previously published at Suite101 Tarot and Mythology at BellaOnline.
Illustrations from Katelan Foisy's Tarot in progress.
Myth and the Major Arcana
Many different Gods, Goddesses and other mythological figures can be associated with the cards of the Major Arcana. Here are a few examples.
The Fool, Bacchus, the Greek god of wine, women and madness.
The Magician Hermes, messenger of the gods who guided souls in the underworld. His ability to communicate between heaven and earth is reflected in the Magician.
The High Priestess Isis, an Egyptian goddess who moved between earth and the underworld. She is the embodiment of divine wisdom.
The Empress the Mother Goddess. All religions have one. Fertility, wisdom and power.
The Emperor Zeus, Thor and other Father Gods. He represents masculine energy, divine will and force of being.
The High Priest , the Teacher of Apollo can be seen in the High Priest card. He represents the search for meaning in life, higher learning and teaching.
The Lovers Eros, son of Aphrodite, shot arrows of love onto those who least expected it. He was often represented blindfolded, reflecting love's blindness.
The Chariot, Helios, the Greek sun god who drives a fiery chariot across the sky. The charioteer controls conflicting forces and has found his true path of Karma.
Strength Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt. Conquering wild beasts, in our own nature and in the natural world.
The Hermit Cronos, the God of time. Gestation and birth., the fourth dimension.
The Wheel of Fortune The three Fates, the force that lies behind the apparent randomness of life.
Justice Maat, the essence of truth and Justice in Egyptian religion, weighs the hearts of the newly dead against a feather.
The Hanged Man Odin, the Norse god who hung for 9 days from to gain knowledge of Runes and magic. The victim sacrificed to ensure a good harvest.
Death, Hades and other gods and goddesses of death and the underworld.
Temperance Iris the Greek goddess of the rainbow and messenger to the gods. A creature of the elements air, water and earth, representing a perfect balance of the three.
The Devil Pan God of nature and sex.
The Tower The Tower of Babel.
The Star Venus, Goddess of love was called "Star of the Sea". Perfect love and the gratification of desires.
The Moon was used to symbolize is the triple Goddess in most pagan mythologies. She was a virgin when the Moon was crescent, sexual and maternal when full and a wise old woman when waning. The Moon represents the feminine principle.
The Sun Ra the Egyptian Sun God. The masculine principle of creation.
Judgment relates to Thoth as soul guide. The card also represents the weighing of heart against feather in Egyptian mythology and the Last Judgment in Christianity.
The World Shiva, the Hindu god who dances the world into existence.