Brief Outline of the Major Arcana – The Fools Journey
The Fool – A free spirit, carefree, following his heart, he embraces whatever life gives him, he has the tools for his journey in his bag, he is pure of heart with the open mind of innocence, confronting fears and taking risks, he is all about setting out on life’s path, all things are possible when starting anew, no preconceived ideas at this time, childlike wonder.
– beginnings – unconstrained – pure heart –
Imagery – The sun is shining bright, casting it’s wonderful yellow light on everything. Snow covered mountains are in the background. The Fool is holding his head high towards the sky, oblivious that he is about to walk off a cliff into the unknown, he’s holding a white rose in his left hand and a long stick with his goodie bag in his right hand and over his right shoulder. He has his faithful white dog at his heels.
Archetype : Babe in Woods
The Magician – The ‘can do’ card, the Fool is putting ideas into reality, a passion for life, purity, unleashing creativity, totally focused on his goal, make it happen through channeling individual will and power, ability to create your own reality, something great is developing, conscious awareness.
– manifestation – concentration – creativity – consciousness –
Imagery – The Magician is pointing to the Heavens and the Earth, making a bridge between the two. He has all four elements on the table in front of him…Earth/Pentacle, Fire/Wand, Water/Cup and Air/Sword. He is surrounded by beautiful red and white flowers and he is wearing red and white robes. He has the infinity symbol above his head and around his waist is a snake biting his own tail…another symbol of infinity.
Archetype : Masculine – Artist
The High Priestess – Spirituality and inner knowledge, a hidden unseen world, duty bound, deep reliance on intuition, seek and provide guidance and inspiration, the ability to see beneath the surface, you know the answer to your own question, a need to look deeper into the situation at hand, the Fool’s unrealized potential, mysterious subconscious.
– intuition – enigmatic – inner knowledge – the subconscious –
Imagery – The Priestess is seated with a scroll on her lap, the crescent moon is by her left foot, she is dressed in blue and white, sat between two pillars, one black and white, a veil covered in pomegranates hides the still waters behind her, she is wearing a crown depicting the pauses of the moon.
Archetype : Feminine – Inner Psychic Self
The Empress – Creative, active, bountiful and productive, the pleasures of fulfillment, motherly, abundance, fruitfulness and fertility and responsibility, she represents creativity of a natural, earthy nature, the satisfaction that is gained from bringing something into fruition, the Fool is getting in touch with his feminine side.
– abundance – fertility – motherly –
Imagery – She is sitting on cushions and blankets, in her hair is a crown containing 12 stars, she is wearing a flowing gown, there is wheat in the foreground, trees in the background and a river and waterfall to the East.
Archetype : Mother Earth
The Emperor – Somber, stability, provider, patriarch, keeps emotion under wraps, leadership, problem solving by using logic, authoritative figure, the Fool’s male energy, the Fool now encounters rules, an understanding of the laws of the material world.
– authority – logical – patriarch –
Imagery – The Emperor is the complement to the Empress. He is the Masculine. He represents power and authority, and has a rather stern disposition. The Emperor has a long, white beard…a symbol of his experience. It suggests that this man has acquired years of wisdom and experience. He wears a jeweled golden crown on his head. His clothes are of orange and red and he sits on a stone throne decorated with carving of four rams’ heads. The landscape behind him has no vegetation but there is a river flowing through this landscape. He has a globe in his left hand and a scepter in the right.
Archetype : Father Figure
The Hierophant – The Fool now ventures out of his home and is exposed to beliefs, culture and formal education, the time to conform and discover a sense of belonging, the Hierophant is teaching what he has learnt, the need for social approval, conventional wisdom.
– conformity – belief systems – traditions –
Imagery – This card depicts a religious figure sitting on a throne…he has two fingers, of his right hand, pointing heavenwards. He is wearing a triple tiered crown and is dressed in fine robes of red, and at his feet are crossed keys, He is sat between two stone pillars of strength. Two men, who appear to be monks, are looking towards him for direction. This religious figure, the Hierophant, carries the air of authority and represents traditional thinking.
Archetype : The Pope
The Lovers – The Fool now faces new challenges and choices, to love or not to love, so far he has been self centered and now he yearns for relationship/partnership, the need to make a decision about a relationship or a situation, choosing between right and wrong.
– choices – relationships – conscience –
Imagery – The Lovers Card shows a male and a female, both quite naked, standing in a green garden containing an apple tree with fruit and a barron tree with small flames attached to each branch. These two individuals are blessed and protected by the Angel in the clouds above them. The sun shines brightly in the clear blue sky.
Archetype : Romeo and Juliet
The Chariot – The Fool now has control over himself, he has discipline and will-power which allows him authority over his environment, the Fool asserts himself, victory through adversity, moving forward in the world, struggle can make you stronger, a balance between negative and positive bring success, maintain focus, learn to compromise.
-discipline – compromise – assertiveness –
Imagery – This wonderful, Major Arcana card depicts a man who sits within a canopy/chariot of stars, representing the celestial influences at work at this time. In front of the chariot are two sphinxes, one black and one white. The man is wearing a small amount of armor, there are crescent moons on the man’s shoulders, pointing outwards, each crescent moon contains a face. The symbols on his tunic are alchemical symbols. The Charioteer holds no reins, just the wand from the Magician card, indicating the strength of his will. He wears a laurel wreath of victory on his head. The city is behind him, between him and the city is a body of water.
Archetype : Hercules
Strength Card – The Fool is gaining confidence and courage, and learning fortitude and compassion, he is facing his fears, love is stronger than fear or hate, calmness and inner strength, a peaceful co-existence.
– fortitude – inner strength – courage –
Imagery -The Strength Card is a beautiful card, depicting a peaceful and tranquil woman gently holding the mouth of a lion while gazing at him in a loving and gently manner. She is adorned with garlands of flowers, and wearing a flowing white robe. Above her head is the affinity symbol…the same as is found in the Magician Card. The ground beneath her feet is lush and green and there is a golden sky above.
Archetype : Ghandi
The Hermit – Sooner or later the Fool has questions about life and death and he becomes consumed with his search for answers, he needs to find a deeper truth by looking inward, he seeks solitude, the light guides the way to wisdom.
– solitude – enlightenment – wisdom –
Imagery – An old man holding a staff in one hand and a lantern in the other is walking along in the snow, the lantern is lighting the way, his head and eyes are cast downwards.
Archetype : Dalai Lama
The Wheel of Fortune – The Fool is now experiencing outside forces beyond his control, he sees himself within a grander scheme of a Universal plan, chance, turning point, unexpected things, cycles, fated major changes that happen quickly, the ups and downs of life.
– movement – change – fate –
Imagery – This is a highly symbolic card. In the four corners are an angel, an eagle, a bull and a lion….they all have wings and are each reading a book. In the center of the card is a wheel containing various symbols. Around the wheel are three creatures..a snake, a sphinx holding a sword, and then a red human like figure.
Archetype : The Gambler
Justice Card – The Fool now reflects and takes responsibility for past actions, karma, consequences, a fair decision, search for balance and truth, equal measures.
– karma – consequences – balance –
Imagery – The figure of Justice sits on her stone chair/throne, between two grey, stone pillars. There is a purple cloth draped behind her, hanging between the two pillars. She is cloaked in red and green and holding a sword in her right hand and scales in her left. She wears a golden crown with a small square decoration on it…representing well-ordered thoughts. The sword is double-edged, cutting both ways, signifying impartiality. Justice holds the sword upwards, indicating victory. The scales are in her left, intuitive hand, showing that logic must be balanced by the intuition.
Archetype : Mediator
The Hanged Man – The Fool faces overwhelming challenges and he learns the need for sacrifice, surrender , sacrifice for the greater good, set aside our needs for others and do it willingly and without a struggle, surrendering to a higher wisdom and finding enlightenment.
– challenges – sacrifice – surrendering –
Imagery – A man hanging upside down from a branch, tied with rope to one ankle, other leg is crossed behind, arms behind his back, glowing light from his head, blue tunic, red pants, he is not struggling.
Archetype : Odin
Death Card – Off with the old and on with the new, the Fool now starts to eliminate old habits and ideas which involves endings and new beginnings, rebirth, shedding old skin, tomorrow is another day, one door closes another opens, the promise of new beginnings.
– endings – beginnings – rebirth –
Imagery – An armored skeleton riding a white horse while carrying a flag, people are on the ground…one appears dead, others are kneeling and the religious man is beseeching, the sun is rising in the east an between two towers, there still waters and a ship a sailing.
Archetypes : The Phoenix
Temperance Card – It is now time for the Fool to develop true equilibrium and bearing and know that moderation is the key to contentment, harmony and blending, open flow of emotions, balance and patience, tolerate differences, inner peace and self restraint.
– Equilibrium – harmony – inner peace –
Imagery – An angel with red wings and white dress is standing with one foot in water and one on land, she is pouring water from one cup to another, the sun has risen and the landscape is lush and green.
Archetype : Mother Theresa
The Devil – The Fool now has to face his inner demons….maybe materialism, excesses, gluttony, ignorance, addiction, impulsiveness, temptation and obsession, use of a scapegoat and putting blame on others, bondage to fear, being a weakling.
– materialism – bondage – temptation –
Imagery – The Devil is a very somber creature…half goat and half man with bat wings. He has an inverted pentagram in-between his goat horns. He is holding a lit torch in his left hand. This card is connected to the Lovers Card. Here the lovers are loosely chained to a stationary point, standing in front of the devil. The background of The Devil Card is black.
Archetype : Freddie Mercury
The Tower – The Fool needs a good shakeup after his bondage with the Devil bringing about an immediate change, it’s like a bolt from the blue, you are facing the unexpected, the element of surprise, transformed, surprise, blind sided.
– transformation – the unexpected – disruption –
Imagery – A lightening bolt from the blue striking the Tower and blowing it’s roof off and throwing two people out of the building……..a bit of a shock really! The Tower is perched high on top of a rock and the building is on fire.
Archetype : Lightning Bolt from Thor
The Star – The Fool now experiences the calm after the storm, he finds his inner serenity and radiance, intelligence with intuition, total mental stability, discovering the meaning of life, epiphany, generosity, inspiration.
– serenity – inspiration – mental stability –
Imagery – This card shows eight Stars in a blue sky, one star is bigger and brighter than the rest. There is a bird in a solitary tree. A blonde, naked woman is kneeing by still waters, maybe a pond, that is surrounded by abundant green grass. This woman is holding two jugs containing water, she is pouring one into the water and one into the ground.
Archetype : Fairy Godmother
The Moon – The Fool now finds inspiration in the Moon and he discovers that everything may not be as it seems, hidden secrets, rely on your inner light and female intuition, the great mystery of our existence, the secrets of life, could indicate the female cycle, the subconscious.
– inspiration – intuition – hidden secrets –
Imagery -The Moon is the card of intuition, dreams and the unconscious. The Moon provides light as a reflection of the Sun, so moonlight is faint even when the moon is at it’s fullest, casting moon shadows in the night. In the foreground of the card is a pool of water, there is a crayfish crawling out of the water and onto land. What appears to be a dog and a wolf are howling at the moon. There is a path leads from the pool, over the fields and between two towers into the mountains in the distance, leading off into the unknown. Archetype : Morgaine from The Mists of Avalon
The Sun – The Fool now has a sense of completion, choices have been made and remade and he has experienced success and fulfillment and now he is at his strongest, he is revitalized and ready to shine, pure joy and health, optimism, achievements, abundance.
– revitalized – fulfillment – enlightened –
Imagery – The Sun is an image of optimism and fulfillment, the Sun represents the source of life itself. The Sun, in this card, contains a pleasant face, looking out upon the Earth and rays of light emanate forth. In the foreground a child is joyfully riding a white horse. The child has all the innocence and purity of childhood and is open and happy. The child holds an orange banner in the left hand. There are sunflowers in the background, growing against a beautiful, protective stone wall.
Archetype : Your Inner child
Judgement Card – The Fool is now judged for his life choices and decisions he has made through his journey, he forgives himself and others, he may regret past mistakes but now he feels cleansed and refreshed and ready for a new start, it’s a time for self evaluation and absolution.
– evaluation – absolution – judgement –
Imagery – An Angel in the sky with pink wings, blowing a trumpet that bares an equal cross flag. Naked people are rising out of their coffins and handing their hands heavenwards. The coffins are floating in water.
Archetype : Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court
The World – The Fool has now reached a successful conclusion to his journey, his soul has evolved into wholeness and achievement, this cycle is over but the Fool will never stop growing and learning , he will continue to ever greater levels of understanding, triumph, at the top of your game, the lesson has been learnt.
-triumph – comprehension – conclusion –
Imagery – In the centre of the World Card is a dancing figure, rejoicing in the completion of the journey and celebrating not only this completion but also the new beginnings it promises. The dancer has one leg crossed over the other and is looking infinitely outward. In each of her hands she holds a wand or baton. She is surrounded by a thick, green wreath, symbolic of success, victory, achievement and accomplishment, with red cloth shaped to infinity symbols at the top and bottom. In the four corners of the card are: an angel, an eagle, a bull and a lion.
Archetype : Bill Gates