Tarot card reader Carrie Anne takes us on a four-part adventure through the Major Arcana and our own ‘hero’s journey’. Let’s begin…
Have you experienced heartbreak or job loss, then bounced yourself back? Have you finally manifested that long-awaited dream? If the answer is ‘yes’, you have travelled the hero’s journey.
The hero’s journey is an idea conceived and popularised by Joseph Campbell – an American mythologist and author. After extensive travel, Campbell discovered a common narrative, or monomyth across different cultures and stories, which he called the hero’s journey. It’s essentially a
circular quest of stages leading to human transcendence or triumph and can be found in most personal and universal stories, including films such as Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz. Campbell viewed this common quest in all stories and humans as a metaphor for transcendence.
Whatever life may be throwing at you can be identified within some stage
on the wheel of hero’s journey. There are three main phases on the wheel:
‘the departure’ (when the character leaves what is familiar), ‘the initiation’
(when the character is tested and meets with conflict), and ‘the return’ (where the character returns home healed, resurrected and transformed). Each phase can be further broken down into stages and could involve you experiencing a ‘call to adventure’, ‘crossing the threshold’ or a being part of a battle full of both allies and enemies.
The role of the Tarot
So, what bearing does this have on the way we see tarot cards? The Major Arcana – known as the trump card portion of the tarot deck – is a picture play of archetypes and experiences that can be read as a movie or hero’s
journey. Each card in tarot’s Major Arcana symbolises a spiritual lesson we must learn or a circumstance on the soul’s path. Our journey to transcendence can be represented by the fool’s journey through the tarot deck to the world tarot card (which represents the ultimate transformation to hero). If the hero’s journey applies to every tale and human story, the fool’s journey through the tarot is no different. The hero’s journey is universal after all, just like the tarot deck.
AND SO OUR TAROT STORY BEGINS…
Throughout this four-part series we will follow the wheel of the hero’s journey through the experiences of each archetype of tarot’s Major Arcana. At the end of this, when we have transformed, fought many battles, and returned with something new, we will become the hero of our own story. So, let us now follow the fool who is taking the first step of his quest…
THE FOOL: HEAR YOUR CALL TO ADVENTURE
The fool has answered a call within his soul, representing a new beginning or desire and the white dog at his feet symbolises intuition guiding him on his journey. The fool knows he cannot achieve self-mastery without leaving his comfort zone, so he answers the call to adventure with joy. He represents: new beginnings, joy, creativity, fresh hope, a leap of faith, taking risks, adventure and optimism.
THE MAGICIAN: SEE YOUR PURPOSE
After a few steps, the fool takes inventory of his talents and resources. He realises he will have to learn to manifest what he needs before he travels too far from home. The fool now becomes the magician who learns how to leverage water (cup), fire (wand), air (sword) and earth (pentacle). He represents: focused creativity, confidence, intellect, personal power and action.
THE HIGH PRIESTESS: EMBRACE THE POWER OF THE DIVINE FEMININE
The magician must not rely too heavily on his masculine ego, so he manifests the divine feminine on his path. This mysterious woman is meditating in a temple. The high priestess agrees to teach the magician to hold opposites in harmony, unlock universal secrets and receive divine knowledge. You have taken a leap of faith and manifested something new; now you must go within and become a conduit for divine messages. She represents: trusting yourself, receptivity, secrets, mysteries, intuition, inner wisdom, knowledge and mentoring.
THE EMPRESS: EMBRACE YOUR SENSUALITY
After achieving harmony within herself and ascending spiritually, the high priestess must rejoin the world to show what she has learned. The priestess becomes the empress, a creature of lust and fertility that even the emperor cannot refuse. She is surrounded by luxury and wealth and is ready to birth new things. Become the empress through sensuality, salt baths, creating and allowing abundance. She represents: creation, synthesis, earth mother, birthing dreams and beauty.
THE EMPEROR: PROTECT YOUR CREATION
The Empress now meets her emperor, a ruler and conqueror who needs a
great woman to stand beside him. The emperor has learned how to create
structure and order, how to succeed and how to lead. What does the Emperor mean for your path? If you have just birthed something, now you must be responsible for it and protect it. Learn how to lead and step into your authority. He represents: expansion, a father figure, structure, law
and order, ambition.
Continue our tarot learning journey
Each tarot character has achieved something great, the goal of their journey being self-mastery and realisation. We have answered the call to adventure and already acquired invaluable skills.
Meet your tarot mentors
Think back to how you were feeling in March this year. Odds are, you may not have had lockdown pencilled into your diary, yet here we are. The Hero’s Journey is not for the meek, and it is not always a graceful adventure. Sometimes the first step is more like a jolt or a crash, requiring an immediate response to this question: will you rise to the challenge, to meet the miraculous gifts only earned through bravery, pain and struggle?
The choice is ours
We can choose to be a safe victim or fearless hero. It is even okay to waffle a bit before you decide. In fact, ‘Refusing the Call’ (sometimes known as denial) is all part of the journey. Last month, we began our hero’s journey through the Major Arcana, and the Fool answered the ‘Call to Adventure’. He left home with giddy excitement and optimism, and even met an alchemist (The Magician) who taught him how to leverage his divine gifts.
Then he met a woman so powerful she didn’t have to speak (The High Priestess). Finally, he met one fierce power couple: The Empress & The Emperor. This power couple taught the Fool how to create and expand in the material world.
Learning our tarot lessons
The Fool met all of these fascinating characters last month, taking the best lessons from each, and is about to ‘Cross the Threshold’ and go through an
initiation process, otherwise known as ‘The Pit’ or ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’. They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears. The Fool suddenly catches a waft of incense and walks into a church. He’s ready to ‘Meet the Mentor’.
The Hierophant notices the Fool and motions for him to approach. The Fool doesn’t even begin with niceties. ‘What is the meaning of life if there is no justice in the world?’ the Fool asks. The Hierophant begins answering his questions one by one.
When life makes no sense, do you go to church, a mosque or temple? Have you ever felt only a guru could guide you through a difficult chapter? Perhaps you were at a breaking point and found the exact book you needed with the answer to your question. As unconvincing as it may be at times, there is order to the Universe. And if order is missing in our life, we must
keep searching. This is the message of the Hierophant.
The Priest or Hierophant is wrapping up a service and sitting with a couple who is crying, as they have lost a child. He blesses them with holy water and they leave. The Fool follows. Even though the Fool is less than three feet away, The Lovers do not take notice of him in their bubble of unity and mourning. The Fool admires their devotion to each other.
Have you ever felt the deep devotion and commitment that comes with creating a romantic partnership? One where you are chosen day after day, no matter what storms pass through? Not only have The Lovers made a choice, but the Divine is blessing their union. They are a team wherein all choices made are driven by a positive mindset. Speaking of driving, like clockwork, The Chariot arrives. There is no turning back now. The Fool is ‘Crossing the Threshold’.
THE CHARIOT AND STRENGTH
A charioteer gets out of The Chariot and opens the door. The Fool remembers, ‘The Hierophant kept mentioning a friend of his who lives on a mountain, so that is my next stop.’
The Fool began to get excited, and started asking the charioteer a million questions. The charioteer felt it necessary to put The Fool in his place. ‘If you want to arrive at your destination, I need to focus! In fact, let us take a break.’
In the meadow where they stopped, a beautiful woman in all white caught
The Fool’s eye. She spoke: ‘The more the hurry, the less the speed. You need to learn patience, my friend.’
Do you sometimes wonder why a certain dream or desired destination is taking so long to get to? The Chariot attains victory through focus. The woman in the Strength card has faith and patience because she is rooted in compassion, and trusts that there is a divine plan. Someone else is running the show. Remember this the next time a relationship or career plan fails. Trust the process, and enjoy the ride.
After being taken to the mountain by the charioteer, a man with a long, white beard came into The Fool’s view: ‘I am The Hermit. What you are about to meet on the road up ahead is a true spiritual battle. Carry this amulet with you and meditate in silence anytime you are beginning to lose your way, or if you feel you are in danger. This amulet is representative of the truth and wisdom of your own soul. You must learn to disconnect from others’ agendas for you.’
Have you ever met someone who seemed otherworldly? Someone who
seemed to have the answers to almost everything, making you wonder where they channelled their knowledge, and if they were even human. The Hermit is here to show us that you always have the power to connect to the truth. It is available, and it is in you. When life gets chaotic, you get still.
This inner light of truth and wisdom will put you in good stead and prepare
you for any battle. See you on the battlefield…
Continue your tarot journey
In life, to become the hero of our own story, we must be tested by enemies or antagonists so we can rise above troubles. On the road ahead, the Fool will be taken through ups and downs. Have you ever been through trials in your life where you truly could not conceive how, or if, you would come out of it in one piece? Well, brace for impact. Let us rejoin the Fool on his journey through the Major Arcana; the ‘trump’ card section of the Tarot.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE
The Fool approached a carnival. He saw a dunk tank, a judge, and a man in red tights. “Hey, we’re open!” the dealers said. “The first round is on us. We need this place to look busy.” The Fool accepted the coins and quadrupled his money. Now he had an amulet and a bag of cash for the road. Last issue, he was being yelled at by a Charioteer and almost attacked by a lion. This time, he is rich!
No matter what life is throwing us, tomorrow is a new day and fortunes will rise and fall. Life can change in an instant, which is why we should never get too boastful or too melancholy. Can luck and good fortune be created? Absolutely, if we learn to apply the laws of cause and effect and win-win solutions.
“Give it a whirl!” A man in red tights with a golden aura around his face handed the Fool a ball. “Do you know the difference between right and wrong?” a judge asked. “There is God’s law and man’s law. Sometimes they intersect, sometimes they don’t. Today, I’m going to share with you two universal laws. If you think they are true, I want you to sink me. If false, walk away. Fair enough?”
“Fair,” the Fool replied. “Number one: the truth always comes out. Number two: every single action of yours will create a consequence.” The Fool hurled the ball at the dunk tank; water splashed everywhere.
In life, we learn to compromise with others by creating win-win solutions,
and we bring order to our own lives by remembering the laws of cause and effect. If we lie, even by omission, the truth always catches up. This is Justice’s lesson.
HANGED MAN, DEATH, TEMPERANCE
Suddenly, The Fool got a knot in his stomach as the man in red tight climbed up on a huge spinning circle. “I’m the Hanged Man, and my job in this lifetime is to sacrifice something major. You have three knives in your hand. Just look ahead and throw them.” Anxious to leave, the Fool tossed the knives, one at a time. The first missed, the second went right between the Hanged Man’s legs, and before he threw the third, he lost control. The next thing the Fool remembered was a beautiful angel leaning over him. “Shh, drink this water.
It was the Hanged Man’s time. You didn’t cause his death. In fact, he’s alive on the other side, walking right-side-up again. I am Temperance. I am here to hydrate you, and teach you harmony and patience. And please remember: everything in moderation.”
Sometimes we will achieve wisdom through sacrifice. It appears that the
Hanged Man was a martyr, but maybe he just joined a better party. It seemed like the Fool became a murderer, but maybe Death showed up right on schedule to take the Hanged Man. We will all experience self-sacrifice
and endings throughout our lives. It is how we react to these sacrifices and losses that determines whether we become a hero.
Traumatised, the Fool hobbled down a stone pathway. “Why me? I didn’t sign up for this!” the Fool cried, descending into self-pity. He heard deep bass coming out of a building and noticed a man outside the door who reeked of cologne. “You look like you need a drink, man. Come. It’s buy one, get three free. I am Diablo: I own Diablo’s Den.” The Fool decided that this was exactly what he needed! After buying three women a drink, they escorted him to a private room. He relaxed into a purple sofa, trying to forget the Hanged Man.
No matter what enemy we deal with in our everyday lives (greed, lust,
addiction), if we let any of the carnal needs (money, sex, power) master our
lives, we will eventually lose the things we value. Temperance warned the Fool that he should use moderation in all things. Where do you need to moderate? What in your life are you using as an escape?
Suddenly, the Fool’s collar was in someone’s fist. “I said get off of my girls! It’s $5000!” The Fool didn’t know if he was dreaming or awake; his head was spinning. “Get Vito now,” he heard someone say. “You can have that,” the Fool said, as he motioned to his bag of cash from the carnival. “What the hell is this?” Vito held up his amulet. “A diamond!? How about you pay with this?” The last thing the Fool saw was a blur, as his head was struck with great force.
Have you ever lived through unwanted change, where everything you held dear came crashing down? Life often knocks us down only to redirect us, to give us something even greater, or to teach us a major lesson. No one said
upheaval was fun, but if you make it through the worst lessons, there’s something unbelievable on the other side. See you next time!
Complete the Tarot story
The Hero’s Journey can be applied to all situations and journeys in our own lives. We may receive a divine spark(an urge or an idea), known
as the ‘Call to Adventure’. The next step is uncertain for many: the ‘Answer or Refusal of the Call’. Once we have taken the leap and answered the call, we ‘Meet the Mentor’, which often manifests as supernatural aid, or the right person at the right time who offers the exact guidance we’ll need for the road ahead. We soon find there is a point of no return; we are committed, and now ‘Crossing the Threshold’ into the unknown world.
Once we have passed the point of no return, there will be tests of our character in the form of challenges, allies and enemies. Then there is ‘The Battle’, or the dark night of the soul. We have all been there. This is also known as ‘The Pit’, because we have no idea how to find our way out.
However, after the battle comes ‘The Reward’, then ‘The Road Back’, and a
‘Healing and Resurrection’ which brings a rebirth; and finally, the ‘Return with the Elixir’. We complete each Hero’s Journey with invaluable wisdom, and can call ourselves a Hero because we overcame something and transformed.
The Fool slowly opened his eyes to someone stroking his hair, then suddenly flinched, remembering his ambush by the three angry men. “They’re gone,” said the woman in white. “I gently told the Devil and the three towering figures that I was looking for a fool – one look at the lion and everyone ran away! The lion and I are going to ride with you in the Chariot to make sure you’re safe.” “But… how did you know I was here?” The Fool asked. “I went for an evening walk to appreciate the Pleiades and the lion just kept running in circles. He led me to you under the light of the Star.” The Fool blurted, “Marry me. I need you.” After a slightly awkward pause, the woman in white responded, “Let’s get you healed first. Then we can talk about your plans.”
Many of us succumb to the battle, or the dark night of the soul. However, we must remember that there are universal laws governing our journey. At the moment when all seems lost, the miracle follows if we maintain our faith, hope and certainty. This is the message of the Star.
“Hello again,” the Charioteer waved. “My Lord, you took a beating!” The Fool, embarrassed, could only reply “I don’t know whether I’m coming or going, as usual.” The Charioteer laughed. “Well… I can answer that for you.
You are coming with me to my beachfront house where you can get the proper care you need. It’s still dark out, but with the light of the full moon, we should be there in two hours.” The Fool instinctively grabbed the woman in white’s waist. ‘I don’t even know this angel’s name!’ he thought. “Call me Gabriella,” she whispered, reading him telepathically. “It means God is my strength.” With the lion in the back, The Fool stepped into the carriage and helped Gabriella in.
The Chariot and Strength showed up at the exact moment the Fool needed them, because they followed their inexplicable intuition. When we tune into our body, or the signs, and follow illogical urgings, we can often find a little light reflected to us in the form of clues and rewards for following our intuition. There are always unseen problems lurking or a lack of information (darkness) that require our intuition (the moonlight) to keep moving on a darkened path.
The Fool woke up to an army of singing. Gabriella and the Charioteer were talking animatedly and laughing. The Fool looked straight ahead into a beautiful pink sunrise shimmering on water. The Chariot’s horses sped up in anticipation. “If this doesn’t heal you, I don’t know what will. Everything you need is here: sunlight, food, community. We’re getting ready for a party!”, yelled the Charioteer. Gradually, each of the allies and enemies he met on his journey came forward to pay their respects.
We can often get stuck in all our struggles and problems in life, but we must always put things into perspective. Without the Sun, we do not exist. Our
life-giving star represents success, happiness, material reward and a joyous
outcome. The Fool thought he was on his way to a hospital, but instead he is
joined by all his friends from the Major Arcana, and is provided with everything he needs.
The Fool began talking: “I want to make a toast. Friends, three hours ago I was in a battle that I didn’t think I was going to come out of. The journey I have been on has been full of lessons, and each one of you has given me something invaluable.” He turned to the lion and Gabriella. “But my dear,” he knelt humbly, “you are my divine counterpart and have taught me the true meaning of strength, love, compassion, and respect. You are my Sun, my Empress, and my wish fulfillment materialised. The lion brought you to me for a reason. So, I am going to ask you again. Will. You. Marry. Me.” The Hierophant blurted out, “Well, I guess I’m working today!” as everyone
laughed in unison.
There will come times when we need to make a huge decision, and need to have ultimate clarity about it. The Judgment card is a messenger of the angels; it is a wake-up call; it is enlightenment to our life purpose. The Universe, Heaven, God, the angels – they are here to inspire you to heal and be reborn. Just keep your eyes open for the signs and act on them. Make
your decision when the answer can no longer be denied.
The Fool carried Gabriella to the ocean’s border. There was a small boat waiting to take them on their next adventure. The Hierophant circled the couple with incense, and the Lovers stood at the front as the best man and maiden of honour. The Hierophant looked at the Fool. “You have completed a Hero’s Journey, and you’re beginning another one. As you share the first morning with Gabriella and greet the Sun together, never forget each lesson
you’ve learned. But always remember that the greatest of these is love. I now pronounce you the Hero of your own story, and, also, man and wife!”
Each ending is a circle, or cycle. No matter what lessons we have learned,
the ending of each cycle always ushers in a new beginning. The World card in Tarot represents the completion of our journey or lesson. The Fool learned many lessons, found a new purpose, and returned home as the Hero of his own Tarot story. Now, it’s your turn. What is your dream, right at this moment? And will you answer or refuse the call?
Carrie Anne is a tarot teacher, transformational coach and dream strategist based in the US. She inspires and guides clients on their own hero’s journey so they can transform and live their dream lives. Find out more at dreamlaunchnow.com and sacredpathtarot.com, and follow her on Instagram @sacredpathtarot1