I just received Rachel Pollack’s The New Tarot Handbook: Master the Meanings of the Cards. After each Major Arcana card description, she provides a reading about that card. So I thought doing these readings after I explore each card would be a perfect way to work my way through the majors. So here is the first one: The Fool’s Reading.
Position One: How have I been a Fool in my life?
This one has taken a lot of thought and reading, and I’m not sure I’ll get it “right.” Good thing practicing tarot isn’t about one right answer! 🙂
As I’m skimming through the majors, I’m beginning to get a sense of the story or path that they show. Of the different experiences and lessons we all go through or need to achieve on our “fool’s journey.” Frankly, I haven’t mastered a lot of things along the way. I didn’t have a lot of guidance, and so I think this card here might represent that. I was “chained” by my longtime assumption that I was responsible for the emotions of all of my family (of origin) members. I was chained by the assumption that I had to have these people in my life, even when they sucked my own life energy away. Silenced by the assumption that I couldn’t stand up for myself.
How have I been a Fool in my life? I think the problem is: I haven’t. At least, not in a long, long, long time. So I’m a Fool who has lost my intuition, but I am aware of my chains. Not the world’s happiest thought. But it’s true.
Position Two: How has it helped me?
Being aware of these chains, the little Fool inside me is not content to sit down and remain chained forever. This could be a choice that The Lovers represent. In addition to representing choice, The Lovers also represent connection. I see my chains, and I can choose to chip away at them by forging connections. So while my past certainly hasn’t “helped” me, my awareness of the damage it has done is essential to leaving it behind. And love is essential for this process: love of my myself, love for my family of choice, and love from my family of choice.
The Lovers can represent a (very delayed!) adolescence of sorts for me. A getting to know myself, which means letting go of these proverbial chains and going out into the wide world — like The Fool.
Interestingly enough, the number of The Devil (15) reduces down The Lovers’ number (1+5 = 6). I’m not sure what that means here, but it is interesting.
Position Three: How has it hurt me?
Nine of Pentacles
The woman in the Nine of Pentacles is able to enjoy the success of her hard work. Rachel Pollack in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom says, “‘Success’ here means not so much worldly achievement as success in ‘creating’ ourselves out of the material given us by the circumstances and conditions of our life” (243).
I think I’m going to go with a double-negative here since my answer to Position One was that I haven’t really played The Fool. So I’ll say that not playing The Fool often enough has made it difficult to obtain and enjoy a successful self-creation. This is something I am currently working on now. Through The Lovers’ influence of love for self, for others, and from others, I am taking ownership of my own life by being less serious and creating myself through joyful (“foolish”?) exploration.
Position Four: Where in my life do I need to be more foolish?
Queen of Pentacles
Pollack in The New Tarot Handbooks says this queen “brings passionate love to the living world” (255). The Animal Wisdom Tarot says, “Pig encourages us to dig up lost, vulnerable, or despondent selves” (80). I should be more foolish both out in the living world and in my inner world to free my lost (Fool) self. Get silly, think silly, be silly. The Queen of Pentacles takes joy in the small things in life. Things don’t have to be complicated to be beautiful and bring happiness.
Position Five: Where will the Fool not serve me?
Knight of Cups
This knight is dreamy and prone to fantasizing. The Fool also is not action-oriented. To successfully unchain myself, I will definitely need to take definitive action. I can certainly take time for introspection and thinking and dreaming, but these things alone will not free me.
Position Six: What gifts does the Fool bring me?
Ace of Pentacles
Aces are representative of beginnings, and so is the Fool. Pentacles represent earth energies, which are the things of our physical world: friends, family, home, work, money, sex, pets, nature, activities. The Fool freely explores whatever strikes her fancy. She can gift me this ability to lovingly explore and experience the world around me with excitement and childlike wonder.
This was a really hard reading for me, and while I’m not totally confident in the interpretations of each of the individual cards, this has been a good exercise for thinking about my inner Fool.
Additionally, three of the six cards were pentacles. In my exploration of The Fool, I assigned her the elements of earth and fire. I absolutely have the drive (fire, wand) in this situation; it’s putting it into action in the world that is tough. So perhaps this was another nudge to not think so much about my motivation and desire, but to manifest these desires physically.