Understanding Your Daily Focus
I have been focusing on new ways to make sense of Tarot, and how to put it in a larger picture of storytelling and mythology. One of the things I’ve found that helps people understand the basic meaning behind the Major Arcana is to connect the cards to classic literary archetypes. An archetype is a person or character who is familiar to us. They show up over and over again in stories, ushering the Hero through their journey. There are wise old Sages, Wizards with untamable power, beautiful Goddesses, and dark, cruel Rulers. All of these archetypes can be found in the Major Arcana, the first twenty-two cards in the Tarot deck.
In this week’s Daily Focus, I want to look at a few of the cards that fit the bill of some classic archetypes. Sometimes, just connecting these ideas and images together can help us form stronger ties to the cards and can help with learning their meaning. Let’s take a look at some of the cards which directly connect to the archetypes that are essential parts of myth and mysticism.
“The Emperor is the Ruler, the king. He makes and enforces the law. His word is the final word.”
The Emperor is another version of the Ruler archetype, it’s a masculine card that often indicates a controlling figure like a father, husband, or boss. Both the Emperor and the Ruler are leaders, lawmakers, and decision-makers. When this card appears in a reading, more often than not it indicates a controlling person or institution that is holding you back. Like all children, we must learn to break free from the bonds of our parents.
“The Empress is the Mother, the Caregiver. She is kind and maternal, she watches over the home, but she can be overbearing and overprotective.”
The Empress is the feminine counterpart to the Emperor, just as the Caregiver is the counterpart to the Ruler. This card also indicates structure and control, but it embodies the feminine aspects— a safe home, comfort, but it also indicates a person or situation that can be controlling, overbearing, and smothering.
“The Hermit is the wise Sage who shows up to force you into introspection and growth.”
Sage is the character who shows up to teach the Hero. I think of Yoda on
Dagobah, trying to turn Luke away, warning him that this will be hard. The
Hermit, like the Sage, is a card of knowledge. It is not about intellect, nor
is it about wisdom— rather it is about the innate knowledge within us, which
all of us are capable of tapping into. You know, like The Force!
“The Lovers is a card of lust, sex, and fantasy. It’s a card of love.”
The Lover is also an archetype when used in the singular form. As an archetype, the Lover is someone whose entire life is about passion, romance, and beauty. The Lovers card is more indicative of a relationship. When this card appears to someone in a relationship, it indicates true love and happiness. When it appears for someone single, it indicates a new relationship on the horizon.
“The Magician controls his world, master of his element. He is powerful but not all-knowing, there is much he still doesn’t know.”
Magician is directly connected to the archetype of the Wizard. Rather than
knowledge, the trade of the Sage, the Wizard is concerned with control and
power. When the Magician appears in a reading, it can indicate potential power,
spiritual work, and magical gifts. It is a card of shaping your own reality.
Make time today to curate your reality and make your life a little closer to
the vision of it you have in your mind.
“Strength is all about being strong, not just physically, however, but internally as well. Strength is also kindness, justice, and honor.”
Strength is a card connected to the Hero, much like the card Justice, they both speak to a sense of rightness. The Hero’s true strength comes not just from how strong they are physically, but also from what they can endure, and how they wield kindness. Today, keep in mind what constitutes true strength in those you admire.
“The Moon is the divine feminine, the Goddess. She rules the unknown, the spirit world, the darkness. A card of the internal, feelings, and healing.”
Goddess is the embodiment of the spiritual feminine— psychism, internal
journeys, the kind of strength and knowledge that only comes from exploring the
darkness. When this card shows up in a reading, it can often indicate deep
sadness, trauma healing, and PTSD. It’s important to remember that this card is
the last of the night cycle, and leads right back into the Sun, a card of
renewal and rebirth.
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