Tarot is a story of The Fool's journey - which is a metaphor for the journey through life. Each Major Arcana card plays a part in this journey and symbolizes a lesson or experience that one must acknowledge and incorporate into their experience in order to realize their wholeness.
We begin with The Fool (0), a card of beginnings, set in the middle of one's own individual universe.The Fool stands for each of us as we begin our journey of life. Named a fool because only a simple soul has the innocent faith to undertake such a journey with all its hazards and pain. the Fool is strangely empty (as is zero), but imbued with a desire to go forth and learn.Upon setting out in the world - The Fool encounters The Magician (1) embodiment of communication & intellect, The Magician represents the energies of the universe through conscious awareness, and in a way acts as The Fool's guide but not without reminding us with slights of hand that the mind is just an illusion.
The Priestess (2) is met immediately after - never far from her counterpart the Magician. Representing our unrealized potential she provides balance in the form of mystery & unconscious.
The Empress (3) the biological, earthly Mother of all living things – she is mother nature herself. The Empress represents fertility, art beauty and life. She is nurturing, seductive and like nature – breathtakingly beautiful. She gives birth to the Fool, he suckles from her fruitful breasts, ever grateful for the gift of life. The Empress spoils the child, provides whatever they wish, and loves unconditionally. The next person the Fool encounters is the Father in the figure of The Emperor (4) He is the representative of structure and authority. As a baby leaves it's mother's arms, they learn that there are patterns to his world and the child experiences a new kind of pleasure that comes from discovering order.Now, The Fool ventures away from his home and meets the Hierophant (5) a wise teacher who represents organized belief systems.
The Fool has begun to develop knowledge about traditions of culture and begins his formal education. Continuing on the journey, The Fool comes to a crossroads, continue on this current path or as depicted in The Lovers (6) card; reach out and become part of a union which provides balance and adoration.The Fool is now an adult with a defined character and a certainty in their values. Through discipline and will-power, there is a developed inner control which allows triumph over their environment.
The Chariot (7) arrives to teach The Fool about having a decisive mind, staying the course and making victory non-optional.Time passes and life presents The Fool with numerous challenges, some of which cause suffering and disillusionment which requires them to draw on
Fortitude (8) to develop courage and find resolve to carry on despite setbacks. During this stage the Fool acquires quiet confidence and patience.Sooner or later, the Fool comes to ask the question "Why?" Absorbed with the search for answers The Hermit (9) represents the need to find deeper truth. Seeking moments of solitude away from the frantic activity of society - The Fool begins to introspectively look at the lessons he has learned, trying to understand his feelings and motivations.The Fool has an enlightening realization that the world is full of cycles - nothing is really ever 'the end' The Wheel of Fortune (10) symbolizes a chance encounter or miraculous occurrence which begins the process of change.The next lesson that The Fool experiences is Justice (11) which encourages that fair and just decisions be made after fully investigating a situation. The Fool takes responsibility for his past actions so he can make amends and ensure a more honest course for the future.The Fool has come across a situation that no matter the struggle or sacrifice or force put into taming it - nothing seems to prevail, and they are forced to let go. Introverting to gain a new perspective The Hanged One (12) signifies a time of insight so deep that, for a moment, nothing but that insight exists.The Fool now comes across a being we know as Death (13) At first this energy which encourages profound change without mercy seems to be crushing the Fool, but eventually they rise up to discover that death is not a permanent state. It is simply a transition to a new, more fulfilling way of life.
Temperance (14) is the next lesson to become The Fool. Temperance tells of the balance of strengths within us and asks us to show moderation in all areas of our lives.Soon, The Fool comes face to face with The Devil (15) Symbolizing the 'shadow-side' of our psyche which contains all the aspects of our personality that we dislike and would rather not know about. The Devil’s message is that ambition and progress should not be confused with greed and selfishness. Once you break the self-made chains, you are free to make amends.Filled with despair The Fool watches as The Tower (16) before him crumbles to the ground - recognizing that the only way to be free of The Devil is to succumb to the force which is stronger than them and embrace the crisis at hand. The revelations associated with this shake up offer a chance to start anew.After the fact, The Fool is bathed in a serene calm which emanates from The Star (17) This represents a period of quiet healing for The Fool as he recuperates from the events of late. Endowed with a trust that completely replaces the negative energies of the Devil. His faith in himself and the future is restored. In this dreamy condition, the Fool is susceptible to fantasy, distortion and a false picture of the truth, resulting in a vulnerability to the illusions of The Moon (18) By the light of The Moon it can be difficult to see things with clarity, leaving The Fool bewildered.
The Sun (19) rises and illuminated The Fools imagination, dispelling all the clouds and fear that hung before. With a restored motivation and direction The Fool advances with vitality towards the new beginning.The Fool has been reborn. His false, ego-self has been shed, allowing his radiant, true self to manifest. He has discovered that joy, not fear, is at life's center. Self-forgiveness is learned, despite past regrets and mistakes, and it is time for the Fool to make Judgement (20) about his values, choosing wisely which values to cherish, and which to discard.The Fool reenters The World (21), but this time with a more complete understanding. Reaching the peak of attainment, the reward for all effort; the crowing glory. But even in that moment of triumph, there is the knowledge of a new goal to be attained. The Fool shares their unique gifts and talents and finds that prosperity is present in every attempt.And so, at the conclusion of the journey we realize it was not so foolish after all. The Fool is now fully aware of their place in the world. This cycle is over, but, the Fool will never stop growing. Soon he will be ready to begin a new journey that will lead him to ever greater levels of understanding.