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How the Cards Work Part 2: The Fool’s Journey



In my earlier blog post part 1 of “How the Cards Work: The Fool’s Journey,” we learned about the development of the Fool’s soul through the first seven cards of the major arcana. As you may recall, the first seven cards introduce the Fool to his own drive/ambition and his internal navigation system (intuition) through the Magician and the High Priestess. He encounters nurturing and parental love from The Empress and The Emperor. He learns the ways of the world from the Hierophant and how to build romantic relationships and friendships with the Lovers. Finally he is ready to step foot from his fragile nest and into the real world with the Chariot. As the first seven cards reflect the Fool’s childhood development and upbringing, the next seven cards focus on the inner development of the Fool’s soul, the maturity of his character and the growth of his spiritual philosophies. This week I focus on those next seven major arcana cards, and explore the progress of the Fool’s journey towards enlightenment.


After the Fool has learned “the basics” of life and has started his navigation out into the big, bad world in The Chariot, he encounters the first test of maturity in the card of Strength. This is the perfect card to have in this stage of development. The Fool is no longer a child but not quite an adult. He must begin the process of knowing how to successfully engage with the world that owes him nothing and the inner child-like demands that still very much exist within him. What do you do when you don’t get your way? Who do you turn to when you get knocked down? It’s now all on you to take care of you. The Strength card is this first step in seeing how you will do. Can you temper your ego and keep it in check? Can you learn to deal with the disappointments, heartbreaks and other hard knocks life can deliver? The Strength card helps you to build a tough shield of inner defense but also challenges you to soothe the hurt and angry child that does not have anyone to pacify it when he does not get his way. The Strength card invites the Fool to rise to life’s challenges and meet everything with discipline, courage, patience and well, Strength. The Strength card wants you to learn to both assuage and discipline your inner child and accept that which you cannot change or control in order to achieve your highest good.


As the Fool takes over the role of self-parent, he develops a natural curiosity about the deeper emotions that zigzag him from one point to the next. In the Hermit card, The Fool may begin to withdraw from the world in order to better understand himself. This may mean he spends less time out with friends or family and more time in meditation and yoga class or even takes part in a spiritual retreat. He may be driven to explore different religious or spiritual belief systems and can question what his own personal philosophies are around God and the universe. Or he may just sit with his feelings to try to grasp what they are, why they are and where they come from so he can better understand his desires, emotional triggers or childhood wounds. This is also the time when the Fool may look for a mentor, teacher or counselor to help him better understand his own internal nature.


Even though the Fool may retreat and seek solitude when he is in his Hermit place, he won’t stay there for long as the Wheel of Fortune card has shown us. Anyone who has been on this whirling blue and green ball for a while knows life is full of ups, downs, lefts and rights. In the Wheel of Fortune card the Fool must learn about the nature of life cycles and how to ride them out. This card can suggest that after a quiet, solitary time in the Hermit, the Fool is thrust back out into the world again. Nothing stays stagnant for long as we are constantly evolving and growing. The Fool’s next big lesson will be in how he deals with CHANGE. Can he ride the wave of happiness and excitement one minute and then disappointment and sorrow the next? How will the Fool deal with the roadblocks, sideswipes and out of the blue shockers that thwart his path? Where is fate taking him? The Wheel of Fortune suggests there is always something on our journey we are not able to see or predict that can send us into a completely different orbit. It is how you are able to handle and react to these curve balls that truly define your character.


After strengthening his sea legs in the Wheel of Fortune, the Fool learns how to pick his battles in the Justice card. The Justice card represents the ability to learn from your mistakes, reflect on past choices and take responsibility for your own actions. The Fool matures by recognizing how his past actions have created his present circumstance. He seeks forgiveness for the wrongs he has committed, he learns to stand up for himself and what he believes in and seeks to provide restitution or reparations for his past mistakes so that he can wipe the slate clean and move forward with his life.


Releasing his old debts in the Justice card allows the Fool to focus on the road in front of him and what he must do to accomplish his goals. The Hanged man shows the Fool how to let go of what is not serving him any longer and to focus on the bigger picture. This card may suggest a sacrifice is needed. What will you give up to obtain what you want? What no longer serves you based on where you are headed or where you want to go? For example, if you want to provide for your family, then the Hanged Man could represent the job you hate, yet you go to everyday because you want to provide a good life for you spouse and children. The Hanged Man reminds the fool to be selfless and play the “long game” of life in order to get what you most want. This card also reminds the fool to try changing his perception of the situation, let go of those things he cannot control and go with the flow of life.


Of course just like taxes the Fool will encounter Death. Just because the grim reaper shows up in the Fool’s life does not mean that he is going to actually die. The Death card is merely throwing a sharp curve ball at the Fool to bring a swift and sudden change to the Fool’s carefully constructed self. The Death card can be a wake up call to the Fool. For example, Death may come in the form of a heart attack causing the Fool to stop eating fried foods. Death could be a midlife crisis, causing the Fool to take his paycheck and buy an overpriced sports car. The point is the Death card wants the Fool to transform into the next phase of his life. That means changing your old approaches, letting go of what is not working, releasing unhealthy relationships, dropping bad habits and adjusting your ways of thinking in order to transform into someone new and better.


Finally the Fool arrives at Temperance. After all of the ups and downs, battles, journeys and finding of self, the Fool finds a sense of stability, a still point within himself, in which the teeter-totter of his life can delicately balance. Temperance shows the Fool how to give and receive, let go and take in, and most importantly move his energy back and fourth so that he stays in balance at all times. This is the card of letting go of everything that has too much power over you or that you take to extreme. It reminds us to release our anger, sadness and hate and focus on love and joy in our lives. This newly evolved Fool is learning the tools to keep all of these forces flowing, yet not being stuck on any one of them. The integration of this new self creates health, balance, well-being and harmony within the soul, and draws the Fool closer to his own inner wisdom.

#tarotcards #tarot #Thefoolsjourney

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