The Fool’s Journey vs the Hero’s journey

Hello, not really a Tarot guy, but I got lost in a 9 hour internet rabbit hole researching it when I couldn’t sleep last night. Anyways, in doing my research, and hearing about the Fool’s journey, and reading about the symbolism of the cards and how they relate to the Fool’s journey, I noticed a lot of similarities to Joseph Campbell’s proposal of the hero’s journey. If you’re unfamiliar, the hero’s journey is a model that was constructed based on research of millennia of legends, myths, and stories, the common themes and narrative devices used across all time. I’d go into all the steps of the hero’s journey, but that’s a long process of explaining it, and I honestly recommend you research it yourself, as I believe understanding it provides valuable insight into the human condition. Anyways, looking at it, I noticed that a lot of the steps in the hero’s journey are reminiscent of the Major Arcanum and the Fool’s journey. For example, the call to action, which is the awakening to a new world, and a change that drives the hero to go on their journey. I believe that this is representative of the Magician and the Tower, the Magician opening the Fool’s eyes to the grander path that lay itself before him, and the Tower bringing terrible loss that drives the hero forward (I chose the Tower here since I’ve most often seen it in reference to the beginning of a journey, a driving event). Or, take for example, one of the greatest uses of the hero’s journey in history, Star Wars. In the moment Vader reveals his identity to Luke, he represents The Emperor, Death, and The Hanged Man. Vader is a paternal authority, strong and dominating (The Emperor), he has forced a radical change on Luke, for which he lost his hand and lightsaber, which are later replaced (Death). Though, ultimately, this horrible loss will lead to enlightenment and truth (The Hanged Man). And even further from there, after properly training and preparing, he goes back and saves Vader, not with violence, but by reaching out to his humanity (Temperance, the World, and I think Judgement, but I’m not entirely certain about that one). My point being, I believe that the Fool’s journey is an incredibly early, far more detailed form of the Hero’s journey. In fact, I believe the Fool’s journey may be an even better model for storytelling, given its detail, length, and flexibility. For example, the Hero’s journey most often represents events in a story, the meeting of the mentor, the call to action, the fall from Grace, the redemption, etcetera. The Fool’s journey, however, I believe, can represent anything from events, characters (To reference Star Wars again, Obi Wan is the Magician who awakens the Fool to the greater journey before him), objects, and themes. To clarify my point, I view the Fool’s journey as a valuable tool that can be used as an incredible framing device for storytelling. It’s a contemplation on the human condition, as the Major Arcanum May represent events in ones life, as they represent common themes in story telling, which is, by nature, a reflection of the human condition! I have no idea if any of the word barf I just expelled is of any sense or use, I simply thought it was an interesting concept, and thought this was the right community to share it with.

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Kerrie Mercel

Currently Kerrie Mercel, inspirational speaker, author & facilitator for the health and wellness industry. Kerrie enjoys working with professional business women helping them to find the power to live life on their terms.