Heather Hardison
25 Mar

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This blog goes along with Healing Thru Tarot Podcast Episode 53: The Fool's Journey Through the Tarot Majors Part 1: The Magician through the Wheel of Fortune. 

We’ll start the Fool’s journey through the first part of the major arcana in the tarot from the Magician through the Wheel of Fortune. And I’ll share a Journey Preparation Spread to help us navigate the beginning of this transformational passage through the archetypal lessons of the tarot majors. 

The Fool’s journey through the tarot marks a passage that encompasses the path to self-discovery, growth, and radical transformation, and this metamorphosis starts the moment the Fool steps onto the path of their next adventure. Examples of the Fool’s journey or the hero’s journey would be the Wizard of Oz, Bilbo’s journey in The Hobbit or Frodo’s journey in The Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, The Alchemist, or Harry Potter. In most of these stories, we see an epic journey leading to a massive transformation and rebirth. 

The Wizard of Oz is the perfect example of this type of journey where the main character, Dorothy, begins as a naïve young girl who embarks on an adventure with a lofty goal, which is to find the Wizard to return her home after a tornado uprooted her and transported her to a magical new land. Along the way, she encounters various individuals who become fast friends teaching her valuable lessons that lead to wisdom, confidence, love, and courage. These archetypes, much like those found in the tarot majors, teach her and us about aspects within us that can persevere over obstacles as they’re thrown in our way. And of course, the journey leaves us with the classic quote, “There’s no place like home.” 

Many of us will complete several rounds through this type of journey in our lifetime. Some may experience this every decade or so with each new milestone.

The Fool from the Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot (above)

As we journey through the major arcana today think on your own life and try to pinpoint the various journeys you’ve taken as you’ve completed certain milestones, progressed through educational programs, started over in a new place or in a new career, or on literal journeys you’ve taken around the world meeting new people along the way. Each encounter on these journeys offers us an opportunity to grow and change and to embrace our highest potential. 

For this topic, I’ve pulled information from multiple sources such as 78 degrees of Wisdom and Tarot Wisdom both by the late great Rachel Pollack, the Chakra Wisdom Tarot guidebook by Tori Hartman, Ethony Dawn’s Fool Journey handout, and the book Tarot for Transformation by (Andy Matzner) who has come out publicly as transgender since that book’s release and embraced a name that better fits her personality and identity (Dreya Blume). If you look for this book online, it’s still listed under her former name, Andy Matzner.

The word “Arcana” is Latin for secrets or mysteries. 

Therefore, the major arcana of the tarot represent the secrets to life’s major milestones and experiences revealed to the Fool as they travel along and interact with each of them. In this sense, these archetypes are acting as mentors and guides as we journey through this thing called life as Prince would say. 

We’ll travel alongside the fool to observe the various life lessons learned as they travel through the tarot. The major arcana make up the first 22 cards in the tarot and can be divided up in a couple of ways. In the Chakra Wisdom Tarot guidebook, Tori Hartman divides the major arcana into three levels representing a different stage of evolution. She’s allocated The Fool through the Lovers as the learning stage, dedicated to meeting mentors and learning new tools. From the Chariot thru Death, focusing on lessons as tools for living. From Temperance through to the World, the Fool is in a state of mastery, having learned how to apply their newfound wisdom and tools. 

In 78 Degrees of Wisdom, Rachel Pollack makes the case for dividing the majors into groups of 3 as well - as 3 distinct areas of experience where the Magician through the Chariot represent consciousness, which would include concerns of life in society like love, education, and social authority. The second stage encompassing Strength through Temperance represents the subconscious as the Fool turns inward for self-discovery. And the final stage covers The Devil through the World Card, symbolizing the superconscious which she deems as the development of a spiritual awareness and a release of archetypal energy. 

The Fool from The Horror Tarot (above)

As we begin our journey through the tarot majors, let’s take a look at the Fool, the traveler we’ll accompany on this path of enlightenment. This epic journey begins with the Fool as a carefree, naïve individual standing at the edge of a cliff, representing the starting point of our journey. I often call this the leap of faith because the Fool must take those first steps blindly to walk into the unknown. This can be terrifying for many of us as we like to know how things will turn out, but the Fool leaps into the abyss, undeterred by the risk.

My favorite representation of the Fool is in the Lights Seers Tarot (mini version below) where they’re shown trust falling backward off the cliff, embracing whatever comes their way. I’ve never been able to do a trust fall in real life, but I admire those that can. 

The Fool is very much in the present, not in the past or the future. Growth, change, and manifestation can only occur in the present. So, the Fool is observing everyone and everything on their path and very much in tune with their senses, and the Fool’s strongest trait is their curiosity so they’re inquisitive about everything they see, hear, and feel along this trek. Unaware and unafraid of the challenges ahead, the Fool is instead filled with curiosity and a sense of wonder and adventure. A.E. Waite, creator of the Rider Waite Smith Tarot, said that he saw the Fool as “a spirit in search of experience.” Just like Dorothy, we’ll have to break from our roots, where we’re comfortable, and set out on a new adventure that can be scary, unfamiliar and comes with its own set of risks, but the rewards are often worth the gamble. 

Why do it you ask? 

Well for the experience, the wisdom gained, and the transformation that leads to a liberation for some adventurers. As you start this journey through the tarot, think about what it is you are in search of this time around. On this trip, the Fool takes his stick, which represents his wand of power, his bag carrying his experiences, a white rose symbolizing his purity and passion and his trusted dog who tries to warn him of the dangers of the cliff he’s wandering haphazardly close to. 

The Fool is at the start of the tarot because they represent beginnings and transitions from one phase of life to the next. And it’s their enthusiasm that helps us leap from transition to transition where most of us might be hesitant to tread. The Fool can represent a child coming into the world or an individual embarking on a new path or major life milestone. 

The Magician from The Light Seers Tarot (Above)

As we begin our travels, the first archetype that we meet on the way is the Magician, card number one in the Major Arcana. The Magician represents infinite potential and the power to manifest our deepest desires and represents conscious action. Here, the Fool is reminded of their inner abilities and the boundless opportunities that lie ahead. They’re taught to use all their resources and gifts that they have access to in order to bring those desires into the material world by taking action with intention. 

This reminds me of the saying, “magic is intention made real.” Here, we, like the Fool, learn to be creative, to co-create with the universe, and to harness all the tools we have at our disposal to fulfill our true potential. We are mastering our energy, utilizing our gifts, pooling our resources, and bringing our dreams to life in the physical world. The Magician teaches us that we already possess everything we need for success. This is why all four of the tarot suits are present in this card.  The Magician also represents a channel for the divine – as above, so below, which is why he is pointing one hand to the sky and the other to the ground. He also teaches us about balance and warning about excess because in the reverse the Magician could represent manipulation and abuse of power. Therefore, the Magician teaches the Fool willpower, discipline, and how important it is to direct their energy and power in a specific direction toward their goals. 

The High Priestess from The Light Seers Tarot (Above)

Moving from the active conscious side of our awareness represented by the Magician, we slip into the unknown with the High Priestess, the passive representation of the subconscious. She’s card number two, a symbol of intuition, wisdom, and accessing hidden knowledge. The veil that the High Priestess sits in front of in the Rider Waite card image represents the veil separating our conscious and subconscious minds. What we are conscious of is just a very small fraction of what knowledge lies under the surface hidden in the subconscious and unconscious minds. We get a taste of that hidden wisdom nightly in our dreams when we slip into the subconscious world. But this is where the High Priestess thrives. She can access both worlds and helps the Fool wade into these waters if they’re willing to explore this mysterious realm. 

The High Priestess can peek beyond the veil that holds the secrets of the universe, guiding the Fool to seek knowledge beyond the surface. This mentor is sharing her secrets with all of us as she reveals divine knowledge and wisdom and teaches us how to learn to trust our own intuition so that we can access this information for ourselves going forward. In essence, she introduces us to those hidden, unknown parts of our self. 

The Empress from The Light Seers Tarot (Above)

While the High Priestess is the mental side of the female archetype, we next meet the Empress, the emotional, passionate, sensual side. The Empress, card 3, represents the mother archetype embodying fertile, abundant, nurturing energy. Since she’s associated with the planet Venus, the Empress teaches the Fool to appreciate the beauty in the world and to embrace their creativity and the ability to give birth to their own creations and their ability to give and receive love. This is the first mention of love on our epic journey and it’s a maternal love, the first love most people will experience in life. She represents femininity, motherly energy, growth, compassion, and sensuality. Tori Hartman associates her with the heart chakra embracing us in her love, compassion, and safety. 

These maternal lessons about maturity, abundance, and love will be extremely important when the Fool branches out into the real world on their own. Here, the Empress nurtures and supports the Fool as they grow in strength and wisdom. When in the presence of the Empress, it could represent a time of passion, where we experience life through our emotions, sensuality, sexuality, and indulgent pleasures. 

The Emperor from The Light Seers Tarot (Above)

Moving forward on this journey, the Fool leaves their mother’s bosom and sits at the foot of their father’s throne in card number four, the Emperor. This father archetype represents masculinity and is a very structured, often rigid, figure of authority. He teaches the Fool the importance of setting boundaries, taking responsibility for their actions, following the rules of society, and establishing a solid foundation when building a life. The Fool learns a very valuable lesson of how to balance the responsibility of power with showing compassion for others. Just like the Magician and High Priestess are mirrors of each other so are the Emperor and Empress. Father and Mother. 

The Emperor is a leader but as we all know power can corrupt, so this archetype shows us how to be benevolent leaders who understand the importance of asserting ourselves without overpowering and leading without stripping the power from others. Otherwise, we’re leaning into authoritarian territory. He’s associated with the planet Mars which rules war, and we can see that he’s wearing his armor, so he’ll go to war if he must in order to protect his kingdom. He represents the power of society, its laws and especially its authority to enforce those laws. Here, The Fool learns about structure, discipline, and obeying laws as the Emperor imparts his paternal wisdom. 

The Hierophant from The Light Seers Tarot (Above)

As we move on to card number five, the Hierophant, the Fool learns about other kinds of structure as this archetype embodies tradition, spirituality, institutional structures like organized religion, banks, and governmental and educational institutions. The Hierophant also called the Pope in some traditional decks is the complement to The High Priestess. In modern decks, the Hierophant has come to represent a spiritual guru imparting wisdom for the purpose of enlightenment through teaching esoteric ideas and principles. These teachings help guide the Fool spiritually as they begin to develop their core values and construct their belief system in their search for meaning and purpose 

The Lovers from The Light Seers Tarot (Above)

Now, we arrive at card number six, the Lovers, symbolizing love, partnerships, harmony, and choices. Earlier versions of the tarot titled this card “the choice” because it represents an important choice between two desires - maybe between something respectable and something pleasurable but morally improper. It could refer to a minor choice or even to a major crisis in a person's life. Here, the Fool faces decisions about relationships, the transformative power of connections, and the necessity of balancing their heart's desires with their own sense of self. This marks the first decision on our journey, and this is where we begin to see how our decisions affect others and we long to be in relationships with others. 

Rachel Pollack notes here that the Lovers “is the first time the individual emerges, a true personality with its own ideas and purposes, able to make important choices based, not on parental orders, but on its own assessment of desires and responsibilities.” The Lovers can also represent the marriage of The Empress and The Emperor by The Hierophant with the feminine and masculine uniting in spiritual union. This is the 2nd card of love, but this time it tends to represent a romantic and intimate connection versus the motherly love in the Empress card. 

The Chariot from The Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot (Above)

Chugging on down the road, we encounter card number seven, the Chariot. This card signifies willpower, control, and triumph. The Fool learns to harness their inner power and will, allowing determination to guide them through life's challenges. The Chariot teaches the Fool the art of focus and directing their energy toward achieving their goals by overcoming challenges as they move forward on their path. This is also a victory card and shows the process of maturation. Rachel Pollack says the Chariot “shows us the developed ego and that the lessons of the early cards have been absorbed. This means the adolescent period of searching and self-creation has passed. Now we see the mature adult, successful in life, admired by others, and confident and content with themselves” because the Fool has learned self-mastery and control over their basic urges. 

Strength from The Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot (Above)

Next up is card number eight, Strength, representing inner courage, patience, and compassion. Here, The Fool is reminded to embrace their inner strength and overcome internal conflicts and that true strength lies not in brute force but in taming their own primal instincts with love and understanding. The lion in the image signifies internal fears and desires suppressed by the ego mind to control life, but we’re taught to tame them (not suppress them) so we aren’t controlled or carried away by our emotions or passions. Instead, the Fool is urged to direct them in productive and empowering ways, which is a very mature approach. And through this they learn courage, patience, resilience, and how to harness their personal power. 

The Hermit from The Bonestone and Earthflesh Tarot (Above)

After mastering our strength, we encounter the Hermit, card 9. The Hermit guides the Fool to look within, where they’ll find the answers they seek. As the Fool withdraws from society and seeks solitude and introspection, they discover the depths of their own wisdom usually through stillness, meditation, self-reflection, or analysis. Through this soul-searching process, the Fool experiences self-growth and finds the illumination they were seeking to light their path ahead symbolized by the lantern the Hermit is holding in the card. But the Hermit also signifies a teacher passing on the knowledge and wisdom they discovered during their retreat. So, the Fool sees here that they may one day guide others with the lessons they’re learning on this journey. 

The Wheel of Fortune from The Light Seers Tarot (Above)

Approaching the midpoint in our journey the majors, we arrive at card number ten, the Wheel of Fortune, representing the cycles of life and the inevitability of change. This is the card of fate and destiny. Will the Fool adapt to the changes as the wheel turns and use it as an opportunity for growth OR struggle against the wheel of fate and fall under the weight of it as it rolls over them? Struggling against fated events is always ill-advised. Hopefully, the Fool learns that life is a series of cycles moving between good fortune and obstacles, which are not permanent setbacks. So, if in a tight spot, the Fool shouldn’t fret too much because this too shall pass. 

The Wheel of Fortune is a good stopping point for this episode as it’s a transition card signifying a change in cycles, and is closely linked to the World card, which is where we will end our Fool’s journey in the next episode/blog when we complete the life lessons on this trek through the tarot majors. Watch for that coming up in a few weeks.

Journey Preparation Spread

I created this Journey Preparation Spread to show us how to smoothly navigate this transformation journey through the tarot majors. If you throw this spread for yourself, I’d love to see the photo of your spreads. Please tag me on Instagram @healingthrutarot and please use #httjourneypreparationspread 

Books and Decks shown in this blog or recommended: The Horror Tarot, The Light Seers TarotRider Waite Smith Tarot78 degrees of Wisdom, Tarot Wisdom, Chakra Wisdom Tarot, Tarot for Transformation

Link to Podcast Episode 53 click here

My Novels

Check out The Divining Sisters Series here.

If you're looking for a good witchy book series, check out my fictional divination book series, The Divining Sisters. Start with book 1 in the series, The Call of the Cards, and then catch up to book 2, We Divine Three and book 3, The Threads of Fate, that released in Sept. 2023. Book 4 releases Summer 2024. They're available as ebooks $4.99 and paperbacks $14.99 on Amazon. And the eBooks are also on Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Google Play, Kobo, Scribd, Smash words, and more. Find out more details on my novels on my author website author.heatherhardison.com - where I post updates on book releases, video book trailers, book blurbs and quotes, as well as fun things like my Spotify playlists for each book. I carefully curate those to express the energy of each book. 

This series follows a group of women (witches, healers, diviners) who reincarnate lifetime after lifetime and reunite with their coven so they can fulfill a mission of keeping their craft of divination, healing, and magic alive for future generations. 

Book Blurb for Book 1: The Call of the Cards 

Alexandra Steele, a clinical psychologist, stumbles upon a mystical store in downtown, Memphis, TN, where she encounters tarot cards for the first time. She doesn't realize it at the time, but this simple encounter will leave her life forever changed as she uncovers a world of past life connections to the cards and the craft of divination. This sparks an awakening that opens door after door of a long line of mystic and witch incarnations that run throughout her history. As she reconnects to these deep mystical ties, she begins to learn about her destiny, which is revealed as she starts to encounter coven sisters and foes from previous incarnations. Will her tendency to hide in the shadows and play small continue to hold her back or will the call of the cards lure her onto her destined path of a life full of magic and sisterhood?

Readers are raving about the series like these 5 star amazon reviews of The Call of the Cards, We Divine Three, and The Threads of Fate.

"Absolutely Unique! Resonated so much!" 

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I loved the awakening of the main character, Alex, and the slow revelation of her past lives. I felt like I was on a journey alongside her.

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"Harry Potter for adults."

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Watch the book trailer for The Divining Sisters Series

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