The past two months I've been taking tarot lessons with the incredibly talented Avril Price, at The College of Psychic Studies. After five years of self-study it's been loads of fun interacting with other students and learning from Avril. Class ends next week and our end of term assignment is due. As you may already know, the tarot is divided into the Major Arcana which looks at a Fool's journey through life, and the archetypal life stages he travels through time and time again. The Minor Arcana which looks at struggles and joys of daily life in the suit of fire (creativity), cups (emotion), air (thought) and earth (stability). The Minor Arcana tend to be easier to grasp and more common in our lives. Our homework is to bring the more elusive Major Arcana to life with a creative project. I opted for movie metaphors, looking at films or characters that match up to the cards. I'm still on the fence with a few of them, so please comment below with your suggestions. In some cases I couldn't think of a single movie or character to match the card, and I've turned to astrology for inspiration instead. Each of the Major Arcana has its own sign or planet and in theory the essence should be the same, but it did give me more leeway. Here we go!
The Fool: This is where the journey begins. We take our first steps into the unknown with out knowing exactly where it will lead us, or what type of challenges we'll face. On some level the Fool succeeds because he is blissfully ignorant of his own limitations, and his ego doesn't get in the way. This one reminds me of Forrest Gump and how he accomplishes so much with pure luck.
Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get.
The Magician: Here we're forced to test our skills in the real world, and what we lack in experience we make up for in ingenuity. It reminds me of The Hobbit, where Bilbo is plucked from his comfortable life and thrown into the adventure of his life (by a magician, no less). Bilbo forges ahead despite his apparent lack of adventuresomeness and comes out on top. This is based on the book.
The Empress: This card is about fertility,, beauty, abundance and Mother Nature. It's linked with the planet Venus, also love and beauty. The only movie character that comes to mind is Commodus' sister in Gladiator, based on how she behaves throughout and the fact that she will rule after her brother dies ...
The Emperor is about logic, foresight, discipline and drive. It's also linked with the Zodiac sign of Aries, which is about pure action, a natural born leader. The movie that springs to mind is The Aviator, starring DiCaprio. It's about the life of Howard Huges, an empire builder who followed his passion for aviation.
The High Priestess is about listening to your intuition and developing a personal connection with the divine. I'm going to cheat here and reference a short story that I wrote five or six years ago, when I was barely starting to think about psychic abilities, intuition and magical happenings. The main character is a young witch in training and you could say her mom was the High Priestess (and her dad the High Priest).
The funny thing is I had never given any thought to energy healing until one of the characters spontaneously healed another after an unexpected car accident. You could say my intuition opened doors for me with this piece of creative writing. I'm kind of embarrassed to share it, but you can read it here...
The Hierophant could be about tradition as it's linked with the sign of Taurus. I am going out on a limb here by connecting it with the classic holiday movie, A Christmas Story. The Hierophant can be keen to respect and maintain religious or social institutions, he can also abandon them if they no longer work. Having grown up in the United States, the film certainly feels like a holiday tradition. I also enjoy the leg lamp scene where the mother pretends the lamp isn't there (visualising a new reality) and then breaks an tosses it. On some level, this could represent doing away with old power structures.
Leg Lamp Scene
The Lovers is about making choices based on love, trust and passion instead of fear. It can also be about soulmates, marriage and union. Its about knowing what's real and lasting, and what's not. I couldn't help thinking of What Dreams May Come. If you haven't seen it, I won't spoil it. Let's just say it's about recognising the people in our lives for who they are and what they mean to us.
The Chariot is about making tough choices and pursuing our objectives. This often requires a good deal of discipline, drive and self-control. It's a mental challenge too, like a marathon. I went with the movie Troy because of the effort that goes into storming a fortress, and the Achilles heel could be the mind.
The Justice card is not surprisingly linked with the sign of Libra. Its about fairness, people getting what they deserve and also our responsibility to look after people who have been wronged or could be seen as underdogs. The movie that springs to mind is Erin Brockovich, fighting to make sure justice is done.
The Temperance Card is about patience, timing, being balanced and healing by integrating different aspects of your personality in an intuitive way. The image on the Rider Waite deck shows a woman pouring water from one cup to another, with a rainbow around her. She seems to be quite peaceful, in her own world. The movie character that comes to mind is Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series, who always seems to be in the same fuzzy state no matter what is going on at Hogwarts or in the world.
Bonus Point! Take the Harry Potter Meyers-Briggs Personality Test to find out which HP character you resemble. I actually got Luna LOL.
The Strength Card is about having a good deal of inner strength, even if we choose to show it in a gentle way. We're able to stand the test of time, meet our challenges and get through it without breaking (bending is OK). I went to an extreme here with a character that can't control his strength: The Hulk. This particular scene actually from The Avengers, one of the best laughs in the film.
The Hermit is a person who leaves civilisation temporarily to find their own truth, understand who they are and come out a new person. They can also seek knowledge that they will eventually share with others. To me the Hermit's path is a spiritual rabbit hole, we don't know where it goes or where it ends.
Wheel of Fortune: What goes around comes around, and what goes up must come down, as they say. This card can be about karma, changes of fortune or even cycles of life where we reap what we sow. A bible story came to mind with this one, when Joseph was sold into slavery because his brothers are frightened by a dream where he ruled over them. Joseph somehow managed to become a free man, a successful merchant and eventually triumphed over his brothers.
A Clip from the Musical
The Hanged Man is about taking a time out, looking at things from a different perspective and it can also be about sacrificing yourself for the greater good (or to make a point that you think is for the greater good?). At least one of these themes plays a part in The Life of David Gale, starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet. I won't say any more so as not to ruin the ending, it's worth watching.
The Death Card is about cycles in our life coming to an end, whether it's graduating from college, leaving home, leaving a job or getting divorced. Its about a big change to the status quo and having to come to terms with it, even when the change is something we would very much welcome. The movie I chose instead reflects a literal interpretation of a big ending: The Departed. Great film!
The Devil is about attachments to material things like cars, toys, big houses and the silly or fearful things we sometimes to do get them. It can also be about putting ourselves ahead of others and asking our angels (or devils) to fulfil desires that aren't necessarily in anyone's best interests. From a Kabbalistic perspective, the ego (inner devil) is a healthy opponent that tests our resolve and shapes our character, with the best intentions even if it doesn't appear to be the case. For this reason I went with Bedazzled, another favourite of mine!.
The Tower is about life crumbling under our feet (or so it seems). It can be very unsettling when our foundations are shaken to their very core, but it also gives us a chance to face our fears and start from scratch with a healthier and more productive environment. I'm not sure why I went with The Little Mermaid on this one, I think the King's life crumbled when Ariel was taken from him and he had to face his fears (Ursula) and give in to the little mermaid's wishes. It must have felt like his world was falling apart, and the scene is scary enough...
The Star Card is about trusting that things will be alright, and that events in our life are guided by a higher plan. It can also be about following our guiding star out of the darkness. It's also linked with the energy of Aquarius, a forward thinking sign that has our collective evolution on its mind. I went with a song from Jesus Christ Superstar called Everything's Alright. This is one of my faves!
The Moon is about our Intuition and psychic insights revealing what is hidden from the conscious mind or from our five senses. Things we feel, even if we can't see them with our eyes or with gadgets. There's a great movie starring Matt Damon called Hereafter, which follows the lives of a psychic medium as he struggles to come to grips with his gift, and a young woman who is touched by a near death experience. Also happens to be directed by Clint Eastwood.
The Sun is a welcome message that hard times are over, and the Sun will shine down on our lives. Everything the sun touches grows, and when we are touched by the warm light of the sun we thrive. Initially I was going to go with Little Miss Sunshine but I felt like Annie was a better fit, especially the song Tomorrow.
The Judgement Card is about listening to our calling and serving humanity, or just doing what is right even if it's really hard. I see this as Tom Cruise's character in A Few Good Men. It's also related to the energy of Saturn, the planet of reality checks, and one was delivered to Jack Nicholson's character. =)
The World is about completion and coming full circle in our lives, although it can also be about coming face to face with our limitations as it's linked with the planet Saturn. If you believe your limitless deep down, the world is your oyster. I don't have a good metaphor for this one so I'll go with the Jamaican Bobsled team that competed in the winter Olympics despite being unfamiliar with snow.
So that's my end of term project on the Major Arcana! I hope you enjoyed it, and please feel free to comment below with any movie suggestions. This is meant to be a working document even if it's already been handed in. Lastly, here is a snapshot of all 22 Major Arcana Cards, in case you haven't seen them.
Image: Rider-Waite Deck via https://wmjas.wordpress.com