The archetypal imagery of tarot teaches us many lessons, and lately I’ve been thinking about what business lessons the Major Arcana might teach us. The following is by no means an exhaustive list and it would have gotten excessive for me to address every single Major Arcanum. For sure, each of the twenty-two cards has a lesson to be learned, but here are the key cards I found most pertinent.
The Magician: Creating Change with Available Resources
The Magician card is about using the limited material resources and assets availed to us to create progressive change. One of the first business lessons an entrepreneur learns is how to create product and run a business with only what is on hand. The Magician is the master of manifestation, and inspires the entrepreneur to model an attitude after the magus.
The Empress: The Gestation Phase of Every Project
The Empress symbolizes fertility and creativity. In business, she represents the gestation phase of a launch. The Empress teaches the entrepreneur the value of creativity and innovation. The pomegranate imagery often associated with The Empress tarot card teaches the importance of knowledge, learning, and wisdom and how knowledge will beget the fruition and material abundance that the entrepreneur seeks.
The Emperor: Implementing Structure, Order, and Discipline
There must be order and structure to a business. The Emperor card teaches the entrepreneur how to instill discipline into the undertaking and what type of corporate hierarchy to establish for the new business. The Emperor is an authoritarian figure on the logistics of running a startup.
The Hierophant: Working within the System vs. Rule Breaking
When the Hierophant appears upright, he represents social authority and the system that the entrepreneur must conform to or work within. When the Hierophant appears upside down in reverse, a different lesson is taught, one of rule-breaking. The entrepreneur by his or her very nature is a rule-breaker.
The Chariot: Tenacity is the Vehicle That Drives You to Your Destination
Persistent drive forward is accomplished by personal willpower, and The Chariot card symbolizes the entrepreneur’s tenacity. It is what pushes progress forward and takes the entrepreneur to the goal. The pair of dark and light sphinxes represents the cooperative effort of knowledge and intuition that drives willpower. The Chariot card reminds the entrepreneur of the mechanics of achieving success, the motion of conquest.
Death: Dealing with Uncertainty
In tarot, the death card symbolizes transformation, yet a transformative passage that moves from certainty to uncertainty. Uncertainty can paralyze the timid entrepreneur. The Death card depicts a glowing sunrise at the end of the horseman’s journey, reminding the entrepreneur not to let fear of uncertainty paralyze action. Trot forward into unknown terrain—it is the inevitable path of every entrepreneur, and is the inevitable path for progress, to transform from the lower to the higher business consciousness.
The Tower: Coping with Failure
Every entrepreneur will confront failure, especially early on. How that failure is dealt with is what determines whether an entrepreneur will succeed in the future. The Tower card shows the narrative of an ambitious undertaking built from the ground up, but greater forces at hand destroyed that undertaking, causing its builders to start again. The Tower card teaches the budding entrepreneur important lessons on failure, and how failure can become success.
The Star: Creating a Vision
To thrive, an entrepreneur not only needs tenacity, but needs to have a vision of how his or her business will improve and serve the world. It is also the card of opportunity. The entrepreneur must think about how business can create vitality for others. The Star card in tarot is asking the individual how he or she will be contributing and leaving behind a legacy. That is, after all, the entrepreneur’s objective—to create a vision that will leave behind a legacy.
The Sun: Sharing Your Vision
The Sun card exudes self-confidence. The entrepreneur must be confident, must operate with the conviction that he or she has unique talents to contribute. While The Star card is about the conception of a vision, The Sun card is actual success of implementation. The Sun card is validation. It is what every entrepreneur strives to achieve—seeing his or her vision become reality, radiating into the world like the rays of a sun, sustaining life.