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0, The Fool

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on January 4, 2011 | Comments (3)

The beginning of a new year always makes me think about, well, new beginnings. And what says “beginning” more than the Fool? So, what we’re going to do is start this fresh, shiny new year by looking at the Fool. Then we’ll look at the other Majors in order, along with their corresponding Minors. That is, we’ll look at the Magician, then all the Aces; the High Priestess followed by the 2s, etc.

If something else catches our attention along the way, well, we’ll just follow our fancy and trust the Universe. Much like our friend, the Fool.

Currently, we see the Fool as something of a hero. Indeed, we often look at the Major Arcana as a journey that the Fool takes, likening him and his experience to the Hero’s Journey that Joseph Campbell saw in his exploration of myth. To us, he is a pure spirit, carefree and full of faith, trusting his heart and the Universe. He pays no attention to worries and concerns that may stop some of us in our tracks.

The Fool, we say, marks the beginning of a major phase in our lives, often with spiritual significance. When this card shows up, we are urged to trust our gut and follow our heart.

The small animal, usually a dog, that nips at the Fool’s heels causes us some concern. We are not really agreed on whether this dog is an important warning or something that tries to distract the Fool from his journey.

Historically, the Fool has not always been the attractive character he is today. Indeed, he has been shown as a buffoon or crazy person—a fool. We now relegate this interpretation, if we use it all, to the reversed or ill-dignified position. I think that’s really interesting. Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom includes a kind of historic path of the meanings of each card. Noting how the interpretations change over time tells us a lot about us as a society. Analyzing those trends is a way to do a kind of “reading” writ large. What do you make of the shift from the Fool being, well, a fool to the Fool being a Hero?

This Fool is from Ciro Marchetti’s Legacy of the Divine Tarot.

Reader Comments

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#1 
Written By Sophie
on January 4th, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

Historically, the Fool is the homeless crazy guy who picks up cigarette butts, goes through the rubbish to find a half-finished sandwich, shouts out profanities at passers-by who won’t give him change, masturbates in public and then cries like a child. Dogs chase him, women cross the road to avoid him, and in general, society shuns him. So why include him in the Tarot at all? Because he holds up a mirror to us that is not all-flattering, that breaks down pretences and shows us our own pettiness and rejection of those who are marginal and uncouth, some through no fault of their own. Mental illness, homelessness, the illness of the soul and the disintegration of the body – these are things we’d rather not see, far less tackle. Yet they all exist in our shadow, and a wrong step, or bad luck, can precipitate us there. Yet who knows what genius and fresh mind hide behind the rags and rants?

Remember The Soloist, with James Foxx as a homeless schizophrenic and brilliant cellist? To me, he is the Fool in that role of mirror – showing both the genius and the moral breakdown that exists in society.

I think it a great shame that this side of the Fool has been replaced – but I’m not surprised: we have made the smelly homeless and mentally impaired invisible in our streets, how natural that his counterpart in Tarot, the archetype of the damned soul who stands outside of society, should be whitewashed and made into a clean innocent.

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#2 
Written By Robin Ferguson
on January 9th, 2011 @ 8:53 am

What a wonderful way to start the new year. I look forward to the upcoming posts. Smelly or not we all need that leap of faith to be accepted for who we are.

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#3 
Written By Cecilia
on March 3rd, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

I am Cecilia. Ihave been through a terrible time. I am in a position where I have to wait to see what my new income will be after losing half of my old income.

I am the family scapegoat. I dont want to be this any longer. The family has treated me in the usual cruel no caring fashion it always has, after the death of my ex-husband who I realize now I never let go of even though he was unloving and cruel with me.

I get the fool card a lot and I can see why. I dont want it anylonger.
I want to ask what hexafus
and animal helper readings signify?

Cecilia

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