Lecture II.3.2 – Tarot & the Christian Myth
The wheel of fortune is usually represented as a revolving wheel with a person up here in victory, in triumph. A person here on the way down, the depression, the crackup, the falling stock market. The person down here in the abyss. The person here on the way up. These are the four situations of fortune. Falling fortune, the abyss, rising fortune, and triumph. You are not to identify yourself with your fortune. You must know the center. And this is usually held by a goddess, the goddess Fortuna who is the same as Lakśmi, the goddess of fortune that supports the kings in India.
— Joseph Campbell
Here Joseph Campbell delves into the mythological symbolism of the traditional tarot deck. After showing that the four suits of the minor arcana correspond to the four classes of traditional society, he goes on to unlock the spiritual significance of the cards of the major arcana, showing that, in fact, they represent an initiation into ancient spiritual lessons.
This lecture was recorded at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California in 1971 and 1975.