As the Fool leaves the throne of the Goat God, she comes upon a Tower, fantastic, magnificent, and familiar. In fact, The Fool, herself, helped build this Tower of knowledge back when the most important thing to her was making her mark on the academic world and proving herself better than others. Inside the books of The Tower, arrogant men still argue theory, convinced of their rightness.

Seeing the Tower again, the Fool feels as if lightning has just flashed across her mind; she thought she’d left that old self behind when she started on this spiritual journey. But she realizes now that she hasn’t. She’s been seeing herself, like the Tower and the men who carry on the arguments, as alone and singular and superior, when in fact, she is no such thing.

So captured is she by the shock of this insight, that she opens her mouth and releases a SHOUT! And to her astonishment and terror, a bolt of actual lightning slashes down from the heavens striking the Tower and sending its volumes leaping and tumbling to the ground below.

In a moment, it is over. The Tower and all its arguments are toppled. Torn papers blow away in the wind. Stunned and shaken to the core, the Fool experiences profound fear and disbelief. But also, a strange clarity of vision, as if her inner eye has finally opened. She tore down her resistance to change and sacrifice (Hanged man), then came to terms with Death (Death); she learned about moderation and synthesis (Temperance) and about power (The Devil). But here and now, she has done what was hardest: she destroyed the pride and lies of her life. What’s left are foundations on which she can rebuild herself.

On the bleak landscape where the Tower stood, the Fool sits, empty, despairing. She hoped to find direction on this spiritual journey, a path to her spiritual self, but having just learned that most of her life was a lie, she now feels lost. Sitting on the cold stones, she gazes up at the night sky wishing for some kind of guide. Her eye is drawn to a bright star above.

“What are you doing?,” The Fool asks herself. To her surprise, the Star answers. “I am lighting the way to this pool, so that those who are thirsty may drink.” A single fruit tree stood near the pool, a nightingale singing amid its branches.

“Come,” she invites. “Sate your hunger and quench your thirst.”

The Fool plucks some fruit from the tree, then kneels and drinks from the pool. The water tastes wonderful, like liquid starlight, and the fruit is equally delicious. Both help to heal her wounded heart.

Having quenched her thirst and sated her hunger, the Fool lays back to gaze up at the Star. “You are so beautiful,” she said, “but so distant.”

“Like all possible futures,” agrees the Star. “Cool and distant. Yet if you keep me in sight, I can guide you to your destination no matter how far away it is.” Even as she says this, her voice begins to fade away, like dew, vanishing. “Follow your star,” the woman’s voice seems to sing from starlight, “and have hope.”

The Fool takes in a breath and rises. It is a dark night, a desolate land. But for the first time, she has a guiding light to show him the way. Distant as it is, it restores her faith.

Following the star, the Fool travels through the night. The full Moon rises, illuminating her shadow as she walks. She begins to feel disoriented as if walking in her sleep.  Suddenly, she looks around to find herself in another land entirely, a land of shadows against the moonlight. When she was in the presence of the High Priestess, she saw hints of this dark land through the visions induced by meditating on the seasons of life, to the ticking of the clock. And later, when she hung from the tree, she felt herself between the physical world and this one. Now, she has at last passed behind the veil.

Here are the mysteries she sought, the darkest mysteries, ones that have to do with the most primal and ancient powers. It is land poets, artists, musicians and madmen know well, a terrifying, alluring place, with very different rules. Creatures from childhood nightmares and fantasies peer from shadows, eyes glowing. Some hold keys to deeper knowledge, offering them to brave young girls who have learned to tame demons.

The Fool realizes she has only two choices. She can lose herself in this desolate, primal land of madness and illusion, or she can reach for the key and trust for a result. The moon will be in control either way.  With a key in hand, she can unlock the powers of her unconscious will.

Inspiration, visions, and genius are the rewards of such surrender to the Moon’s Magic, as artists, poets and seers know. As she bravely steps forward moonbeams light her path and she feels the Mistress of this dark land gazing down at her with the High Priestess’s approving eyes.

The Fool wakes at dawn from her long, dark night of the soul to find an open garden dominated by roses, lilies, and splendid, nodding sunflowers. She watches the sunrise overhead. The day is clear. A woman’s laughter attracts the Fool’s attention and she sees her, naked and free, warming her skin in the Sun, hair reflecting its rays without a care in the world; abundant wine and food sit in a basket before her.

The Fool stops, blinking up at the Sun so large and golden overhead, and she finds herself smiling, wider and brighter than she has in a very long time. She has been tested and tried, confused and scared, dismayed, and amazed. But this is the first time that she has been simply and purely happy. Her mind feels illuminated, her soul light and bright as a sunbeam. The Fool sees the world and herself anew.

“Who are you?” the Fool asks the woman at last. The woman smiles at this and seems to shine. And then she grows brighter and brighter until she turns into pure sunlight.

“I’m Your inner light,” the woman’s voice seems to come from everywhere and nowhere, “The new you.” And as the words fill the Fool with warmth and energy, she comes to realize that this garden this woman, the sun above, all exist within her. She has just met her own inner light.

As the Fool leaves the garden of the Sun, she feels that she is near the end of her journey, ready to take a final step. But something is keeping her from doing this, holding her back. She gazes up, hoping to find guidance from the Sun; instead, she sees above her a fiery herald, beautiful and terrible.

“You are right,” the herald figure confirms, “you have only one last step on your journey, one final step to completion. But you cannot take that step until you lay your past to rest.”

The Fool is perturbed. “Lay it to rest? I thought I’d left it behind, all of it!”

“There is no way to leave the past behind,” The herald observes. “Each step wears down the shoe just a bit, and so shapes the next step you take, and the next and the next. Your past is always under your feet. You cannot hide from it, run from it, or rid yourself of it. But you can call it up, and come to terms with it. Are you willing to do that?”

The herald hands the Fool a small trumpet. The Fool is hesitant, but she knows that the herald is right. There are certain memories she has a hard time looking back on as they make her feel guilty, ashamed, angry. She knows that she’s never come to terms with what happened and she must if she wants to make that final transition.

She blows the trumpet and a golden cage appears. It becomes clear that the fool herself has kept this cage locked, trying to hide away her past. She now knows what the key she acquired from the dark mistress of the moon is for; she unlocks the door and the spirits of her past selves fly free, including those less than admirable past selves that she’s tried to forget.

For the first time, she faces them. They are, she sees, nothing to fear. They were her once-upon-a-time, but not now. Even as she realizes this, she finds herself forgiving those past selves for the wrongs they did that left her feeling bad. She senses, in turn, that they forgive her for ignoring the lessons they had to teach her. As she reaches an understanding with them, they start to fly away, vanishing into the sky. Though they remain as experiences and memories, they no longer have any power over her. She is free of ill-feelings, reborn, and living in the present.

The Fool turns to take that final step along her final path, and finds, to her bemusement, that she is right back where she started, in the very same place she almost tripped over her pack when she was young and too foolish to look where she was going.

But now she sees her position very differently. She thought she could separate body and mind, learn all about one, then leave it behind to learn about the other. But in the end, it is all about the self; mind and body, past and future, the individual, and the world.

With a knowing smile, the Fool makes what looks like a stumbling step but is the beginning of a joyous leap…and soars. Higher and higher, until the whole of the world is hers to see. And there she dances, surrounded by a yoni of stars, at one with the universe. Ending, in a sense, where she began, beginning again at the end. The world turns, and the Fool’s journey is complete.

©2021 Alainn Tarot


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