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