Made me wonder for certain...
Here there be a paper coming under this cut.
The Hero’s Journey is as individual as those who undertake it. As I was sitting thinking about this assignment, I realized that in all honesty, I’ve never undertaken a hero’s journey. I have never had that epic quest that tests the very soul.
That doesn’t end this paper for me though. For while I have no undertaken my own hero’s journey, I know that I will in the future. While looking at the handout for the Hero’s Journey, I realized something. This would make a very nice Tarot spread. So, while I have not had my Hero’s Journey yet, I turned to a set of Tarot cards to provide me with the answers for what my Hero’s Journey will entail.
I choose the Arthurian Tarot, as it seemed the most appropriate for the Hero’s Journey. I will go by position by position, explaining what the card is, and what it means, with my own interpretations on what it could mean for my own personal Hero’s Journey.
For the Ordinary World, I drew the Sword Maiden. She is a young woman braiding a sword scabbard out of strands of her own hair. She is supposed to be a quick perceptive woman, always willing to sacrifice for others. At the start of my Hero’s journey, there will be a young woman who is willing to sacrifice whatever she must to make sure I and those around me are happy.
The Call to Adventure is marked by the Grail Knight. He rides a white horse, with a Harp in his hands instead of his suit’s grail, as that is what he follows. The Grail Knight is unswerving in his dedication to his companions’ quest. He brings those near him to unknown portions of the quest they themselves would not normally go to. This card represents an invitation to walk into a world that I have not known, a chance to see new place, and experience new things, whatever they might be.
The Refusal of the Call comes next. With it comes the Lady of the Lake (Major Arcana number II). In our recent myths, she was the one who gave Arthur his sword Excalibur. Yet her tradition goes back further than just that. She was a teacher and surrogate mother to Arthur in older traditions. She spoke with wisdom and calm. She represents mysteries and secret knowledge. This card says that I will resist the call, saying to myself that I have so much more to learn before I set out on my quest.
The Mentor comes in the powerful form of Arthur (Major Arcana IV). Arthur was the legendary monarch of England, but he was also more than that. He was a representation of the land and its people. When he did his job and ruled, he did wonderfully. When he strayed, the people and land suffered greatly. Arthur represents leadership and power, the paternal instincts to protect. As a Mentor he will give me the direction to go do what I need to. He will inspire me to go out and find my road on the quest.
The card for crossing the threshold is Stone eight. It is a finely worked block of stone, sitting in a small yard. It is a card that represents very methodical work and careful preparation. It tells me that when I am getting ready to step into the unknown, I will take my time and not go ahead hastily. I will try to be prepared for whatever lies ahead.
Yet I can’t really prepare for what comes next, for the card for Tests, Allies, and Enemies is Grail eight. It is a cup on the ground in front of an archway, its contents spilled out. This card represents Lancelot being told he would never reach the grail, as he had done to much wrong to ever be the one to retrieve it. Its divinatory meaning speaks of challenging old ways of thinking, reexamining what you have done, and fear. What I think it means for me is when I move into that special world, everything that I hold dear will be tested. I will be asked if I am really that sure of the choices I’ve made, and will continue to make.
After this trail by fire, comes the moments before I enter the cave. At my Approach to the Innermost Cave, Spear Nine is. It is a spear overlooking rocky cliffs, with storm clouds moving in. The card represents a great reserve of will and a certain amount of obstinacy. After all of the troubles I had before, what I have left will leave me with a determination to see my Hero’s journey through to the end. I will not yield, as it is not in my nature to admit defeat.
The Ordeal is shown to be the Grail King. He is a well aged man sitting at the base of a Tree, drinking from a small cup, as a golden cauldron hangs beside him. The Grail King is the keeper of hidden lore. I see this as a battle within my own mind. The dark places of my own soul will be laid bare, and I will be told to come to an accounting. It is not good for someone to not admit part of themselves because they don’t like it, and the Grail King will bring those to my ordeal.
The Reward after this ordeal is represented by Guinevere(Major Arcana III) She is the wife of Arthur, the queen of the land. She has been shown as an unfaithful wife, but that is not the full story. She stands by her husband when he is right, but when he is wrong, she will let him know, by showing him what he’s done wrong. When she is unfaithful, it’s because he has been unfaithful in his duty to her and his people. Guinevere represents new energy, material and spiritual contentment, and of course motherhood. The place of this card says that after my ordeal, I will find myself at a renewal of energies, and that I will be content with what I have found out about myself.
While the road back is not supposed to be easy, it appears that it shall be for me. The card that came up in this spot is Spear Six. It is a spear holding up a flag on a distant hill, overlooking a river valley. This card represents victory and pride in achievement. My road back will be made easier, by the fact that I have been successful in my quest. I will be willing to make it back, knowing that I’ve done what was needed.
As every Hero’s Journey has a resurrection, so does mine, as represented by Taliesin, (Major Arcana V) the Bard. He is a storyteller, as he was granted great wisdom by a drop of a magic potion Ceridwen was brewing for her less than bright son. He was Gwoin then, but was caught and eaten after a great chase. She gave birth to him nine months later as Taliesin. He represents traditional knowledge, and a rebirth, which is oddly appropriate for this point. He is also a change of things from mundane reality to the spiritual. This meaning is hard to figure out, but I believe it will be the parts of myself I faced in the ordeal, having been faced, the energy that I kept locked within myself will come out, letting me see the world in a new light.
After this entire journey, I have come to the end, and have returned with the Elixir. This Elixir is represented by Merlin. (Major Arcana I) He was a wise sorcerer who helped put the Pendragons’ on the throne, as he saw it was the best choice. On the card, he has all four of the Hallows in front of him, with two dragons forming the sign of eternity behind him. Merlin represents a free flow of energy, and a balance in everything. He is mastery, and yet he understand there is still much more out there. Here, at the end of this quest, I will have come to balance everything within me. The fighting instinct of the Sword hallow, the Healing and destructive energies of the Spear Hallow, the dark and ever changing mysteries of the Grail hallow, and the games and machinations of the Stone hallow. I will have this mastery of myself, so I can help others out in the world.
That is the end of the Hero’s Journey, yet it’s not the last card. Unspoken in every Hero’s journey, is the fact that the Journey revolves around something. A central point on which the journey pivots, this last card is shown to be the Stone Knight. He rides an ordinary horse, with nothing exceptional about him. He carries the Hallow casually at his side, ever looking forward. This Knight is Bors, Lancelot’s brother. He does not seem very bright, but he is doggedly determined to see his quest through to the end. This central point is that throughout my Hero’s Journey, is that I will always be going forward. I will see it through to the end, no matter what happens around me.
Even though I’ve not had my own Hero’s Journey yet, I have come to look for one. Having seen through my own Hero’s Journey through this lens, I can only wonder now, when it will happen, and what will be the specifics of it. I know my Hero’s Journey will be one to remember, and maybe it will be told to future generations, of what to look for when finding out about yourself.
I'm going to have to look at this further...