The Major Arcana (also called the Trump cards) of the Tarot are different from the Suit cards. They are more potent. They carry more weight in readings, and often carry more detail and symbolism in imagery. The 21 cards that make up the Major Arcana tell the story of the Fool’s Journey when taken in numerical order. This story is, essentially the archetypal journey that we all take as we climb the ladder of personal ascension, learning Life’s lessons.
The first Trump card is The Fool. This is the Fool’s Journey, after all! This is a card of beginnings. The Fool is like a child leaving home for the first time. He’s wide-eyed, optimistic, naive, and eager. HIs spirit of adventure is in full force as he sets out on his path. He’s so busy taking in all the wonders of the world around him that he doesn’t notice the precarious state of the path he’s walking.
There is beauty in this kind of innocent idealism. Seen in a positive light, The Fool represents a childlike wonder and trust in the world around him. He truly believes that everything will work out to support him. And why not? He’s had no evidence to the contrary at this point. There is an element of divine guidance here, for we are all being supported by forces unseen - we have merely to open ourselves up to receiving that support.
However, there is also a warning in this card. The Fool, with his head in the clouds, could also be called naive as he sets out on his path. He’s not being careful. He’s not taking any notice of his surroundings, and, as such, is opening himself up to the potential dangers inherent in the undertaking of such a journey. Most decks depict The Fool walking toward the edge of a cliff without even noticing it.
So, there’s a message that trusting in the Universe is all well and good, but that it’s still a good idea to keep your wits about you. Sometimes we need that excitement and passion that The Fool offers just to get us out the door, and making some kind of progress. But once we’re out there, this card encourages us to start paying attention. You never know what might be coming at you next! It might be a potential danger, or a potential omen or gift. Either way, we can’t adjust our course to our best advantage, if we aren’t seeing what’s around us.
It’s like Bilbo Baggins says in The Lord of the Rings:
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
Heed The Fool’s advice when he shows up in your cards: Enjoy the excitement of the journey. Get off your arse and out the door. Take the leap of faith. Trust that you have everything you need for the journey with you already, and that you will have some guidance and support along the way. Just keep your ‘feet’ while you’re out there. Pay attention. Walk the road, don’t let the road walk you. Make empowered choices along the route, and be willing to learn from any missteps, and you’ll be fine.
Thus, the journey begins. Next stop: The Magician! We’ll learn all about him, and the magick he brings to the party in our next Tarot Tuesday post. Stay tuned …