One of the most interesting tarot things I’ve learned in the last month is how the majors were not originally numbered.
(That link includes the typical list, 22 cards numbered from 0-21.)
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In her book Tarot 101, Kim Huggens suggests an exercise where you re-order of the majors according to a story structure
The commonly suggested “story” of The Fool’s Journey has never worked for me as much of a story, so I loved the idea.
I took this on because she suggested a form of The Hero’s Journey – something I already have familiarity with – so it felt like a solid foundation to build on.
That link is to a version of the Hero’s Journey I wrote about some years ago. If you like to write fiction you’ll find a whole new rabbit hole to explore in that series.
What I’ve laid out here is the order I came up with based on the way I see the majors and how they line up with the pattern (Departure, Initiation, Return) as Huggens laid it out in her book.
1. Call to Adventure
Wheel of Fortune. The randomness of fate – often proving to be not-random (destiny).
I love the sphinx in this card for this position, and she’s surrounded by the elements: Earth, air, fire and water. You know from go this isn’t a game, and everything is involved, whether for you or against you.
2. Refusal of the Call
The Hermit. No desire to engage. Alternatively, the hero might already be fully engaged in their current/inner world and aren’t responsive to or motivated by the call when it first appears.
After all, how many of us would respond to an outrageous demand from a stranger.
And these demands almost always seem outrageous…
3. Supernatural Aid
The Magician. Here we add to that story all the raw material (resources) and power.
This is the point where the hero is convinced that what needs to happen is mathematically possible: those elements mentioned in The Call? Here with the magician we see the physical representation of each of them as tools: The wand for fire, sword for air, cup for water and the pentacle for earth.
4. Crossing the First Threshold
This is the fight our protagonist has to be able to enter the arena. The big change embraced, even as they don’t fully know all they’re saying yes to. Of course I saw The Fool.
I love how she’s got her little knapsack and her dog. She doesn’t have to have everything figured out before she starts, but she doesn’t have to be alone or empty-handed, either.
5. The Belly of the Whale
The worst so-far – and we’re not all that far in yet. This is a form of rebirth through a death-like experience. The Empress: the power of life and death, tied up in nurture (or the withholding of it).
This is sometimes where our hero realized the stakes – how much there is to lose, which restated can also be a reminder of how much there is to fight for. Read more