The Hero’s journey is mankind’s oldest story. It is a story that transcends all cultures and ideologies. Symbolically, it is our own story as it is an allegory for the individual paths we must journey upon. It is constantly being retold and manifested within each of our own lives. It is the story of the soul; and its ultimate purpose is to remind us why we are here and what we must accomplish.

The Hero’s journey shares a common thread. This thread reflects the experiences of our souls. These are the common themes and experiences we instinctively understand. C.G. Jung first explained this phenomenon as the experience of the Collective Unconscious. The Collective Unconscious is part of the unconscious mind. This is an inner realm that ties all mankind together into one collective experience. It is inherent knowledge. It is the parts of ourselves that have an unspoken understanding of a shared experience.

We can identify our shared experiences through archetypal imagery. These are common images and visual patterns that are repeated throughout time. They are the symbols that have universal meanings and references. Regardless of one’s cultural, religious or educational background, archetypal imagery speaks to us all. They are depicted in our myths, fairytales, and iconography. They are everywhere. They are our witches, angels, crones, maidens and warriors. They are within every story told and they are within our own, personal stories.

The Tarot is one of the only pictorial sources that depict the Hero’s journey in its entirety. The Hero’s journey is told through the 22 Major Arcana cards. The Major Arcana refer to the non-suit cards, which make up the first 22 cards of the Tarot deck. What is so impressive about the Major Arcana, is their visual reference to archetypal symbolism. More importantly, they emphasize the significant life phases we all must encounter on our journeys. These are the stages of our psychological and spiritual development. The Tarot offers a structured interpretation for our life path and enables us to grasp these concepts at our deepest core.

Jung described the human experience as a process of individuation and self-growth. This is a process of discovering who you are, of becoming whole and conscious of your individuality. In the Tarot, the Major Arcana reflects this journey in two distinct stages. The first half of the Major Arcana explores the path of self-development and individuality. This typically relates to our growth from child to adult and addresses many of the external challenges we face along the way. Such difficulties may include the development of our own self-identity or dealing with life's major transitional challenges. The second stage involves an inward journey towards spiritual transcendence. Their Tarot card meanings most often illustrate the road to enlightenment. These include the many philosophical challenges and spiritual phases we encounter as we mature towards enlightenment. When this process is completed, the personality becomes unified and the psyche is whole.

By truly understanding the process of this journey, one can learn about the important aspects of the development of one’s self. The Tarot can reflect where you are on this journey, what you must overcome, and what you must come to accept. The Tarot enables us to explore the hidden parts of ourselves. They bring light into the unknown and highlight the significance of our journeys. They are guides to self-awareness and never cease in bringing forth our own truths.

Author's Bio: 

Carolyn Naiman is a professional Tarot reader and the Webmaster of She has a Masters in Psychology and has been a Tarot advisor since 1998.