Mythic Tarot: The Major Arcana Pt. 1March 11, 2022
Each of the 22 members of the Major Arcana in Tarot possesses specific symbols, meanings, and mythological associations. Each of these cards in the sequence offers us parts of a grand, Jungian journey. Below you will find a quick run-down of each of these mysterious and powerful cards to guide your understanding of them in your world and personal readings.
0. The Fool (Dionysus)
The Fool is associated with the Greek god of wine and fertility—Dionysus. On the card, he is outside wearing royal clothing with perky, red cheeks at the precipice of a cliff. Typically, this card represents fresh starts, new beginnings, risk-taking, and reversely, personifies recklessness and warnings of caution. Zeus, Dionysus’ father, is represented by the eagle in the scene, seemingly watching The Fool about to act.
1. The Magician (Hermes)
The Magician represents the opportunity to tap into magic from within. In mythology, The Magician is related to Hermes, the Greek god of fortune, wealth, and luck. The bearded figure in the card is behind a table set up with a cup, pentacle, sword, and a wand—symbolizing elements of water, earth, air, and fire. In an upright position, the card reads as inspiration and action. However, if reversed, the card warns of poor planning and wasted efforts.
2. The High Priestess (Pythia)
The High Priestess has an abundance of symbols and metaphors within one, dynamic card. The black and white pillars, the Tora, the yellow crescent moon, and the pomegranates suggest balance, the subconscious, intuition, and rewards manifested through work within our inner worlds. In Greek mythology, the High Priestess connects to Pythia—an oracle at Delphi. If pulled reversed, the High Priestess can represent secrecy and a lack of inner harmony.
3. The Empress (Aphrodite)
Wearing a robe and crown, the Empress sits on a throne with an orb and scepter. Demeter, the Empress’ Greek counterpart, symbolizes fertility, growth, harvest, and pleasure. If the High Priestess represents the spiritual, inner world, the Empress personifies our outward, material existence. The card, in reverse, can offer us a message of laziness, possessiveness, and stubbornness.
4. The Emperor (Zeus)
Equipped with an opportunity, inspiration, and an understanding of our inner and outer worlds, the Jungian journey requires a steady, earthly foundation to move forward. The Emperor is the symbol of acting with the right intentions and on solid ground. Stoically sitting on a throne with four lambs' heads, the figure likens to Zeus in Greek mythology. This card promises organization, stability, and careful planning—upside down is a different story and represents a lack of discipline or oppressive control.
5. The Hierophant (Chiron)
The Hierophant arguably has the most apparent religious symbolism—the figure is dressed religiously with a scroll in hand and two followers at his feet. The figure is a priest, a wise teacher, and a healer. Chiron, the Hierophant’s Greek equivalent, is the representation of the Wounded Healer. Chiron connects to the world by feeling others’ pain and connecting worldly consciousness with a selfless, intuitive knowledge of god and law. This card suggests spiritual wisdom, adherence to institutions, and religious belief. The card reversed reveals a message of freedom and nonconformity.
6. The Lovers (Eros & Psyche)
The Lovers in the Major Arcana line-up mimics the tale of Eros and Psyche in Greek myth. Eros, the god of love and son of a jealous Aphrodite, is sent to eradicate Psyche—the most beautiful earthly maiden in the world. However, Eros falls under her spell and deeply in love. The two naked figures, male and female, are standing beneath a protective angel. Pulling this card embodies messages of love, harmonious relationships, and general alignment in love. However, its reverse could mean love contained to the self, disharmony, and imbalance in relationships.
There you have it—the first third of the Mythic Tarot Major Arcana! Where does our journey go, and what connections exist in the next stages of our hero’s journey?