(By Thirteen and reproduced from "Tarot Card Meanings" page in the website of Aeclectic Tarot: http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/learn/meanings/)
With all his worldly possessions in one small pack, the Fool travels he knows not where. So filled with visions, questions, wonder and excitement is he, that he doesn't see the cliff he is likely to fall over. At his heel a small dog harries him (or tries to warn him of a possible mis-step). Will the Fool learn to pay attention to where he's going before it's too late?
Travelling on his way, the Fool first encounters a Magician. Skilful, self-confident, a powerful magus with the infinite as a halo floating above his head, the Magician mesmerizes the Fool. When asked, the Fool gives over his bundled pack and stick to the Magician. Raising his wand to heaven, pointing his finger to Earth, the Magician calls on all powers. Magically, the cloth of the pack unfolds upon the table, revealing its contents.
To the Fool's eyes, it is as if the Magician has created the future with a word. All the possibilities are laid out, all the directions he can take: The cool, airy Sword of intellect and communication, the fiery Wand of passions and ambition, the overflowing Chalice of love and emotions, the solid Pentacle of work, possessions and body.
With these tools, the Fool can create anything, make anything of his life. But here's the question, did the Magician create the tools, or were they already in the pack? Only the Magician knows - and on this mystery, our eloquent mage refuses to say a word.
The High Priestess
Continuing his journey, the Fool comes upon a beautiful and mysterious veiled lady enthroned between two pillars and illuminated by the moon. She is the opposite of the Magician, quiet where he was loquacious, still where he was in motion, sitting while he stood, shrouded in the night where he was out in the bright of day. Sensing that she is a great seer, the Fool lays out his sword, chalice, staff and pentacle before her. "The Magician showed me these, but now I'm in a quandary. There are so many things I could do with them. I can't decide."
The High Priestess doesn't speak. Instead she hands him a pair of ancient scrolls. Seating himself at her feet, the Fool puts his decision-making on hold and reads by the light of her crescent moon.
"I did not know any of this," says the Fool. The scrolls, like a secret manual, have given him insight into his new tools. "This information helps me to narrow things down, but I'm still afraid of making a wrong decision."
The words come to him then, not from without but from within: "What do your instincts tell you?" The Fool reflects on that, and that's when he knows what he should do. Decision made, he rises to leave even though he suspects that the High Priestess has more secrets she could reveal to him--like what lies behind the pomegranate curtain. Right now, however, he is focused and ready to be on his way.
Thanking the High Priestess, he heads off. But as he leaves he hears that inner voice, rising like the waters which spring and flow from beneath her throne: "We'll meet again...when you're ready to travel the most secret path of all."
Having decided what he will create with his tools, the Fool strides forward, impatient to make his future a full-grown reality. This is when he comes upon the Empress. Her hair gold as wheat, wearing a crown of stars, and a white gown dotted with pomegranates. She rests back on her throne surrounded by an abundance of grain and a lush garden. It is possible that she is pregnant.
Kneeling, the Fool relates to her his story. And she, in turn, smiles a motherly smile and gently gives him this advice: "Like newly planted grain or a newborn babe, a new life, a new relationship, a new creation is fragile. It requires patience and nurturing. It needs love and attention. Only this will bring it to fruition." Understanding at last that his creations will take time to develop, the Fool thanks the Empress and continues on his way.
The Fool was given options by the Magician, and decided on one with help from the High Priestess. He learned how to develop it thanks to the Empress. Now it has reached as stage where he must find a way to manage it. How to do this? He approaches a great Emperor seated on a stone throne. The Fool is amazed by the way the Emperor is instantly, eagerly obeyed in every particular, at how well his Empire is run and organized. Respectfully, he asks the Emperor how it is he does this. And the Emperor answers: "Strong will and a solid foundation of laws and order. It's all very well," he explains to the Fool, "to be imaginative, creative, instinctual, patient; but to control one must be alert, brave and aggressive."
Ready now to lead and direct rather than be led, the Fool heads out with new purpose.
Having created a solid foundation on which to build his future, the Fool is struck with a sudden fear. What if everything he's worked for is taken away? Is stolen, or lost, or destroyed or vanishes? Or what if what he's created isn't good enough? In a panic, he heads into a temple where he finds the Hierophant, a wise and holy man. Acolytes kneel before the man ready to hear and pass on his teachings. The Fool tells the Hierophant his fears, and asks how he can be free of them.
"There are two ways," says the Hierophant sagely, "Either give up that which you fear to lose so it no longer holds any power over you, or consider what you will still have if your fear comes to pass. After all," the Hierophant continues, "if you did lose all you'd built, you would still keep the experience and knowledge that you've gained up to this point, wouldn't you?"
"That is true," the Fool says. "But what about the community, society and friends I've discovered thanks to what I've created? More than knowledge or experience, I value them. If I lost all, I'd lose them too, wouldn't I?"
"Not necessarily," the Hierophant answers with a warm glow in his compassionate eyes. "If your community has traditions that you all share, ethics and beliefs, then you will never lose that fellowship even if circumstances force you to part. You can even pass such onto your children giving them the same fellowship with each other and with past generations."
Hearing this, the Fool feels his heart ease, as if knots of fear have been loosened. A sense of peace blankets him, and he takes a moment to thank the good Hierophant most profoundly. Stepping out of the sanctuary he makes his way to a meeting with his friends. Tonight they will talk about how they can create lessons and traditions to preserve not only their experience and knowledge, but their community.
The Fool comes to a cross-road, filled with energy, confidence and purpose, knowing exactly where he wants to go and what he wants to do. But he comes to a dead stop. A flowering tree marks the path he wants to take, the one he's been planning on taking. But standing before a fruit tree marking the other path is a woman. The Fool has met and had relationships with women before, some far more beautiful and alluring. But she is different. Seeing her, he feels as though he's just been shot in the heart with cupid's arrow.
That's how shocking, how painful is his "recognition" of her. As he speaks with her, the feeling intensifies; like finding a missing part of himself. It is clear that she feels the same about him. They finish each other's sentences, think the same thoughts. It is as if an Angel above had introduced their souls to each other.
Though it was his plan to follow the path of the flowering tree, and though it will cause some trouble for him to bring this woman with him, the Fool knows he dare not leave her behind. Like the fruit tree, she will fulfil him. No matter how divergent from his original intent, she is his future. He chooses her, and together they head down a whole new road.
The Fool is close to completing what he set out to create long ago, back when the Magician revealed those tools to him. But enemies are now standing in his way, devious human enemies, bad circumstances, even confusion in his own mind. There's no more forward momentum; he feels he is fighting just to stay where he is. Walking along the shore, watching the waves come in, he puzzles over how to defeat these enemies and get things moving forward once again. It is here that he comes across a charioteer, standing in his gold and silver chariot, his black and white steeds at rest. "You seem a victorious warrior," the Fool remarks. "I feel beset by my enemies, unable to move forward. What should I do?
"First, you must armour yourself," the Charioteer strikes the chariot and then his breastplate with a gauntleted fist, making both ring out. "Next, you must focus on your goal, where do you mean to go, what do you mean to do." The warrior nods to his beasts. "Your steeds keep the wheels turning, but it is your control and direction of them that gets them to their destination. Dark and light, they must be made to draw in harmony, under your guidance." The Fool nods. That makes sense. "What if an someone or something gets in your way?"
The Charioteer coolly meets the Fool's gaze. "You run them down. Your aim is victory, and to be victorious you must have unwavering confidence in your cause. Never question, never doubt what you're trying to achieve. Never lose your focus or your motivation."
The Fool is impressed and inspired. He thinks he now knows how to get past all the distractions and setbacks that have been keeping him trapped in place, like a riptide in the ocean. He thanks the warrior, but before he leaves, the warrior stays the Fool.
"One thing more you should keep in mind," he says, "Victory is not the end, it is the beginning. Remember that before you decide to enter into any contest."
The Fool, victorious over his enemies, is feeling arrogant, powerful, even vengeful. There are hot passions in him, ones he finds himself unable and unwilling to control. It is in this state that he comes across a maiden struggling with a lion. Running to help, he arrives in time to see her gently but firmly shut the lion's mouth! In fact, the beast, which seemed so wild and fierce, is now completely at her command.
Amazed, the Fool asks her, "How did you do that?" One hand on the lion's mane, she answers, "I asked the lion to do it, and it did it."
"But-but-" the Fool stutters, confounded. "Why did it want to obey?" At that moment, the Maiden meets the Fool's eyes; he sees in her warmth, gentleness, a heart so great that its generosity seems as infinite as its willingness to understand. And that is when the Fool understands exactly why the lion did her bidding.
It wanted to connect to that higher energy.
Yet there is still one thing that confuses the Fool. "But," he says, much softer now, "Why would you, fair maiden, want to keep company with a beast?"
"Because he, too, is filled with a wonderful energy," the Maiden says. "It is wild and fierce, but it can be banked, like a fire in a hearth. I knew if he would take direction from me, we could both be warmed."
"So, too," she adds, "are our passions. Let them run wild and they will do damage. But we can, with gentle fortitude, check and direct those passions. In doing so, we can get so much more out of them. And yet, still sate them."
His rage quieted, the enlightened Fool walks away knowing that it wasn't only the lion that was tamed this day by a Maiden's pure and innocent strength.
After a long and busy lifetime, building, creating, loving, hating, fighting, compromising, failing, succeeding, the Fool feels a profound need to retreat. In a small, rustic home deep in the woods, he hides, reading, cleaning, organizing, resting or just thinking. But every night at dusk he heads out, travelling across the bare, autumnal landscape. He carries only a staff and a lantern.
It is during these restless walks from dusk till dawn, peering at and examining whatever takes his fancy, that he sees things he's missed during his lifetime. His lantern illuminates animals and insects that only come out at night, flowers and plants that only bloom by moon or star light.
As these secret corners of the world are illuminated and explored by him, he feels that he is also illuminating hidden areas of his mind. In a way, he has become the Fool again. As in the beginning, he goes wherever inspiration leads him. Back then, however, his staff rested on his shoulder, carrying unseen his pack. The Fool was like the pack: wrapped up, unknown. The Hermit's staff leans out before him now, not behind. And it carries a lantern, not a pack. The Hermit is like the lantern, illuminated from within by all he is, capable of penetrating the darkness.
The Wheel of Fortune
From out of hiding comes the Fool, into the sunlight, as if being pulled up from some low, dark point on a wheel. It is time for a change. Staff in hand, he heads back out into the world, expecting nothing. But, strangely, things seem to happen to him as the hours go by, good things. Wandering by a water wheel a woman offers him a drink in a golden chalice, and then urges him to keep the cup; as he wanders by a windmill, he stops to watch a young man swinging a sword; when he expresses his admiration of the weapon, the young man presses it into his hand, insisting that he take it.
And finally, when he comes upon a rich merchant sitting in a wagon, right over one of the wheels, the man hands him a bag of money. "I decided to give this to the tenth person who walked past me today," explains the Merchant, "You're the tenth." The Fool hardly thought he could still be surprised, but he is. It is as if everything good that he ever did in his life is being paid back to him, three-fold. All luck this day is his.
The Fool is looking for a new path, a new aspiration and inspiration for his life. Sitting uncertain at a crossroads he notices a blind wise woman listening to two brothers argue over an inheritance. They have come to her for judgment. One brother has the whole inheritance, the other has nothing.
"I ask that all of it be given to me," the poor brother demands, "Not only because I have a better right to it, but because I will not be wasteful with it, as he is!" But the rich brother protests, "It is rightfully mine and that's all that should matter, not what I do with it!"
The woman listens, then awards half of the rich brother's inheritance to the poor brother. The Fool thinks this only fair, but neither brother is happy. The rich one hates losing half his wealth, and the poor one feels he ought to have gotten all.
"You were fair," the Fool remarks to the woman after the brothers have left. "Yes, I was," she answers plainly. "With only half the inheritance, the rich one will stop being so wasteful. And the poor one will have as much as he needs. Even though they cannot see it, this decision was good for both."
The Fool thinks on this and realizes that he has spent his life achieving worldly ambitions and physical goods while leaving his spiritual self to starve. He ought to have given half his time and energy to his spiritual self, but he didn't. It's no wonder that he feels unbalanced. Thanking the woman, he heads out to restore equilibrium to his inner scales.
The Hanged Man
The Fool settles beneath a tree, intent on finding his spiritual self. There he stays for nine days, without eating, barely moving. People pass by him, animals, clouds, the wind, the rain, the stars, sun and moon. On the ninth day, with no conscious thought of why, he climbs the tree and dangles from a branch upside down like a child. For a moment, he surrenders all that he is, wants, knows or cares about. Coins fall from his pockets and as he gazes down on them - seeing them not as money but only as round bits of metal.
It seems to him that his perspective of the world has completely changed, as if his inverted position has allowed him to dangle between the mundane world and the spiritual world, able to see both. It is a dazzling moment, dreamlike yet crystal clear.
Timeless as this moment of clarity seems, he realizes that it will not last. Very soon, he must right himself, but when he does, things will be different. He will have to act on what he's learned. For now, however, he just hangs, weightless as if underwater, observing, absorbing, seeing.
Having left the tree from where he hung, the Fool moves carefully through a fallow field, head still clearing from visions. The air is cold and wintry, the trees bare. He knows he has started on his spiritual journey in earnest, but feels strangely empty and profoundly sad, as if he has lost something.
Before him he sees, rising with the sun, a skeleton in black armour mounted on a white horse. He recognizes it as Death. As it stops before him, he humbly asks, "Have I died?" And the Skeleton answers, "Yes, in a way. You sacrificed your old world, your old self. Both are gone, dead."
The Fool cannot keep from weeping. "Forgive me," he says, embarrassed by his tears.
"There is nothing to forgive," Death replies. "Mourning is natural and you must deal with your loss before you can accept anything new. Keep in mind, however, that old leaves must wither and fly away from a tree's branches, leaving them bare, before new green leaves can appear."
As Death rides away, the Fool sees the truth in those words. He, too, feels like a skeleton, all that he was stripped away. This, he understands, is how all great transformations start, by removing everything down to bare bone or soil so that something new has room to grow.
Recovering from feelings of loss at last, the Fool begins to wonder if he will finally find the new spirituality he's after. It occurs to him that so far, he's been dealing with opposites: the two opposing sides of the scales (Justice), the material and spiritual (which he hung between as the Hanged man), death and birth (the one leading into the other in the Death card). Does one always have to be surrendered to get the other? he wonders.
It is at this point that he comes upon a winged figure standing with one foot in a brook, the other on a rock. The radiant creature pours something from one flask into another. Drawing closer, the Fool sees that what is being poured from one flask is fire, while water flows from the other. The two are being blended together into a completely different substance!
"How can you mix fire and water?" the Fool finally whispers. Never pausing the Angel answers, "You must have the right vessels and use the right proportions."
The Fool watches with wonder. "Can this be done with all opposites?" he asks. "Indeed," the Angel replies, "Any oppositions, fire and water, man and woman, thesis and anti-thesis, can be made into a unified third. It is only a lack of will and a disbelief in the possibility that keeps opposites, opposite." And that is when the Fool begins to understand that he is the one who is keeping his universe in twain, holding life/death, material world and spiritual world separate. In him the two could merge. All it takes, the Fool realizes, is the right proportions, the right vessel and enough faith that the two can be unified.
The Fool comes to the foot of an enormous black mountain where reigns a creature half goat, half god. At his hooves naked people, linked to the god's throne by chains, engage in every indulgence imaginable: sex, drugs, food, drink. The closer the Fool gets, the more he feels his own earthly desires rising in him. Carnal desires, hunger for food and power, greed and selfishness. "I have given up all such desires!" he roars at the Goat god, resisting the beast's power with all his might. He is sure that this is a test of his new spirituality, one where he must prove that the temptations of the material world cannot sway him.
The creature responds to his defiance with a curious look. "All I am doing is bringing out what is already in you," it responds mildly. "Such feelings are nothing to fear, nothing to be ashamed of, or even to avoid. They are even useful to helping you in your quest for spirituality, though many try to pretend otherwise."
The Fool gestures angrily at the chained men and women, "You say that even though these are clearly enslaved to the material world?"
The Goat-god mimics the Fool's gesture. "Take another look." The Fool does so, and realizes that the chained collars the men and women wear are wide enough for them to easily slip off over their heads. "They can be free if they wish to be," the Goat-god says, "They remain here because they want to be controlled by their base, bestial desires. There are, however, others…."
At this the Goat-god gestures upward, toward the peak of the mountain. "…Others who have used these same impulses to climb to the highest heights. If they had denied their desires they'd never have gotten there."
On hearing this, the Fool sees that he has mistaken the Goat-god. This is not a creature of evil as he thought, but of great power, the lowest and the highest, both of beast and god. Like all power, it is frightening, and dangerous...but it is also a key to freedom and transcendence.
As the Fool leaves the throne of the Goat God, he comes upon a Tower, fantastic, magnificent, and familiar. In fact, The Fool, himself, helped build this Tower back when the most important thing to him was making his mark on the world and proving himself better than other men. Inside the Tower, at the top, arrogant men still live, convinced of their rightness.
Seeing the Tower again, the Fool feels as if lightning has just flashed across his mind; he thought he'd left that old self behind when he started on this spiritual journey. But he realizes now that he hasn't. He's been seeing himself, like the Tower, like the men inside, as alone and singular and superior, when in fact, he is no such thing.
So captured is he by the shock of this insight, that he opens his mouth and releases a SHOUT! And to his astonishment and terror, a bolt of actual lightning slashes down from the heavens striking the Tower and sending its residents leaping out into the waters below.
In a moment, it is over. The Tower is rubble, only rocks remaining. Stunned and shaken to the core, the Fool experiences profound fear and disbelief. But also, a strange clarity of vision, as if his inner eye has finally opened. He tore down his resistance to change and sacrifice (Hanged man), then came to terms with Death (Death); he learned about moderation and synthesis (Temperance) and about power (The Devil). But here and now, he has done what was hardest: he destroyed the lies of his life. What's left are the foundations of truth. On this he can rebuild himself.
On the bleak landscape where the Tower stood, the Fool sits, empty, despairing. He hoped to find direction on this spiritual journey, a path to his spiritual self, but having just learned that most of his life was a lie, he now feels lost. Sitting on the cold stones, he gazes up at the night sky wishing for some kind of guide. And that is when he notices, nearby, a beautiful girl with two water urns. As he watches, she kneels by a pool of water illuminated with reflected starlight. She empties the urns, one into the pool, one onto the thirsty ground.
"What are you doing," he asks her. She looks up at him, her eyes twinkling like stars. "I am refilling this pool, so that those who are thirsty may drink, and I am also watering the earth so that more fruit trees will grow to feed those who are hungry." She nods back to a single fruit tree that stands nearby, 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 by her and drinks from the pool. The water tastes wonderful, like liquid starlight, and the fruit is equally delicious. Both help to heal his wounded heart.
Having quenched his thirst and sated his hunger, the Fool lays back to gaze up at the stars. "They're so beautiful," he said, "but so distant."
"Like possible futures," agrees the girl. "Cool and distant. Yet if you keep one in sight, it can guide you to your destination no matter how far away it is." Even as she says this, she began to fade away, like dew, vanishing. All that remains is a gleam that was at the centre of her forehead. This rises up and up, until it settles in the night sky as a shining star. "Follow your star," the woman's voice seems to sing from that light, "and have hope."
The Fool takes in a breath and rises. It is a dark night, a desolate land. But for the first time, he has a guiding light to show him the way. Distant as it is, it restores his faith.
Following the star the Fool travels through the night. The full Moon rises, illuminating for him a watery path. And he begins to feel disoriented, as if walking in his sleep. He passes under the moon, between two pillars ancient and strange. Suddenly, he looks around to find himself in another land entirely. When he was in the presence of the High Priestess, he saw hints of this dark land through the sheer veil draped behind her throne. And later, when he hung from the tree, he felt himself between the physical world and this one. Now, he has at last passed behind the veil.
Here are the mysteries he sought, the darkest mysteries, ones that have to do with the most primal and ancient powers. It is a land poets, artists, musicians and madmen know well, a terrifying, alluring place, with very different rules. Wolves run wild across this land, hunting alongside maidens with bow and arrows. Creatures from childhood nightmares and fantasies peer from shadows, eyes glowing.
The path the Fool was walking is now a river, and he stands hip-deep in the powerful pull of its salty waters. There is, on the nearby shore, a small boat, but it has no rudder, no oar. The Fool realizes he has only two choices. He can lose himself in this desolate, primal land of madness and illusion, howl with the wolves, be hunted down, or he can get into the boat and trust himself to the river. The moon will be in control either way, but in the boat his surrender to the powers of the unconscious will at least take him somewhere.
Inspiration, visions and genius are the rewards of such surrender to the Moon's Magic, as artists, poets and seers know. The Fool gets into the boat, and shoves off. As the waters sweep him away, moonbeams light his "path" and he feels the Mistress of this dark land gazing down at him with the High Priestess's approving eyes.
The Fool wakes at dawn from his long, dark night of the soul to find that the river has deposited him in a serene pool. There is a walled garden around this pond dominated by roses, lilies and splendid, nodding sunflowers. Stepping ashore, he watches the sun rise overhead. The day is clear. A child's laughter attracts his attention and he sees a little boy ride a small white pony into the garden.
"Come!" says the little boy, leaping off the horse and running up to him. "Come see!" And the child proceeds to take the Fool's hand and enthusiastically point out all manner of things, the busy insects in the grass, the seeds and petals on the sunflowers, the way the light sparkles on the pond. He asks questions of the Fool, simple but profound ones, like "Why is the sky blue?" He sings songs, and plays games with the Fool.
At one point the Fool stops, blinking up at the Sun so large and golden overhead, and he finds himself smiling, wider and brighter than he has in a very long time. He has been tested and tried, confused and scared, dismayed and amazed. But this is the first time that he has been simply and purely happy. His mind feels illuminated, his soul light and bright as a sunbeam, and it's all thanks to this child with his simple questions, games and songs. This boy has helped the Fool see the world and himself anew.
"Who are you?" the Fool asks the child at last. The child smiles at this and seems to shine. And then he grows brighter and brighter until he turns into pure sunlight.
"I'm You," the boy's voice says throughout the garden, "The new you." And as the words fill the Fool with warmth and energy, he comes to realize that this garden, the sun above, the child, all exist within him. He has just met his own inner light.
As the Fool leaves the garden of the Sun, he feels that he is near the end of his journey, ready to take a final step. But something is keeping him from doing this, holding him back. He gazes up, hoping to find guidance from the Sun; instead he sees above him a fiery angel, beautiful and terrible.
"You are right," the Angelic 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 Angel 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 Angel hands the Fool a small trumpet. The Fool is hesitant, but he knows that the Angel is right. There are certain memories he has a hard time looking back on as they make him feel guilty, ashamed, angry. He knows that he's never come to terms with what happened and he must if he wants to make that final transition.
He blows the trumpet and it cracks open the Earth. From under the Fool's feet, the spirits of his past selves rise up, including those less than admirable past selves that he's tried to forget.
For the first time, he faces them. They are, he sees, nothing to fear. They were him once-upon-a-time, but not now. Even as he realizes this, he finds himself forgiving those past selves for the wrongs they did that left him feeling bad. He senses, in turn, that they forgive him for ignoring the lessons they had to teach him. As he reaches an understanding with them, they start to rise up and float away, vanishing into the sky. Though they remain as experiences and memories, they no longer have any power over him. He is free of ill-feelings, reborn, and living in the present.
The Fool turns to take that final step along his final path, and finds, to his bemusement, that he is right back where he started, at the edge of that very same cliff he almost stepped over when he was young and too foolish to look where he was going. But now he sees his position very differently. He thought he could separate body and mind, learn all about one, then leave it 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. All one, including the Fool and the Mystic who are both doorways to the secrets of the universe.
With a knowing smile, the Fool takes that final step right off the cliff...and soars. Higher and higher, until the whole of the world is his to see. And there he dances, surrounded by a yoni of stars, at one with the universe. Ending, in a sense, where he began, beginning again at the end. The world turns, and the Fool's journey is complete.
N.B. Dedicated to the diversity and beauty of Tarot, Aeclectic Tarot is the website which would provide its visitors with an abundant wealth of knowledge and information on the topic of Tarot. Thirteen, through the Aeclectic Tarot Forum, has weaved this beautiful story based on the design of the Major Arcana of the Rider-Waite Tarot style of the Tarot deck. The Rider-Waite Tarot is a classic Tarot deck, perhaps the most well-known in the Western world. It is often called the first modern Tarot deck, as the cards drawn by Pamela Colman-Smith and commissioned by Waite were the first to use detailed pictures on the minor arcana cards. One may sample some of the deck's designs at this link: http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/rider-waite/.