The Fool’s Journey
The Major Arcana is also known as The Fool’s journey. Every card in it refers to a different part of the story, and The Fool can be placed at the beginning or end, which is why his number is 0. If we start the journey with the Fool, he is the card of beginnings. He is setting out on a new adventure, naïve to the dangers that may lay in waiting. He is untried and inexperienced. On the surface of his card, you can see him walking towards a cliff edge that he does not see.
At the beginning of his journey, the Fool comes across The Magician (1) and The High Priestess (2), who encompass complete opposites. The Magician is made up of virile, masculine energy and the High Priestess has more fertile, feminine energy. The Magician is all about creativity and having the tools to be able to accomplish your goals. The High Priestess is all about the creativity energy and potential that you may have without as many of the tools that the Magician has. Many people have the misconception that one is “good” and one is “bad,” but these things are not so black and white in tarot. All negative experiences come with the promise of a new beginning and personal growth and they are not looked upon as bad experiences. That being said, The Magician is definitely more positive than The High Priestess, who represents the “negative.”
The next character The Fool comes across is The Empress (3), who is full of motherly, nurturing energy. If The Fool is full of naïve, newborn energy, it makes sense that one of the first people he encounters is known as the representative of Mother Earth in the tarot.
It then stands to reason that the next person, The Fool encounters is the “Father” of the tarot deck, The Emperor (4). He is a patriarch of the tarot, which commands a certain amount of respect and authority. The Fool discovers laws and limitations for the first time in his journey and the safety that they can bring.
Soon, The Fool must start to figure out his beliefs for himself, and begin to learn about the world around him. The Hierophant (5) shows the church and other spiritual influence on a child through The Fool. This is the part of the journey where The Fool is really able to come into his own and explore their options and beliefs of the world around him. This is truly a time of The Fool’s self discovery.
The Fool will also eventually start to seek companionship with another, which is where the Lovers (6) come in. This is the point in his life where he joins with another and he may start to mold to that person’s way of thinking, but he will need to take care to form his own opinions about things as well.
When the Fool grows up, The Chariot (7) begins to represent his personal accomplishments. On the cover of The Chariot, he embodies a leader, who has full control over himself and his environment.
Later, The Fool encounters many obstacles that require his full Strength (8) to get past. He discovers how strong he can be and how to control his temper while utilizing the intense, aggressive form his strength can often take.
The Fool is then overcome with a need to understand his inner wisdom. He takes on the form of The Hermit (9), isolating himself to really dedicate himself to his search within.
Next, The Fool becomes aware of the order- or rather- disorder of the universe itself. Sometimes it appears things happen by chance or a Wheel of Fortune (10) more than by any perceivable pattern.
Now that The Fool has garnered a certain amount of power, he has tougher choices to make. He looks at the acts of his past to try to right the wrongs he has committed so far. He must serve Justice (11) to himself if he wants to continue his path to enlightenment and reach his higher purpose.
The Fool keeps going on his quest until he finds a large challenge that appears to be impassable. The Fool loses everything and he must make a choice to move past the things he cannot control himself. The Fool embodies The Hanged Man (12) who has lost everything, but finds a way to become at peace with his lot in life.
Death (13) appears to The Fool as losing himself for a time. He needs to scratch everything and begin anew. Instead of a physical death, this is more of a return to the basics and starting over. Death takes on the form of an obstacle he cannot move past.
In this time, The Fool has been having trouble with his emotions, having been in such a dark place with death. This has taught him to appreciate the value of balance and Temperance (14). He is learning to appreciate the little things that contribute to a peaceful life.
Remember in the tarot, The Devil (15) is not necessarily an evil figure, but he does represent the worldly temptations that The Fool is tempted with. The Fool is tempted with material items and addictions and he is unable to utilize the skills he has learned thus far to completely avoid them.
The Tower (16) shows his attempt to free himself from a prison built by temptation. A large event rocks The Fool and causes him to humble himself to move forward into a happier future.
The Star (17) shows the manifestation of the happier future The Fool saw all along. He wants to share all that he has accumulated with the world to make it a better place. He feels extremely generous and serene with his situation at present.
The Fool is so blissfully happy that he becomes susceptible to illusions and grandiose dreams, triggering the appearance of The Moon (18).
Soon, the blinding light of The Sun (19) awakens The Fool. Much like the sun brings light and life to everything he touches, The Fool also begins to feel alive. He feels vibrant, warm energy in the world all around him.
In the wake of Judgement (20), The Fool has found his true purpose. He understands himself. He is at one with himself and he is experiencing true enlightenment after a long journey filled with tough realizations and a lot of self growth.
The Fool is reincarnated into The World (21) with a greater understanding of himself and the world around him.
In alternate tellings, The Fool would also be the last card, showing that it is time to embark on yet another adventure.