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Journey To The World by Joanne Matthew ©

There is a man known as the Fool, wandering through a dark woods. He has no purpose, no direction, no idea of who or what he should be. He travels with his faithful dog as his only companion.

One day, he comes upon a mysterious man, dressed in beautiful sparkling robes. The man waves a wand over his head, and utters strange incantations, and magical things happen. The Fool asks the Magician to help him understand his journey. The magick man waives his wand at the Fool’s knapsack, and explains that everything he might need in life is right there inside his bag. Use them wisely when you reach your destination.

Thanking the Magician for his insight, the Fool continues along the path. This leads him to a temple in the woods. Between two pillars sits a wise woman holding a scroll. “Who are you,” the Fool asks? She answers, “I am the High Priestess—the keeper of all knowledge, the keeper of all the secrets of life.” “Can you teach me these secrets,” asked the Fool? “No” she replied….”I can guide you to follow your own intuition, and one day, you, too, will realize the secrets of life.”

Pondering these words, he makes his way further along the trail. Sitting alongside a quiet stream, surrounded by all the creatures of the world, he meets the Empress, Mother Nature to the birds, trees, plants, animals, fish, and all that lives and breathes. She advises him to honor our Mother Earth and respect her, to never forget her growth depends on nurturing and loving all she has provided.

Not far from the Empress, he encounters the Emperor. The Emperor is a strong, wise man—the protector, the father of all fathers. He advises the Fool to be brave, be strong, and help those in need by using wisdom and compassion.

Suddenly, the Fool comes to a crossroad along the path. Sitting on a throne in the middle of the road is the Heirophant. “Welcome, my son”, he tells the Fool. “You have a choice at this point. I can direct you to take the path I have chosen for you and you can follow my lead and beliefs with unquestionable faithfulness, or you may choose your own path and go where it leads you. Whichever path is chosen, go with the knowledge of trust and faith that I have taught you in the past. Carry them with you into your future, and if you are faced with adversity, remember the values I have instilled in your memory, and you will make it through the hard times.”

The Fool thanks the Heirophant for the lessons learned, and continues on his chosen direction. Along a peaceful forest path, he hears quiet whispering beneath a weeping willow tree. There he finds two Lovers, cuddling together in the cool shade of the softly blowing delicate branches of the willow. They invite him to sit with them and rest for a while. He sees how devoted and caring they are to each other, and how strongly they are bound together in love and respect. This is a great lesson, he thinks to himself—to be true to those you love in life—to love, honor, and respect—those are the key attributes needed to find true love.

They tell him his next stop along the way is quite a distance from where he is now, and they offer him the use of a spare Chariot. He is unsure just how to drive this vehicle with the two strong horses hitched to it—one black, the other white. In his mind, the Fool thinks, the dark and the light side—the yin and the yang, the day and the night—everything has two sides, and I should try to look at both and not be blinded by only what is in front of me. Finally, he takes up the reins, and takes control of the Chariot, and his life, moving swiftly toward his next stop.

As he departs the Chariot, he is stunned to see a beautiful maiden with a ferocious lion at her side. He does not understand why she is not in fear of this beast. She smiles sweetly and tells him she represents the Strength we all have inside of us, as she puts her hand into the mouth of the lion, and he purrs to her like a kitten. We all have our inner fears and sometimes rage inside ourselves that we must control and tame, she explains. We must all find our strength in life. “I give you the courage to face your fears, but also to find your gentleness of spirit.”

The path now becomes a winding uphill trail through the woods. At the top of the mountain, the Fool sees a wise old man, shining his lantern down upon the earth below. The old Hermit appears to be deep in meditative thought. Aha, thinks the Fool—he is seeking his inner wisdom while shining his light and knowledge upon the world below. Such a wise man to know himself so intimately, and to spread his enlightened message to all.

Making his way down the other side of the mountain, the Fool sees a wheel spinning around in circles. Sometimes it spins faster, sometimes slower, but never stopping. Confused, the Fool begs the wheel to tell its story. The wheel explains that it is the Wheel of Fortune—it is always spinning, always turning. Sometimes it will hit a rough spot and slow down, but it continues—there is always a tomorrow—always hope. How wise, thinks the Fool.

Next, the Fool comes across a set of scales hanging from the branch of a tree. One side is labeled with the wrongs and the problems encountered in life, but it is balanced with the fairness and the good parts of life. Such is life, thinks the Fool—we need to balance our lives and see both sides fairly.

“Hello there, Fool”, he hears from another branch. The Fool is startled to see a man hanging from the branch of the tree by one foot. “Why are you hanging there in that position?” The man answers, “Oh, I’m just taking a break from reality and contemplating which move to make next. This position gives me a different perspective and clears my mind so I may think more clearly. I don’t recommend you hang upside down when you need a clear thought, but if you imagine yourself this way, you just might find the answers you seek.” Thanking the Hanged Man, the Fool tells him he will remember this good advice when he is faced with decisions and is unsure which direction to take.

Suddenly, out of the shadows jumps the Grim Reaper. “Ah, Fool—I am here to tell you that you need not hold onto what no longer serves you well. Cast off the old, the stagnant, that which has outlived its usefulness, and allow a new door to open. Refresh your life and do not dwell on your past.” The Fool tells Death that his advice is to be taken seriously, but to please not jump out and frighten people. “Surely you can give them your message without scaring them to death!” Death chuckles at the Fool’s choice of words. “Ok—be on your way now”, he says.

In a clearing, the Fool comes upon a group practicing yoga. He is approached by their leader, known as Temperance. “What is your lesson for me today?” Temperance smiles and tells the fool to balance work with play, never over indulge in activities, whether eating, drinking, love, or hate—always show patience and restraint when needed and to not over extend to the point of exhaustion or harm to his well being.

“Hold on there”, says the Devil, as he jumps into the conversation. “I love your bad habits. I love your addictions. I love your faults!” “Sorry Devil,” the Fool tells him. “I have learned along the way that I am in charge of my own destiny, and I choose to not be tempted by your charming but evil ways.”

The Devil sulks and heads back into the dark of the woods. A sudden blast rocks the forest. Running ahead to find the cause, the Fool sees a Tower in flames, and people falling to the ground trying to save themselves from the devastation. A survivor approaches the Fool and warns him that sometimes tragic things happen, and one must often take drastic measures to avoid catastrophes such as this. “Do not fear sudden change. It can often be a wake up call and is often necessary for you to move forward and start over.”

Darkness is settling into the forest now. The Fool looks up and sees a bright Star overhead. He knows that he can make a wish on this brightest of stars and have faith and the belief that his wishes will come true.

He makes himself comfortable in the shelter of a group of trees, sinking down into the soft cushion of pine needles on the ground. The Moon is watching him, and as he is falling asleep, the Moon speaks. “Remember my words, Fool, for I am deception. Evil can hide in my shadows, but I can also be your light in the darkness. I am all of your emotions. I am the dark, and I am the light. Know when to trust, and when to turn away, when to follow my light and when to remain sheltered in your safety zone.” Sleep overcomes the Fool, for his journey has been long.

When he awakens, the Sun is shining brightly. It is a new day, a new beginning. All that he has learned so far is clear in his mind. He feels happy. He feels refreshed and rejuvenated. He knows his journey through enlightenment is almost over. He has but one more test.

Judgment is now awaiting him under the golden sun of the day. Now is the time he will answer for all his sins, all his wrongs, to confess his fears and his hopes. He tells Judgment of the lessons he has learned along his journey, and how he will live his life in fairness and in love, for all the creatures of the earth.

After his confessions, judgment opens a final doorway out of the dark forest and tells the Fool, “you may now go forth into the World. You have earned the respect of all she holds dear, and we pray you continue the path you have chosen. Go forward, Fool, and live in peace, harmony, and joy.

(World card from Crystal Visions Tarot)