The Major Arcana or trumps reveal the more archetypal energies of the cards, often portrayed as The Fool’s Journey (similar to The Hero’s Journey). Using the metaphor of theatre as the parts of the tarot (where the minors or pips are the acts and the courts are the cast of characters), the majors relate to the set – the environment and overarching conditions of the reading.
In The Fool’s Journey, The Fool begins the journey unaware, newly reborn and unencumbered by external conditioning and beliefs. We are each The Fool when we first start out, driven by the inner voice of the soul and ready to take a leap of faith into the mysterious unknown depths.
The Fool meets The Magician and, through sleight of hand, he teaches The Fool to focus his conscious mind through the illusory nature of reality. The Fool awakens to the need to understand himself and the world; to master his creative energy and to use the tools and instruments available to manifest his desires.
its shadows include issues around focus
The Fool meets The High Priestess and she shows him the unrealized potential of his subconscious. Through quiet listening in the inner realms, she teaches him to access The Mysteries, and he learns that they must be experienced to be understood.
its shadows include issues around detachment
The Fool recognizes The Empress as the mother and is filled with the wonderment of the natural world in its creative force. He learns that he must be able to receive in order to birth.
its shadows include issues around mothers and the creative force
With The Emperor, The Fool learns to establish order using leadership; but that standing in his power doesn’t mean taking it away from anyone else.
its shadows include issues around fathers and authority
The Fool is instructed by The Hierophant in the established belief systems of his world, and he considers them through the lens of his own moral compass.
its shadows include issues around our beliefs
The Fool is opening to those outside of himself and sees that while it’s ok to conform to others, our choices have lasting effects and must be made from the moral code we have developed.
its shadows include issues around projection and commitment
Through these lessons, The Fool has built confidence in his identity. With The Chariot, he learns to navigate conflict and compromise while maintaining balance.
its shadows include issues around control
Challenged by life with its trials and suffering, The Fool learns that patience and tolerance are needed in order to overcome the struggles that life presents, and to draw on his inner Strength by facing his fears with an open heart.
its shadows include issues around our fears
The Fool meets The Hermit, who guides him to slow his pace and seek solitude to look inward for connection with his inherent wisdom.
its shadows include issues around isolation
Ready for movement again after his solitary quest, The Fool has reached a turning point in his journey. He sees the cycles of life before him in The Wheel of Fortune as a symbol of the mysterious universe and how it all connects, and he sees himself in the grand scheme of it all.
its shadows include issues around the patterns we perpetuate
The Fool pauses in his journey to reflect on the cause & effect he has experienced, and he learns to take responsibility for his actions. Will he remain true to his insights and face the Justice of his own truth, or will he slip back into an easier existence that closes off further growth?
its shadows include issues around guilt
As The Fool pushes forward, he is halted by insurmountable forces and must give in. He feels powerless and believes he has sacrificed everything. The moment he gives up control, he gains a new perspective as everything falls into place. With The Hanged Man, he finds serenity within himself and sees that surrender may sometimes serve better than resistance.
its shadows include issues around surrender
With this new insight, The Fool begins to rid himself of that which no longer serves him. In learning to let go, growth of the new self occurs, as Death allows transition to a more fulfilling journey.
its shadows include issues around letting go
The Fool has experienced extremes and now appreciates how their lessons blend in new meaning. With Temperance, all that he has learned is being combined into a centered whole and he is able to access a higher consciousness.
its shadows include issues around conflict
Feeling good in the glow of spiritual alignment, The Fool pursues deeper meaning in his life; but as deep expansion is often met with great contraction, he comes face to face with The Devil. He feels bound by temptation and unable to break free of its guilt and shame — unaware that he holds that power, himself.
its shadows include our self-destructive patterns and shame
How does The Fool break free from The Devil? Sometimes, seemingly outside forces must shake us out of the structures we’ve created. Suddenly, The Tower is struck, crumbling in destruction; the lightning bolt revealing the illusions and fears that built it. With this revelation, he begins to see the truth.
its shadows include issues around the walls we’ve built
In the wake of The Tower’s collapse, the dust settles, revealing The Star in the night sky. The Fool sees where he should be going and is filled with hope. He has faith in his journey once again and is open to the possibilities on his path.
its shadows include issues around recovery
The Fool is calm but must guard against illusions and fears cast by the shadows of The Moon. His creative and intuitive imagination is stimulated and he learns to look deeper to sense what may be occluded in the darkness.
its shadows include all which are unseen
The shadowy uncertainty is illuminated by The Sun, and The Fool is revitalized by the clarity of this enlightenment. Optimistic and enthusiastic, he becomes more sure-footed in his pace.
its shadows include issues around ego
The Fool is awakening in the enlightenment that joy, not fear, is the core of life’s journey. He considers his past actions, makes amends where apt, and forgives himself of past misjudgements. With new awareness, he now steps into a higher calling.
its shadows include issues around our judgements
The Fool sees the infinite potential of his place in The World. He appreciates the web of life and its interconnectivity, and he shares his gifts freely with the whole as he sets off on a new journey of growth.
its shadows include issues around change and alienation