The Tarot Cards (SPR +60) bangle intrigued me. After looking up Tarot Cards, I came to the story of the Fool’s Journey. Of the 78 cards, the 22 trumps (Major Arcana) illustrate scenes representing an archetypal, psychological and symbolic element. The Major Arcana tells us the story of our lives and the stages we go through. Note: I’m using the 1910 Rider-Waite version of the Tarot: http://www.learntarot.com/journey.htm
The Fool: Zack is the Fool. The Fool in this sense isn’t a “stupid idiot”, as much as a “naive person with a willingness to learn”. S/he’s the starting point, Crisis Core starts with Zack at the beginning of his journey towards becoming a hero. But will he be one? He clears the path for an evil, soulless corporation. Many events in VII are a direct result of his actions. Nevertheless, he’s a good guy. He wants to do the right thing, he’s carefree, spontaneous and childlike.
The Magician: Usually a guide with great willpower the Fool meets along the way (i.e. Angeal). Also represents the conscious potential within Zack to “embrace his dreams” and be a hero.
The High Priestess: Usually someone with great intuition (i.e. Genesis) the Fool meets along the way to improve his subconscious potential. Genesis himself has an intuition about “Loveless” and was right about the ending. He achieves insight into how wrong Shinra is and meets the Goddess Minerva (also a representation of the High Priestess).
The Empress: Probably Kunsel, his overbearing motherly-type of a friend. Also, his sense of adventure, finally exploring the world on his first fruitful mission. Barona Whites represent nature, but also the knowledge of the world (as a biblical reference). Also, Zack’s emotions and the DMV, which give rise to his creative fighting skills.
The Emperor: Shinra, the company which sets rules and order for Zack and the rest of the world. Zack is beginning to have a little bit of structure in his life.
The Hierophant: The Fool encounters organizations that inform his beliefs. For Zack, this is SOLDIER. Wutai and even Yuffie adhered to their beliefs. Zack encounters the Turks: Tseng (whose pedantic adherence to corporate policy is astounding) and Cissinei (a professional serious about her job). Hojo, his science. Genesis, himself.
The Lovers: Usually the Fool’s first blush with love (i.e. Aerith). But it also represents a choice. Should Zack follow his dreams (and duty to Shinra) of becoming a hero or follow his heart? Zack’s forced to make a choice between Shinra and his heart when Angeal knocks him into the church. There, he meets Aerith (at this place of the union). There’s a subtle choice between Cissnei and Aerith, where once again Zack chooses best for himself.
The Chariot: Zack’s an accomplished person, SOLDIER 1st Class. Sephiroth also asserts supernatural control over his emotions, mind, and body. But is victory hollow for these two?
Strength: Zack’s strong and is able to endure in missions is spectacular. But he’s facing a ton of emotional challenges and needs to call upon his inner strength.
The Hermit: Genesis and Angeal go missing. Zack starts to question everything. Genesis? Angeal? What does it all mean? Also, he feels alone now with Angeal gone. He’s very much in the present (as an extravert) but he’s slowly distancing himself from Shinra and their employees. Sephiroth too wonders why Dr. Hollander didn’t choose him as a donor for Genesis. Genesis and Angeal are away in solitude.
The Wheel of Fortune: Zack receives the buster sword from Angeal, which is the beginning of his inheritance. The sword is the manifestation of his dreams. The Fool starts to see how everything connects and happens for a reason…
Justice: Zack is taking responsibility for Aerith, Cloud and even things beyond his control (trying to help Angeal). He’s even more aware of his path, and perhaps now good karma is catching up to him.
The Hanged Man: Zack wants to be there for Aerith, but he also has to follows duty. When Zack finds out the Turks are watching Aerith, he lets go. Aerith is in good hands and he can do his missions. Later on, Cloud wants to become SOLDIER to impress Tifa. But since he failed, he wants to avoid Tifa. So does he opt out of the mission or reveal himself? He does nothing; he hides behind the mask.
Death: No, not yet. This is usually when the Fool changes in some way. Zack’s somewhat different, but take a look around him. Everyone else is “K.I.A.”, or rather “dead to Shinra”. Shinra as a good organization is dead to Zack. Even Shinra’s evil theme song starts playing in the lobby – the former theme song is dead!
Temperance: His emotions still swing the DMW, but there’s a balance. Especially since Zack gained most of the character DMWs sequences/memories. Searching for the angel (i.e. Angeal) has temporarily calmed his nerves.
The Devil: This could represent Shinra. This could foreshadow Sephiroth. But since the Devil card symbolizes bondage, it’s Zack’s unavoidable mission to Nibelheim which takes him away from Aerith. Aerith is under surveillance by the Turks. Her fear of an open sky traps her in Sector 5. And now she’s without Zack. Plus, you can’t go back to Midgar after this missions.
The Tower: The moment of realization. Sephiroth goes crazy learning about his past. The enlightenment of himself consumes him like a town in flames. Zack’s anger explodes at Sephiroth’s dishonor. Tifa’s realization that Shinra is evil strikes her at the heart. Coincidentally, this climaxes at a large tower (Mako reactor).
The Star: Zack, the Fool, still holds on to his dreams of becoming a hero. This is the only thing keeping him from becoming hopeless, even when in a test tube. He realizes what’s most important in his life: seeing Aerith. His hope is to go back to Midgar to see her.
The Moon: Everyone is now out to get Zack. Hojo experiments on him. Friends in SOLDIER turn to enemies (or subtle backstabbers like Luxiere). He’s been away for nearly half a decade? Cloud becomes a weaker shell of himself, dazed and confused. Cissnei too. She has a job to do but doesn’t want to hurt Zack. This scene takes place under the full moon. Genesis needs infusion of Jenova and his copies eat Zack’s hair for his cells. His fear of not seeing Aerith again kicks in. The Fool is in confusion, can he make it out?
The Sun: YES! Cissinei figures out that it’s best to help him get away. He meets Lazard…in the form of Angeal. And he needs to stop Genesis. If he can do this, he’ll be a hero. At least he’ll feel like one. This becomes Zack’s grand mission he feels with the zest needed to continue.
Judgement: Genesis is reborn, cured from degradation. Genesis meets Goddess, and realizes his ambitions were a lie. Genesis eats apples with Sephiroth, through Zack. Lazard (think: Lazarus), who himself died to himself but became reborn as Angeal, is now reborn to the Lifestream. Genesis will be reborn. Cloud will soon be reborn (coming out of his stupor). Zack, however, is now seeing his life flash before his eyes during the DMW, his final judgment.
The World: Finally, the hero dies. The Fool completes his journey. He asked “why” and understands the meaning of life. Zack leaves this world for the next (i.e. The Lifestream) a little bit more wise, more experienced and more whole. He has accomplished all this world allowed him to do. He finds out the true meaning of being a hero (which is much less about the ego and much more about helping people) and he leaves behind a legacy to Cloud (the next Fool on his journey). The world he leaves behind (i.e. Aerith) is still waiting for him and will join him.
Hey, could you say…Zack became a hero?