With a Disney live action bracing theaters practically every season, it’s no doubt that we’re in a Disney frenzy. And with Disney’s release of the teaser trailer for Mulan—a live-action remake set for the screen March 27, 2020—things are about to get even more crazy.
For those of us involved in Tarot, what do you think Mulan’s major arcana card would be? Artist Maria Lia Malandrino took it upon herself to dive into this question and find a perfectly fitting card for each individual Disney princess. As a Tarot reader myself, I was floored by how well the cards represented their flaws, quirks, and backgrounds.
Here, we’ve included all her major arcana representations as well as her interpretations. See for yourself!
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0 The Fool: Rapunzel
Malandrino’s interpretation: The Fool Tarot card is innocence, new beginnings, excitement and the thrill of being on an adventure… who better than Rapunzel can represent that?
Rapunzel as The Fool makes so much sense to me. I mean, she was stuck in a tower for all of her naive years! She’ll have to embrace Fool energy in order to learn about the world.
I The Magician: Merida
Malandrino’s interpretation: For this card, I thought of Merida because one of the interpretations is to ‘tap into one’s full potential rather than holding back, especially when there’s a need to transform something’. This rings true for Merida’s particular predicament (momma Bear!) but also more generally to her story. She always had the ability to change the clans’ traditions and customs, but only if she really used all of her skills. We all have the power to change things we don’t like around us, but we do have to try our very best to succeed.
The Magician card symbolizes a person who really just makes things happen. They have all the tools to pull things out of their hat when they need to. And Merida definitely does this.
II The High Priestess: Aurora (“Sleeping Beauty”)
Malandrino’s interpretation: This card represents stillness and reflection, a pause to analyze the world around you—a bit like Aurora’s unwitting pause when she was asleep!
The High Priestess also discusses intuition—much like Aurora’s ability to awaken only when her true love has kissed her.
III The Empress: Giselle
Malandrino’s interpretation: This figure is related to anything that grows and prosper, be it a new love, life, art or enterprise! For this Tarot I immediately thought of Giselle, one of my favourite Disney character designs, and (at least to me) the embodiment of spring!
Giselle’s innate connection to nature totally makes her worthy of embodying The Empress. I love that she was chosen here because, just like this major arcana figure, she is nurturing, maternal, and rides on that feminine power.
IV The Emperor: Tiana
Malandrino’s interpretation: This card suggests stability, security, being in control of things, and all of this as a result of discipline and hard work—well, I don’t know you guys, but when I read the description Tiana immediately came to mind! I love her character, and I love how uptight she is at the start of her journey.
Being strong and fierce in her own right, Tiana is a perfect representation of The Emperor.
V The Hierophant: Esmeralda
Malandrino’s interpretation: The card itself was kinda hard to assign: The Hierophant stands for marriage and tradition, but also for teaching and being a guide for the querent. I went with the latter meaning and picked Esmeralda, since she acts as a guide to Quasimodo in many ways and knows a lot more about the world…
For me, The Hierophant really dives into that idea of counsel provided to others. This person is usually a guide, someone who gives advice to those looking to transform their lives. So in my opinion, Esmeralda was a great choice.
VI The Lovers: Elsa and Anna Arundel
Malandrino’s interpretation: For this card it seemed obvious to choose the Arundel sisters, as their love for each other is the main focus of their story.
This can’t fit more perfectly for me. Love, love, love that Elsa and Anna are here! While literally every Disney movie is portrayal of “love,” this card is really about intrinsic connections we have with others. In that way, The Lovers are truly, inseparable life soul mates—making these sisters perfect for the role. Nothing can tear their bond apart!
VII The Chariot: Jasmine
Malandrino’s interpretation: This is The Chariot, which is all about overcoming conflict and victoriously moving forward in a positive way! The world is yours.
Take a ride on the magic carpet, “The Chariot” that’ll break through barriers and expectations.
VIII Strength: Mulan
Malandrino’s interpretation: This Tarot views strength mostly as strength of character in difficult situations, and I couldn’t think of anybody better suited to embody the concept than Mulan. I remember I got the tape of this movie for my 9th birthday and I watched it so much the film is literally ruined in parts! To me it was amazing that there was a movie that was telling me it was ok to break all the rules and be a hero even if you were a girl, as long as you were resilient, brave and strong enough to believe you could do it.
This card is a duh. As Malandrino says, Mulan is meant for this role as Strength! As the embodiment of feminine physical and mental perseverance, she is arguably one of the “stronger” princesses I can think of.
IX The Hermit: Vanellope
Malandrino’s interpretation: Many have asked which card I would pair with Vanellope and I think The Hermits fits her well, especially considering her character arc in Ralph Breaks the Internet… this card signifies that a period of introspection is needed, which is exactly what Vanellope feels she has to do in order to grow: getting away from Sugar Rush and following her own path for a while. This kind of self-reflection is a very important part of everybody’s life from time to time, even if sometimes it’s a bit painful!
While Vanellope is not technically a “princess,” she certainly does have the familiar sense of self that all others do—something that The Hermit always has. It’s with that connection to one’s self that she’s able to so confidently do her own thing.
X Wheel of Fortune: Cinderella
Malandrino’s interpretation: This card signifies a change of condition in one’s life and, well, of course Cinderella came to mind! Cinderella is the embodiment of wishing and believing that your life can change, until it actually happens! Without being too cheesy, I do believe change is possible, even big changes that seem impossible can happen, as long as people are willing to put work, time and practice in!
Cinderella goes through an actual transformation herself, but this change is only possible once she encounters a bit of fate—the ultimate catalyst behind the Wheel of Fortune card! There’s no telling how things will happen or what’s going to be thrown at you next.
XI Justice: Kida
Malandrino’s interpretation: This card means that the fairest decision will be made, regardless of circumstances… I don’t know why, but I thought that Kida was right to represent this Tarot. The fact that she was chosen by the crystal of Atlantis shows that she is a fair ruler and an exceptional human being, and the fact that she was able to see past the differences with Milo and the other explorers shows that she was willing to make the right choices for the good of her nation.
Beyond all doubt, Justice is about fair agency. Kida was such an interesting choice for this card, as I could have seen Snow White here—after all, she is the “fairest of them all.” However, I think Snow’s placement in this rendition works much better (you’ll see later!).
XII The Hanged Man: Belle
Malandrino’s interpretation: It signifies ultimate sacrifice or being suspended in time, both interpretations that are perfect for our favourite bookworm: Belle.
Belle is great for The Hanged Man, as it’s a card that really draws inward toward self-reflection and progress. With her nose always in a book, and into other people’s business, this card really speaks to her willingness to learn about herself and others.
XIII Death: Snow White
Malandrino’s interpretation: Well, this card’s character choice pretty much explains itself I think… I decided to go with a much stronger colour difference for the background to emphasize its meaning, although it should be said that this isn’t a bad Tarot, on the contrary: it usually signifies the end of a relationship or interest, and increased self-awareness.
Just, yes. Who else better represents Death than Snow White? And there’s so much more to this than one might think… biting the poisonous fruit, falling to one’s demise… but in that fall there also comes a rebirth, which is exactly what the Death card discusses.
XIV Temperance: Moana
Malandrino’s interpretation: Someone suggested Moana (or Vaiana!) for this card and I completely agree! This Tarot is all about harmony, balance and self-confidence, all aspects very much linked to Moana’s story and journey—plus, the traditional card depicts an angel pouring water from one cup to another, so that’s a perfect fit!
Being so adaptable to change (as well as transition from water to land), Moana makes for the perfect Temperance symbol.
XV The Devil: Alice
Malandrino’s interpretation: Super difficult card to assign this, as Disney princess don’t usually have negative connotations! However, reading up on the meaning of this Tarot I discovered that it’s more to do with ‘being entrapped’ and that it doesn’t foretell doom necessarily, but the need for prudence. This interpretation pointed straight to Alice who (even though is not strictly a princess) was lead astray and ended up on the wrong road, getting lost in Wonderland!
It may have been difficult to assign, but I love the fact that Alice winds up here. The Devil, as Malandrino says, doesn’t symbolize “doom.” It merely suggests that there’s turmoil (something toxic) happening somewhere in your life. Alice falling into an emotional “hole” is super symbolic of that inner turmoil.
XVI The Tower: Tinkerbell
Malandrino’s interpretation: This card signifies impending doom, sudden change, a crisis… I chose Tinkerbell for this Tarot as she has to deal with a sudden change when Wendy enters Peter Pan’s life and, well, she doesn’t really deal with it in the best way!
While Tink is mostly associated with mischief, she does start the ball rolling on things that need to be addressed. Much like The Tower, the issues she highlights are a house of cards that are bound to fall anyway.
XVII The Star: Meg
Malandrino’s interpretation: This Tarot card brings renewed hope and faith, getting a second chance, and who better than Megara can talk about second chances? I’ve always had a soft spot for sassy Meg. Her emotional fragility makes her so believable and relatable, don’t you think?
Another super interesting and totally believable pick! The Star brings positivity to situations that seem doomed. Since Meg gets a second chance, and also acts as sort of a “muse” for Hercules, The Star seems right for her.
XVIII The Moon: Ariel
Malandrino’s interpretation: This card signifies transformation, mystery, that things aren’t what they appear to be… I always found Ariel’s wish to be something she wasn’t terribly sad, but her (naive) determination quite inspiring.
Not only does The Moon represent mystery and illusion, it’s also the ruling planet of Cancer, a water sign. It’s only natural that this mermaid should end up here.
XIX The Sun: Nala (from The Lion King)
Malandrino’s interpretation: I chose Nala to represent this card! This is how I picture her as a human of course, it was so much fun to draw her and I admit I took inspiration from Nakia’s wardrobe in Black Panther, whilst keeping Nala’s colours and unmistakeable eyes. This Tarot represents happiness, joy and harmony, all things that Simba could achieve because Nala went to look for him, convinced him to come back and helped him in his fight!
I found it great that Malandrino humanized Nala. I found The Sun to truly work with her bold and bright character. More than that, the sun rules Leo, whose symbol is a lion. It all fits!
XX Judgement: Anastasia
Malandrino’s interpretation: This card means upheaval, radical change in ones life and especially awakening—it’s that last word that convinced me Anastasia Romanov was the perfect fit. I know she’s not technically a Disney princess, but I always loved the movie and the character design, so I’m happy to include her!
Judgement is a tough card, but I think Anastasia can fit here. Malandrino hit the nail on the head when she says “awakening!”
XXI The World: Pocahontas
Malandrino’s interpretation: Who could better represent this card than Pocahontas? To me she is the embodied of the cyclical nature of life and acceptance for all creatures on earth (and perhaps of other dimensions too?)
It is so true that Pocahontas embodies all that there is when it comes to binding together both Mother Nature and humanity. She is symbolic of “The World” around us.
Photos courtesy of @mlm_illustrations