The Human Story

As much as the Tarot’s Major arcana depicts the Fool’s Journey, there are many other classic story themes that are explored by the deck. Humans love stories because we live them. The themes we see in a good story resonate with us because they are our stories.

The Grail Quest: The Arthurian Legend is the classic go to for this story line depicted by the Suit of Cups. Our idea of bliss and the constant search for it is the theme here. Marvel’s Thor and his relationship to his hammer would be a modern reflection of the lessons revealed in this suit. Thor’s final realization that the power was in him all along and not in the hammer is the lesson of the Grail. 

The Hero’s Journey: A modern retelling of this classic theme is Batman’s story. From the loss of everything he holds dear to the righteous pursuit of justice, Bruce Wayne lives the Suite of Swords. His initial tragedy shapes his life and makes him who he is, yet he remains plagued by remorse and anguish over it. 

The Hermit’s Tale: Bruce Bannon is an excellent example of this hero who suffers from serious post traumatic stress disorder after his first Hulk conversion. Believing his power is a detriment to society he seeks solitude where he unwittingly befriends his strength and ends up resurfacing later to save the community. We see this story in the Suite of Wands where the hero is happily going about his business when something traumatic happens which changes the course of his destiny. Although he succeeded at the time he is so damaged that he must seek solitude only to reemerge later when he is needed most. 

The Decent of the Goddess: Traditionally this story line is about a person of privilege who is challenged by an ordeal. They must survive and overcome without the help of their wealth. Afterwards they are able to return to their privilege but they are changed and are now fuelled by a new sense of purpose. This is the story of the Mesopotamian Goddess Innana, Queen of Heaven, and her decent to the underworld to save her sister. But it is also the story of Tony Stark and can be seen in the Suit of Pentacles.  

Today I contemplate my story. Tales of heroes, villains, kings and queens may seem far fetched but the essence of the human story remains the same. We are all our own heroes with our own ordeals to face. 

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