The Fool’s journey begins with the very first card in the Major Arcana: The Fool. The Fool is Numbered 0, the Fool starts out hopeful, innocent, and naive. Throughout the journey, The Fool comes across many archetypal characters who teach important lessons. The ultimate goal is, of course, enlightenment. As you’ll surely see, this intense and adventurous journey also has quite a lot to teach you!
The first character The Fool encounters on their path to enlightenment is a powerful and flashy conjurer: The Magician. As the name of the card implies, the Magician presents itself to teach The Fool about the importance of concentration… as it is through concentration that our innate talents manifest.
The High Priestess
After meeting the Magician, The Fool encounters another immensely powerful figure: The High Priestess. She is both wise and regal. The High Priestess encourages The Fool to listen to their inner instincts and intuition by digging deeply within oneself. “Your intuition is more powerful than anyone else’s advice,” The High Priestess says, “Explore it.”
Moving onward, The Fool catches a glimpse of a beautiful, lovely character lounging in a lusciously green garden. The Empress teaches The Fool the importance of connecting with their inner nurturing spirit. Loving, generous, kind, and tender-hearted, The Empress shows The Fool how easy and necessary it is to appreciate the beauty of the natural world. As The Fool departs, The Empress says through a smile, “Every living thing deserves compassion. And that includes you. Take care of yourself with love.”
Whilst still in awe over the beauty that surrounds them, The Fool comes into contact with the ruler of the land: The Emperor. The authoritarian figure takes the time to teach The Fool critical lessons about self-discipline, leadership, and organization.
Just before leaving the Emperor’s presence, The wide-eyed Fool runs into The Hierophant, who helps them appreciate the value of traditions, organized structures, and established institutions.
By this point in the journey The Fool has learned some comprehensive and key lessons. While pondering them, a potential life partner comes across their path via The Lovers card. The Lover teaches The Fool about partnerships and unions. Soon enough, The Fool is presented with a decision: To partner up or continue on their way. The Fool, grateful for the experience, chooses to continue on alone along the path.
Up next comes a time in which willpower is called for. To be triumphant, like The Chariot, The Fool must learn how to put their nose to grindstone. In order to reach the enlightenment they seek, The Fool must never give up. The Chariot reminds everyone that we may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.
The fool journeys on, and witnesses a figure calmly taming a lion. The figure shows The Fool the importance of steady perseverance and the power of a gentle touch when guiding others.
The next figure to illuminate The Fool’s journey is The Hermit, holding a single lantern. The Hermit, as the name implies, teaches The Fool how necessary it is to practice introspection and periodic solitude. The Fool has experienced a lot thus far, and now it must be reflected on. “Make time for yourself,” The Hermit suggests softly
Self-Care Tip: This a sign to set healthy boundaries.
The Wheel of Fortune
After taking some much needed time in introspection, The Fool ventures onward and soon finds themselves in front of The Wheel of Fortune. Now, they realize life is cyclical in nature. The card represents often unforeseen positive changes, as well as luck.
As The Fool continues on, they contemplate the concept of Justice. “What is right and what is wrong?” They ask themselves. When this card shows up, it stresses the importance of fairness, morality, and balance.
The Hanged One
After some time, The Fool attempts to rest precariously in a tree…. And slips! Now hanging upside down, The Fool becomes The Hanged One, and experiences the value of looking at situations from new and unexpected perspectives.
Once The Fool has “righted themselves” and climbs down from the tree, they have an unexpected meeting with a rather imposing figure: Death. Death, though frightening at first, is nothing to fear. The appearance of death acts to inspire The Fool to consider the minor changes that amount their major character transformation. This card is about transformations and transitions. We all experience beginnings and endings, and Death is merely the period between the two.
The next lesson for The Fool is Temperance. Temperance talks about problem-solving by seeking the possibilities and opportunities in any given situation that promote balance. On the other hand, this tarot card warns about the dangers of overindulgence. The Fool allegedly struggles with this and ends up meeting….
The Devil stands face-to-face with The Fool, and graciously offers him a warning: “You must make a decision that will set you free. Though you may feel like the situation is out of your control, no one and nothing can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Under immense heat, The Fool decides to smarten up, gets their act together, and walks away remarkably more mindful.
Self-Care Tip: Avoid The Devil’s trap with mindful eating.
Come nightfall, The Fool finds refuge in a tall, rickety Tower. During a vicious storm that night, The Tower is struck by lightning and comes crumbling down. The Fool escapes the tragedy unharmed, but walks away understanding the impermanence of material things. The Tower represents a time of major upheaval, sudden changes, and total destruction of things built in vain.
Though it is still dark, The Fool eventually finds a place to rest alongside a lake. The reflection of a bright Star shines on the water, and inspires The Fool to dream about the vast possibilities of the future. The Star reminds them, reminds us, to have hope.
Looking skyward, The Fool is struck by The Moon. The Moon speaks to the larger and unforeseen forces at play in their lives. The Fool considers the illusions and deceptions in life (ie: The “safety” of a Tower). They resolve to continue their journey with eyes open, aiming to see things for what they truly are.
The Sun eventually rises, and fills The Fool with warmth and happiness. With the profound lessons of the night before still fresh in their mind, they are grateful to have survived and dance in the sunlight. The Fool is inspired to appreciate the little things in life, and celebrate how victorious they’ve been. The Sun, in general, represents a positive kind of “awakening”.
Oh, how wonderful it is to learn the art of self-forgiveness! The Fool has undoubtedly made mistakes, both willingingly and unwillingly, but has learned from them. They have done the work, corrected poor behavior, dismissed ignorant ideologies, and are truly worthy of self-forgiveness. The Fool’s conscience is wiped clean, and they are able to move forward, free from guilt.
After letting go of long-held guilt, The Fool meets the final figure of the Major Arcana: The World. This card marks the completion of the journey. It also acknowledges all of the knowledge The Fool has acquired along the way. When The World shows up, it’s saying, “Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”
What an adventure!
The Fool’s Journey and You
The Fool’s journey teaches you the lessons that we all must learn during our time here on Earth. Whenever a major arcana card comes up, pay close attention as an important lesson is in progress! Look at how the energy of the card appears in your mental dialogue or in your external world, and ask yourself, “How can the lesson of this card be applied to my life right now? What advice am I being given?”