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0 The Fool

And Some Thoughts on the Major Arcana

Zero - The Fool; acrylic on raw canvas, 18"x24" c.1996 by Turtle Woman

The Fool

Card of Infinite Possibilities

All the possibilities of the Major Arcana are contained within the Fool: the Void; the Dark of the Womb, from which anything can, and everything will, evolve. Thus the card represents a mystic seed; a magical embryo/child; a pure impulse; infinite possibilities. In a reading it often denotes the power to begin; to take a first step: albeit out into the unknown.

My Fool card is surrounded by a dark border - the inky darkness of the Void or Womb. An androgynous young person is about to take a first carefree dancing step upon the Sacred Spiral, the "Yellow Brick Road", of life. A Benevolent Spirit of Nature (represented by the cactus) accompanies hir. The hour is just before sunrise - a new day; a new life, is dawning. In a nod to traditional Tarot imagery, this youngster carries the Fool's Bag, with its' all-seeing eye. From within it, S/he pulls the seeds of infinite possibilities: scattering them as S/he dances along.

The Major Arcana

Archetypal Energies

The Major Arcana are the "major" energies in the Tarot deck. Some might call them "Fates" or "Divine Interventions". They are not mutable: while we may work WITH them, we cannot work on them, indeed they work on us! They are archetypal in that they symbolize the various roles we will play in life (or that it is possible for us to play!). In ascending numerical sequence they illustrate a linear or chronological progression: from 1 The Magician to 21 The World (which I call Earth). It is a natural progressive cycle - a path of life from beginning to fulfillment with The Fool representing the Void/Womb of before-birth/after-death. Thus the fool sits outside this 1 - 21 progression, symbolizing all possibilities. Every step along the way is symbolically contained within The Fool. The Fool is therefore a glyph representing the whole Birth-Death-Rebirth cycle.

I have done quite a bit of chakra work, and in my exploration of Tarot I discovered the work of Carol Bridges (Medicine Woman Tarot), who sees the upward progression of the Major Arcana as rising thru the chakras: from 1 The Magician at the Root Chakra to 21 The World at the Crown Chakra. This felt so intuitively "right" for me at the time, and has remained a very important aspect of the majors as I see them - and so I of course am incorporating this idea into my own cards. I am using the spectral color progression associated with the chakras in my cards: for example, The Magician card has a scene which is predominantly red and has a red border (red is associated with the Root Chakra).

Another kind of progression that is reflected within the Major Arcana is a progression thru levels of experience. I first found this idea discussed in Vicki Noble's "MotherPeace", and it, too, just "clicked" for made so much sense! This progression causes the Majors to naturally break down into 3 groups, with the experiences becomming more complex as one advances numerically higher through each group. The 3 groups are, First: Life on the Physical Plane, symbolized by 1 The Magician thru 7 The Chariot (which I call Triumph); with The Chariot representing mastery of this level. Second: Advancement on the Emotional/Psychic Plane, symbolized by 8 Strength (I call her Mother of Animals) thru 14 Temperance (which I call Fusion), with Temperance representing mastery. The Third group is Advancement on the Spiritual Plane, symbolized by 15 The Devil (I call hir Trixter) thru 21 The World (whom I call Earth), with World representing mastery. In my card design each group has a different symbol that appears on each card within that group. The symbol is rendered in a more complex manner with each advancing card in the group. For the first group the symbol is hands (for physicality); for the second group a zig-zag (brain waves for thought!); for the third group a spiral (symbolic of the Sacred Dance). As I mentioned before, each card has a border corresponding to its' chakra color - the symbol for each group is used within the border also. Another thing you've probably noticed is that I am renaming many of the cards, to more accurately reflect what the card has come to mean to me.

Despite all this planning, Serendipity definitely plays a role in my creation of these cards - after all - isn't getting in touch with our Inner Guide/Intuition what this is all about?

Turtle Woman's Tarot: Back to the introductory tarot page.