The Fool’s Journey as 3 X 7 Theory
In my Part Two of Journey Through the Major Arcana, I talked about Rachel Pollack’s presentation (in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom) of the Major Arcana Trumps as a sequence, or progression, of an individual’s journey to individuation and enlightenment.
The Trumps (minus the Fool, who represents the individual taking the journey) are divided into three lines:
- Cards I-VII are seen as consciousness (the outer concerns of life in society)
- Cards VIII-XIV are seen as subconscious (our inward search to find who we really are)
- Cards XV-XXI are seen as superconscious (development of a spiritual awareness and a release of archetypal energy).
Darkness and light are the duality that is expressed through the Tarot. Where there is one, you will find the other. The darkness is expressed through our unconsciousness and is accessed through our intuitive self (as represented by the High Priestess and the Moon). To truly understand ourselves, we need to move into our deepest core. It is within the line of the superconscious that we develop our spiritual awareness, and open up the archetypal energy of the cards and our lives.
The Superconscious: Tarot Cards 15 – 21
The Devil acts as the introduction to the Superconscious, the third and final line n the 3 X 7 theory. This line deals with archetypal energy – energy that is common to all of us, and that exists outside of us. In a literal sense, the Devil deals with attachment to the physical world. In a higher sense, the Devil deals with the illusions of the physical/material world. The illusion is that nothing exists beyond personal desires – that there is no spiritual component to the physical world. The Devil loses his power when spirit enters the premises. The Devil refers to limitations and restrictions that we place on ourselves. As Pollack points out, the reverse pentacle on the Devil’s forehead is symbolic of our allowing our desires to overcome our good judgment.
The Tower can be a simple shattering of illusions, or it can be a release of repressed energies. However you choose to look at it, the Tower, with its lightning bolt of energy, is blasting apart any and all parts of life that are based on materialism. The Big Kahuna, as it were. The Tower does not play! This is not a physical force – no one’s physical home is going to be blown to smithereens. This is a psychological force, mandating internal release and regrouping. Through the striking of the lightening bolt we experience revelation. With the Tower, the veil of the High Priestess is taken away.
The middle three cards in this line – the Star, the Moon and the Sun – show the passage from the inner revelation of the Star, through the mysterious energy of the Moon with its connection to the unconscious, to the conscious warmth and hope of the Sun. The Star represents the calm after the storm, a time of emotional peace. The Star is filled with the sense of smiles, hugs and healing. The Star links the unconscious with our conscious reality of the physical world surrounding us, it links our inner and outer worlds. In the Star we see the life force that we have been keeping under conscious control being freely released. Hope and a sense of inner calm are associated with the Star.
The Moon relates to emotions, psychic ability, the ability to see visions, and the myths and images that make up life. The Moon acts as a middleman of sorts, moving the inner energy of the Star into the conscious energy of he Sun. The Moon takes the imagery from the unconscious and translates it into something that the conscious self will recognize and accept.
The Sun radiates with the conscious energy of life. The Sun is warmth and joy – a child-like sense of bliss. The Sun is knowledge and wisdom, a sense of being part of a whole, part of humanity, part of spirit, as opposed to focusing on ones self as an individual. Here the wisdom of the Hermit is active in life.
Judgement & the World
In Judgment our inner and outer worlds merge, and we look for the meaning in life. This is often a time in our lives when we are at a crossroads, and are aware that any decision that we make will bring about significant change. The choice can be an obvious one, or perhaps the only viable one. Moving toward the World, all the individual needs to do is take that decision in their consciousness and act on it. Old patterns have been released, and need to be replaced with new ones. There is a higher truth that we are moving towards – one not available on the physical plane. In Judgement, we come to understand and accept our past, so that we can release it. Judgement pushes us to make change.
In this series we have looked at the archetypal process that is the journey of each individual to individuation. We move from finding our place in society, and being able to function within that place (consciousness), to our inward focused search to find out who we really are (subconscious), to releasing the archetypal energy that focuses on us as individuals and developing/becoming part of a spiritual awareness (superconscious).
The cards are read from left to right in the three horizontal lines, which shows us a linear type learning progression. Reading the seven columns in a lateral fashion shows us quite vividly the changes that we have gone through.
The seven columns are:
- Magician – Strength – The Devil
- The High Priestess -The Hermit – The Tower
- The Empress – The Wheel of Fortune – The Star
- The Emperor – Justice – The Moon
- The Hierophant – The Hanged Man – The Sun
- The Lovers – Death – Judgement
- The Chariot – Temperance – The World
Look down the vertical columns and see how the energy flows and changes. How does the energy of initiation within the Magician change when faced with the need to focus will power, and how does this energy change yet again when faced with the shadows of the Devil, and his attachment to the material world? How does the wisdom of the High Priestess, which comes from Spirit, change when taking internally by the Hermit? And what further changes are exhibited when the energy moves into the realm of the Tower, where ties that bind us to the material world are blasted away?
Look down each column, and you will see the stuff that life is made of!
Thank you for taking this journey with me, and many thanks to Catherine for allowing me to present this material here on Tarot Elements.
Be sure to visit Bonnie’s excellent tarot website full of tarot articles, reviews and excerpts from her published works.