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Tarot-The Fool and the Hero's Journey

Updated on January 8, 2022
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lovetherain is a seeker on a strange path and tends to philosophize everything, from the strange and odd to the mundane.


The Fool Card

In the Tarot deck, the Fool is usually the 0 card. This is because the Tarot is all about the Fool and his journey.

In the Rider Waite Tarot deck, the Fool is shown as a man with a small pack of belongings over his shoulder, starting off, unbeknownst to him, on a perilous journey.

He carries a white rose in his left hand and his pack in his right. There is the number 0 at the top of the card, denoting the importance of the Fool's separation from the rest of the deck. He is walking towards the edge of a cliff, the mountains in the distance behind him. The sun is shining, and he appears carefree.

The White Rose

The white rose in the Fool's left hand represents the Fool's innocence at the start of his journey. It does not mean innocence as in purity: it means innocence as in naivete. He doesn't know where he is heading yet, or what he is ultimately getting himself into.

The journey is a mystery. There are many pitfalls and unknowns. As you can see, he doesn't seem to see the cliff in front of him. His dog is trying to warn him.

It is not the Fool's journey is negative, however. It is a process of death and rebirth. Going into the Underworld, and coming out the other side the better for having taken the trip.

The Fool will lose his innocence somewhere throughout the journey, but at the beginning, he has no intuition. This is something he develops along the way, through the help of his companion, the dog.

A Fool and His Dog

The little dog is the Fool's intuition. The dog is warning him of the pitfalls along the way. This is the internal guidance system for the journeyer. The dog is his constant companion throughout the Fool's journey.

The Dog is an archetype, "man's best friend". Dogs have been humanity's companions for thousands of years. In the formative realm, the Dog archetype is well established and emerges in the material realm as the physical wolf, domesticated dog, fox, and even the marsupial dog. Nature always provides physical representations of archetypes.

The dog can also be seen as Sirius, the Dog Star.

The Fool and the Hero's Journey

Joseph Campbell coined the term, "Hero's Journey".

Mr. Campbell asserts many stories follow the Hero's Journey storyline of Departure>Initiation>Return. Basically, the Hero departs on his journey, overcomes obstacles, and then returns to the normal world as a changed person.

I believe the Tarot deck is the same story, with the Fool as the Hero. It is everyone's story that goes through spiritual transformation. Anyone going through spiritual transformation goes through the Hero's Journey. Overcoming obstacles within our own psyche, and changing for the better.

The Alchemical Correspondence

There are seven stages in alchemy:








These are supposedly the steps to turn lead into gold, but the real purpose is to turn spiritual lead into spiritual gold. The Hero's Journey can be likened to the transformation in spiritual alchemy.

The Fool starts out naive at the beginning of the transformation. Then he suffers Ego Death at calcination, where negative aspects of the psyche are dredged up to the surface. Dissolution of past ideologies and beliefs occurs. Separation occurs next, as the Fool begins to recognize what is good and bad about himself.

The first spiritual stage happens at this point, conjunction. The spiritual now enters, and putrefaction occurs. Distillation is next, with repeated weeding out of any impurities leftover from the putrefaction stage. Finally, a conjunction occurs, as the Fool creates a new, spiritual self.

The transformation of the self via the chakras is another correspondence I have gone through in other articles, so will not go into detail here, I will only note the correspondence.

The whole idea is spiritual awakening and transformation. These ideas are all connected. They are allegories to truth, not truths in themselves. These ideas can only hint at what really goes on in a spiritual transformation, can only give vague guidelines to a very individual process. Each individual must ultimately find his own way.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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