Life is the search for that which is lost, for we each have within us our own personal quest. What we seek is unknown to us, but still we strive onwards. Our aims, wen though we are not consciously aware of them, have a great effect on our lives, governing the way we think and the actions we take. Each of them personal, individual and indefinable. The difficulty in expressing and explaining the search has resulted in the generation of much of the mythology of the past, producing many varied and diverse retelling of what is basically the same story. Over and aver again, it is repeated throughout history. The theme, beneath its constantly changing trappings, always remains the same. Each an attempt by an individual, or a group, to describe the indescribable quest, each a reflection, and only a reflection, of the urge to know the unknowable.

We are all looking for something that we cannot explain; perhaps we are not even aware that there is anything lost, but still we go on, searching blindly.

The goal has been variously described as the Philosophers Stone, Immortality, Oneness with Nature, Perfection, the Truth and the Grail. The search is looked on as the Great Work, the Way, the Path to Righteousness. All philosophers seek the same end - only the terminologies are different. This difference in terminology leads to misunderstanding between the varying belief systems, which is most regrettable as each is driven by the same internal force.

The pattern of the search is cyclic. One starts at the beginning and progresses, only to return to the point of origin.

It is the cycle seen in the sun, progressing through the hours of the day and the seasons of the year. The sun rises in the morning, growing steadily towards midday and the time of its greatest strength, then moves on to its glorious ending at sunset, where it will rest through the night. Through the seasons, the sun follows its course from winter to summer, and back to winter again. It is the cycle of the moon as it passes through the month, waxing and waning, new moon to old moon.

The search is illustrated perfectly in the Major Arcana a of the Tarot - the Fool begins his adventure with no knowledge of what is to come. In human form he is the very essence of inexperience. Moving through the cards he gains knowledge and wisdom, understanding and compassion; he experiences the heights of joy and the depths of despair. Ultimately he sheds his earthly pleasures and attributes to reach perfection and completion.

But just what does he achieve. Not only his method, but also his final achievement is veiled in mystery, open to a mixed and varied interpretation.

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Clive Barrett