“I am the beginning and the end,the buckle in the belt, the snake biting his tail.”        __Unknown 

The Fool, as he is most commonly known, is said to be the card that connects the rest of the Major Arcana to form an endless loop. In the Waite deck, he is depicted as a starry-eyed optimist about to step off a cliff.  Certainly, we all remember times in our past when we stepped into an abyss called Marriage, Career, New Business, or Adventure where unknown and unforeseen dangers awaited us.  We thought we knew it all but, alas, we didn’t; and we paid a high price for our arrogance and naiveté. 

In the Spiral Deck, it is surmised that at this point in the journey, we begin again, this time making better choices for ourselves based on our previous experience in life and the lessons we have learned from them.  The Fool’s Journey is a road well traveled and a circuitous route in the process of becoming a Sage or, in rare cases, an Adept. 

Arcanum 0 in most decks, it is either 22 or 0 in Egyptian tarot, and is the only other Major Arcanum besides The Hanged Man that has a different meaning when it is reversed.   Turned right side up, the number of The Materialist is 22; in the reverse, the name of the card becomes The Spiritualist, and its number becomes the symbol of spirit, 0.   According to the Egyptian tradition, the number 22 in the spiritual world symbolizes annihilation and the number 0, eternal progression.  In the intellectual world, the number 22 symbolizes atheism and the number 0, devotion.  In the physical world, the number 22 represents materialism, and the number 0 represents ceaseless cooperation in Spirit’s plan. 

The planet Pluto, representing the universal welfare urges of the soul, rules the Materialist/Spiritualist.  However, Pluto is a planet that is dual in nature.  Its best quality is expressed as cooperation, while its worst quality is expressed as coercion

The image of the Fool in most decks is a blind man with a dog at his heels and may derive from the Greek mythology of Orion. Orion was a strong and handsome man known for his skill as a hunter. After failing to rid the island of Chios of wild animals to make its inhabitants safer as promised to their King, he made matters worse by bedding the King’s daughter.  In his anger, The King of Chios  punishes Orion by blinding him. The hunter, Orion, resides in the heavens as a constellation at whose heels are the constellations of Canis Major and Minor, a couple of hunting dogs; however, usually only one dog is pictured in the Fool of Tarot.  Adrian Gilbert writes in his book, Magi, the Quest for a Secret Tradition: “The story of Orion is in a sense that of Everyman as he seeks to grapple with nature, come to terms with his life on Earth, his blindness to his eventual destiny after death, and his yearning for a better world.”

In the image of The Materialist/Spiritualist in the Brotherhood of Light deck, he is also figured as a blind man.  The bags he carries over his left shoulder symbolize the material possessions he’s acquired or his ability to minister in physical ways to the needy. The staff either indicates that prudence is subservient to the demands of the senses, or that the demand for uplifting and protecting is so great that he ignores all danger to himself in fulfilling them.  The fallen obelisk symbolizes the final overthrow of all corporeal work and power.  The crocodile represents the ultimate fate of all who are blind to spiritual ways, and also the persecution of those who work to spread the true facts of spirituality.  The eclipsed sun in the background signifies that spirituality has been obscured by material interest; or it signifies that dark forces from the inner plane try to obstruct the spiritual illumination that guides the neophyte. 

C.C. Zain summarizes Arcanum 22 this way:  “This blind man is the atheist, or materialist, and the man who is so absorbed in material aims that he neglects all thought of spiritual things.  It is likewise the man who is a slave to his desires.  And the ensemble thus symbolizes the inevitable suffering which follow sin.  Or, it symbolizes the truly spiritual man, who is so enthusiastic in his effort to assist the race that he is completely blind to the consequences to himself.  And thus, equally well, it symbolizes the law of universal compensation, which decrees that for all effort expended in a constructive channel there inevitably follows increased ability and real advancement.” 

The key words and phrases for Arcanum XXII are:  failure, folly, mistake, suffer consequences for sin, error, non-spiritual approach; choose between coercion and cooperation; extend greater service to humanity; find pleasure in all that you do; find harmonious channels for animal urges.  Reversed, in Egyptian Tarot: the spiritual approach is taken; reward, evolution, gain, and success.

The admonition for The Materialist/Spiritualist taken from The Sacred Tarot is:

Remember, then, son of earth that all things physical pass away; and that before the soul can pass to higher realms every debt to nature must be paid to the utmost farthing.  If Arcanum XXII should appear in the prophetic signs of thy horoscope, imprudence threatens to encompass thy ruin, and thou wilt be called upon to pay for thy folly unless thou immediately changeth thy ways.        __C.C. Zain 

With Arcanum XXII, this blog series on the Major Arcanum is complete.   Follow this blog next week for the beginning of a new series detailing each of the Minor Arcanum of The Brotherhood of Light Egyptian Tarot. 

For more information about The Brotherhood of Light Lessons, which includes Astrology, Alchemy, and Magic, visit the website at



About letstalktarot

Allyn McCray began reading Tarot in 1971 after discovering a deck in an occult shop in San Francisco, California. In 1999, the American Tarot Association recognized her as a Certified Tarot Reader. During her experience as an Internet reader between 2000 and 2002, Allyn’s readings were regularly featured on the websites, Psychicnut and Roadtalk. In 2002, Allyn joined The Church of Light, aka Light.Org, a non-profit international school of esoteric studies, where she is now a Hermetician, Certified Teacher, and Minister. Allyn also serves as the Communications Director of The Church of Light and is a Section Advisor in The Order of the Sphinx.
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  1. Venkataramanaiah
    Holistic Wellness

    Wellness is an important aspect from childhood to death. Without wellness the individual doesn’t see much in life. The purpose of education, training, property, planning, social intercourse etc, are meant for getting wellness on a sustained basis through out life. Holistic wellness comprises all aspects of wellness namely materialist, spiritualist and lateral.
    Holistic wellness comprises of– holistic wellness at individual level and holistic wellness at societal level which are interconnected.
    Holistic wellness at individual level covers such subjects as the general well being, happiness and fulfillment in life. Most individuals are trained from childhood through education by acquiring required knowledge and skills in various aspects of life. They include basic education, professional education, professional fulfillment, marriage, children, family , upbringing of family, and hobbies. During the course of life every individual encounters materialist issues such as proper and hygienic food, sanitation, health care and so on. Here issues such as unadultered and hygienic food, impact of environment, herbs for healthcare, herbs for beauty care, medicines for beauty care & medicines for health care, hospital care, naturopathy etc. are involved leading to fulfilling holistic materialist wellness.
    Holistic wellness at spiritualist level involves proper orientation in thinking, harmony from within and outside, peace from within and outside, prayer or surrender to god and/ equanimous bent of mind. Each culture has its own methods to address these issues. However yoga, meditation, lateral thinking, out of box thinking and laughing at oneself, will help the individual himself to adapt within and outside for harmonious holistic wellness at spiritual and societal level. At societal level,holistic wellness involves all the above aspects of the individual level applying at family level, community level, state level, national level and global level. All education imparting knowledge and skills in various faculties, national planning, production of goods and services indicated by GDP and per-capita income, local security, national security and global security are for Holistc Wellness at societal level from materialist angle, spiritualist angle and lateral angle.
    The present day world is addressing holistic wellness more in the materialist angle. There is substantial need to address issues at spiritualist level. Though spiritualism is an old subject, there is muddling confusion between symbolisms .There is a need to understand soft/ spiritual angle leading to harmony and peace from within and outside for individuals and groups including at national level. This involves mental hygiene at individual level, family level, national level and global level on an aggregate. Issues of prayer, surrendering before God or equanimity of mind / thought or spiritual innovation- need to be addressed at all levels for achieving synergy, peace, harmony, justice and development every where. Holistic wellness is an all comprehensive concept, impacting everybody individually and severally. By addressing the issue of holistic wellness, all issues at individual and societal level in all spheres namely economic, business, political, governance, justice, cultural, science, spiritual etc, will be addressed.We need to have a re- look at ourselves from the past prism, present prism, and the innovated prism for achieving holistic wellness of all. So, holistic wellness is a huge business for ever.
    Materialist Spiritualist Mission Trust has been addressing the above issues and sufficient research has already been done. Please visit

    With regards
    C.Venkataramanaiah BE(Gold Medallist),MBA(IIM-B,74-76)

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