Free Will in Tarot: Fortune, Strength, and The Fool

Wheel of Fortune and Strength

Is control an illusion? How much influence do we actually have over our circumstances? Are we ever guiding events or are we merely reacting to them? Let’s look at free will in tarot vs. predestination.

In a Real/Ideal Two Card Draw, we see:

A Combination?

By asking questions, by study, and by experience and reflection on that experience, we are attempting to impose a control on the vagaries of existence. Yes, we can walk in front of a bus unaware, but we can create a personal level of control by knowing that we should look both ways before we cross a busy road.

When I used to live halfway up a mountain, I could walk around with the expectation that there would be no traffic within at least a mile of my front door, and the dog could run freely through the yard. Now, in town on Main Street, I have to be aware of my surroundings and when I walk the dog he has to be on a leash.

Am I controlling the traffic? No, absolutely not. I am controlling my reaction to the traffic, based on an understanding of how it can affect me. I am controlling my reactions based off of my knowledge. And this understanding lessens the impact that the traffic will have on me.

Free Will in Tarot

Even is knowledge doesn’t change chaos and chance, and even if the universe can still throw surprises my way, I can be somewhat secure in my expectation that I most likely won’t be hit by a bus, as long as I’m cautious.

This “free will in tarot” spread plays on the tension between The Wheel of Fortune and Strength. The chance of The Wheel rules above all. No one can control the chaos that is out of our hands, so we tend to pretend that it isn’t there. We tell ourselves that we are in control, as we see with Strength. But even if Strength is an illusion, we are not The Fool stepping blindly into the The Wheel’s abyss. We carry our knowledge with us, and so we can reduce the chaos in our lives to such a degree that we can act as if it isn’t there.

It’s always interesting to get a drawing with only Major cards. It forces to step away from the humdrum details of life, and look at the “man behind the curtain.”

The cards used in this post are from the Tarot Art Nouveau deck.