Persona 3- Tarot Cards and “The Fool’s Journey” (Part 1)

Persona 3- Tarot Cards and “The Fool’s Journey” (Part 1)


it’s no surprise that the Persona series
is rich in meaningful symbolism, mostly thanks to Swiss psychologist Carl Jung’s
ideas. Though interestingly enough, of the three Hashino era Persona games, P3 is
unique in that every persona user within it serves as a representation of one of
the first twelve Tarot archetypes that make up a core focus of this particular
game’s plot. It is my belief that this very fact makes the exploration of “The
Fool’s Journey” all the more significant in Persona 3. I mean the male MC’S path is
literally called The Journey. But I realize that some of these terms may be
unfamiliar or even confusing, so I will briefly touch on Carl Jung’s take on the
archetype and the Tarot before diving into this in-depth character study of
the P3 main characters through the lens of the first 12 Major Arcana. And as a
final warning, the very nature of this series will
contain heavy Persona 3 spoilers. Persona 3’s themes are based on many of Carl Jung’s ideas, including those such as the collective unconscious, archetypes, and
the use of the Tarot to symbolize a person’s path to wholeness. Jung proposed
that we are all born with the collective unconscious, which contains the shared
memories and ideas across humanity. Just as there are similar myths and legends
across all cultures, there exists the archetypes that manifests as the persona
we use in the game. Archetypes are certain idealized images of a person or
a role that transcends cultures and time periods. So in relation to the Tarot,
each of the 22 major arcana promote this concept of an individual who begins as the Fool card, gaining wisdom, experience,
and essentially what is a soul, through the process of encountering each one of
the Tarot archetypes. Hence, this journey to becoming a
complete idealized version of oneself is called The Fool’s Journey. For times sake,
I will only briefly cover the Fool tarot. The Fool’s naivete and inexperience is
symbolized by the white rose that is held in his hand.
Also notice the cliff that he is just about to step off. This is indicative of
how the Fool will soon be called to take a “leap of faith,” and is also
representative of the changes that are about to happen when he’s not even
looking for them. Adding on to that, tarot cards have a possibility of both an
upright and reverse reading to them. As for the upright Fool Arcana, it
symbolizes that anything can happen, and that everything is possible, which is the
exact situation that all Persona protagonists find themselves in from the
very beginning of each game. Now we can finally move on to the main
character analyses. The first archetype that the Fool encounters is the Magician,
who is otherwise known as Junpei Iori in P3. In brief words the Magician helps
teach the Fool the value of inner potential, and how to give shape to the
destiny he so chooses. On one hand, the upright Magician is a great communicator
who possesses immense creativity, and he is also the originator of ideas. Notice
how Junpei is the idea man when it comes to SEES’s fun activities. Ikutski only
brings up the possibility of a summer trip to Yakushima after Junpei shares his
dream summer plans. Junpei is the first to suggest a party and sushi after the team
defeats the final full moon boss, and he reminds Akihiko of a lost bet so that
senpai would have to treat SEES to ramen during the final month of the games. All
of these things showcase that when the Magician is on your team’s side, he can
serve as an incredible source of morale and spirit. going back to you Yakushima
though, once again it is Junpei who is the first to drag everyone down to the
beach, and later on the one who starts up Operation Babe Hunt. Furthermore, on the
beach during the very last day of the Yakushima trip, Junpei comments that a
lot of crazy things and revelations had happened on their short stay at the
Kirijo vacation Manor. Despite this, he says that he has enjoyed
the experience. He is then the first one down to the water. So, you see, the
Magician is known for his ability to see the joyful and playful side of life plus
he possesses vast amounts of energy. Even Akihiko wonders how Junpei can still be so energetic after everything that has happened. But the Magician Arkana
also symbolizes the trickster archetype. While the trickster is most commonly
used as a reference to the Fool in the Persona games, such as Loki, who’s
probably the most well-known trickster god in mythology, serving as a Fool
Arcana persona fusion. the Tarot of the magician also encompasses such an image.
The same communication skills, creativity, and charisma that aids the Magician also
possesses the possibility of becoming incredibly manipulative and deceitful.
Essentially, it can be difficult to tell whose side the magician is really on. He
does what pleases him in the moment. This is perfectly encompassed during Junpei’s initial sabotage of and resentment towards the MC during full moon
operations in the earlier months. Junpei also lies to Chidori at first about his
position in SEES, and he ultimately remains close to her during her
detainment in the hospital even after the reveal that she is with SEES’s
enemies, Strega. The absolute reverse reading of the magician tarot card
represents deep insecurity that results in passivity and a lack of originality.
Junpei’s monologues during summer break, his low energy, and his initial
interactions with Chidori openly reveal how insecure he is. On the other hand, this
deep insecurity, when coupled with the magician’s natural amounts of energy, can
translate into brash and reckless action as is shown during the second full moon
on the train, and in his attempts to go after Takaya and Jin after the death of
Chidori. However, eventually Junpei showcases his growth during the time he
spends talking to Fuuka on December 27th. The reason he gives for choosing to
fight death reflects how he has carefully ruminated over his ideas
before choosing to act upon them, symbolizing his growth from his prior
rash nature. Furthermore his heartfelt one-to-one with the MC on the rooftop in
January shows his growth from deep insecurity to a greater self-confidence
and confirms that he is on the MC’s and SEES’s side as well. See, when the
magician is in peak form, he symbolizes the ability to use his inner potential
to translate his ideas into action. He is essentially the ultimate miracle worker
in the tarot deck. His love for Chidori and refusal to give up on her prompted a
genuine miracle in which she sacrificed what was left of her life to revive him
from certain death. So in conclusion, the upright Magician teaches the Fool how to
creatively use all the energies within and around himself to realize his ideas
and achieve success. The next archetype that the Fool
encounters on his journey is the High Priestess or otherwise shortened to just the Priestess in Persona games. Fuuka Yamagishi takes this post in P3. It
is the Priestess’ job to translate the spiritual, or otherwise unknown
unconscious realm, to the Fool so that he may understand it. Just as the Magician is
representative of masculine energy and intuition, the Priestess is the feminine
side of this intuitive energy. Since shadows are known as the repressed or
unwanted emotions and thoughts of the individual, it makes sense that Fuuka is
portrayed in the role of the Priestess since, in other words, this Arcana is
skilled at moving past appearances and trusting personal intuition, especially
when it comes to emotion and feelings. Because her ability to sense the unnatural
and generally unknown attributes of the shadows during gameplay as the team’s
navigator reflects how she mediates between these two worlds. foresees Luca
also showcases her keen intuition for the otherworldly during other parts of
the story for example she immediately understands
the implication of the Cootes keys research on the shadow bosses during the
June 20th meeting and she is able to locate all the full moon Arcana bosses
even the ones who tried to deceive her as a showcase in her monologue as she
scans for the Hermit boss but the reverse priestess also makes his showing
through Fuuka the reverse reading of this card is characterized by repressed
feelings and excessive trust in the opinions of others versus trusting one’s
own intuition foofa’s and security’s perfectly encompass this negative aspect
of this archetype she accepts the offer to join seize right away after her
rescue because of the validation to use for her skills as navigator after
Shinji’s death she blames herself for not trusting her intuition when he told
her the night before that he would be late to the operation and also during
her talk with Natsuki on the school’s rooftop she says that I used to try to
please everyone it reflects how she focuses too much on what others think of
her her social link further expands on this concept for example she wishes to
make things for sieves to express her gratitude with the unsaid implication of
her efforts being to prove herself worthy to them she doubts her skills and
berates herself before she even begins tasked as is shown when she buys spices
to try using in her cooking but then tells herself that they wouldn’t make a
difference anyway however when yukari tells Fuuka that
friends don’t owe each other anything after she enjoys the rice balls fuga
made she really began stepping out of her shell in the Social Link luca’s
confidence also grows throughout the main plot of p3 she showcases the
natural talent of the priestess arcana to proceed past appearances in order to
discover the true nature of knots key through the friendship she develops with
her so recall that the priestess serves as a mediator between the unknown and
that which is already plainly known Luka is able to connect Yukari to the truth
about her father’s research by recovering the original footage of the
video and finally in her talk with Jim pay during late December she reveals her
reasons for choosing to fight and says I want to be true to myself reflecting the
move from relying on the opinions of others to trusting her own intuition Jim
Pilon comments on how strong she has become
so in conclusion the priestess teaches the fool to look past appearances and to
value his own intuition which ultimately will provide the true answer the last
Arcana that will be covered in part one of the series and the third archetype
that the full encounters in his journeys is the Empress meet Sudoku Tito fulfill
this role in p3 the Empress is the archetypal motherly role in the Tarot
and teaches the fool the joys of nurturing and loving manner and how
there is great happiness found in supporting those around us
for example she shows her care for all the students at geekycon high school
through her role as student council president plus she is also clearly the
team mom of C’s was a showcase when she decides to enroll all the members into
summer classes they means that she’ll see to it that all of the C’s graduates
meet sue also serves as a prominent contrast to Akihiko the Emperor
especially during the earlier parts of p3 for example prior to the second full
moon boss Akihiko is saddened that he won’t be able to join newbies you kotti
Jun K and MC in the fight however meet today reassures him telling him to have
faith in the three for they are ready she shows her care by praising the
members of C’s for both their individual talents and group achievements after
many of the operations much like the ideal nurturing mother figure Badu and
once again she serves as a motherly contrast to the fatherly and masculine
strength of the Emperor during the Hookah rescue mission when she worries
over the safety of the group and Luca who is still trapped in Tartarus
meanwhile Akihiko is prepared to risk everything and head into Tartarus
himself so that no one would has to perish
his watch we can also make the argument that the motherly instinct to protect
loved ones first manifested in needs to do when she developed a persona in order
to protect her father however me to do also showcases the
reverse aspect of the Empress Arcana while the reverse Empress Tarot can
materialize as being too overbearing an essentially stifling of the individual
growth of those she supports the negative aspects can also manifest as
spending too much time meeting the needs of others from electing her own me to do
has spent her entire adolescence fighting the shadows and fulfilling her
duty to redeem the Cutie Joe group and most importantly putting her life on the
line to protect her father me to do is overwhelming commitment to pleasing the
Cutie Joe company over her own wishes is expanded upon in her social link where
she is willing to go along with an arranged marriage she isn’t excited
about for the sake of the company’s future but finally she decides to stand
behind her own wishes when she chooses to reprimand her fiance for berating the
MC on another note the upright mother the archetype of the Empress also
symbolizes diplomacy and possesses a talent of creating space for those to
share their feelings with others one example is shown after Rosie’s
revelation to cease about the inevitability of the fall in early
December she invites seas to come together to share their thoughts with
one another about this impending doom but ultimately the Empress’s lesson of
connecting in love with though she cares about is prominently reflected in the
relationship she develops with you kotti me to do is able to strengthen her
initially shaky relationship with her throughout p3 but the bond really takes
off when she begins to do more activities with her beginning with the
kyoto school trip it comes to a culmination when me today decides to
nurture the relationships that are important to her and such an example is
showcased through her visit with you kotti in her room in order to talk about
a major event poaching in their lives their decision
to fight Knicks overall Mitsuda encompasses the motherly archetype that
realizes how a major aspect of love is about understanding and accepting that
all individuals have their own goals and dreams that they are striving to achieve
so to wrap it up the upright Empress teaches the fool to nurture the dreams
of those he cares about and to support them in their decisions and endeavors and on that EndNote thank you so much
for watching this first video in my new series if you like this please like
comment and consider subscribing for more analysis like this I will continue
with the next three Arcana the Emperor the heirophant and the lovebirds next
time so until then take care see ya

9 Comments

  • David Gonzalez Fernandez says:

    Just found this channel, great content. Persona 3 has become one of my favorite games and I hate everytime the game gets bash because of people looking on a superficial level only (for example, people criticism on Yukari's actions on the answer without looking into context, symbolism and intertext) hope you can keep up with the series, as a extra, it could be great if you could add a little bit of info on the persona they own, when is not for gameplay reasons (empress=bufu, fortune=Garu), the deity or character behind the persona holds a meaning related to the arcana (and P3 is the game that reflects this association the most) for example the relation between the high priestess and Lucia/Juno Lore. Even the S. Link persona for example how are Koryu and the Hierophant arcana related. Anyway, thank you for making this amazing videos

  • Marius Ghencea says:

    other than better audio quality, you also sound more at ease now ^^

  • Pharaoh Fiasco says:

    I'm a total sucker for MegaTen analyses. Thanks for doing this✓

  • ethme says:

    This channel seems underrated but it looks cool.

  • LadyVirgilia says:

    Hey guys! First off, apologies for the iffy dips in audio levels here and there.
    Out of the three, who is your favorite archetype, or who do you think had the best character development? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

  • arcturus64 says:

    Found this totally at random but I'm glad I did, I always wondered about the meaning of the tarot cards in the persona universe.

  • TheJaredPunch says:

    The arcana is the means by which all is revealed.

  • Franky Jonson says:

    Sooo gooood. Great explanation, well matched music. Thank you for this.

  • Toomes is Stupid says:

    When I read “tarot analysis” I thought it said “thot analysis”
    I need to get my eyes checked

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