Friday, March 30, 2012

Card Du Jour- The Fool

The Fool is often considered neither fish nor fowl in the Tarot deck- many scholars do not consider it a numbered Major Arcana card, as its number is zero, and it's not one of the suit cards. Some old decks have two Fools, one belonging at the beginning of the sequence of Major Arcana cards, the other going at the end. The Major Arcana can be said to represent a journey the Fool undertakes, learning about himself and the world around him. The Fool placed at the end of the sequence represents the learned Fool, with these experiences and knowledge added to him.
As we can see, the Fool occupies a somewhat unique position among the cards. The Fool bears the number zero, giving us a clue to its nature. The Fool represents first and foremost beginnings- where the journey starts, with all its potential and perils. This makes the Fool one of the most difficult cards to interpret in the deck. This particular card comes from the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, a fairly recent deck. It shows some usual images of the Fool, here that the Fool is at a cliff. The cliff represents the Fool's potential-this particular Fool, apart from being a pretty snappy dresser, is on a journey. What the future holds has yet to be revealed, yet like any undertaking, there's a good deal at risk. The Fool could wind up falling, or making it safely wherever she's going. Ultimately, that outcome rests with the Fool herself. There's also a dog in the picture, which, like most all of the images of a dog on this card, is giving a warning. He's standing at the edge of the cliff and barking, indicating he has a warning to give- be careful, there's a cliff here. The dog represents an aspect of the Fool- awareness, guidance and wisdom. Here's everything the Fool has been taught, and everything that her studies and learning have given her. The Fool doesn't just wander into the world completely blind and uninformed- just untested and not yet tempered by the world, and by experience. Interestingly, the Major Arcana cards are often said to represent the Fool's symbolic journey- each card represents some aspect of himself or lesson the Fool learns, arriving finally at number 21, the World, signifying both completion and beginning again, moving along in an upward spiral.
To find the Fool in a reading, it represents starting over, or starting initially. It could be a new job, a move, something like that, but in a broader sense it's finding oneself out in the world, ready to fly or fall at the foot of that cliff. It's a time when we leave our comfort zone and venture out into the world- success is not guaranteed, but the Fool will do everything he (or she) can to make sure that success happens, and build upon past experience and learning, ultimately becoming a complete person. In many decks the Fool is carrying a bag, or backpack, or something like that. The bag in some depictions is empty; in others, it's full. In the first case, it represents the empty mind of the Fool, soon to be filled with the lessons, teachings and gifts the Fool receives along the road. In depictions where the bag is full, it represents the fact that the Fool is not such a fool after all- he brings with him intuition, logic and reasoning, as well as life experience.
What the Fool means to us is not that we're inexperienced, or foolish- rather, that at some point in our lives we are all of us the 'new guy'. As time goes on, inexperience gives way to learning and understanding, and this takes time. The future is not yet written- it's up to us to do that.

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