The Fool’s Journey and the New Year

This blog was originally posted on January 1, 2013.

The beginning of the calendar is a time when we often start on a new path. It could be one of self-improvement, self-discovery or enlightenment. It may last a day, a week or a life-time but it is very common for people to pledge major change on January 1. It is also usually preceded by a planned night of unrestrained behaviour and planned excess. This beginning of the calendar makes me think of the Fool’s Journey.

The Fool

I found it somewhat coincidental that, just a few short days ago, while reading Alain de Botton’s “Religion for Atheists” that I came across a passage describing the festum fatuorum, or the ‘Feast of Fools’.  De Botton describes this as a medieval Church custom in which clergy acted in ways that were in opposition to their regular behaviour. Some of the behaviour he describes involved farting to hymns, speaking nonsensical sermons, attaching phallic symbols to cloaks and gambling on the altar. It allowed a letting go or cleaning of the slate. It acknowledged the playful, chaotic side of human behaviour. It made chaos and debauchery sacrosanct. (I think I’ve had a New Years’ party or two like that!) 🙂

The Fool is about beginnings but it is also about cleaning the slate. It is about jumping off the cliff and letting the journey take us where it may. When we jump, we take very little, if anything, with us. When teaching tarot classes, I often use the term tabula rasa to describe the essence of The Fool. She is associated with Uranus, and is thus the card of liberation, awakening and independence, characteristics often necessary for a successful new beginning.

And, as my Tarot focus shifts and I move into year four of ‘A Magician’s Musings’, so begins a new year and a new Tarot adventure. On a time frame that suits my schedule (very Fool-like), I am going to spend my blog posts this year exploring the Fool’s Journey. I will highlight some common knowledge around this often explored theme of the Tarot but also (hopefully) some new learning as well. I hope you choose to join me on this journey.

2021: The year of the Hierophant

The act of selecting a Year Card is a relatively simple one. Each year is numerologically represented by one card from the Major Arcana. The year card highlights collective energies and patterns for the year in question. To calculate the year card, I use a technique I first discovered in Mary Greer’s book ‘Tarot for Your Self’ but have seen it repeated several times among Tarot practitioners. The process is simple: add up the digits of any year, reduce to a number between 1 and 22 if necessary (the Fool represented by 22 in this process), and find the card that corresponds to this sum. For the upcoming year, 2 + 0 + 2 + 1 = 5. 2021 is the year of The Hierophant. As other examples, the year card for 2020 (2 + 0 + 2 + 0 = 4) is The Emperor; the year card for 2030 (2 + 0 + 3 + 0 = 5) will again be The Hierophant.

Continue reading → 2021: The year of the Hierophant

The Power of the Querent

Sometimes a positive outcome is as simple as turning cards.
Sometimes a positive outcome is as simple as turning cards.

My teenage daughter, (who was thrilled to be included in my first blog post and who loves it when we explore the Tarot), taught me a valuable lesson about the power of the querent. The querent is the name often used in Tarot that is given to the person asking a question. After a particularly challenging reading, she asked me what she could do to make the outlook better. Of course, as any parent would, I began to struggle with the already blurred line of objectivity and responded very generally. 

Continue reading → The Power of the Querent

Baring Your ‘Tarot’ Self

A few days ago, Liz Worth posted about some modern classic Tarot books from her personal library. It got me thinking… we must all have collections of Tarot paraphernalia. Some large; some small. Some new and some collected over decades. Regardless, I believe what we choose to add to our Tarot space must say something about us as Tarotists.

Are we just learning? Are we looking for a deeper understanding? Do we lean towards a particular type of deck or system? Do we have favourite authors or creators? Do we blend our Tarot work with other types of divination? Is our work spiritual or practical?

I took a Sunday morning and laid out my current card and book collection. And I posted on both my Instagram story and feed. And then reflected a little more.

Based on my current collection, I know I am a Rachel Pollack fan (since I also lent out 2 others), but also appreciate Janet Boyer and Corrine Kenner. I have a more blended collection between Thoth-based and RWS-based decks than I thought. I have added a few French books and deck since my arrival in Belgium just over a year ago. And the visual appeal of the deck is important to me.

So what’s missing? What’s next?

There are a few limited, modern decks I am hoping to add. I am dreaming of a quick drive to the Belgian Tarot Museum once restrictions lift. This is a must-do before heading back to Canada! I am also looking for a couple of ‘deep dives’ into the complexity of Tarot but have not yet found a fit that I am prepared to commit to yet. I’m open to suggestions!

What about you? If you laid out your collection, what would it reveal? Please share in the comments or post on Instagram and tag me at @peterwhitetarot. Or share on Twitter at PeterWhiteTarot I would love to learn a little more about you and your tarot journey!

The Hanged Man and The Empress

This year’s Tarot card calculation offers a bit of a twist.

2019cardsofyear

It is common to identify The Hanged Man (card XII of the Major Arcana) as the year card for 2019.  The numerological process for determining this is simple: add the digits 2 + 0 + 1 + 9 together and get 12. I’ve seen it highlighted on my social media feeds, on email newsletters I receive and on blog posts. (Biddy Tarot’s post is a great example.) Continue reading → The Hanged Man and The Empress