Tarot and The Pursuit of Better

How Tarot can represent a conscious decision to pursue a higher goal

April 5, 2018

I’ve long been fascinated by different mythologies and ancient lore. Vastly different cultures developed a lot of the same archetypal stories. There a dozens of stories that parallel that of Jesus, many of which existed much earlier. It’s certainly easy to find and argue over the differences, but there are still striking similarities across time and geography. Of the billions of stories that humans have lived and created, it’s easy to wonder why certain stories are so compelling that we keep coming back to them.

The most obvious example is the Hero’s Journey. Many of the most time-tested fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure stories are some variation of the Hero’s Journey. A tiny hobbit from a small town goes on a big, dangerous quest, makes great sacrifices, and is transformed into something stronger, capable of literally saving the world from certain destruction. All he has to do, in the end, is fight the lower level motivations that would stop him from doing the right thing.

Studying drawing cats through many quick sketches

The idea is that the journey leading up to that final moment has tried and tested our hero, and that he would not have made it that far if he wasn’t capable of succeeding. All along the way he was forced to confront himself, and those around him, in order to unravel the motivations and truths. Every step towards the goal was a step away from home, from comfort, from the known, and so every step was a sort of sacrifice. He lost most of his friends along the way, and was forced into an uneasy alliance with something he didn’t trust, and wasn’t comfortable with. The one thing that remains with the hero, that keeps him moving towards his goal, is the unwavering belief that it is absolutely worth it, no matter the cost to him. The reward for all of this sacrifice is bigger than our hero, and that keeps him moving, despite everything.

You can replace all the details of the story and re-tell it a thousand times, and it will never get old, because it is the driving story of our own lives. All of our own achievements, great and small, came through some effort, required some sacrifice, and was pursued because we held a belief that it would be worth it. There is no end to striving while we live – to live is to strive. So the story remains, as long as we do.

Whether you believe in the magic of the cards or not, isn’t even the point. Any card you pull from the deck will have something important to tell you.

When you take the time to pull a card, you are making a conscious decision to face your truths, correct your failings, and pursue a higher goal.