First, I’d like to thank Mark Pannebecker for providing me with a free review copy of his book, A Fool’s Journey: Book 1, The Magician.
A Fool’s Journey is a series of 21 novelettes that follow the Fool through the Major Arcana of the tarot. The series, as a whole, explores how the tarot can guide an individual through life, offering lessons along the way.
The Magician is the first book in the series. It introduces us to the Fool, Benjamin Porter, and the Magician, Craig Marse. Both are high schools students, and Benjamin has already started down the Fool’s path.
Mark Pannebecker does a great drop presenting the upright and reversal meanings of the Fool and Magician tarot cards through his development of the respective characters. It allows us to see the best and worst of both characters, how the Magician can control the Fool, and how the Fool can react and learn.
Just like the Fool tarot card’s meaning, we see Benjamin’s youthful exuberance as he lives life filled with passion, impetuousness, and naiveté. His follows his bliss and his Magician, with blind faith. He walks a fine line between falling into a deep chasm and safely continuing on his life’s journey.
We also see Craig present the absolute power and confidence of the magician, taking action with great awareness. He becomes Benjamin’s first teacher, showing Benjamin the power he has to create his life, and how he wants to use it.
Mark uses drugs, fights, and gangs to lead Benjamin through the journey of the Fool, allowing us to witness how the Fool begins his journey and comes of age. The setting allows for a great exploration of the different facets of the Fool and the Magician tarot cards, and how the two interact with one another.
I will admit that the book introduces a lot of characters that I had trouble keep track of due to a lack of character development, but I imagine we will see them more in the future as the story of the role they play in the Fool’s journey unfolds.
Overall, A Fool’s Journey is an intriguing approach to the tarot. Mark Pannebecker’s book shows a great understanding of the tarot and offers a wonderful way for tarot readers to learn more about the meanings behind the cards, how different cards interact with one another, and how they can play out in real life.