The Fool's Journey
This fun project was inspired by an exercise in Mary Greer's book, 'Tarot for Your Self'
Most popular books or movies are centered around a hero or heroine who
steps outside their comfort zone in order to explore new territory and thereby gain a
deeper awareness or is rewarded a 'prize' of some sort. Our favorite stories that we tell
over and over in different scenarios are centered around characters who through some
'trial by fire' become more evolved and individuated, whether it is a happy ending or not.
Folk and fairy tales are often centered around a child, an innocent, or 'questor' who must
go out into the world to challenge the unknown in some extraordinary way. There is usually
a happy ending to these tales because of the openness, naiveté and
of the hero.
With determination and courage they overcome obstacles they must face in order to reach
their goal. S/he is often assisted by magical powers bestowed upon them by people or
creatures s/he has been good to along the way. Often times the prize is material wealth
(representing security and prestige) or more often, the daughter of the king is given in
marriage to the hero, or the heroine marries the prince and they live "happily ever
after". The marriage is a metaphor for harmony and a balance of the yin/yang
Creating a Story
This exercise is a good way to familiarize yourself more intimately with the cards and how they relate to one another in a reading. Write a story about the Fool. Who is this character and where do they come from? Where will their adventure lead them? Describe their appearance. What is the challenge or threshold they must pass through and why? Do they have animal or human allies, or any special powers or unique limitations and challenges? The spread I've chosen for this exercise works well for storytelling as well as dream interpretations, however other spreads will work too. You can create your concept of the Fool by collaging an image of the card or by other creative means. Or choose a Fool card from a favorite deck.
Let the cards help you to create the plot of your story. You can either choose 14 more cards in a deck that you are specifically drawn to (if you use this method, it helps if you use a deck that shows images on the minors and include some court cards.) or randomly select 14 cards from a shuffled deck. Decide what type of story you want it to be (folk tale, adventure, fantasy, comedy, romance, etc.) You don't need to follow the image of the card exactly but rather get a sense of what metaphor it is conveying. For example if the Chariot card has a man riding a chariot being drawn by a black and a white horse, this can mean a person learning to 'take the reins' in their life and balancing opposing forces. Lay the cards in the order of the spread in the diagram and write down the story line.
Card one is the Fool or main character of your story. Explain his or her appearance, personality or some identifying aspect about them that is relevant to the story.
In cards 2___________________and 3__________________________explain the nature of the situation that the hero or heroine is in at the beginning of the story.
Cards 4________________, 5___________________ and 6_______________________
introduce the plot's theme and the challenge the hero is faced with.
Cards 7________________, 8_________________ and 9 ____________________depict the progression of the story. The characters, events, etc. that help or hinder the goal.
Cards 10_______________, 11_________________ and 12_______________________ indicate the psychological or karmic basis of the Fool's Journey and how the character has evolved having experienced this situation.
Cards 13________________, 14_____________________and 15___________________ tie up the story with some sort of outcome, lesson or message that the story reveals.
If you have time, flesh out the outline of your story and write it on separate paper.
Here is an example of a story tarot spread