I am very excited to announce the first in a new series in blog posts…. the “The Major Arcana In-Depth” series! Every few weeks I will be featuring one card of the Major Arcana, from the Fool to the World. Come take a tarot journey with me!
What Is the Major Arcana of the Tarot?
The Major Arcana are the 22 cards of the tarot that symbolize major turning points/passages in people’s lives, common to the human experience, such as The Lovers, Death, and Judgment. The best way to understand the Major Arcana is to study the work of Joseph Campbell, best known for his work on the Hero’s Journey.
Or, you know, you could always watch the following, which is a great summation of his work using movies such as The Matrix, Harry Potter, and Star Wars.
By most accounts, The Fool is that Hero, and the Major Arcana of the tarot are the way stations on his journey through life. When you look at the Major Arcana, you put yourself in the Fool’s shoes. You are walking his path. But what does it mean if you receive The Fool card in a reading?
That Foolish Fool
The Fool is numbered Zero, which is why though there are 22 Major Arcana cards, the final card of The World is numbered 21. The Fool is the seeker (and in some decks is named that) and the “main character” of the tarot journey.
Keywords: naivete, optimism, a fresh start and outlook
Applicable Quotes: “Leap and the net shall appear”—Buddhist saying
“Why me worry?”—Alfred E. Neuman
You’re at the beginning! Just starting out, look before you leap, and a journey about to begin . . .
What I think of when I see the Fool: This depends on the client, the reading, and the other cards in the reading. But overall, I tell the client to look upon the world with fresh eyes and optimism. Allow for anything to happen, but do not be afraid to go out to meet the world instead of waiting for something to happen TO you. Take the first footsteps in a new journey with trust that you are on the right path.
When the Fool is reversed (upside down) in a reading, I warn clients not to be TOO trusting. A certain amount of jadedness is needed for protection when the Fool is reversed, and a sunny-side up attitude that denies that there is darkness in the world probably will not be helpful in that situation.
When The Fool Shows Up in a Reading
Upright: confident and bold first steps on a new venture
Reversed: watch your step, overly naive, listening to everyone else’s advice instead of your own… easily puppeted.
Ultimately, if/when you read for yourself, please keep the things I listed above in mind… and if you disagree, PLEASE use your own meanings for this card. Your thoughts on each individual card are invaluable, and lead you to a multi-layered understanding of the tarot that no one individual book/Little White Book/teacher can give you. Your experience with the cards counts, too!
Tarot class dismissed!
How do you relate to The Fool? Are you at the beginning of a wonderful life journey? Share your experiences in the Comments section below.
To learn about the next card in the Major Arcana, The Magician, click here.
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