Monday, April 12, 2021

Tarot Tales: J is for Judgement

Welcome to the 2021 A to Z Blogging Challenge! My theme this year is Tarot Tales. I am making a selection of folktales, legends, and other traditional stories that correspond to tarot cards. Storytelling and tarot go well together. Do other stories come to mind? Let me know in the comments!

The card: Judgement

Meanings: Judgement has to do with stepping into a new phase, another level of consciousness; of making a life-changing decision and finding your true self and calling. It also deals with releasing old things, past wounds, regret and guilt. It is about debts (both paying and letting go), self-reflection, and awakening to personal truths. It is a card of things coming to light, even though (or maybe because) in the past mistakes have been made.

Selection process: Okay so I struggle with this card a lot, and I think I'm not alone. I also struggled with trying to find a story that fits such an abstract concept (as long as I did not want to settle for the obvious "Last Judgment"). In the end, it was the "past mistakes" and the "coming to light" part that led me to this tale, which is one of my all-time favorites. 

The story: Aicha's tasks on earth

Origin: Algeria

A merchant has a brave, clever, and talented daughter, Aicha. A prince proposes to marry her, but with a clever ruse she reveals that he is a coward and a liar, and rejects the marriage. Early on in the story she defeats a man-eating ghoul that tries to kill her family, but she doesn't check to see if she'd burnt the body thoroughly enough. A leftover splinter of the ghoul's bone wounds her, and curses her: she has to keep traveling the world without rest. Aicha turns the curse to her advantage, and sets out to kill monsters and slay demons all over the place. She unveils mysteries, helps people, and chases enemies away. After many adventures (she even runs into Sindbad once), she finally gets rid of the literal demon on her shoulder, and becomes a great queen. 
(I also wrote about her in my StorySpotting series)

Sources & notes: Read here. I also included the first half in my book about superpowers in folktales.

Runner-ups: Kadyr's fortune, a Kazakh tale about a man in search of his luck, who makes a lot of foolish mistakes along the way, but eventually learns to recognize his good fortune. I was also thinking of King Lindworm, where a dragon-prince is transformed into true royalty through trial and error.

What would you do if you had to constantly travel all your life?


  1. I wouldn't like it. I like to BE somewhere else, but the travel is what I don't like. I get airsick, and have a phobia of crossing big bridges, so... I say that princess was happy to stop traveling! Sound like quite a hero figure though!
    On the surface (based on what you wrote only) Kadyr's fortune reminds of The Alchemist. Boy in search of treasure, makes foolish mistakes, learns to recognize his treasure.

  2. I would love to read a series about Aicha!

  3. Visiting your blog is akin to entering Ali baba's cave of stories:)
    Love this Algerian tale.
    'turns the curse to her advantage' --yes!
    And the idea that she met Sindbad reminds me of the movie Shrek where all the fairy tale characters are in one place all at once!

  4. Another strong, resilient, and adaptable woman. Aicha deserved to be a great queen after that life.
    Another great post.

  5. I did travel constantly at one point in my life...

  6. I like to constantly travel 😊. Great story of a strong woman!

  7. I'd love to travel my entire life! I'm a Sagittarius, and one of our quintessential traits is our love of travel.

  8. Now that's a princess!

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge with an A-Z of Faerie: Jengu: The Mermaid from Africa