The Hero’s journey is the time old tale of the trials and tribulations we all go through in life. It is a dramatized re-telling of our growth. This growth can be within many different areas in our lives which is why there are so many versions of the story. There are versions that denote the growth of courage, strength, compassion, truth and spirituality.
Today there are many versions of this story resurfacing in modern culture. In recent years we have movies like; Lord of the Rings, Finding Nemo, and the Harry Potter series of movies. We also find the journey’s pattern in video and role playing games such as; the Legend of Zelda and resurgence of Dungeons and Dragons.
The story of the Hero’s journey has a common theme no matter what the particular growth is It starts out with the basic ordinary and unprepared adolescent who find him or herself being the only one who can complete some task. Our hero at this point is nothing more than an ill equipped and unprepared boy or girl who is filled with trepidation and doubt (think of the Matrix and Neo doubting he is the One), but reluctantly still sets out upon their journey. There is sometimes a variation of this particular theme to keep in mind though. Sometimes, the story sets our hero enthusiastically out on his journey after the prize only for him to discover who he truly is and what he is really after.
No matter the version we are taken through the Tests and trials of our hero. We see the growth and the changes that are taking place within him or her before they themselves see it within the story. We see them having to dig deep within themselves to find the hidden strength, courage, love or Godliness. It’s always after the great struggle or the dark night of the soul when that which was hidden within our hero awakens and beings to come to light. It’s always at the most crucial time in his life when he or she thinks they can’t do it alone that they find their journey has prepared them for this and their experiences have provided them with wisdom and that they are all they ever needed to complete their journey successfully.
The major arcana tells us the story of the Hero’s Journey and total growth into a person who is complete unto himself. He starts off the journey as the Fool and ends the journey as the Hero. Some people believe The World or The Universe card is the last chapter in this story, but it is my opinion that we need to end where we began which is with The Fool who is now the Hero in hindsight. All cycles are not complete until the cycle begins anew. This is why we must end with The Fool, because the cycle nor the story is complete until The Fool returns and is reborn the Hero.
The other cards in the major arcana deal with the different points along the journey and the different experiences and growths and regressions that occur. We need to take an individual look at each of the major arcana cards and the mile markers that they represent along the Fool’s journey to becoming the Hero.
Because each of these cards can be associated with the energies of the 22 paths on the Tree of Life; and these energies are the ones that make up each of these growths, I feel it a useful association to study and learn them together to attain a better understanding of the major arcana, the paths of the tree and our own lives.