Introducing Trent Students to Tarot (Part 2 of 4)

Tarot card deck. Photo by Leina Amatsuji-Berry.

It’s interesting to apply theory to film, right? In my previous article I made clear the universal connection that Hollywood and myth have with Joseph Campbell’s archetypes (the “monomyth”). Likewise, the 22 “Major Arcana” from the Builders Of The Adytum tarot deck are a host of possible archetypes or theories applicable to just about anyone, or to any protagonist from any story whether it be real or fictional.

To provide a general sense as to how tarot is applicable to Hollywood movies and film, in this article I demonstrate using The Matrix and The Wizard of Oz.

The Magician tarot card. Image via The Initiate.

In Card 1, The Magician is invoking the mysterious forces of the universe to interfere or intervene in the physical world. In the scene in The Matrix where Neo is waiting to speak with the Oracle, gifted kids (or “potentials”) are able to, as if by Magick, bend spoons and play with floating objects without physical contact, only with their minds. The Matrix is a world of mystery, wonder and Magick.

Card 8, Strength, represents fortitude and defiance, standing up valiantly against humanity’s diabolical oppressors. In the particulars of The Matrix, our heroes demonstrate strength (of mind). All liberated ‘red pill’ hackers are taught kung fu and are trained to jump from city building to city building. They learn these combat skills to resist their machine overlords.

Card 15, The Devil, represents bondage, slavery to materialism, living a lie and temptation. Morpheus in The Matrix explains to a recently-liberated Neo that humans are “born into bondage, into a prison you cannot truly smell or taste or touch.” Humanity is enslaved to the machines and agent gatekeepers.

Card 5, The Hierophant, could represent an interpreter of scripture for the people he mentors and guides. A Hierophant casts prophecy. In The Matrix, “The Oracle” character is a rogue computer program from the machine world who accurately interprets and influences the future, guiding Morpheus and his band of heroes along their path to destiny to resist the machines.

That’s tarot and The Matrix, in short. Here is tarot applied to the The Wizard of Oz.

Card 7, The Chariot, represents public exposure or a role which involves becoming the focal point or centre of attention. Dorothy Gale literally parades around the town square when she arrives over the rainbow as she encounters the Lollipop Kids and the entourage of supernatural beings and citizens of Oz.

Card 13, Death, represents sudden change or release or emancipation through destruction. In the words of the Wicked Witch of the West at the end of the film: “Who would have thought that a girl like you could have destroyed my beautiful wickedness? What a World! What a World!” The Wicked Witch is dead and Dorothy is free.

Card 2, The High Priestess, can represent a message that needs to be revealed. This card can serve as a catalyst for remembering something of crucial significance, like a great secret. In Dorothy Gale’s story, Glinda, “The Good Witch of the South” guides Dorothy as Dorothy embarks on her journey. The pair meet again at the end of Dorothy’s adventure when Glinda conveys the secret insight and provides the special message or answer which Dorothy has been seeking all along: how to return home to Kansas. “There is no place like home.”

This is just some of the entertainment that can be derived from tarot and divination. Next issue in part 3 of 4 I return to the monomyth as I apply the theory to Bill Gates and Nelson Mandela. Then I can demonstrate how to apply tarot to rap musician Eminem and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The author of this four-part series is “The Initiate,” a Trent alumnus who majored in Philosophy from 2003-2008. The Initiate’s four-part series on tarot is available in full at with more essays by the author over at

Read parts one, three and four.