An April Fool

I thought today would be a good day to reflect on our friend the Fool.

I’ve actually been feeling pretty foolish lately, in several ways. So this will be a good exploration of what it means to be a fool, which will  hopefully help me to understand the Fool on a deeper level.

1 - Fool 4
Prisma Visions Tarot

On one hand,  I’ve felt like a drowning fool. Like the eager dog in the Prisma Visions’ Fool, I’ve swum out farther than I should have in my eagerness and excitement. Now I’m tired and the shore is far away. What have I done? Will I make it back to shore? Or will I perish here in this deep pool where I’ve landed myself? Will the pelican throw me that life preserver? Or it is indifferent? Or judging me for my foolishness?

I followed my heart in one direction thinking I was along on this journey with a pal, but suddenly I realized I was quite alone. I feel foolish for thinking I was part of a team. For placing so much of my heart in someone else’s hands. Of course I didn’t realize my mistake until the proverbial rug was pulled out from under me. It seemed sudden, but in hindsight I feel quite foolish indeed.

1 - Fool 1
Gypsy Palace Tarot

However, without taking foolish risks where I place my heart with other people, how will I make true connections with others? If we think of the Fool as how we are without our masks, as who we are at our core, showing our “fool” to others is the only way to make a relationship beyond the superficial level.

This in itself can be considered very “foolish” because it makes us incredibly vulnerable. If someone mocks a mask of ours, it’s easier to laugh it off because it’s not who we are. But if someone laughs at our inner self, at our soul or true self, that can be excruciating. It can be unbearable. And sharing this part of ourselves opens us up to the possibility of this kind of deep pain.

However, it would be another kind of foolishness to refuse to ever connect with with another person because of fear of ridicule. We are all connected, and if we isolate ourselves in this way we will wither and fail to thrive. We will not escape pain, but we will suffer it alone. So I to play the fool still, sharing my heart.

1 - Fool 3
Baseball Tarot

Another kind of foolishness that has been a theme over my lifetime is the fear of trying new things. If I’m not already good at something, I usually am too embarrassed to give it a try. But like the Rookie of the Baseball Tarot, you have to start somewhere. If I don’t step up to the plate, I’ll never get to play the game — only watch from the sidelines. Of course that’s okay sometimes. I don’t need to try every single thing. But to spend much of my life on the sidelines would be foolish indeed.

To avoid this, I need to “make a fool of myself” more often by getting out there and looking silly trying things I’ve never done before. I need to channel the Rookie. As the book the accompanies the Baseball Tarot says, “Experience can be earned only by those who take the chance to try” (49). The Rookie is probably nervous, but he steps up to the plate anyway.

 

The Lenten Season

Tomorrow begins the Lenten season of 2016. I was raised in the Christian tradition, and I have always felt a sense of reverence toward this time of year. A yearly time set aside that makes me examine myself and what I have and to deeply consider how I am connected to others. I do try to be cognizant of these things throughout the year, but I’m not as good at it as I’d like to be. This season stops me wherever I’m at mentally and immerses me in a mindset of thankfulness, charity, compassion, and sacrifice (which I see as another side of the thankfulness coin). It’s a beautiful time to do some serious self-work. And since I have family that also celebrates Lent, it’s easy during this time to stay focused on the work at hand.

I decided to create a spread for Lent to help me on my journey and to help me decide what to give up and/or to take on during this season. (I’m using the Smith-Waite Centennial Edition, which I am in love with! But more on that later.)

Reading 2016, Feb 9
Smith-Waite Tarot Centennial Edition

Position One: What to give up

Reading 2016, Feb 9 (2)
Prisma Visions Tarot

Five of Cups

I’ve been in mourning for some time about a situation that crushed up my little heart. Perhaps it’s time to begin letting those three spilled cups go. Actually, in the Prisma Visions Tarot depiction of the Five of Chalices, a figure drops three cups off a precipice into the water below. An active release of these three cups. It may not have been an easy decision or process, but those three cups must go. Healing will take time, but I think I might be ready to begin taking my first steps away from the sadness and grief I have felt.

Position Two: What to create or add

The Fool

Ah, the Fool! I admit I smiled when this card popped up in this position. The Fool is something I’d like a lot more of in my life. I’m serious and planning three steps ahead and always thinking. I like that the Fool is here in the “what to create or add” position. So rather than “giving up” being thoughtful or responsible, I can add silliness and wonder, delight and intuition. That doesn’t sound so bad. It doesn’t sound easy for my personality, but it certainly sounds worthwhile. Add some Foolishness!

Position Three: What to grow

Two of Pentacles

Balance in my world. I’ve been making progress, but I’ve been in a rough patch for a little while. Seeking this balance has kept this rough patch from getting even worse or messier than it already is. Like the juggler in the card, I can either make it a game I dedicate myself to, or like the boats in the background I can pray I don’t go under with the next crash of a wave. Life will have its ups and downs either way, but I’m only in control in one of those scenarios. Or consciously controlling what I am able to, anyway.

Little note

 I happened to turn my deck over when putting it away, and guess what the shadow card was? The Nine of Wands! Of course it was.

Reading: Winter Solstice

Despite being a sad lump today, I’d like to try this winter solstice spread I found over on The Inner Atlas.

Reading 2015, Dec 21 (2)
Ostara Tarot

Whoa! My first all majors spread. That feels kind of heavy. To best understand what I’m thinking about here, I read up on shadow work here at Teal Swan.

Position One: Shadow Work, a shadow aspect to work on

The World

I really believe in the interconnectedness of the universe and all things in it, but I do not trust others enough to foster and fully live out this interconnectedness in direct ways. I assume I will be let down and rejected. It does leave me feeling lonely and incomplete, which is of course not a nice way to feel.

Position Two: In Store, a lesson learned in the last year to help with the shadow work

The Devil

A lesson I have learned and continue to learn and will probably never stop learning: let go of what doesn’t work. As I talked about in my discussion of the Devil card, this is easier said than done. As the saying goes, the devil you know is better than the one you don’t. I may know that some habits or beliefs are not helpful for me, but it can be terrifying to try something else. I at least know what the consequences are in my current rut. What if it’s even worse on some other path?

Of all of the tarot depictions I’ve seen of the Devil, the Ostara Tarot one is my favorite. It captures so well the feelings and meanings this card holds for me.

Position Three: The Fire, wisdom or advice for moving forward and avoiding psychological burn-out

The Fool

The Fool may be saying to me, “You know, ‘let go’ means more than just letting go of what isn’t working. Sometimes you just need to let go … as in stop thinking so much and just be. Just experience. Just do. Just exist. Be silly. Lay your worries and burdens down and embody my philosophy of life — jump first, think later … or not at all.”

Position Four: Hope, a message of hope to lift my spirits

Strength

This has become one of my favorite cards in the tarot deck, so I felt a sense of relief when it popped up in this position. It reminds me that emotion is not a weakness and that I do have the inner strength to persevere and create a positive life for myself. It reminds me to tame but not abandon my inner lion (or dragon, in this card) — which for me speaks to my inner Fool. I really love the Ostara Tarot depiction of Strength. She has clearly been through battles, she carries two whole cities on her shoulders, and she holds her heart in front of her. For me, it really communicates a balance of strength and vulnerability. Even more than than, it shows them as being able to serve the same purpose. Emotion and vulnerability can be power, can be strength. This card does make me feel hopeful. I’ve seen battles, and I sometimes feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, but I am still a person with feelings and an inner beast that wants to play (and sometimes roar).

Overall Reflection

I really enjoyed this reading. So thank you to Bianca Lucine for sharing! I definitely needed this on such a glum day. The shortest, darkest day of the year! Oh, how I look forward to the days getting longer. In the meantime, I have my work cut out for me, but I know that with Strength I can tackle the job.

XXI. The World

The World
Efflorescent Tarot

Card Meaning

The World represents fullness, fulfillment, wholeness, and freedom. Success.

In the RWS depiction, the wreath around the dancer is round (it is diamond shaped here in the Efflorescent). The round wreath echos the 0 (zero) of the Fool.  Rachel Pollack in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom states, “The oval wreath suggests the number 0, with all its symbolism. It implies as well the cosmic egg, the archetype of emergence; all things exist in potential and all potentials are realized. The self is everywhere in all things” (139). Likewise, the sash around the dancer’s waist mimics the infinity symbol which reminds us both “as above, so below” and “as within, so without.” But the World tells us there is no division between above and below, within and without. All is one.

The World
Gypsy Palace Tarot

The Fool and the World each represent a kind of wholeness and confidence, though the World seems to symbolize a more “wise” whole. Reaching the World card takes one through each card on the Fool’s Journey, many experiences will shape who we will ultimately become. We may have stumbled along the way, or even fallen backwards at certain points. When we reach the World, there is a dissolution of petty separateness. We clearly see the the universe as a whole and ourselves as a whole within the greater unity. It symbolizes the oneness of our super-conscious, conscious, and unconscious. At the end of the Fool’s Journey, the World is enlightenment or nirvana.

I really enjoy this observation from Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life, “The inclusiveness of World consciousness naturally extends to those outside the human family. The spirituality of Native Americans is rooted in a profound connectedness to animals, plants, and the earth itself. … People of these tribes would refer not to a mountain or the mountain, but simply ‘mountain,’ as in ‘we went to Mountain, followed Sun, saw Fox and Bear.’ … Directly addressing the object … further enhances the sense of connection and engenders almost instant feelings of intimacy. We start to see the soul of the thing” (140).

The World - animals
Animal Wisdom Tarot, Animism Tarot

These are pretty heavy concepts, so the World can also symbolize success, union, or resolution in a reading.

I absolutely love the Animal Wisdom Tarot depiction and name of card twenty-one. The whale as “The All-Encompassing.” The name seems more fitting than “The World” to me.

A shadow of the World could be being too far up in the clouds and not dealing with necessary details. An opposite or reverse meaning of the World could be failing to see the whole by paying too much attention to the small things.

Elemental Association

If I were to assign an element to the World, it would be all four: air, earth, fire, and water. The World is perfect unity and balance!

Personal Reflection

I feel most connected to the universe when I am out in nature. I particularly love going on walks with my sweetheart. We took a super long walk today and saw some ducks and a woodpecker and sat and watched the wind blow across a pond. All the little things seem to dissolve on these special outings together. There’s just us in the moment, a part of the world around us.

As I’ve discussed at length, I don’t always feel at home in the world around me. I’m making great strides, but I have a long way to go. This is a big card to live up to though, so I don’t feel bad about not having acheived that which is embodied in the World. It’s a good goal, but I don’t know how many people will ever reach it! At least not in one lifetime. I still value it as a reminder of the connection of all things and all people.

XX. Judgement

Judgement
Efflorescent Tarot

Card Meaning

Judgement is a card of renewal and rebirth. Duality is a theme that has been explored throughout much of the Major Arcana. Here, we see a child between the man and the woman. This symbolizes the birth of a new self. From duality comes a new whole.

The cross in the sun on the Efflorescent Tarot (and on the angel’s banner in the RWS version) can represent a cross-roads. Judgement signals a need to leave something old behind in order to take this new path or in order to be resurrected. It can also represent the coming together of world and the universe.

Justice and Judgement seem to have a lot in common, but Rachel Pollack in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom says that, “With Justice the experience and the response were personal, based on your actions in the past. Here a force greater than yourself is leading and calling you, and the Judgement is not simply on the meaning of your own life but on the true nature of existence, and the way in which you and all beings are a part of it” (135). So while Justice is about inner balance and truth, Judgement seems to be an awakening to the larger recognition that we are a part of the universe or a call to or recognition of change. Pollack tells us that this change can be mundane or divine and that the other cards in a spread can help to illuminate the change we’re called to or the change we need to recognize.

Judgement
Gypsy Palace Tarot

While the Sun is about unity and self-acceptance, Judgement speaks to unity and community. We are all integral parts of the universe. Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life says, “The Trump unites the fluidity of the High Priestess (2) with the ego-unencumbered wholeness of the Fool (0). The combination initiates the process that will lead to the spiritual homecoming symbolized in the World. … Judgment’s angel breaks through the density of mass consciousness with the revelation that we are all one in spirit. … Therefore, the Angel of Judgment does not seek to judge us (as the name of the card might imply) but to lift us out of our judgmental conscioussness” (133, emphasis in original).

A shadow of Judgement could be waiting for someone else to rescue us. An opposite or reverse meaning could be uncertainty about how to implement change or an unwillingness or inability to heed the call.

Elemental Association

If I were to assign an element to Judgement, it would be fire and water: fire for the inspiration of the call and water for the spiritual unity we see through Judgement.

Judgement - animals
Animal Wisdom Tarot, Animism Tarot

Personal Reflection

I think I’ve been called to take better care of myself for many, many years, but I only just answered that call a couple of years ago. Oh, I wish I’d listened earlier, but absolutely better late than never. I’m still working on heeding the call. I finally stopped letting people stomp all over me, but I’m still working on believing that I’m important and valuable — just as valuable as everyone else (like the Judgement card reminds me).

One of Paul Quinn’s reflection questions for this card is, “What ‘angels’ have awakened you to greater possibilities?” I’ve got to say my sweetie is one. He always believes in me even when I absolutely 100% do not. And like an angel, he hasn’t given up on me even once. He models the possibility of loving myself unconditionally.

XIX. The Sun

The Sun
Efflorescent Tarot

Card Meaning

The Sun symbolizes clarity, joy, simplicity, knowledge, and openness. When considering the third row of the Major Arcana as a whole, the Sun is significant: from darkness (in the Devil and Tower) to light (from the Star, to the Moon, to the Sun). What was in shadow in the light of the Moon is now clearly seen.

The Sun is a card of self-confidence. It can represent a harmonious joining of our eternal selves and our mortal selves or the discovery of our own inner Garden of Eden. When we have made the connection between our inner light or eternal self and our mortal self, how could we be anything but confident? To know that such beauty and power lies within us is empowering and joyful indeed! The joy of the Fool has been transformed into a joy bred of self-knowledge and experience.

I love this statement by Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life: “‘Light is above us, and color around us,’ observed Goethe, ‘but if we have not light and color in our eyes, we shall not perceive them outside us.’ The brighter our inner Sun, the more apt we are to see the Sun in the world (as within, so without)” (128). Quinn also relates the card to our inner child and says this is not a refusal to see that which is painful or bad in the world — but rather the knowledge that goodness burns brighter and will outlast these things (129). One of the keywords the Animal Wisdom Tarot assign the Sun is “radiance.”

The Sun
Gypsy Palace Tarot

As card 19, 1 and 9 make us think of the Magician and the Hermit. The Magician reminds us of the “as within, so without” adage, and in the Sun, the Hermit has climbed out of his cave radiant and whole. 1 + 9 = 10 (The Wheel of Fortune), which indicates that even though the Sun might seem like the end of the Fool’s Journey we still have some changes in store.

As the sun in the sky is a source of life, the Sun card might lead us to ask “What is sustaining me and supporting me right now?” And if we are full of Sun energy ourselves, what are we doing to help sustain others?

A shadow of the Sun could be being a little too cocky, perhaps in assuming the world revolves around you. Another shadow could be false cheer, only as an outward performance. An opposite or reverse of the Sun could be refusing to see the light and good of things, keeping your own light from the world, or having low self-esteem.

Elemental Association

If I were to assign an element to the Sun, it would be fire, air, and water. Fire for joy, air for knowledge, and water for spiritual harmony.

The Sun
Animal Wisdom Tarot, Animism Tarot

Personal Reflection

Honestly, the most Sun-like part of my life is practicing tarot. I’ve tried many things (all kinds of hobbies, not only spiritual practices) and enjoyed them, but nothing has gotten me so fired up and excited and sure that I can be awesome at something as tarot has. I’m loving every second of it. I have the privilege of staying at home right now, and I spend probably four hours a day usually studying tarot. And the time flies! I mean seriously flies. I already have plans in the works to set up an online reading business, but I’m waiting to learn more and save up for starting costs. Even so, I think about it every day. I look into logos and LLCs and how others do email readings and all kinds of things. Tarot makes me confident in a way I don’t think I’ve ever been. I feel empowered and good at something and wildly enthusiastic! Tarot is my Sun-place, and hopefully that will eventually leak out into other parts of my life that could use a little more self-confidence.

Reading: The Wheel of Fortune

Reading 2015, Nov 18
Animism Tarot, A Reading for the Wheel of Fortune from Rachel Pollack’s The New Tarot Handbook

This reading is a little abstract for me, but I’ll do my best! I think I’ll look at it like where I’m at in my own life cycle.

Position One: What turns the Wheel?

Queen of Wands

Love.

Position Two: What outer change will come?

Page of Wands

Adventures will come my way. I may not know what exactly they will be or when they’ll come, but they’ll be available. I just have to choose which ones to tackle!

Position Three: What inner change is possible?

Six of Wands

Victory! While I’ll never feel totally “fixed,” I contain the possibility of victories on my journey of self-healing. The Wheel of my journey rolls on, but I can celebrate the victory of a full turn, a new revolution.

Position Four: What new situation will I face?

Knight of Cups

I’m entering a new era of my life that calls for emotional action. For a long, long time I’ve been very reserved. I’ll be experiencing similar situations, but the new cycle I am in calls for me to offer up more of my emotional self. My action doesn’t have to be fast or reckless. The RWS Knight of Cups isn’t galloping away at high speeds. But I do need to be moving forward.

I like the depiction here of the hippo diving. She’s exploring emotional depths.

Position Five: What rises?

The Fool

Folly rises. Silliness rises. I’m letting loose my inner prancing llama! (Or trying anyway, there’s a series of smaller ups and downs in this process.)

Position Six: What falls?

The Star

This card keeps showing up in kind of negative positions, which has me a little confused. But I’ll go again, then, with the shadow meaning: too high of expectations / ideals. These overly high ideals are falling away. Not all at once, but they are.

Position Seven: What is at the center?

Ten of Wands

Hard work is at the center! Hard work and motivation. The Wheel isn’t going to turn itself. Well, maybe it would, but I might not like where it would go. I’m pulling the strings I have control over to help guide it.

Reading: The Hermit

Reading 2015, Nov 15
Gypsy Palace Tarot, A Reading for the Hermit from Rachel Pollack’s The New Tarot Handbook

Position One: What do I need to do on my own?

Five of Swords

This is the first time I’ve examined the Five of Swords, and I really like Huszka’s portrayal. I have a wall built up around myself, and rather than just cowering behind it, I think I can sometimes go on the “offensive” and appear mean so that I won’t be hurt. The two women in front of the wall are not very welcoming. They stare out at the viewer in a harsh and condescending way seeming to say, “Keep moving, this place isn’t for you.” While there is a small doorway in the wall, who wants to get on their hands and knees and crawl through there under the hateful gaze of these women? These women may feel victorious in protecting whatever lies behind the wall, but at what cost?

However, a snake raises its head up from behind the wall. Snakes can symbolize rebirth, so it seems like a hopeful element in the card. I have to decide on my own to let these walls down. I can accept the help and support of my loved ones, but only I can choose to dismantle my defensive walls.

Position Two: What or who is my teacher?

Justice

Like the Hermit, Justice also asks us to look honestly at our own lives. Truth, fairness, and justice are indeed my teachers, and they encourage me to reinstate balance in my life.

Position Three: Where will I find my light?

The Chariot

I think I will find my light in working on a Chariot-like balance in my life. The Chariot’s sense of balance is very conscious and will-based, but I have to practice this kind of balance before I can reach a more “natural” feeling, integrated sort of balance.

Position Four: What will it reveal?

Two of Pentacles

Well, balance! There may be ups and downs, and I may waver, but it will reveal balance.

Position Five: What question does the Hermit want me to ask?

The Fool

Maybe the Hermit is asking, “Where’s you inner Fool? Let’s find her!”

Reading: The Fool

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.

Reading 2015, Nov 6
Gypsy Palace Tarot, The Fool’s Reading

Position One: How have I been a Fool in my life?

The Devil

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?

The Lovers

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.

Overall Reflection

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.

0. The Fool

I’ve decided to pause on the daily draws and to move through the deck systematically, beginning with the majors. I’m doing this for two reasons:

  • In the Alternative Tarot Course, I’m beginning to learn about the majors and would like to focus my attentions there.
  • I would like to get a better feel for the flow of each suit’s story. So once I finish the majors, I’ll go through each suit individually from Ace to King. That way, when I do draw a card in a reading I can understand it not only individually, but also within the context of its broader role in the tarot story.
The Fool
Efflorescent Tarot

So here at the very beginning is The Fool!

Card Meaning

Her satchel can represent several things. It could be her trust that she’ll find what she needs on her journey and so doesn’t need to bring much with her. It could also represent her experiences from past lives she brings with her into her new earthly journey. It could also be her experiences from this life; she just doesn’t let them weigh her down or control her.

The dog can represent her playful intuition leading her to various adventures. Our own “animal instinct.” She doesn’t overthink things and doesn’t worry about making backup plans. This doesn’t mean all of her plans work out, but she isn’t afraid to fall down and laugh at herself. However, sometimes her random adventures lead to incredible opportunities she would not have found had she been concertedly planning each of her steps. Beautiful relationships and experiences can be found when we aren’t actively seeking them out.

The Fool is innocent and childlike and sees potential in the wide world rather than fear and inhibition. She reminds us to live in the moment. The number zero is “nothing,” and the shape is wholeness. It’s hard to tell whether The Fool is wise or just silly, but maybe she’s both 🙂

The Fool
Gypsy Palace Tarot

Rachel Pollack’s Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom reminds me of my high school Shakespeare lesson: the fool in King Lear is able to speak the truth to the king when no one else can through his use of humor. She also provides a beautiful interpretation of The Fool, when portrayed “grotesquely” (such as, perhaps, Huszka’s Fool in the Gypsy Palace Tarot) as how she is seen by the outside world. The World, then, is the view of the same individual from the inside as seen by herself. What a lovely idea!

Of course the shadow of The Fool is immaturity, being gullible, and unnecessary risk. The opposite (or reverse) is being overly cautious and taking life too seriously.

Elemental Association

If I were to assign an element to The Fool, I think it would be earth. The Fool follows wherever her fancy strikes and isn’t burdened with thought or emotion. Her driving force is the pleasure of the world around her, which can be symbolized by the stick (or “wand) she slings over her shoulder to carry her bag. So perhaps earth and fire.

Personal Relation

My inner fool (or inner child) has been discouraged for a very long time. As a kid I was expected to be serious and adult-like. This has been hammered in to me for so long that it has become a part of me, even though it is a part of me I would very much like to shed. Or at least seriously tone down.

The Fool - animals
Animal Wisdom Tarot, Animism Tarot

Often in my life, others are allowed to be goofy or uninhibited without reproach. But when I forget myself and let go I’m frequently scolded. It makes being goofy come very rarely for me. When it does happen, it feels awfully nice, though it is short-lived.  I’d like to get to a place where my inner “fool” can come out and explore the world much more frequently before being scared back inside for another indefinite period of time.

As I’ve discussed before, I do hold myself and other to high standards. But what frustrates me about this situation is that I feel like others are holding me to a high standard they aren’t holding themselves or others around us to. Just me. While I may need to adjust my high expectations to have a more realistic view of others and myself, I feel like at least I’m consistent. I don’t like being singled out and held to a higher standard than others. Fair is fair, and that’s not fair. The Fool might respond to this situation by saying, “Who cares? Don’t adjust your behavior to conform to these scoldings. Let the silliness live on!”