Mythic Tarot Major Arcana cards

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April's Fool, the first step on the Journey of the Tarot ~ April, 2009

April seems to be a fitting month to write about the Fool since we just celebrated All Fools' Day, a day when many people like to play practical jokes on their loved ones. It seems that many of us enjoy catching another person being a Fool, but don't always like to play the Fool ourselves. In spite of our wishes, life gives us many opportunities to be the Fool. Every time, we begin something new, or take on a new role, we have the chance to embody the archetype of the Fool. In Carl Jung's path to individuation, the Fool is the first step on the journey. Think back in your life how you felt when you began a new job, went on your first date, or showed up at the first day of school. We often can feel the energy of the Fool such as feeling stupid because we don't know everything yet, or feeling vulnerable because we are unsure of ourselves, but it in these moments, that we take a risk to learn something new, and move us further along life's path.

The Fool is the beginning of the 22 Major Arcana cards which depicts the archetypal journey of life, and it's number is actually 0 - the Zero point, the beginning of all journeys. The final card of the Major Arcana is the World, and so the journey begins with the Fool.

In the Mythic Tarot, the Fool is portrayed as the god, Dionysus, the child of Zeus, the king of the gods, and Semele, a mortal woman and a princess of Thebes. Dionysus had a rough childhood even as a god, and was almost killed by Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus. Zeus rescued his still-beating heart, and through the power of transformation in the underworld, he was re-born. After that, he was known as Dionysus-Iacchos, the Twice-Born, god of light and ecstasy. After he was re-born, he still had to face challenges when Zeus had him live among men, and share in their suffering, and a still angry, Hera, cursed him with madness causing him to wander the world. Dionysus did give mankind the gift of wine, and brought drunken ecstasy and spiritual redemption to those who were willing to relinquish their attachment to worldly power and wealth. Eventually, his heavenly Father had him rise to Olympus, the home of the gods, where he took his place at the right hand of the king of the gods.

On an inner level, Dionysus, the Fool, is an image of that impulse within us to leap into the unknown which is why it is an ideal symbol for springtime as well. In the spring, it is the perfect time to begin something new, and with the energy of the Sun in Aries, we can feel more inspired to take risks in our lives. The Fool captures that desire for change that can sometimes surprise us, and have us looking like the Fool. The Fool is not a logical impulse, but more of a gut instinct that can take over, and have us following a path that makes no sense to our left brain, but perfect sense to our more intuitive and creative right brain. It is these leaps of faith that can lead to a more creative, and more fulfilling life. Of course, there is no guarantee how the leap will go, or where you will end up at the end of the journey, but if you don't take a few leaps of faith in your life, you may end up wondering what you missed in life, and why you played it so safe.

The Fool may be speaking to you this spring, and it does seem to be influencing the energy on the planet right now as we all embrace a new way of living in this huge shift of consciousness that is taking place right now.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2009

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments on the Fool's journey.

The Magician's Magic is within ~ May, 2009

The Magician is the second step on this Jungian journey as told through the Mythic Tarot. We have taken that leap of faith into something new, and now it's time to tap into that magic within. The Magician is the second card of the 22 Major Arcana cards which depicts the archetypal journey of life ending with the card of the World. The Mythic Tarot combines the wisdom of Greek mythology, western astrology, and the traditional tarot.

In the Mythic Tarot, Hermes, that mercurial God of Greek mythology, depicts the Magician. Hermes is known as the guide of travelers, patron of thieves and liars, ruler of magic and divination, and the bringer of sudden good luck and changes in fortune. Dressed in his white robe and red cape, Hermes is the swift messenger of the gods, and a guide of souls into the underworld. In Greek mythology, Hermes is the son of Zeus, king of the gods, and Maia, who is also known as Mother Night.

Thus, Hermes is the child of both spiritual light, and primordial darkness, and his colors - red and white - reflect the blending of earthly passions and spiritual clarity which are part of his nature.

Hermes also has the gift of divination which is shown on the card by the symbols of the Four elements of Water, Fire, Air and Earth - the Cup, Wand, Sword and Pentacle. He offers us opportunities in the realm of feelings (the Cups), creative imagination (the Wands), intellect (the Swords), and of the material world (the Pentacles).

On an inner level, Hermes, the Magician, is the guide. This means that somewhere within ourselves, we have the inner wisdom to help us make choices in our lives. But since Hermes is also a Trickster, the directions are not always clearly given. We may receive them through a dream, or in meeting a stranger who has a clue for us, or even in a book that we "randomly" chose to read. Hermes is that unconscious wisdom within us which looks after us, and which can appear to us as though by magic at the most critical moments in our lives to offer guidance and wisdom. To follow this guidance is crucial, but it's not always the secure and safe path. We have to be willing to take the risk, and then the Magician will reveal itself to us.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2009

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Empress, the quintessential Earth Mother ~ June, 2009

The Empress is the second card in this archetypal journey of the Mythic Tarot. Last month's Magician left us holding all our creative gifts, and now, we're ready to take the next step. Out of the 22 Major Arcana cards, the Empress is one of the most visually beautiful cards of this particular deck. The Empress, a striking woman with long, flowing brown hair is obviously pregnant, and stands in a field of ripening barley.

In the Mythic Tarot deck, Demeter, the great Greek goddess of Mother Earth, symbolizes the Empress in all her earthy abundance. Demeter is known as the ruler of all nature, and the protector of the young. She embodies the essence of the Great Mother. In Greek mythology, Demeter ripened the golden grain each year, and in late summer, people offered thanks to her for the bounty of the Earth. She presided over the birth of new life, and blessed the rites of marriage. Demeter is a matriarchal goddess, an image of the power within the Earth itself which needs no validation from Heaven.

Demeter lived with her daughter, Persephone, and they shared a happy union on the Earth until the day, Persephone disappeared. Demeter searched far and wide for her daughter, but did not find her. Eventually, after many years of searching, word came of her daughter's fate. It seems that Hades, the lord of the underworld, had been overcome with desire for the maiden, and had abducted her, and taken her to his underground lair. Upon this discovery of her daughter's whereabouts, Demeter became enraged, and allowed the Earth to fall barren, and refused to restore it to its former abundance. Eventually, the gods, Zeus and Hermes, interceded, and came up with a plan where Persephone would live with her mother for nine months of the year, and then spend three months with her dark lord because she had willingly eaten the pomegranate, the fruit of the underworld. Demeter never fully accepted this arrangement, and for the three months that she was parted from her daughter, she went into mourning, and everything on the Earth grew lifeless and cold which became our winter. But every year, Persephone would return to her Mother, and spring would come again.

On an inner level, the image of Demeter, the Empress, reflects the experience of mothering. This does not just mean the physical experience of being a mother, but also the inner experience of the Great Mother, where, we realize the importance of the physical body, and discover an appreciation of the senses, and the simple pleasures of life. In a reading, the Empress card could reveal the onset of an earthier phase of life that could include marriage, and the birth of a child as well as the birth of a creative child such as a book that also needs patience and nurturing. And so the Jungian journey continues... the Fool, the child of heaven, realizes that he lives in a physical body, and is a creature of both Heaven and Earth.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2009

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Emperor, the Inner Father ~July, 2009

The Emperor is the third card in this archetypal journey of the Mythic Tarot. The Empress of last month represents the Mother, and the feminine, and now we meet her counterpart, the Emperor, the Father who embodies the masculine.

In the Mythic Tarot, the Greek god of Zeus, king of the gods, was chosen to represent the Emperor on this card. In his purple and gold robe, Zeus sits on his golden throne at the top of a mountain because he is a god of mental and spiritual heights. In his right hand, he holds three lightning bolts chosen to represent his power as a god of inspiration and sudden creative vision. The lightening symbolizes the revelation of truth that can come in a flash. In his left, he holds the globe of the world, and has an eagle perched on his shoulder to symbolize the eagle eye view that he has of the world as well as the aggressive and conquering instinct that he possesses.

Zeus lived at the top of Mount Olympus, and ruled over his hierarchy of gods. His volatile and fiery spirit expressed itself not only in thunderstorms, but also in the many lovers, whom he pursued, and the many children whom he fathered. His loyal wife was Hera, goddess of marriage and childbirth, but she didn't approve of his philandering. Hera usually found out about his escapades, and then there was literally hell to pay for him, and his paramours.

On an inner level, Zeus, the Emperor, is an image of the experience of fathering. It is the father who embodies our spiritual ideals, our ethical codes, and our survival skills out in the world. He also represents the authority and ambition which drive us to succeed, and the discipline and foresight to accomplish our goals.

This masculine energy is within both men and women, and emphasizes more the intellectual mind rather than the intuitive nature of the physical body which is the feminine. To have a relationship with the inner father is to possess a sense of one's strength, one's capacity to initiate ideas, and the ability to manifest them in the world. In a reading, the Emperor card can reveal this masculine principle at work. Perhaps, the person is manifesting a creative idea, building a new business, or establishing the structure of home and family. In any case, they are embodying the masculine energy in their life.

When the Fool meets the Emperor after his journey in the instinctual world, he is learning how to deal with worldly life with his own resources, and according to the rules of society. He is also discovering his own ethical principles to live by which is one of the gifts of the Emperor. Like the Zodiac sign of Capricorn, the high road is integrity, discipline, and the betterment of all concerned - something we are all learning at this time in history.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2009

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The High Priestess, the Intuitive Guide ~ August, 2009

The High Priestess is the fourth card of the major arcana of the Mythic Tarot. Persephone, the Goddess of the underworld, and the daughter of Demeter, the Earth Mother of the Empress card, graces this mystical card. In the Mythic Tarot, the High Priestess is depicted as a slender, ethereal young woman with her pale skin, long dark hair and dark eyes, who embodies Persephone's otherworldly role. Persephone holds the pomegranate, known as the symbol of the dead, in one hand, and the narcissus in the other hand, the flower that led to her abduction by Hades, the Lord of the underworld. She also stands between two pillars - one white, and one black - symbolizing the creative potentials, and destructive impulses - that can be hidden in the darkness of the unconscious.

In the Empress card, we first met, Persephone in the story of her Mother, Demeter. According to that myth, Persephone was abducted by Hades when she was out gathering flowers, and taken to his underworld. There, she ate the pomegranate, the fruit of the dead, which bound her to her dark lord forever. Thus, leaving behind her innocent girlhood, she became the guardian of the secrets of the dead. Demeter was able to strike a deal with Zeus that insured that Persephone could spend nine months of the year with her Mother, but the other three months would have to be spent with Hades. As described in the Empress card, Demeter never fully accepted this arrangement, and for the three months that she was parted from her daughter, she went into mourning, and everything on the Earth grew lifeless and cold which became our winter.

On an inner level, Persephone, the High Priestess, is an image of the connection with that mysterious inner world which depth psychology has described as the unconscious. In this hidden world, there are many riches and potentials. There are our undeveloped potentials as well as the darker, more primitive facets of the personality. It also holds the secret of the destiny of the individual which gestates in darkness until the time is ripe for manifestation. Persephone symbolizes the part of us which knows the secrets of the inner world. Through our intuition, dreams, and synchronicities, we can get glimpses of these hidden jewels within. In a reading, the High Priestess can reveal a time when your intuition is becoming stronger, and there could be an encounter of some kind with this hidden inner world of secrets.

And so the journey of the Fool continues, having learned something of his physical nature, and his place in the world from his earthly parents, the Empress and the Emperor, he now enters a more shadowy realm where the secret of his real purpose, and the pattern of his destiny can be revealed.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2009

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Hierophant, the Wise Sage ~ September, 2009

The Hierophant is the fifth card of the Major Arcana, and this card is graced by the mythic figure of a Centaur, with a head and torso of a man, and the body of a horse. His long, brown hair suggests a priest, or teacher. In his left hand, he holds a scroll containing wisdom, and his right hand is held up in an ancient sign of blessing. Around him, there are twin stone pillars leading to a cave which is both his home and temple.

In the Mythic Tarot, Chiron is the Centaur on this card. He is known as a healer, priest, and wise teacher. He was educated by Apollo, the sun god, and Artemis, the goddess of the moon, and because of his great wisdom, and spirituality, he was made the king of the Centaurs. As the king of the Centaurs, he shared his wisdom with the young Greek princes, and was also known as a great healer because he knew the secret healing qualities of herbs and plants though he was unable to heal himself when he was struck by one of the arrows dipped in the blood of the monster, Hydra. Because, he was immortal, he had to live with this wound, sacrificing all worldly happiness, and devoting his time to teaching spiritual wisdom.

On an inner level, Chiron, the Hierophant, is an image of the inner spiritual teacher, the priest who establishes the connection between worldly consciousness and the intuitive knowledge of God's law. The Emperor's laws embodying the father principle on earth are concerned with right behavior in the world, but the laws of the Hierophant are concerned with right behavior in the eyes of God. But Chiron does not symbolize any orthodox religion because it is more about finding your own personal relationship with God, and what that means to you.

Chiron's injury made him the Wounded Healer, the one who through his own pain, can understand and appreciate the pain of others. The Wounded Healer part of ourselves teaches us compassion for ourselves, and others. The Centaur also teaches us how to accept the human, and the divine part of ourselves.

In a reading, Chiron, the Hierophant, shows a time when the individual may embark on a spiritual or philosophical quest. Through the study of a particular system of belief, they are looking for the deeper meaning of life. The Hierophant may also show up as a counselor, priest, or spiritual mentor who can become a guide to the seeker.

The Fool thus emerges from his discovery of the underworld seeking answers to the personal meaning of his life, as he leaves his childhood behind, and ventures out into life's challenges.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2009

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Lovers, a Time of Choice ~ October, 2009

The Lovers card is a fitting card for the month of Libra where relationships of all kinds are a big focus especially the romantic kind. The Lovers card is the sixth card in the Major Arcana of the Mythic Tarot. In this deck, the Lovers card portrays a beauty contest where Paris, a Trojan prince, has to choose which of the three lovely goddesses- Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite is the loveliest of all. Hera, the wife of Zeus, is regal and mature dressed in her purple robes holding a globe of the world. Athena, goddess of wisdom, is cool and chaste, dressed in her full battle armor holding a sword. Aphrodite, goddess of love, is young, seductive and scantily clad in a robe that reveals more than it conceals holding only a golden cup.

The decision in the beauty contest seems to be a foregone conclusion. Paris is a young man, and focused on what most young men are- physical beauty. He's not able to appreciate the gifts of Hera as she offers him the rulership of the world, or of Athena, who would grant him the designation as the mightiest of warriors. Paris chooses Aphrodite when she opens her robe, and offers him the cup of love, and the most beautiful mortal woman in the world as his bride.

Destiny is then set, and Paris is given Helen, queen of Sparta, and inconveniently someone else's wife. At their meeting, they fall in love, and Helen's husband angered by the infidelity begins the Trojan War which lasts ten years, and results in the destruction of the City of Troy.

On an inner level, the judgment of Paris is an image of the first of life's great challenges to the developing individual - the problem of choice in love. The choice is not just about trying to decide between one person and another, but it reflects our values, because our choices mirror back to us the kind of person we wish to become. Because of his youth and the driving force of his sexual needs, Paris cannot choose from a mature perspective. He makes his choice based on desire, and has to deal with the consequences. Desire for another person forces the development of individual values and self-knowledge through the drama and conflicts which arise

from one's choices. Paris is an image of that side of us which governed by the compulsive desires cannot yet see that all choices have consequences for which we are ultimately responsible. Without passing through this initiation by fire, we cannot understand how we create our own futures, but instead blame the results on fate, chance or someone else's fault, rather than our own lack of reflection.

In a reading, the Lovers card can signify a choice of some kind, usually in love. Sometimes this means a love triangle, or having to choose between love, and a career, or some creative activity. In any case, the Lovers card reminds us to look carefully at the consequences of our choices, rather than being driven blindly by our own desires.

In the Lovers card, the Fool faces his first adolescent challenge, and hopefully, is wiser from the story of Paris.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, M.A. © 2009

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Chariot, on the Move ~ November, 2009

The Chariot is a fitting card for these times as there is a lot of movement going on right now as we move from the old reality to the new paradigm. It is not an easy transition, and can feel like a battle in the inner and the outer world. In the Chariot card, Ares, the God of War, is on the move as he struggles to hold onto his black and white horses as they pull in opposite directions. The card portrays Ares as a handsome, virile man with auburn hair, blue eyes, and a ruddy complexion, driving his bronze war-chariot. He is adorned in bronze amour, and a blood-red tunic. At his hip, he wears a bronze shield, and at his side, a large spear, a traditional symbol for the masculine. Ares travels on a dusty, road leading through a reddish, desert-like place while the sky is filled with an impending storm. The barren desert lacks water, an image of the lack of feeling and relatedness where the aggressive impulses thrive. The black and white horses reflect the potential for both good and evil contained in the aggressive instinct.

The Chariot is the seventh card in this archetypal Mythic journey. On an inner level, Ares, the driver of the Chariot, is an image of the aggressive instincts guided and directed by the will of consciousness. The horses which pull the Chariot in opposite directions are symbolic of the conflicting animal instincts which can battle it out for control within each one of us. The instincts are meant to be handled with strength and firmness, but not broken, or repressed, because they also give us a great deal of power and potency to survive in this world. Ares' iron will and courage are a necessary dimension of the human character allowing us to survive in a sometimes, challenging and competitive world where spiritual vision alone may not be enough.

Having invoked a conflict as a result of his choices in love in last month's card, The Lovers card, the Fool must now confront one of life's great lessons - the creative harnessing of the instinctual urges. In the card of the Lovers, the Fool is still an adolescent who seeks to possess a beautiful object, but through the figure of Ares in the Chariot card, he arrives at maturity by learning to deal with the consequences of his actions. Like the Fool, we must also learn how to deal with the warring opposites, and urges within ourselves. If we can meet the challenge of Ares, then we can be more honest about this vital life force within, and the struggle of learning how to contain and direct it fosters development of the whole personality.

In a reading, the Chariot card can signal some kind of conflict or struggle which can result in a stronger personality. It can be an internal struggle with our shadow sides, or come to us from the outside, as a conflict with another. But in any case, the conflict cannot be avoided, but needs to be faced with strength and containment.

And thus the Fool's journey continues as he learns to handle contradictions, and moves on from adolescence to the next stage of his life.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2009

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

A Time for Justice ~ December, 2009

In the Justice card, the Fool meets the first moral lesson on his Mythic journey of the Tarot. The card of Justice is the first of four cards in the Major Arcana which were known as the four moral lessons. These cards - Justice, Temperance, Strength, and the Hermit - are all concerned with the development of these skills in order to function effectively in life. They could be seen as the formation of the ego, which allows us to have a sense of worth and value in life, and to cope with life's challenges. The Fool having passed through the two great challenges of youth - erotic desire and aggression - now faces a time of building his character to be able to deal with a wide range of life's experiences.

In the Mythic Tarot deck, the Justice card is graced with the presence of Athena, the Greek goddess of justice, who is seated on a silver throne adorned in her silver helmet and battle armor. In her right hand, she holds a sword, and in her left, she holds a pair of scales symbolizing the ability to weigh both sides of a situation to arrive at an impartial judgment. An owl is perched on her shoulder reflecting Athena's clarity of vision.

Justice is the eighth card in the tarot, and tells the story of Athena, the favored daughter of Zeus. Athena was a natural warrior from birth, but unlike Ares, the god of war; she was more of a strategist, and her need for war was based on high principles, and the cool recognition that a battle was sometimes necessary to preserve the truth. She balanced Ares' aggression and force with logic and diplomacy. She was also known for her service to mankind, and fostered skills and crafts such as weaving. She was known as a civilized goddess, although, she could become a warrior when she needed to protect her peaceful civilization.

On an inner level, Athena is symbolic of the capacity for reflective judgment and rational thought. Athena's judgments are not based on personal feeling, but upon an impartial objective assessment built upon ethical principles. Athena's chastity can be seen as a symbol of the intactness and purity of this reflective skill which is not influenced by any personal desires. Her willingness to battle for principles rather passions stems from the mind's capacity to make choices based upon reflection while holding the instincts in control.

In a reading, the Justice card can reveal the need for balanced thought, and impartial decision-making. But like Athena's sword, this card can be double-edged because there are some areas of life where Athena's cool reflection is too chilly and idealistic like in the area of love relationships. Her sword can cut the heart with its general truths, and not take into consideration the particular situation. Though, justice does serve a purpose in life encouraging all of us to be aware of fairness and truth as important ethical principles.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2009

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

Temperance - a Time for Balance ~ January, 2010

In the past year, I began a series of articles about the Mythic Tarot which is a set of cards that follow a Jungian archetypal journey as told through the Major Arcana cards from the Fool to the World. I will continue that journey this year, and pick up the story with the next card being Temperance.

Though before we continue with Temperance, I will refresh your memory that the card featured in December was Justice. In the Justice card, the Fool meets the first moral lesson on his Mythic journey of the Tarot. The card of Justice is the first of four cards in the Major Arcana which were known as the four moral lessons. These cards - Justice, Temperance, Strength, and the Hermit - are all concerned with the development of these skills in order to function effectively in life. They could be seen as the formation of the ego, which allows us to have a sense of worth and value in life, and to cope with life's challenges. The Fool having passed through the two great challenges of youth - erotic desire and aggression - now faces a time of building his character to be able to deal with a wide range of life's experiences.

The next card, Temperance is the ninth card in the tarot, and can be seen at the top of this webpage on the left hand side. In this particular deck, the Temperance card is graced with the beauty of Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, who is the namesake of my counseling business. With her long, black hair, Iris is garbed in rainbow-colored robes adorned with a pair of wings of many colors. She stands with one foot in a flowing stream, and the other foot on dry land reflecting her ability to unite opposites within. Along the sides of the stream, there are fields of purple irises. Behind her, there is a rainbow across the sky symbolizing hope as revealed in this colorful bridge between heaven and earth. Iris holds two cups, one gold, and one silver, and pours water from one to the other. The gold and silver cups represent the sun and the moon, the masculine and the feminine, and the unconscious and the conscious, joined by the flow of feeling.

Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow, was also known as the messenger goddess because like Hermes, she carried messages from Hera and Zeus down to earth, and sometimes even further, down into the underworld. In some of the Greek myths, she also was known for giving birth to Eros, the god of love.

On an inner level, Iris is an image of the next set of lessons that the Fool needs to learn to form a stable Self which is to have a balanced heart. Where Athena, who embodied justice is fair and objective, Iris, who embodies temperance, is kind and merciful. Iris is also connected with the function of feeling as symbolized in her ceaseless pouring of water from one cup to the other. In this act, she is showing how feelings must constantly flow and renew themselves from moment to moment.

Iris's goal is harmony which requires a balancing of the positive and the negative in feelings. She serves the feminine realm with her goal always being cooperation, and better relationship.

The Fool's goal is to learn to integrate the rational thinking of Justice with the balance of feelings as expressed in the card, Temperance. We all need a balance of both, and one or the other dominating can result in disharmony.

In a reading, the card Temperance reveals the need for a flow of feeling in relationship. Iris, the guardian of the rainbow, suggests the potential for harmony and cooperation resulting in a positive relationship and/or marriage.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

Strength - Facing the Lion ~ February, 2010

The Strength card is the next step on the Fool's journey in the Mythic Tarot. It is the tenth card in the Major Arcana, and the third moral lesson that the Fool faces. The Fool having passed through the two great challenges of youth - erotic desire and aggression - now faces a time of building his character to be able to deal with a wide range of life's experiences.

In the Mythic Tarot deck, the card of Strength pictures the great warrior, Heracles, as a muscular man with chestnut hair, and only adorned in a red loin cloth. He is engaged in a struggle of life and death with a lion in a dark cave which opens onto a barren landscape. Heracles wears the color of Ares, whom we met in the Chariot card, because he has learned the vital lesson of harnessing aggression, and directing it towards a creative end.

In the Greek myths, Heracles is committed to twelve years of arduous labors in the service of King Eurystheus, for the crimes that he has committed, and the first of these famous twelve labors was the conquest of the Nemean Lion, an enormous beast with a pelt that couldn't be penetrated by iron, bronze or stone. Since the lion had depopulated the neighborhood, he couldn't find anyone to direct him to his lair. Heracles hunted down this famous lion on his own, and after numerous tries, he was able to capture it and kill it with his bare hands. Then Heracles wore the skin as armor with the head as a helmet, and became as invincible as the beast.

On an inner level, Heracles' struggle with the lion is an image of the challenge of containing those primitive instincts within us, while still preserving those animal qualities which are creative and vital to life. The lion can symbolize the creative and unique Self within all of us. The feeling of invincibility can come when we have a solid sense of Self. When we wear the skin of the lion, the opinions and criticisms of others can not affect us for we are armored in our own indestructible sense of identity.

In a reading, the card of Strength can reveal a situation where we are faced with our own lion within, and where a creative handling of one's own anger and senseless pride is desirable. Courage, strength, and self-discipline are necessary to battle with the situation. Through such an experience, we can face the beast within, but also we can be Heracles, the hero who can subdue the beast as well.

Thus, the Fool, having dealt with the faculties of mind and feeling, now learns how to deal with his own egotism, emerging from the contest with trust in himself and integrity towards others.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Hermit - An Inner Journey ~ March, 2010

The Hermit card is the final moral lesson for the Fool on his archetypal journey in the Mythic Tarot. It's time for him to learn the lessons of time, and face his own mortality. The Hermit is the eleventh card in the Major Arcana, and stands at the midpoint of the journey to the wholeness of Self as depicted in the final World card.

In the Mythic Tarot deck, the Hermit card features Cronos, as an old man with a grey beard, shrouded in grey robes with his face half-hidden. In his right hand, he carries a lamp which glows with a golden light symbolizing the insight and guidance that can come from being patient, and in his left hand, he holds a scythe which looks like the crescent of the moon symbolizing the eternal cycles of time. A crow perches on his shoulder as a symbol of the spirit of the old king who has died to make way for the new cycle. Behind him, there is a cold, misty mountain range with a bleak, grey sky.

In Greek mythology, the god, Cronos whose name means time was the last-born of the Greek gods, Uranus and Gaea. Because Uranus was ashamed of his progeny, he had locked them all in the underworld against the protests of Gaea. Gaea plotted with her last-born son, Cronos, to use his scythe to castrate his father, and then liberate his brothers, and become sovereign of the earth. Under his long reign, the work of creation was completed. As god of time, he ruled over the orderly passage of the seasons, birth and growth followed by death, gestation and rebirth. But like his father, Uranus, Cronos was also fearful of being overthrown by his own son which did happen with Zeus, the youngest of Cronos' children, who in mythology overthrew his father, and ushered in the reign of the Olympian gods.

On an inner level, Cronos, the Hermit, is an image of the last of the moral lessons which the Fool must learn: the lesson of time and the limitations of the mortal life. Nothing is allowed to live beyond its span, and nothing remains unchanged. Cronos is a god who embodies the meaning of time, and also rebels against it which results in his being overthrown, and having to learn the wisdom in solitude and silence. The challenge of solitude and the discovery that one is ultimately alone and mortal are dilemmas that all human beings must face in time.

Youth moves into maturity, and can never be regained in a concrete way, but memory and wisdom can be distilled from the passage of time, along with patience. The negative face of Cronos is calcification, a stubborn resistance to change and the passage of time. The positive path would be to change what we can, to accept what we cannot change, and to wait in silence until we can see the difference.

In a reading, the Hermit card can be an indicator that there is a need for a time of solitude or withdrawal from the extraverted activities of life to go inward to gain the deeper wisdom. There is an opportunity to build a stronger foundation if one can be patient. Thus, the Fool learns to have a deep respect for his own limitations in the great passage of time.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Wheel of Fortune ~ April, 2010

The Wheel of Fortune is more than a game show. It is the 12th card of the Major Arcana cards in the Tarot deck, and the next step on the Fool's journey when he has to come to terms with his own destiny. Destiny and fate are two words that many people have debated in the game of life. We all wonder how many of our life choices are just that our own choices, or if we are being guided by some unseen destiny, or living at the hands of Fate.

The Wheel of Fortune card in the Mythic Tarot deck pictures the three goddesses of Fate, whom the Greeks have called the Moirai. The three women are seated in a dark cave symbolizing both the womb from which life is given, and the tomb to which it returns, and so is the beginning and end of Fate. Clotho, a young woman, spins thread from a golden spindle while Lachesis, a mature woman, measures the thread between her hands; and lastly, Atropos, an old woman, holds a pair of shears to cut the thread. The thread which the Moirai spin, measure and cut is likened to the weaving of the tissues of the body suggesting that Fate is connected with heredity and with the physical body itself.

In Greek mythology, the three Fates wove the thread of human life in the secret darkness of their cave, and their work could not be undone by any god including Zeus.

Once the destiny of an individual was woven, it could not be altered, and the length of life and time of death were set by the Moirai. If a human tried to challenge Fate, as heroes were known to do, then they were afflicted with what was called hubris, which means arrogance in the face of the gods, and they would be punished for their actions.

On an inner level, the three Moirai who encircle the Wheel of Fortune reveal an image of a deep and mysterious law at work within the individual, which is unknown and unseen, but seems to precipitate sudden changes of fortune that upset the pattern of their lives. On the card's Wheel, there are four human figures that depict the different experiences of fortune from success to down on his luck, and from moving forward with support to descending against his will.

The Wheel of Fortune card is not really about sudden turns of luck, chance, or accident, but more about the idea that there could be an intelligent and orderly plan behind the seemingly random changes in life. The image of the Wheel is a powerful picture in that the rim of the Wheel suggests a moving panorama of life while the hub of the Wheel remains still at the center, a constant and unchanging essence. The hub could be the Self which chooses without the conscious knowledge of the ego, but turns toward various situations, events, paths and people. Perhaps, Fate does not come to meet us, but rather, we turn to meet our Fate.

In a reading, the Wheel of Fortune card can be an indicator of a sudden change of fortune which will bring growth, and a new phase of life. And so the Fool's journey continues as he encounters the unseen hands of the weavers of his destiny.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Hanged Man - A Time of Waiting ~ May, 2010

The Hanged Man card has been showing up a lot lately in the readings that I have been doing. Considering what is happening on the planet, I am not surprised. The Hanged Man is the 13th card in the Major Arcana, and the next step on the Fool's journey. As the Fool responds to the turning of the Wheel of Fortune, he has to put his trust in the unknown, and the unconscious as he enters a time of waiting for a new and better life.

The card of the Hanged Man in the Mythic Tarot deck portrays Prometheus as a mature man with brown hair, and a beard. He is shackled in an upside down position to the bare face of a cliff. His upside down posture implies that his head - the rational mind - no longer controls him. Like the setting sun on the card, this image symbolizes the descent of the spirit into the darkness of the unconscious. Behind him there are the craggy rocks, and the large wings of an eagle as it approaches.

Many people are familiar with the story of Prometheus. He was the Titan who defied Zeus, the father of the gods, and stole the fire from the gods to give to man, knowing that he would be punished for his deed. The name Prometheus means 'foresight', and he also possessed the gift of prophecy. He had a deep sympathy for humankind, and wanted them to have some of the holy fire so that they could discover progress and illumination, but this didn't go over well with Zeus. Zeus seized Prometheus, and had him chained to a high cliff in the mountains. An eagle flew down each day to devour Prometheus's liver; and each night, his liver was renewed, and the torture continued. After 3o years of this torture, Zeus relented, and allowed him to be rescued by Heracles thus making Prometheus immortal.

On an inner level, the Hanged Man, is an image of a voluntary sacrifice for a greater good. The sacrifice can be of a material object, or an inner attitude, but it is made with willingness, and an acceptance of the suffering that might be required. The image of Prometheus is a symbol of the part of us which has the foresight to understand that such changes might be needed for the unfoldment of an inner plan which is not yet clear. He implies an acceptance of waiting in the darkness which many mystics have called the 'Dark Night of the Soul' where one can only wait without a vision of how everything will turn out. The card of the Hanged Man is the natural next step after the turning of the Wheel of Fortune, for it implies a willingness to trust in the Self which knows better than the ego what might be right and necessary for one's personal development.

In a reading, the Hanged Man can signify the need for a voluntary sacrifice for the purpose of acquiring something of greater value. It may be an external object, or a cherished attitude which needs to be released. In any case, it often involves a time of waiting where we are not able to see clearly in the darkness, and must wait for a time of clarity.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Death card - A Time for Endings ~ June/July 2010

Sometimes for many months, I don't see the Death card in any readings where I begin to wonder if it's still in my deck of cards, but when I fan all 78 cards out, there it is. It is a card that I don't see often in people's readings, but when I do see it, I often sense fear in the recipient of the reading, but I always explain how it rarely means an actual physical death, but more of an ending to a chapter in their life. It could be the ending of a relationship, a job, a home, or a lifestyle.

After all, endings are a necessary phase of life.

The Death card is the 14th card in the Major Arcana of the Mythic Tarot, and shows the next phase of this archetypal journey. The card of Death in the Mythic Tarot portrays Hades, the god of the underworld, dressed in his black robes with his face hidden behind a helmet. His hands are open to receive the gifts from the small humans at his feet. They give him a golden crown, a pile of coins, and a flower. Behind him, the River Styx, winds its way across a barren landscape leading to a far shore where the sun is rising on the green hills.

In Greek mythology, Hades was the son of the Titans, Cronos and Rhea, and was rescued by his brother, Zeus, who gave him the kingdom of the underworld as his share of the inheritance. Hades also known as Pluto was the absolute master of the dark underworld. Although, Hades received less stature than his heavenly brother, Zeus, he possessed the greater power because his law was irrevocable. When a soul entered the dark domain of Hades, no god, including Zeus could rescue them. At times, people did their best to enter by way of trickery or magic to bring back someone from the dead, but those rescues were rare.

On an inner level, Hades, the god of Death, symbolizes the permanent and final end of a cycle of life. When change shows up on our doorstep, we are often asked to relinquish an old dream, attitude, or way of being in the world to be replaced by a new beginning, but first, we must go through the ending. Hades in his dark robes symbolizes the experience of sadness and mourning that we go through before we are able to embrace the new cycle in our lives. In the card of the Hanged Man, we learned about the experience of a voluntary sacrifice where we make a decision to let go of something in the hope that a new phase of life can emerge. Hades represents that in-between stage where we are brought face to face with our loss before the sense of new growth has begun.

The card of Death does not always symbolize a challenging ending, but can be more of an ending of an old way of life like when someone is married, or gives birth to a child. They are also letting go of an old way of being in the world, and learning how to embrace their new status as a spouse, or a parent. And such is life with its many endings and new beginnings from childhood to adolescence, from youth to middle age, and from one relationship to another. Thus, Hades, the lord of Death, is our invisible companion throughout life.

In a reading, the card of Death usually implies that something must come to an end whether or not the person is fully aware of the impending ending; it is a necessary stage for their soul's growth. It signifies an opportunity for a new life, if they can let go of the old one. For the Fool in the Mythic Tarot, it is a time when he enters the underworld, and has to leave behind his previous life to step into the unknown.

If you are faced with an ending, it can be the perfect time to have a Mythic Tarot reading to receive insight into the darkness, and to help you prepare for the new beginning that awaits you.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Devil card - Time to face the Shadow ~ August, 2010

Like the Death card, the Devil card is another one that can stir up strong emotions. It can bring up fear for some people when it shows up in their readings, but in most cases, the card is more about looking at the devil within - the aspects of our own personality that we dislike, and have trouble owning in ourselves.

The Devil card is the 15th card in the Major Arcana, and the next step on the Fool's journey as he looks at his own shadow. In the Mythic Tarot, the Devil card features a Satyr, a creature who is half man and half goat, dancing to the music of the pipes that he plays with his left hand. In myth, the goat was often seen as an unclean and lustful animal, but the goat also symbolizes the scapegoat, the person or thing upon which people project the inferior side of themselves in order to feel more righteous. Thus Pan, the Devil, is the scapegoat upon which we blame for our troubles in life. With his right hand, he grasps a chain attached to two naked human figures - a man and a woman. The chain symbolizes their fear and fascination with the Devil's music even though their hands are free to release the chain, they choose to remain tied to the Devil. Around them, there is a dark cave that implies that Pan dwells in the most unreachable realm of the unconscious.

In Greek mythology, the god, Pan was worshiped as the Great All - the raw life of the body itself, amoral and crude, but nonetheless a god. In myth, Hermes and the nymph, Dryope, fathered Pan who was so ugly at birth - with horns, a beard, a tail, and goat-legs - that Hermes carried him up to Olympus for the amusement of the gods. Pan haunted the woods and pastures of Arcadia, and symbolized the fertile, phallic spirit of the wild, untamed nature, but he could also be friendly to men, guarding flocks, herds and beehives.

On an inner level, Pan, the Devil, is an image of bondage to the most instinctual aspects of human nature especially the goatish, uncivilized sexual impulses which we experience as evil because of their compulsive nature. He also represents the shadow side of the psyche which contains all the aspects of our personality that we would rather not know about. The first and easiest way to discover these aspects is to examine the people we most dislike. Whatever qualities we most dislike in them are sure to be lurking within ourselves. If we can face these shadow parts, and take responsibility for the aspects within us we dislike, then we will feel less hateful of others who display similar qualities. The more we can accept ourselves as having lustful, greedy destructive elements to our own personality, the more we can accept other people's faults. The energy which is expended in keeping these shadow parts hidden is energy which is lost to the personality, but when it is released, it can be a powerful, creative energy that we are now able to utilize. Of course, this is easier said than done.

A powerful example of how the shadow may gain control is seen in the Catholic Church today with the thousands of priests who have been accused of molesting young children. In their vows to be celibate, these priests suppressed a powerful sexual shadow which they then acted out unconsciously. Now, as they become conscious of their actions, the priests also need to take responsibility for their actions, and to help these children, and their families heal. Even the way, the Catholic Church tried to hide this dark secret from the world was very revealing of the Catholic Church's own refusal to look at their shadow side.

The Fool on his archetypal journey has to learn to confront with humility the basest and most shameful aspects of himself, or he will remain forever in bondage to them. If he hides the shameful secret, then he pretends that he is superior, and projects his own animalistic nature onto others, leading to prejudice, bigotry, and even persecution of people and races that seem to him 'evil'.

In a reading, the Devil card often implies that it is time to face, and look at these shadow sides of ourselves. In owning these shadow parts, we can also free up the creative energy used to suppress these hidden parts, and learn how to accept ourselves and others as being human with all of our flaws.

If it's time to look at your shadow side, you may want to have a reading for more insight into how to release this powerful creative energy so you can live a more conscious life.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Tower card - Time for Big Changes ~ September, 2010

Since April, 2009, I have been writing about the Major Arcana cards of the Mythic Tarot deck in this newsletter, and it is interesting to note that the Tower card is the next card for me to write about for the month of September - the 9th anniversary of September 11, 2001. The Tower card is an important symbol for 9/11 as well as for the times that we are living in right now.

The Tower card is the 16th card in the Major Arcana, and has an important message for all of us at this pivotal time in history, but it also has a personal message for the individual who draws this card in a reading. In the Mythic Tarot, the Tower card depicts a stone building built on a high rock overlooking the sea. From the depths of the water, a powerful figure emerges from the angry waves, Poseidon, the god of the ocean, who is crowned with gold, and carrying a trident. He points his trident at the Tower, which is struck by a flash of lightening and cracks open. The sea is boiling, and the sky is black and threatening, lit by stormy red flashes.

Poseidon's eruption from the sea suggests a powerful, instinctual force emerging from the unconscious, stronger than the will's efforts to repress it.

In Greek Mythology, Poseidon, the god of earthquakes and the ocean depths, agreed to make King Minos, the wealthy and powerful king of Crete, the sovereign of the seas if the king offered a beautiful, white bull in sacrifice to the god. But King Minos didn't want to part with this incredible bull so he hid it in his herd, and offered a lesser animal in its place. In fury at this act of arrogance, Poseidon joined forces with Aphrodite, the love goddess, and had a spell placed upon Minos' wife, Pasiphae so that she became consumed with passion for this white bull. From this union of queen and beast, was born the Minotaur, the shame of Minos, a creature with a man's body and a bull's head. Ashamed of this beast, Minos hid this creature in the heart of a great stone Labyrinth. But the kingdom could not remain forever in a stagnant state with such a shameful secret hidden at its core. With the help of Minos' daughter, Ariadne, the hero Theseus, son of Poseidon, slew the Minotaur, and the god of the sea at the same moment rose up in anger and struck down this Tower which was reduced to rubble by an earthquake, burying both King Minos and the corpse of the Minotaur, while all the slaves who had been held in bondage by Minos' power were set free. Theseus was then proclaimed the king of Crete, and a new era was begun.

On an inner level, the god-struck Tower is an image of the collapse of old forms, and a very, fitting image for the times we live in as we go through huge changes around the globe. The climate changes are only one aspect of these changes along with the political changes in our own country. The old structures of government, big business, and church are beginning to go through huge transformations at this time. It's all part of the evolution of planet Earth, and these old structures will come down if they are not willing to change. It also means that each one of us is going through our own personal transformation, and like the old structures, we also need to change and grow to evolve with the planet.

The Tower is the only man-made structure in the Major Arcana, and thus symbolizes the inner and outer structures that we build for ourselves as defenses against life, and as a concealment to hide our less agreeable sides from others. The Tower is a structure of false or outgrown values and attitudes that we use to hide our whole Self. It is time to take off the false masks, and love and accept all parts of ourselves.

In a reading, the Tower card signifies the breaking down of existing life structures. This card, like the Death and the Devil cards, depends a great deal upon the attitude of the person having the reading how difficult or painful these changes can be. With a willingness to face these shadow parts of ourselves, we can be part of the change within instead of resisting the change in our lives. But it seems that the Tower will fall away, whether we are willing or unwilling, to make these changes because something within ourselves has reached a boiling point, and we can no longer live within the old structures.

The Tower card often shows up at mid-life when we are faced with making big changes in our current lives in order to live a more authentic life. If you are dealing with a mid-life crisis/awakening, it's an excellent time to have a reading to become more conscious about these upcoming changes.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Star card - A Time of Hope ~ October, 2010

The Star card always gives me a feeling of hope. It's an important card for the times that we are in right now. Following the Tower card, the Star is a guiding vision of hope and promise that arises from the ashes of the Tower which has been destroyed. In the journey of the Mythic Tarot, the Fool waits amidst the rubble, and has no clear sense of how or what to rebuild - all he is left with is hope, and a sense that all is not lost.

The Star card is the 17th card of the Major Arcana, and the next step on the Fool's journey in the Mythic Tarot. The card of the Star portrays Pandora as a beautiful, young woman with long, fair hair, kneeling before an open chest. From the chest, a swarm of flying creatures rise including dragon flies, wasps, bees, flies, moths and spiders; and they fill the sky with darkness. Pandora's eyes are fixed on a bright star symbolized by a female figure in glowing, white robes with a rainbow shining behind her.

In Greek mythology, Pandora is a lot like Eve, who represents the feminine side of human nature which includes feelings, instinct, imagination and intuition along with the need to probe for the truth despite the consequences. The wooden chest that Zeus, the father of all the Greek gods, sends to mankind is a lot like the apple in the Garden of Eden which Eve found hard to resist. The chest like the apple is something which is forbidden, but yet impossible to resist. It contains knowledge of the reality of human life which means the death of innocence and childlike fantasy, but it also contains the most precious attribute of the human spirit which is hope.

When Pandora opens the box, the terrible afflictions of human life that had been locked away by Zeus were now released which included - old age, labor, sickness, insanity, vice and passion; and they spread all over the world. Hope alone, which had also been locked in the chest, did not fly away.

On an inner level, the image of Pandora and the Star of Hope, is a symbol of that part of us which, despite disappointment, depression and loss can still cling to a sense of meaning and future which can still grow out of the unhappiness of the past. The Star does not reveal the future plans, or solution to one's problems, but like the cards of the Hermit and the Hanged Man, the Star is a card of waiting, for the sense of hope is a fragile light which glimmers and guides us through the darkness. Somehow, it offers us faith, and therefore in the card's image, Pandora's eyes are fixed not on the unhappiness of the human condition, but on this intuitive feeling that a dawn of a new day is coming.

The quality of hope has nothing to do with planned expectations, but is connected with something deeper which has sometimes been called the will to live. Doctors experience this with their patients those who have a sense of hope and a strong will to live - will often find the inner resources to face a life-threatening dis-ease, and beat the odds. Likewise, individuals who have suffered tragic circumstances, or have faced challenges which are far greater than any human should have to go through such as those who experienced the concentration camps in Germany and Poland during World War II - have often expressed that it was some inner sense of hope and faith that meant the difference between survival and death. Hope is a profound and mysterious thing, for it would seem that it can transcend anything life offers us.

In a reading, the Star card represents the experience of hope, meaning and faith in the midst of challenges. It's a sign that there is new and better life coming in your future if only you can believe.

The Star is a symbol for all of us right now as we face a challenging world. If we can believe and envision a better life, we can co-create this life for each one of us. If you need some hope right now, have a reading to shed some light on your future path.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Moon card - A Journey into the Unconscious ~ November, 2010

The Moon card does feel like a fitting card for the month of November. November always feels like an in-between month to me - the golden days of fall are slipping away, but it's not quite winter. The sun's rays are lessening as we move towards the shortest day of the year. The skies tend to be cloudier, and grayer as we await the approach of the holidays. It's a liminal time - a lot like the energy of the Moon.

The Moon card is the 18th card of the Major Arcana of the Mythic Tarot, and the next step on the Fool's path who is still awaiting his re-birth with a sense of hope and faith, but also confusion and uncertainty. What will this new path look like which is now so hard to see through the misty waters of the Moon?

The card of the Moon in the Mythic Tarot portrays Hecate, a mysterious feminine goddess, with the three faces of womanhood - the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone, also known as the Wise Woman. With silver hair, she is dressed in white robes which flow into a pool at her feet, capturing the colors associated with the Moon.

Beside her stands a three-headed dog, while from the depths of the pool, a crab attempts to crawl from the water. The crab, being a creature which doesn't belong completely to the watery or earthly realm, but makes its abode in between. The crab is an image of the dream-world, which arises from the unknown, and intrudes upon our daily life with powerful images and dreams that need to be deciphered for their deeper meanings.

In Greek mythology, the goddess, Hecate, was known as the ruler of the moon as well as presiding over magic, childbirth, death, the underworld and fate. In myth, Hecate was interchangeable with Artemis, the moon goddess, but she was a much older deity, and was powerful in both the sky, and beneath the earth. She also became known as one of the underworld rulers, and was called the Invincible Queen, and was accompanied by Cerberus, the three-headed guardian of the underworld's gate, who was her animal form, and familiar spirit.

On an inner level, Hecate, the moon-goddess is an image of the mysterious, watery depths of the unconscious. We have already experienced this elusive realm through two other cards in the Major Arcana: the High Priestess, and the Wheel of Fortune. These three cards are connected, and reveal a progression in a deepening understanding, and experience of the world of the unconscious. Through, Persephone known as the High Priestess, the Fool became aware of an intuition of his own personal depths. Through the Moirai who preside over the Wheel of Fortune, the Fool experienced the power of fate, through sudden changes of fortune that reveal an invisible law, or purposeful pattern within. In the Moon card, we find in the image of Hecate, an experience of the great collective sea of the unconscious from which not only the individual, but the whole of life has emerged. Hecate embodies the feminine principle symbolized by the three faces of womanhood, and the three lunar phases which reflect her multifaceted power over heaven, earth and the underworld.

When one meets with the energy of Hecate, it is a confrontation with the transpersonal world, where individual boundaries dissolve, and the sense of direction, and ego are lost. It is as though we must wait submerged in the murky waters while the new potentials arise which will eventually become our future. It can be a fearful, anxiety-filled place, for living in this realm means living without knowledge and clarity. The card of the Moon is a card of gestation, filled with confusion, and bewilderment where we only have the dream-world, and the Star of Hope to guide us.

In a reading, the Moon card reveals a time of confusion, fluctuation, and uncertainty. We are in the grip of the unconscious, and can only wait, looking for signs in the elusive images of dreams holding onto a sense of hope and faith.

The Moon card captures that time in womanhood, as a woman moves into that last phase of life becoming a Crone, and has the opportunity to become the Wise Woman. If you are approaching that time of life, it's important to tune into your dreams, and to also have readings for insight and guidance. A guide can be very helpful to navigate those murky waters of the unconscious.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2011

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Sun card - Back into the Light ~ December, 2010

The Sun card does feel like the right card for this month of December as we emerge from our exploration of Scorpio's caves and the unconscious into the fiery light of Sagittarius where we find meaning and wisdom to all those dark explorations of the psyche.

The Sun card is the 19th card of the Major Arcana of the Mythic Tarot. The card depicts the radiant sun-god Apollo with golden hair crowned with laurel leaves, and bearing a golden disc on his head. He has golden wings, and wears a dazzling white robe. In his right hand, he holds a bow and arrows which symbolizes the part of us which can see the purpose for experiences long before we have processed them; and in his left hand, he carries a lyre, symbolizing how music can be used to transform our darkness into light and meaning. In the card, Apollo is framed by two columns, and a portico built of pale, golden stone. Behind him, there is a golden-green landscape under a brilliant blue sky.

In Greek mythology, Apollo was known as the god of prophecy, music and knowledge. He was the son of Zeus, by Leto, the goddess of night. Unlike other children, Apollo was not given mother's milk, but instead fed nectar and sweet ambrosia, which speeded up his growth from a babe to a man. Apollo is known for creating the shrine of Delphi where he established his oracle, spoken by a priestess who became known as the Pythoness. Apollo was the enemy of all darkness, but he was a tricky deity for his oracle was double-tongued and elusive, and his arrows not only slayed monsters, but men as well. Prophecy was his gift, and he became known for his far-reaching vision.

On an inner level, Apollo, the sun-god, is an image of the power of the consciousness to dispel the darkness. Apollo symbolizes the urge towards consciousness which exists in all life, and therefore is the natural complement and antithesis to Hecate, the Moon goddess and one of the rulers of the underworld. Apollo represents the spirit of intellectual striving, combined with a vision of the future which holds an ideal of perfection.

The Fool's journey continues with his encounter of Apollo, the sun-god, who brings the hope and clarity of daylight after having waited in the dark cave of the unknown. Apollo is the dispeller of fear, and his bright light cast away the shadows of doubt. The Fool's faith in himself is restored, and the faith for all of us in the purpose of the journey of life.

In a reading, the card of Apollo signifies a time of clarity, optimism and renewed trust. It is now possible to see the pattern, to plan for the future, and to move forward once again. Embracing the masculine principle in life which works through both men and women, we can now move towards our goals with renewed faith that we can achieve them.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2011

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The Judgment card - The End of a Chapter ~ January, 2011

The Judgment card feels like an appropriate card for January as we feel the weight of Capricorn responsibilities, and the need to become our own judge, and responsible for our own actions.

The Judgment card is the 20th card of the Major Arcana of the Mythic Tarot. In this deck, the Judgment card portrays the god, Hermes as young man with black hair, dressed in a white tunic, and a blood-red cloak. He wears a winged helmet as well as winged sandals, both symbolic of his mercurial gifts. In his right hand, he holds the caduceus, the staff of magic and medicine entwined with two snakes. There are two columns, one black and one white, on both sides of him. The stairs that he stands on lead to a doorway through which you can see a green landscape over which the sun is just rising. Before him, there are several coffins, and from them, the dead are rising, and reaching out to him.

In Greek mythology, Hermes was known as the Psychopomp, the Guide of Souls. In the card of the Magician, Hermes appears as the Fool's inner guide at the beginning of the journey of life - a trickster, and protector of lost travelers. Now, he is revealed as the Guide of Souls, who can summon the souls of the dead back to life, or usher them into the world of Hades, the god of the dead. In this role, Hermes leads the souls of the dead to their accounting and prepares them for renewed life as well.

On an inner level, Hermes as the Psychopomp, is an image of a process that happens at critical moments in one's life when the experiences of the past are gathered together, and seen as part of a larger pattern, and the consequences of these experiences must be understood and accepted. This process of summing-up is not an intellectual exercise, but rather an alchemical one in the underworld of the unconscious where the many varied actions and decisions we have lived through, come together to yield a harvest. The artist experiences this process when after many hours or weeks or even years of attempting to research, practice and give shape to an elusive idea or image, that something finally happens, and a new creative work is born.

This is Hermes at his most magical, revealed at last as the lord of the Fool's entire journey, bringing together through the mysterious process of intuition, all the experiences and insights gained from each stage of the journey, and magically blending these to form the beginnings of a new and larger personality. Thus the figure of Hermes leading the dead souls to Judgment is really a process of birth. It is the birth of a more complete personality, which arises in a non-rational way from the combined experiences of the past, fused by insight and the sense that apparently random events and choices have all been secretly connected. The judge of the dead decides what future has been earned from past efforts, and it is on the efforts of the past, that the Fool's future is built. Everything must be accounted for, and the Fool meets at last the consequences of all of his choices in life.

The Judgment card symbolizes the rewards for efforts made, although the judge is inside us, not outside in the world. Judgment is an image not just of a new beginning, but a beginning which emerges out of the past. In Eastern philosophy, this is called karma. Each person sows his own seeds, and ultimately must reap the harvest from what he sows.

In a reading, the card of Judgment often signifies a time when the rewards of past efforts appear. This is a period of summing-up, and of a realization of what we have been doing, and how we have created the future that now awaits us. The reward is not always a pleasant one because we can be faced with our own evasions, and self-betrayals. The Judgment card heralds the end of a chapter in life.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2011

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

The World card - The Final card ~ February, 2011

The World card is the final card of the Major Arcana, and a fitting card for this time period as we enter the final year of the Mayan Calendar, and who knows what the world will look like in 2012?

The World card is the 21st card of the Major Arcana in the Mythic Tarot deck. In this deck, the World card features a golden serpent coiled in the shape of an egg which was known as the world snake because it was both male and female, immortal and complete in itself. Within its circle, a figure dances which is half male and half female, winged, and crowned with laurel leaves; and carrying golden staffs which are connected with the magic wand of Hermes symbolizing the reborn personality that can create in the realms of feeling, imagination, mind and matter. Around the serpent, there can be seen rising from the clouds the four symbols of a cup, sword, a flaming wand and a golden pentacle. The symbols represent the realms of water, air, fire and earth reflecting the potentials which await development in the new personality.

In the World card, we meet Hermaphroditus, who in Greek mythology was the child of Hermes and Aphrodite. In one version of the tale, Hermaphroditus was born a double-sexed being, but in another version, this duality of unity was made, rather than being born that way. In this card, the four symbols of the cup of love, the wand of creative imagination, the sword of intellect, and the pentacle of physical reality belong to the four deities: Aphrodite, the goddess of love; Zeus, the king of the gods; Athena, the goddess of wisdom; and Poseidon, the god of the ocean, and earthquakes. These four symbols also make up the four suits of the Minor Arcana.

On an inner level, the image of the Hermaphroditus is an experience of being whole. Masculine and feminine are more than sexual identifications; they are the great polarities which encompass all the opposites of life. The double-sexed being is symbolic of the potential integration of the opposites within the personality. The opposites can range from maternal care and parental ethics to intuition and physical expression; and from mind and feeling, to relationship and solitude; and from conflict and harmony, to spirit and body. All of these opposites can create such struggle in our lives, and yet they are all part of the whole experience of living.

The image of wholeness is an ideal goal, rather than something that we can totally experience in a human body. We are imperfect, but we can glimpse this state of wholeness whenever there is a sense of inner healing, where two warring parts of ourselves have at last come together, and some inner resolution has brought peace.

Most of the time, when we encounter these opposites in life and in ourselves, we deny that such a conflict exists, repressing half of it which then goes into our unconscious. We may also project the uncomfortable part onto another person, or something in the outer world, and use up our energies battling with someone or something which is really within ourselves the whole time. This state of ambivalence happens to be part of being human, and yet most of us have trouble accepting this feeling like we must choose one or the other. We are complex beings, and part of our life's journey is really a journey of discovery through the opposites of one's Self, conscious and unconscious coming together.

The card of the World is the final card of the Major Arcana, and the end of the Fool's journey. It is also an egg which symbolizes the beginning of a new journey. Thus, whenever, we have a moment of achievement and healing, it is always followed by a new challenge and so we continue to grow and change, always moving towards this ideal goal of wholeness.

In a reading, the card of the World signifies a time of achievement and integration. This is a period of triumph at the successful conclusion of a hard-won goal. But this peak is merely a glimpse of something mysterious and elusive. As one journey ends, so another begins; and so continues the cycle of life from birth to death; and back again. The World card is the ending of that journey which leads to the beginning of the next journey and back to the Fool card where it all began.

By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2011

Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.