2020: A Journey Through the Major Arcana of the Tarot and The Hero's Journey

Jennifer VanBenschoten

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine on Facebook posted the most amazing photo of a project she was working on: creating Tarot cards out of laser-carved wood. As soon as I saw them, I knew I had to have a set of the Major Arcana that she had just finished. At the time, I was preparing to undergo some major oral surgery, and the idea of having these to work with and play with while I was healing was part of my self-care before (and after) surgery.

Well, they arrived a couple of days into my healing after surgery, and they were just as spectacular as I had hoped they would be. Each of the 22 cards in the Major Arcana of the traditional Rider Waite Tarot has been laser-etched into a piece of lightweight wood, and housed in a sweet little matching storage box. 

The artist behind these cards, Amy Kuczewski, makes and sells all kinds of insanely creative items on her website, Omen and Owl. She's a multi-talented creative professional that does all sorts of fun (and sometimes hilariously inappropriate) things using glass, wood, and whatever else she can get her hands on.

So as I was sitting there looking at these amazing cards, I thought this might be a good year to delve into the energy of the Major Arcana. The Majors are so important to Tarot that there are some readers who use just this part of the deck, and you can find lots of Major-only decks out there to work with. 

The Importance Of the Major Arcana

True story: a few years ago when my husband was cleaning out our closet, he came across a box of items he had stashed in there from college. Among the momentos and other chatchkies in the box, there was an exquisitely illustrated tiny little Major Arcana Tarot deck. My eyes got wide when I saw it, and I reached out for it. "What is thaaaaaaat?" I said. But before I could get it in my hands, he said, "Oh, that's nothing," and wrapped it up and stashed it back in the box. To this day, he swears he has no recollection of this incident, and no idea what he did with that box. Could my husband be a closet Tarot freak? Possibly. 

At any rate, the Major Arcana are an important part of the deck, and some would argue that it's the most important part of any Tarot deck. Philosophers and scholars like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell have used the Major Arcana as a tool for structuring their research. What Joseph Campbell referred to as "The Hero's Journey" is the story of the Major Arcana, starting from the innocence at the beginning of a the story all the way to the ending that's actually another new beginning - just a turn of the cycle.

Exploring the Major Arcana

So now that I've got these cards and we're at the beginning of a brand-new decade, I've committed to working my way through all 22 of these cards and sharing all that I learn. 

Originally, I thought I would start at the beginning with The Fool, but my personal circumstances have led me to start with another card. I decided to just do them as they seem appropriate to my life throughout the year - because life is rarely linear and neat, right?

Every couple of weeks, I'll post another full-length blog with information about one card in the Major Arcana along with some of my personal experiences and an original Tarot spread (or two) that you can use to learn more about the energy of each card. In the next couple of days, look for my first blog and Tarot spread about The Death card to kick off the series! 

And if you want your own set of laser carved wood Major Arcana Tarot cards, make sure you look up Amy on Facebook. 


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