After almost two years, it seems like Cyberpunk 2077 was able to pull off a No Man’s Sky by pulling itself out of the pit of shame with great effort, along with help from the hit Netflix anime series Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. I haven’t finished watching the show yet, but it already got me back to the game after 20 months. While my return hasn’t been entirely smooth as I’ve forgotten much of the combat system, I clearly remember the story and setting. That includes a mission in the game that I thought was clever and creative in its own way — Fool on the Hill, which has you looking for holographic tarot murals throughout Night City.
I wrote the draft to this blog post back in January 2021 but never finished it due to having lost interest in Cyberpunk 2077 by the following month. Now that I’m playing the game again, perhaps now is a good time to pull this out of the heap and finish it because I still like how they were able to tie tarot to V’s story. I recall how my mind was blown the very moment I realized the significance of the murals, where they’re located, and what happens in those players throughout the main storyline.
Personally, I prefer the Fool’s journey over the standard Hero’s journey as described by Joseph Campbell’s description of the Monomyth. I find the former to be closer to reality with the number of personalities encountered in one’s path, while the latter simplifies it to have singular moments of learning and epiphany. It’s not to say that I don’t like Joseph Campbell’s formula, but I lean towards the idea of mixing it with the Fool’s journey for a more interesting narrative.
NOTE: It’s impossible to discuss this without talking about significant plot points in the story.
Therefore, major spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.
Tarot Major Arcana in Night City
This list is numbered according to how these cards are ordered in traditional tarot decks. That’s why it may seem like each one jumps from location to location all over Night City. Each mural says a lot about what happens in that location throughout the story.
It follows the age-old concept of the Fool’s Journey, which is a major theme in tarot. You can watch this video to learn more about that story. If you can get past the supposed occult undertones of tarot, you’ll find it to be a fun way to enrich your creative process. It’s really just a way to tell stories.
0. The Fool
It’s found next to V’s apartment. V is the Fool, which isn’t to say that they’re stupid. The Fool is number 0 in the Major Arcana because it represents the protagonist in the story of the Fool’s journey. In V’s particular case, they’re put in an impossible situation that they have to pull themselves out of, and they have to find people along the way to help them.
As the Fool embarks on their journey to find themselves and live a better life, they gain knowledge and experience as they visit different places and interacting with other people along the way. Some of those people will give them tools and wisdom to help them along, while others may impose obstacles and dilemmas for them to overcome.
The featured image/thumbnail for this blog post shows the alternate version of this card.
1. The Magician
You can find this mural under a bridge opposite Lizzie’s Bar, where you first meet Evelyn Parker to talk about the Heist at Konpeki Tower. It’s also where you first meet Judy Alvarez, the braindance editor.
The Magician may symbolize Evelyn Parker, who commissioned Dexter DeShawn with the job that got the ball rolling for V in this story. The Magician is the first major figure that the Fool encounters on his journey, sending him along the path he must take.
Judy may also be the Magician. She’s a talented braindance editor, able to make art out of visceral experiences recorded in three-dimensional space. As science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
It can also represent Johnny Silverhand, who Misty brings up during her reading after V met with Hanako in the Nocturne Op55N1 mission. She describes the Magician as a leader, a person of great talent and charisma. V concurs that it does sound like Johnny.
Misty dealt the card in reversed position, which she read as a tendency toward addiction and mental instability. V also concurs with this.
The Heist is why V ended up with Johnny Silverhand in their head. It’s why their days became numbered. It’s why Jackie Welles died. All of that started at Lizzie’s Bar.
2. The High Priestess
This mural can be found at the top floor of an abandoned apartment building in Vista Del Rey. The High Priestess is associated with the act of taking a step back to gather one’s thoughts, reflecting upon the current situation, and trusting one’s intuition. In the reversed position, it represents secrets and withheld information.
The abandoned apartment building is where Takemura takes Hanako to after abducting her from the parade in Japantown. V goes there to tell Hanako personally what truly happened in Konpeki Plaza, that her brother is their father’s murderer. Just when realization starts to set in, Arasaka soldiers attack. Takemura dies in the attack if the player doesn’t go back for him.
The abandoned apartment building has also been described by players as creepy and seemingly haunted. The rooms are all numbered 800, which may mean “BOO.” It was designed to give off an uneasy atmosphere, which you may experience while climbing to the top floor.
3. The Empress
This card represents maternal influence, opportunity, and stability. The Afterlife itself may also be the Empress, offering opportunity for mercs like V. It’s where the plans for the Heist were discussed. It’s where Jackie gushed about hitting the big leagues.
It’s also where V finds a hint of stability at the end when they become a Night City legend after choosing the Path of Glory. They become the new leader of the Afterlife. Everything V and Jackie dreamed of becoming in the beginning of this story, V gets to achieve upon blazing this path, albeit on borrowed time and without Jackie by their side.
4. The Emperor
Found on a giant screen beside the entrance to Konpeki Plaza, the Emperor represents power, authority, and law and order. In reversed position, it can also represent immaturity, lack of discipline, being a control freak, and being manipulative.
This is obviously Yorinobu Arasaka, the last surviving son of Saburo Arasaka. He had been the prodigal son, having left his father’s watchful eye to join the Steel Dragons biker gang in Japan before returning to assume his role as the heir apparent to the Arasaka throne. And yet, he remained bitter in his father’s shadow. He stole the Relic under his father’s nose to use it as a bargaining chip, which eventually led to his hands tightening around his father’s neck — both figuratively and literally.
It could also represent Saburo himself. This is the man who ruled over Arasaka and Night City for ages. This is the man who put Johnny Silverhand in a biochip. This is the man whose death causes an upheaval in Night City.
5. The Hierophant
This weird one is located in a filthy and abandoned part of the industrial sector of Night City. The Hierophant represents education and guidance, as well as tradition. In reversed position, it signifies poor counsel.
This is where V and Takemura meet up with Oda in the Down on the Street mission. They were so desperate to let Hanako know that it was Yorinobu who killed their father that they’re willing to meet in such dismal locations through unscrupulous means.
Their plea gets rejected by Oda without hesitation, seeing the notion of Yorinobu killing his own father being unacceptable, especially from someone who they see as the more plausible suspect. Such a seemingly baseless accusation is treated as an insult to the Arasaka name.
After this failed attempt at getting through to Hanako, Takemura realized that the only way left is to abduct Hanako in the scheduled parade at Japantown and have a sit-down at an undisclosed location. Their desperation to have Hanako listen to them is such that the Hierophant may indeed represent Hanako.
It can also represent Takemura himself. While pushed to a corner by circumstance, Takemura becomes V’s guide through their predicament with Arasaka. He uses his connections, creates desperate solutions, relates his own struggles, and fights by V’s side — albeit reluctantly.
Compared to V’s street smarts, Takemura is more like a samurai — bound by tradition and rooted in discipline. However, while he may help V throughout the story, he is never a loyal companion, but merely a guide who shows the way. He can lead to the Devil ending, with V willingly giving themselves up to Arasaka in a bid to save their life at great cost.
His suggestion of seeking out Oda is symbolized by the reversed Hierophant. It turned out to be the wrong course of action as not only were they unsuccessful at getting Oda’s help, but it also made him aware of their plans. While V was able to later deal with Oda, it was while having to execute the incredibly desperate plan of abducting Hanako from the parade through Japantown.
6. The Lovers
This one is found at the back of the projector screen of the dilapidated Silver Pixel Cloud drive-in theater. It makes sense as the Blistering Love mission takes place here, where Johnny, in control of V’s body, tries to rekindle his romance with Rogue, only for the now-senior queen of the Afterlife to back off at the last second.
While it seems like she’s still very much in love with Johnny Silverhand, it’s now 2077 — Johnny’s been dead for 50 years, Rogue has long moved on, and things can never get back to how they used to be, no matter how hard Johnny tries.
7. The Chariot
Perhaps it reflects V’s meeting with Takemura, who was once an enemy but then saved their life after being (presumably) betrayed by Yorinobu Arasaka, who must’ve seen him as a weak link in his coverup of his father’s murder by his own hands. The car chase that preceded the meeting also hints at the Chariot.
This is also where V has a more civil conversation with Johnny for the first time. Johnny has sorted his thoughts out about you and his current state, with no more desire to kill you. It’s the first step towards a more symbiotic relationship with the tapeworm in V’s head.
Found on the side of a guardhouse near the San Amaro St dataterm at the northeast part of Santo Domingo, its significance took me a while to figure out. Then I realized it’s where V meets Panam Palmer for the first time.
It’s not implausible to assume that Panam represents Strength. Some don’t like her for being moody and angry, seemingly throwing hissy fits left and right. But she deals with a whole lot, worrying about the welfare of a clan whose leader seemingly sits on his own hands while passively waiting for an opportunity to come instead of taking it themselves.
Nomad clans constantly fight for survival, and Aldecaldos leader Saul Bright only sees it fit to cooperate with corps like Militech and Kang Tao instead of falling prey to them. He means well and his logic seems sound at first, but Panam knows that such a state of affairs can’t and won’t last for long. She’s about to give up trying to get through to Saul when V shows up.
Despite being alone, she doesn’t stop fighting. Even if she has to be played around with by Rogue, she claws for every bit of leverage whenever she can in a struggle to help her clan.
9. The Hermit
You can find this mural in the middle of the Coastview area of Pacifica, on a wall just to the left of the El Dorado Pawn Shop near the Chapel fast travel point. This is where you first encounter the Voodoo Boys in the M’ap Tann Pelen mission.
V goes to Pacifica to meet the person who hired Evelyn Parker to scroll a braindance in Yorinobu’s penthouse suite in Konpeki Plaza. That braindance was supposed to help the Voodoo Boys steal the Relic, but Evelyn chose to take it for herself.
That person of interest is Maman Brigitte, leader of the Voodoo Boys and their most dangerous netrunner. She wanted the Relic biochip to gain access to Alt Cunningham, who now resides within Mikoshi behind the Blackwall, a virtual wall that keeps rogue AIs from wreaking havoc across the rest of the net.
She wanted to break through the Blackwall. Johnny Silverhand’s engram and memories contained within the Relic were her keys to reaching Alt, using her to bring the rogue AIs on their side. They get a second chance when V — who now possesses the Relic — willingly sets foot in Pacifica to gain an audience with Brigitte, and they put him in ice to find Alt.
The Hermit card signifies introspection, meditation, self-reflection, solitude, and exile. It may represent Alt Cunningham, whose engram now resides in Mikoshi at the other side of the Blackwall. She’s no longer the Alt who existed in realspace as a hacker and was once Johnny’s lover, but an engram of her combined with many other AI. She serves as a guide in cyberspace and holds the key to saving both V and Johnny, or at least in separating them.
10. Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel of Fortune mural is found just below the sign of the Sunset Motel near the eastern outskirts of Night City. When drawn upright, the Wheel of Fortune card represents luck and opportunity. When drawn reversed, it represents misfortune and disappointment.
The Sunset Motel is where V takes Anders Hellman to question him about the Relic biochip in the quest to save his own life, only for Hellman to give him no good answers. Hellman was his best chance at finding a cure for his condition, but he only hit a dead end.
It ended up being a wild goose chase, but it did hammer home how serious V’s situation truly is. They’re essentially a dead person walking. From here on out, all they can do is go for broke as they have nothing left to lose.
A huge mural of Justice can be found on a huge silo at the Electric Corp power plant near a Buck-A-Slice at Charter Street that’s used by the Scavengers to make underground braindances — the same one you go to for the Disasterpiece mission to rescue Evelyn Parker.
Justice represents balance and equilibrium, as well as cause and effect. In the reverse position, it means dishonesty and unfairness.
You learn through this quest line that what happened to Evelyn after the Heist — from the netrunner attack to getting thrown to scavs for underground braindances — is a result of her trying to pull a fast one on Maman Brigitte, the netrunner who hired her.
Evelyn let it slip that she knew about the Relic biochip. She was only hired to scroll (record) a braindance in Yorinobu’s penthouse suite in Konpeki Plaza for recon. After what happened in the Heist, a job which Evelyn commissioned herself through Dexter DeShawn, the whole of Night City caught wind of it and Brigitte knew she had been betrayed.
Evelyn likely planned the Heist as a way to earn enough eddies to get out of her predicament as a doll in Clouds. She was becoming more and more distressed with her line of work, despite the great demand for her talents. She sought refuge with the Mox at Lizzie’s Bar, but she found it to also be a dead end. Therefore, this big gamble was her last resort.
Since Evelyn deigned to go behind her back and compromised her goal of obtaining the Relic, Brigitte made her pay for it. She served her own brand of Justice, cruel and merciless. Evelyn suffered this fate because she couldn’t be honest — not to employers, not to Judy, and not to V.
Judy surmises that if Evelyn didn’t keep lying to cover up her earlier lies and were more honest with V of her intentions, she wouldn’t have ended up in such a mess. With her mind and body damaged beyond repair and nowhere else to go, she ends her own life in Judy’s apartment.
12. The Hanged Man
Placed on a water tower in the landfill where Johnny Silverhand’s physical body was clandestinely buried with no markers to memorialize him, the Hanged Man symbolizes surrender, sacrifice, or being suspended in time.
Johnny Silverhand is the Hanged Man. He surrendered his role in his band Samurai after their last gig and left to commence his brazen attack on Arasaka Tower in 2023, which ultimately led to losing his life in an attempt to topple what he saw as a tyrannical corporation.
His engram was then stored in the Relic chip for over 50 years before being brought back to life within V’s body, still looking the same as he did on the last day of his physical life.
It doesn’t always mean death per se, but a major change or upheaval. The Death mural is found near Embers, where V meets with Hanako Arasaka for the Nocturne Op55N1 mission, wherein she reveals the location of Mikoshi and offers her assistance in exchange for theirs.
This mission is the point of no return, as the game will inform you upon first entering Embers. Once you enter the club, all the uncompleted gigs and side missions will be left behind. This transitions the game to its third and final act, where the player chooses which path to take that decides their ultimate fate.
Perhaps the placement of this mural in a cemetery shows that those who take extremes in life are bound for certain death, which is foreshadowed by Dexter DeShawn’s question to V of choosing either the quiet life or blaze of glory. Dex himself ends up dead after betraying V in an effort to cut his losses after the Konpeki Plaza heist went horribly south.
(By the way, you can still find his body at the landfill, where he was shot in the head by Takemura after he was made to pull a nearly-lifeless V out of the trash heap. You can loot his legendary pistol Plan B off his rotund corpse.)
You can find a marker for Johnny Silverhand here under his real name of Robert John Linder, right next to a marker for his ex-girlfriend and Soulkiller creator Alt Cunningham, whose engram now resides in Mikoshi.
There’s also a marker for Arthur Jenkins, corpo-rat V’s (former) boss in Arasaka. He was caught plotting the assassination of his rival Susan Abernathy, which was why corpo-rat V got accosted by Arasaka agents in Lizzie’s Bar and was summarily fired from the company, setting V on the path to becoming a mercenary.
16. The Tower
This mural is located in the ruins of Arasaka Tower, the same one Johnny Silverhand blew up in 2023 during the Interlude. Arasaka was and still is the tower looming over all of Night City. While this physical tower did fall at the hands of a determined interloper, the real tower is the corporation’s power over all of Night City and its denizens.
The Tower is a source of danger, crisis, and destruction. That’s exactly what happened to both Arasaka Tower and Johnny Silverhand. In reversed position, it represents illness and loss, which V experiences throughout the story.
17. The Star
You can find this at the Solar Arrays in the Jackson Plains that’s located at the southeast of Night City. Get to the Solar Arrays fast travel dataterm and look toward the radio tower next to it. There’s a small building nearby, and you’ll find the mural right on its side.
This took me a while to figure out due to its location as I had to recall whatever major that happens here aside from the wild goose chase that is the Killing in the Name mission.
The Star represents hope and inspiration. The Star ending — where the Aldecaldos help you storm Mikoshi — is perhaps the most positive ending in the game. V would leave Night City in the epilogue with Panam and the Aldecaldos and move to Arizona (Night City is set in Northern California) in the hopes of finding a solution to his predicament.
18. The Moon
The Moon mural is located near the entrance of Arasaka Estate. It’s perhaps the most unique-looking of all the murals. While the card itself looks similar in art style to the others, the mural you find is all white with a shining moon and two wolves below it with the quote “Wolves only howl at night” in the middle.
As Misty states in her reading during the third act, the Moon represents mystery. You head to the Arasaka Estate if you choose to ask Hanako for help in Nocturne Op55N1. This sets V on the path of giving himself to Arasaka willingly, but only after rescuing Hanako in the Last Caress mission, and then helping her usurp her brother Yorinobu as the head of Arasaka in the Totalimmortal mission.
19. The Sun
Found on a wall beside a tunnel entrance not far from V’s apartment at the south of Little China, this mural is surrounded by apartment buildings. It’s a rather weird place for a mural called “The Sun” to be, but its placement makes more sense once you think about where it’s facing.
It’s facing a T-junction that leads to V’s apartment, Vik’s clinic, Misty’s emporium, and the Afterlife. The Sun symbolizes happiness, good fortune, joy, and harmony. It represents the universe coming together in harmony and helping to move forward to something better.
This area is where V gets their life together after the events of the prologue. It’s where the story begins, like a sunrise to start a new day.
21. The World
The mural is found up on the balcony above Misty’s shop, where V goes to make his last decision in the story. It’s a pivotal decision for V as it entails sacrificing the lives of anyone they choose to bring with them. It’s a pivotal decision that can yield grave consequences.
V can choose to attack Arasaka to reach Mikoshi by asking for help from the Aldecaldos (The Star) or let Johnny take over and ask help from Rogue (The Sun). If V decides to not risk sacrificing anyone else, they can choose to cooperate with Arasaka in a bid to save their own life (Where is My Mind?), or end everything right then and there (Suicide).
If V really can’t make a decision (after five minutes), Johnny suggests another option, but only if V’s relationship with him is at a certain threshold. He proposes a solo suicide attack right at Arasaka’s front door (Don’t Fear the Reaper).
The Missing Pieces
The two missing pieces are the Devil and Judgment, which you find in each of their respective endings. Both of them say a lot about their particular scenarios, and finding them for the first time can hit pretty hard when you realize their significance right then and there while in such dire circumstances.
15. The Devil
You’ll find the Devil inside the Rubik’s cube in the “Where is My Mind?” ending mission. Despite many warnings throughout the game, V can surrender to Arasaka in a desperate bid to survive. After all, wouldn’t the creators of the Relic have an idea of how to undo its damage?
In that case, Arasaka is the Devil, a fact that’s prominently shown throughout the game. The Devil card represents temptation, bondage, and enslavement. V exchanges their soul for a chance at salvation, only to be their prisoner.
At the very last moment, when realization starts to set in, V sees a vision of the Devil within the Rubik’s cube when he breaks it in two while being made to solve it by Prof. Kusama. It represents V’s imprisonment in the Arasaka space station, and perhaps his frustration at the circumstances they put themselves in.
You bend your knee to your corporate overlords, and it will cost you dearly. You either sign on the dotted line and go through with it, or chicken out and you’re sent back out on your way to die outside of Arasaka’s walls.
I’m glad I published this blog post only now so that I can make this analogy.
Making this choice is equivalent to going all the way down the Subterranean Shunning Grounds to be embraced by the Three Fingers to become the next Lord of Frenzied Flame by the end of Elden Ring, despite Melina’s repeated warnings.
Of course, the difference is that being a flaming leader of a post-apocalyptic Lands Between is way better than being a dystopian corporation’s lab rat.
You find Judgment within Mikoshi, inside the room where you fight Adam Smasher on your way to the access point. Judgment represents renewal and liberation. Entering Mikoshi through the access point is V’s best chance at becoming themselves again.
After separating from Johnny, they can choose to either go back into their body — even though Alt tells them that their days are still numbered — or surrender their body to Johnny while they choose to go with Alt beyond the Blackwall.
The latter choice actually makes for a poignant and bittersweet ending where Johnny gets a second chance at life and leaves Night City after leaving one last memento to a young lad.
It’s also Judgment for Adam Smasher. After 54 years, Johnny Silverhand gets his revenge on a monster who has not felt pain since forever. From the first time you see him in the game as a partially augmented super soldier to your final confrontation with him as 90% machine, you can make him feel fear for the first time.
It has been 20 months since I last looked at both the game and the draft to this blog post. Even now, after a good chunk of time and having played other games like Elden Ring, I still find this idea to be a beautiful way to frame the story of Cyberpunk 2077.
It shows that even if the game was ultimately an overhyped AAA game whose disastrous launch has since cut its publisher’s value down to a fraction of what it once was, it did have a bit of a soul in it. That’s why even with all the hate for it, I still had a great experience playing Cyberpunk 2077 for over a month straight.
CD Projekt Red has since announced a sequel to the game. Here’s to hoping that they haven’t lost all of their magic and they can further redeem themselves with that follow-up. As for now, I’ll keep playing Cyberpunk 2077 a bit more until then.
Have something to say? Do you agree or am I off-base? Did I miss a crucial detail or get something wrong? Please leave whatever reactions, questions, or suggestions you may have in the comment section below.
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