Reflections on the Major Arcana
by Cheryl Lynne Bradley
We are all, for the most part, aware that Tarot can be a wonderful tool to aid us in the complicated and complex journey towards self-enlightenment and personal growth. Some people would choose to endlessly analyze every little detail of the Tarot - sideways, upside down, inside out and backwards. In my mind, they are merely procrastinating on taking action or are unable to embrace their opportunity to experience esoteric wisdom and divinity. The very essence of the journey and exploration through Tarot of the past, present and future, as it relates to time and space and our place in it, becomes lost in translation.
We are all familiar with the sayings: "Good and bad things come in threes.", "Third time lucky.", "Three strikes you're out." and "Three cheers!." The bad luck associated this number is thought by some to have its roots in Peter's denial of Christ three times. The association with the good tidings is thought to represent birth which needs three people, the Mother, the Father and the Child, and, as a result, three has come to represent life itself. In Pagan philosophies and thought, many practioner's abide by the Rule of Three -the good or bad you do will be revisited to you by the power of three. Many folk remedies require certain elements to be performed three times. It is also our cultural custom to eat three times a day. Three is a powerful number representing the receptacle of totality. It is the first uneven number and is considered to be an active, perfect number closely connected with heaven and the spirit.
The following is a meditative look at the Fool's Journey through the Major Arcana, each with a triple pearl of wisdoms, thoughts or insights for you to consider. Of course, we will begin with The Fool.
As The Fool you must learn to stay away from people who praise you too much for easy tasks and deeds, who speak against you for their own benefit and who boast of deeds that they have never accomplished.
As The Magician you must learn and manifest three types of certainty: the certainty of knowledge; the certainty of experience and the certainty of observation.
As The High Priestess you must learn to keep silent by not saying or repeating things that you shouldn't; by not speaking in an inappropriate way and by not speaking when it is not your place to speak.
As The Empress you must be a honest guard of the blessings of your home, a cautious keeper of the hearth and an astute messenger.
As The Emperor you must listen intently, comtemplate intently and be continually silent in order to learn.
As The Hierophant you must exempligy the three virtues of The Sage; you must remain calm when others can't, remain quiet when others aren't and you must remember God/s/esses, when others don't.
With The Lovers you must commend yourself as a Lover by having a virtuous face, discreet speech and kind manners.
With The Chariot you must exercise due diligence to attain honour, success and the compliments of sages.
With Strength you see the beauty and quality of truth; you see behind the veil of lies and you see where truth and falsehood will lead you. This is how you will learn to face the world.
As The Hermit you learn to speak as the Sage to instruct against ingorance, advise against despair and worry and to tell the truth against a cruel or evil lie.
With The Wheel of Fortune you learn about Wisdom, Loss and Remorse. It you do not have the first, you will have the other two.
With Justice you will find the people loved by God/s/esses in those people in whom strength and justice, bravery and mercy, generosity and satisfaction have met.
As The Hanged Man you will learn the love, peace and help from others that patience will bring.
In Death you learn that nature, fate and change cannot be conquered.
In Temperance you learn that to bring health requires moderation in eating, work and pleasures.
As The Devil you must deal with the people who will never be successful; those who have married for lust; those who are consumed and consume with greed and those who fight in anger.
With The Tower you learn about the things in life that will never end well: lies, envy and deception.
As The Star you learn that in order to have great oppotunities you must speak little and with great circumspection; be quiety humourous with being superficial and behave without vanity.
Under The Moon you learn the things that always lead to deception: the love of a person that is too strong in the lust; the good will of your employers and the promises of anyone with ill fortune.
Under The Sun you learn to seek hope, love and joy during your life from God/s/esses and your relationship with your Creator, however you may conceive it to be.
In Judgement you have earned the rewards of a sincere person: the favour of friends; the respect of the wise and success.
As The World you have learned that the three hardests tasks are not physical or intellectual feats but ones of moral choice and attitude: to return love for hate; to include the excluded and to say ."I was wrong."
It would be my hope that this is of some use to the reader no matter what your interest or knowledge of Tarot might be. If it is nothing more than a philosophy on how to live your life a little bit better, then it has considerable merit.
© Cheryl Lynne Bradley
Cheryl Lynne Bradley is a professional tarot reader, and President of Tarot Canada.