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 the 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 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 story begins…
Throughout this four-part series we will follow the wheel of the hero’s journey through the experiences of each archetype of the 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 Emporer: 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 learning journey
Each 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 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 next month on the battlefield…
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