THE CYCLE
OF
ENLIGHTENMENT

'The Fools Journey'


From Innocence to Enlightenment

The first twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana show a path to enlightenment known as The Fool's Journey.



The first twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana show a process to enlightenment known as The Fool's Journey. In this journey the Fool represents the soul born into the material world. From the start to the end of its material lifetime, the purpose of the journey is for the soul to learn and evolve in its earthly spirit on the Cycle of Rebirth. The Fool’s Journey is a short summary of the lesson of each card, lessons presented to the Fool on the journey through life to maturity. Along the journey the Fool learns that every action has to be balanced but that ultimately this something within its control.

The Magician represents the moment the soul transmutes into its material existence, drawn down by the Magician's wand onto the earthly plane. The Fool is given its four personality functions (intuition, sensation, thought and emotion) represented by the four elements spread out on the Magician’s table. The soul now has control of the four primal elements and has assumed from the Magician clear communication skills, the ability to take action and the willpower required to make something happen.

As the soul passes through into the unborn child, the High Priestess draws a veil across our true nature and knowledge of who we are is hidden from our consciousness. For the purpose of its lifetime, the soul will rely on physical senses, conscious experience and memory to develop its personality and a sense of identity in the Ego. The High Priestess provides the Fool with the instinctual sense of intuition that is the link between conscious and unconscious memory, the ability to know something instinctively without the full picture. Intuition is the link between the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious, where our true nature is hidden. With today’s knowledge of the Universe and a degree of common sense, intuition tells us it is impossible to believe that there is not more to life than a purely material existence.

The soul is born into the garden world of the Empress, a fertile world of abundance and creation. A physical world with material values in which we must grow up in physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Here the Fool learns of the importance of the mother figure, her feminine traits of nurturing and compassion and obtains a sense of the energy of the feminine polarity.

In the world of the Emperor, the Fool learns the importance and value of society, its structures, rules and regulations. The spirit learns the importance of the father figure and the masculine traits and principles of the masculine polarity. Meeting the Hierophant, the Fool finds belief and intuitively senses there must something more to life, a sense of deeper meanings. The Fool finds strength in this intuitive feeling and finds faith that there is more. Here the truth is still unknown, only a sense of it. The soul is content to join with others who share similar beliefs and views and learn about other people in life.

The Fool meets the Lovers and observes that the maiden is trying to make a choice, looking at the Archangel for guidance. She is unsure whether or not to enter this relationship and has a choice to make. This is symbolic of all choices that life brings, choices which increase as we get older and take responsibility for our lives. We hope that when we make a choice that it is the right one. Here the Fool learns as well the meaning of attraction, love and desire.

When we have found our place in life and society, we find a degree of outer control in the Chariot. Life is still a great adventure ahead of us as the Fool enters adulthood, its well-adjusted ego able to deal with anything that comes along. In the Chariot the Fool learns how by its will, it can control the outer events in its material life.

With the outside world conquered by working hard to control the flow of opposing forces that make up the ebb and flow of life, the soul begins to look inwards for more meaning. It finds the meaning of self-control and inner-strength in the card of Strength.

By soul searching like the Hermit, we explore our inner world of emotion, thought, energy and sensation and wonder how far we have really matured. There are times when no matter how hard we try, something outside of our control might have the final say. The soul perceives the hand of fate and the turn of luck and looks deeper to try and make sense of what life is all about. 

The soul perceives luck and fate and how quickly things can change in the Wheel of Fortune, realizing that we make our own luck and fate by the actions we take.

Cause (what we think) and Effect (what we do), dictate that the Scales of Justice must always be balanced. All action creates energy and Karma. We are responsible for everything that happens to us by everything that we do in the past, present and future.

Now knowing that every action we take has an effect, the Fool becomes the Hanged Man and stops what it is doing, frozen in time almost afraid to move. Our past actions have led us to the present moment and the Fool realizes there are parts of its personality that may not always act for the good. The Fool resolves to give up the thoughts and action that create negative events in its life.

The Fool decided to make a break with the past and discarded those sides of its personality it no longer wished to keep. Death brings an ending of old ways to allow room for new ways to grow, out with the old and in with the new. The Fool has discarded many of its negative traits and resolves to live the future with honesty, common sense and a more balanced and mature attitude to life.

Finding Temperance now that excessive behaviour has been discarded, the Fool has learnt to moderate its actions and attitude. Its spirit tempered by past mistakes and misfortune has been made stronger by difficult times and past challenges.

However, the Devil and its temptations of material excess are always just one step away. The Fool must always be vigilant not to be drawn into a material situation that will cause oppression, negative actions and destructive behaviour. It must always stay vigilant and keep in balance the darker side of its nature.

The structure of the old self has been shattered in the Tower and the build-up of negativity and tension has gone. With life running better now, the Fool feels renewed hope and optimism for the future, illuminated by the Star.

There will always be the shadow of self-doubt and we cannot have clarity without illusion existing at the same time. The Fool must learn to see the truth in all things and use the light of the Sun and its illuminating common sense, to cut through confusion, fear and ignorance.

The Fool has learnt the meaning of life and is lifted by a euphoric feeling. It feels spiritually reborn in the knowledge that there is much more to existence and that physical death is not the end, only a new beginning. There will always be more to come and that we will be reborn into another existence when the time comes. We have mastered the true nature of the Material World and all of its lessons along the way.