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The idea courtesy of the book: “La Pratique des Arts Divinatoires”.

The neophyte is represented by the Fool (Arcana with no number). He is a vagabond, who walks as if in a daze, believing this is his destiny, having no set goals (therefore, no eventual retirement). Instead of being focused on his evolution, his eyes are empty like the void in the universe. He has a stick to defend and guide himself. He carries all his earthly possessions (including his limited knowledge) in a small handkerchief. His clothes are shabby and mismatched and the dogs are chasing him; still he continues, aimlessly along the infinite road. This is the only existence he knows.

In his travels, the neophyte meets the Magician (Arcana I). The Magician is a skillful man, able to dazzle others with his luxuriant wares; he impresses others by spreading his wares, thus spreading his knowledge. He has an answer to all questions, and possesses everything of which the Fool could dream. The Magician asks, “Do you want to become like me? Do you want to know who you are? Do you want to know where you come from? Do you want to have a goal in life? Do you want to have power, fortune and glory? Do you want to know what you don’t yet know?  Enter the Temple of Tarot and all that will be revealed to you.”

Still overwhelmed, the neophyte enters the Temple, jumping into a dark and austere room. Inside is a beautiful woman with a frightening gaze, the High Priestess (Arcana II). She sits on a throne and tempts him. She says, “Look at my book…it contains the truths of mankind…the morals, and the laws. Look at my train behind me, it hides the essential truths that are necessary for life. If you want to take a look behind my train, you will have to tempt me; but looking behind my train will bring you to another dimension!” The neophyte unites with the High Priestess and they pass to the other side.  

The trip to the other side is like going back in time to when the world began.  People metamorphose in front of the High Priestess’ eyes. Two persons slowly approach the neophyte, the Empress and the Emperor (Arcana III and IV, respectively). They speak to him about time and space. He recognizes them and identifies them with his mother and father. He understands the secret of Genesis and the powers of masculinity and femininity. He unites with them and feels he is now on their level.

They introduce him to the Pope (Arcana V) who tells him, “Now you are an adult. You don’t need to wander aimlessly anymore on planet Earth, with no goals. Now you can choose. Which way will you go in life? The way of the Magician?  He is clever, but the fortune he proposes, the power, and the glory, are just illusions. He uses these to attract you. You know the secret of mankind’s desires, but not of the universal laws. Do you desire to know more or do you desire to stay a man, pretending, speaking and living an illusion?”       

If the neophyte continues on his way, he will have to pass a second ordeal (the first was the High Priestess which inaugurates a second cycle of studies and research). Now he encounters the Lovers (Arcana VI) represented by two roads, opening two new ways and symbolized by two women, both gorgeous but different. Both are very attractive to him, and he stands in front of them, indecisively. On the top of his head is an angel watching him, armed with a bow and arrow, like the sword of Damocles.  It is ready to shatter his life if he makes the wrong choice. 

Suddenly he understands. He understands he is the angel, the bow and the arrow. He is also the two women and the two roads, altogether. He realizes he is the choice and does not have to make a choice. He unites all, under the yoke of his own will. He accepts the entire role and he becomes a King triumphant on his cart the Chariot (Arcana VII) pulled by two horses that are the two faces of his personality (the good and the bad). He unites the opposites and resolves the problems of the duality. He is now ready to start his ascension to a superior level.

He encounters the Justice (Arcana VIII), a cold woman who weighs the pros and cons, judges and settles a situation. She teaches him equilibrium. The two sides of her scale never move. “Nothing in this world disappears”, she says. “Nothing can be created by reason. There is not more justice than injustice, but there is a secret order (the law of compensation) that has a power over us, without us knowing it (karma). An action brings a reaction and everything must end.

Now, the neophyte understands he is only a toy of fate and life is a struggle. He decides to retire in the desert, like many who have gone before him. He isolates and observes himself.  In his grotto, he has a lantern; he is now the Hermit (Arcana IX). He understands vanity and the desire to make changes in life. He thinks some events merely occur and it is almost impossible to interfere with them.  He learns to balance his needs, and to avoid the useless and careless. He meditates and examines himself deeply.

In the desert a vision appears, the Wheel of Fortune (Arcane X). It’s a gigantic and grotesque wheel, with people all around.  Some are on the top, some fall, and some are on the bottom. But the wheel still turns, impervious to others, to the pain and to the cold. At the top of the wheel is a monstrous figure (not a man, not an animal and not God). The face is looking at him, and the neophyte thinks, “Does there exist a way to change our destiny?  Can we do something else or must we live our karma?”

He learns to control himself and have dominion over his nature. He learns to tame the lion inside of himself and use this to his advantage. He becomes so successful and powerful, the Strength (Arcana XI) that he forgets about the Justice and the secret order. 

He learns how to sacrifice himself, the Hanged Man (Arcana XII) or at least a part of himself or an aspect of his life (mostly material), for something that may bring a change. He matures and purifies himself. He crucifies himself upside down, and is looking for a major transformation that does not happen. He is depressed and almost ready to give up.  “All I know is I have to repack my luggage, the world is grandiose, and all is a desert. It’s a parable but… I forgot.


He calls the Death (Arcana XIII), symbolizing the end and a new beginning. He asks for a second chance! He is passive about his own death. He injures his foot, meaning the liberation of his origins. He forgets the past and is ready to come back to life.

His life can return with the Temperance (Arcana XIV). The neophyte can now communicate freely at a superior level, and pass through to another world. He holds the power (in the vase) in each hand and mixes them. He lives a celestial existence and he can pass through time and space.

Now with the Devil (Arcana XV), he learns a new way to use the energy of the universe not generally known to mankind (the mastery and the manipulation). He controls the force of human nature and has total immunity against its ravages. Not only is he capable of transforming himself, but he can apply his magical effect on others.

He is now ready to take responsibility for the behavior of his contemporaries. He becomes the Broken House (Arcana XVI). He razes the temple, and anachronistic institutions become incapable of fulfilling their functions. He destroys the old culture so that he can build new ones. He almost fulfills his mission. He gazes at the two vases that hold the powers and says, “I don’t need them anymore”. He takes off his clothes and with no regrets he offers the world all he owns: his knowledge, possessions, potential, tricks etc… 

He becomes the Star (Arcana XVII) and returns the few drops of  water from the vases into the river.  The water is back in its proper place, which is important to the spiritual order. 

By offering himself to the world, he unites with it. He meets love. He becomes the Moon (Arcana XVIII) or the Sun (Arcana XIX). This means, respectively, the major feminine and masculine powers; mankind’s matrix or fecund energy; the power of fertility (child-birth) or death; the power to create and procreate.

He has not yet met the divinity (the First Principle) with all its attributes. If the Judgment is favorable (Arcana XX) he will contemplate the reunion of the four elements, the image of perfection, mankind, unity, the World (Arcana XXI) and the universal forces.

His trip is not over, but he has learned from everyone he has met. Now his handkerchief is full of experiences and potential. He also learned the divine laws. What else will he do? Come back as the Fool, the eternal traveler and wanderer…or…?

“The lesson of the Fool is made with humor and humility, perhaps of patience, certainly with love and courage. His progression will end…  only with the world”.


By Johanne Bibeau 

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