The Fool’s Journey is the story of every soul’s spiritual progression through life. Each of the 22 Major Arcana cards represents an archetype buried in the collective unconscious. They exist as examples for us to follow and as masks that we wear at different stages in our lives. Each card presents a challenge and has a lesson to teach. You may master some of these challenges quickly with no problem. Others may represent a matter that you will struggle with time and time again through your life. You may think you’ve mastered the value of one of the cards only to find that it comes back at you again later from a new direction and in a different disguise. |
0 The Fool represents the innocent enthusiastic optimism we each have at the beginning of an adventure. As we were at birth, and as we are at the beginning of any new venture in our lives such as a new job, or relationship, or voyage into the unknown. The Fool is the soul when it first enters the body at birth.
1 The Magician shows a person who has all his tools and knows how to use them, much as we feel when we have completed a course of study (whether that be kindergarten, grade school, high school, college, or trade school) and are secure in the knowledge that we are proficient in that field. The Magician represents the development of the conscious mind. It is the yang principal of each soul, the masculine, and the projective. It is the baby developing awareness of its body and how to use it.
2 The High Priestess represents the subconscious mind and development of our intuitive and psychic perceptions through dreams, trance, and imagination. It is the yin principal of each soul, the feminine, and the magnetic. Remember a time when you knew something, but did not know how you knew. The High Priestess is our inner connection to each other and to the Universe we live in through the collective unconscious. It is the baby dreaming.
3 The Empress represents the creative talents and nurturing aspects of the soul and is generally shown as a pregnant Matriarch sitting on a thrown out in the middle of an abundantly rich natural setting. She brings to mind Mother Nature or any of the other mother goddesses. She is the spirit of Motherhood. She represents abundance and creativity. We are all born with our own set of talents and abilities. Consider your own creative talents, we all have them. What do you make grow? What do you nurture? Are you a parent, or a farmer, or an artist? The Fool first meets the Empress in the person of his mother and learns of unconditional love.
4 The Emperor’s talent is in management of the World created by the Empress, his World, and his Kingdom. He is ready to accept responsibility for those who fall under his command. He sets the rules and demands that they are followed. He settles disputes within his kingdom. He is the spirit of Fatherhood. When you are the leader of any group, be it family, club, business, or government you are playing the role of the Emperor. The Fool first meets the Emperor in the person of his father and learns that authority requires obedience.
5 The Hierophant is leader in a spiritual empire much as the Emperor is the ruler of a material empire. It is his job to see that all the followers of his chosen path are using a set doctrine and the same code of moral values. Remember a time when you were the one telling others what was right and what was wrong, what was good or bad, how they should feel and what they should believe. The Hierophant wants to make sense of the Universe and define the questions of how the world began and how it will end, what is the Truth, and what part do we as humans play in the Grand Scheme, and the BIG question -What happens after death? The Hierophant teaches the Fool a set of moral values, or how to play well with others.
6 The Lovers signal the primal urge to procreate. In the teenager entering puberty it is a sudden awakening to the attraction of the opposite sex. In the young adult it is the need to find a life mate. As we grow older it becomes the need to balance the yin and yang, masculine and feminine, active and passive forces within ourselves. On a spiritual level the Lovers are pushing the Fool toward a search for Self, because you can’t love anyone else until you learn to love yourself. The Fool first finds the Lovers when he finds his first playmate and learns how to share.
7 The Chariot shows a dark horse representing emotions, and a light horse representing thoughts. They are pulling a chariot that represents your life with a driver representing your Self. The lesson here is that if you want the chariot of your life to move forward you must take the reins in your own hands and bring both your mind and your emotions under control and point them both in the same direction. The Chariot teaches the Fool to focus on his goal without getting lost in his emotions or his thoughts.
8 Strength shows a beautiful woman closing the mouth of a lion with her hands. We are both the woman and the lion. The woman represents the refined, socially acceptable side of ourselves that we would show the world. The lion is that part of us that is more animalistic, the part that says things and does things that you are later sorry for and embarrassed by. You cannot close the lion’s mouth by force. Only by loving and understanding what your lion needs (what you need) and taking care of those needs can you control the beast within. Strength teaches the Fool to respect himself and all of his needs and to demand that others also respect his needs.
9 The Hermit is an old man walking alone high in the mountains far away from the civilized world of the current social establishment. He is tired of trying to get the World to see another way, so that in his disillusionment he has turned his back on the World. But the lantern he holds aloft serves as a guiding light for others to follow, whether he intends for it to be that or not, as he walks on through the unknown he is creating a path for others to follow. The Hermit teaches the Fool that you cannot save the World; all you can do is to find your own way and if in so doing we manage to light the way for others that’s OK too.
10 The Wheel of Fortune reminds us that life is full of cycles. First you are born, then you grow to maturity, then you decline, and finally you die. And if you believe in reincarnation as I do that death signals the beginning of a new cycle as you are born again into a another life. Everything we do has a beginning, middle and an end. The Wheel of Fortune teaches the Fool that life is at best a gamble, there are no guarantees. It may appear that we are winning and at the top of the wheel but time and the wheel move on and all things change and what was once up is now down. But not to worry, for if you are now down, you may soon be up again.
11 Justice shows a woman in long robes sitting on a throne between two pillars holding a set of scales in her left hand, and a sword in her right hand. She represents the forces of Nature that demand balance, that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. In this card the Fool learns the lesson of Karma for Justice is the Karmic principal that insures no evil dead will go unpunished, for in time you must stand in the shoes of those you have wronged. She also places rewards in your path for those charitable and unselfish deeds you have done.
12 The Hanged Man is a man hanging by one foot, upside down from a tree branch, though he doesn’t seem to be that unhappy about it. Here the Fool learns the difference between self-sacrifice and self-discipline. Self-discipline requires that we focus on reaching a goal that is important to us to the exclusion of all that stands in the way of reaching it. Self-sacrifice is giving up all that you want in order to please someone else. Which way is right? I suppose that depends on what you want most, to please someone else, or to reach your own greatest dream.
13 Death is a black robed skeleton holding a sickle sitting on a large white or black horse. There is a field of cut grain behind him and people on the wayside – some watching him pass, others lying as if dead waiting to be taken. He is the Grim Reaper. It does not matter to Death how old you are or how good you are. He doesn’t care what unfinished plans you may have. The first time the Fool meets Death may be when a pet dies, or a friend, or a relative. Though it is hard to find spiritual value in the death of a loved one, the Fool must learn to accept it anyway and trust that there is a reason even if he doesn’t understand it. Death makes room for a new generation. If nobody ever died we would soon be over populated which is an imbalance that Nature could not tolerate. Therefore Death is necessary.
14 Temperance is a winged Being standing with one foot in a pool of still blue water and the other on green fertile land. He is pouring liquid from one chalice into another as if blending two or more ingredients. There is a red triangle of passion over his heart and a halo of holy light above his head. Temperance is blending all that we have to create what we need. Temperance takes the middle path and balances all contradictions. Here after learning the hard reality of Death the Fool must look within to find the vital spiritual energy of Temperance to heal himself.
15 The Devil is an evil looking black goat with long horns and red eyes and a pitchfork of torment standing over two mortal figures who are wearing loose chains around their necks that bind them to the block throne the Devil is sitting on. These people could easily lift the chains off their necks and walk away but they are not willing to leave behind the demon that torments them. Even with all the maturity gained so far the Fool still clings to his own personal demons. Jealousy, prejudice, addiction, what demons do you hold on to?
16 The Tower is a structure built by the Fool that he thinks of as his home and his pride. But as we see here, even the grandest of structures may be brought down and we may fall with it, quickly and unexpectedly, by lightening and fire, or any other natural disaster. What is the lesson here? I could think of a few. How about – don’t put all your eggs in one basket, or don’t get too attached to material things. No, I think the spiritual lesson here is that nothing should be expected to last forever. If you don’t release what no longer serves you well in life it may be taken from you suddenly and violently.
17 The Star is just what the Fool needs after loosing his Tower. The Star is a ray of hope bringing us back to the knowledge that our Self is connected to the Universe as the Source of All That Is. The Star is that connection and through it we can draw all that we need to survive even, and most especially at a time when we have lost everything else.
18 The Moon brings the Fool into the dark night of the Soul where he must face his fears, and the repressed contents of his subconscious. This journey is only possible to one who is old enough to have gained some experience with life and knows there are many dangers out there. The lesson of the Moon is that our fears must be faced or they will never be conquered.
19 The Sun here we see the Fool having survived torment and loses and a walk through the valley of the Moon emerges with new confidence, optimism and appreciation of his inner child. He is ready again to face the world.
20 Judgement, like rising up again out of the grave the Fool discovers that what is important in Life is simply living it – there is no right or wrong, good or bad, there’s only Life – so embrace it and enjoy living each day without goals or objectives.
21 The World symbolizes the end/completion of the cycle. Here the Fool is able to look back on his life and see that all things contained in the World were available to him in his lifetime. He alone set his limitations. Here the Fool may rest and prepare for his next incarnation.
Author Bio :
I am Morgana Dragonfly, a psychic Taroist and Neo-Pagan Priestess with 25 years experience. I hope you have enjoyed this short presentation. If you would like more information on myself, on classes I teach, or to schedule a private reading you may contact me through my website. www.morganadragonfly.com
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