This is the Arcana of karma – all his actions will necessarily lead to consequences.
12. The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man is tied up, he hangs upside down and has no way to get out. By hanging in this position, the Hero is looking at the world from a different angle. The World opens before him from a new side and he receives Insight.
13. The Death
Now our Hero must learn to let go of what has already DIED in order to open up new opportunities. He must not be afraid of change which carries the Death. Everything that happens is for the better.
On Temperance Arcana, the Hero comprehends harmony between desires, feelings, thoughts. He learns self-control and understands that everything is good in moderation. The Fool becomes wise.
15. The Devil
The Devil is the Journey of rebellion, passions. The Hero becomes dependent on the desire to possess of something at any cost. In fact, he gives his soul to be torn apart by the lower instincts and degrades. Passion, power, lust, alcohol, greed, fame. This is a test of temptation.
16. The Tower
If the Hero chooses the Devil’s Journey, retribution finds him. The Tower is God’s will. The Fool is going through the lesson of the most destructive Arcana in the Tarot. He will be guided on the right Journey. The divine revelation at once destroys all delusions, leaving nothing of them.
17. The Star
In the darkness, after the Tower, the Star lights up like a beacon. It illuminates the Journey for our Hero and he follows the Star, with faith and hope, towards his dream. The Hero is almost at the end of the Journey. At the end of the tunnel the Light is already coming through.
18. The Moon
In the moonlight, the reality is distorted. In Arcana the Moon, the Fool is faced with uncertainty, with the unknown, with his fears. He still has to go wandering in the darkness. Illusions take over his mind. Unknown forces rule in the darkness. The Hero needs to WAIT for the Sun to rise.
19. The Sun
Finally, the Fool comes out into the sunlight. There comes complete clarity and full understanding of the deepest questions about the mystery of Life. The Hero sees the world in its true light. The Sun symbolizes the highest level of consciousness. The Fool achieves purity and clarity of mind and heart.
A spiritual awakening takes place. The Hero hears the calling of Souls, of the God. Judgement is the Destiny from which it is impossible to escape. The lesson for the Hero is to understand that the goal that he followed, only by believing, REALLY exists. “According to your faith, it will be done to you”.
21. The World
The Journey has come to an end. The Hero passed all the tests and returned home. Now our Fool is a mature person that knows how the World works.
The Fool personifies the Hero, recklessly moving towards his Destiny. And he gets the whole World at the end of the journey! What seems to us a step into the abyss is actually the Journey to the transformation of the Hero from Zero to the World. Peace is always a well-deserved reward, the hero gets what he aspired to!
The World holds two meanings. It is the completion of one stage and, at the same time, it is the beginning of a new one. For example, a person has completed the Journey, learned everything, received a diploma, and now his new Journey begins in a different capacity.