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Fool’s Journey vs. Hero’s Journey

By Frater Barrabbas Tiresius

Many years ago, I discovered that the exact number of Tarot trumps found in the Major Arcana was identical to the overall number of stages in Joseph Campbell’s iconic book “Hero with a Thousand Faces.” I also found that this apparent coincidence had an even greater impact when I was able to match each Tarot trump to one of these twenty-two stages. This wasn’t a loose affiliation, the twenty-two stages matched the twenty-two Tarot trumps almost exactly. Yet I didn’t so much as use this newly discovered pattern as a tool for Tarot divination as I did for practical magical applications. I found that the magical use of the double gateway was the whole basis for the underworld cycle not only of the Hero’s Journey, but of the mysterious process of transformative initiation itself.

It would seem that the Hero’s Journey was also the cyclic process of death and rebirth that ruled the more profound changes that occurred within a person’s psyche. Also, since I used the sequence of stages in the Hero’s Journey to specifically qualify the matching Tarot trumps, it did indeed change how I defined those trumps and it impacted how I interpreted them within a divinatory reading. But the Roman numerals that were printed at the very top of each Tarot trump seemed to have less to do with the actual sequence of the Hero’s Journey, and could therefore be ignored when working with this pattern.

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