Tarot: the Major Arcana as an Ouroboros…

Majors as OuroborosHave you ever heard of an Ouroboros? It’s the name given to a serpent that comes back around to bite or swallow its own tail, forming a sort of infinite loop. It’s often used as a symbol of cycles and rebirth.

It’s relevant in Tarot, because the part of the deck called the Major Arcana functions like an Ouroboros…and the Fool card serves as both head *and* tail. While usually numbered 0 on the face of the card, and considered the starting point for the entire deck, The Fool is also treated as card XXII, following The World. This means that The Fool both begins and ends a cyclical run through the Majors…and the end of one cycle is the beginning of the next.

The idea is therefore that the Majors represent forces that exist outside of our own linear perceptions of Time. So maybe try thinking of the Majors not just as a straight line segment that starts at zero and terminates at 21; instead, maybe think of them as a circle or a Möbius strip, or a spiral that runs forever in both directions. Just as you can sing your way through “do re mi fa so la ti,” and then land on the next iteration of “do”…so, too, can you keep running up or down the Majors like you’re climbing a round staircase that spirals into Infinity. In Tarot, there are levels upon levels upon levels, and quite often if you look up or down at the adjoining level, you can find the next octave-version of yourself waving back at you…

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