Dave put a Tarot deck in my sweet elfin stocking this year.
It was my best gift, if you don’t count the rad new snowboard and the really cute knit hat from Sundance.
I’ve always been fascinated by Tarot, and the timing was perfect.
I’ve embraced the idea of sitting with each of the cards, in the order they appear in the deck, to get familiar with them in their intended progression, so that I can add Tarot interpretation to my coaching practice. I imagine using it as another method of working with visual metaphors, which has been such a successful, fun and easy way to open up new perspectives.
My process will be to hang out with each card for several days, until I’ve looked at it long enough to be able to describe it in detail and connect to the metaphors it suggests. It’s a form of meditation for me, and it has already succeeded in guiding me to write a few thought-full pages every day.
Not being one to waste epiphanies, I’ll be sharing my adventures with you in the hopes that it sparks some recognition of your own metaphorical expressions of these archetypes, and that it helps you create more of what you want for your life.
When a card is drawn as part of a spread in response to a specific question, it will take on new and expanded dimensions, but my belief is that each individual archetype exists in all of us on some level all the time. So, my personal exploration is this: what can this archetype tell me about myself today?
The Fool is the beginning (or end) of the Major Arcana* depending upon the type of deck, and its number is zero, reminding me that there’s no beginning or end to things that are timeless, and that sometimes we end up where we started. I experience seemingly endless cyclical processes, like having a brilliant epiphany that I’m sure will change my life forever which I then promptly forget about it until something happens years later to remind me of this immutable, unforgettable truth.
The Fool has a certain awareness of his lack of wisdom, which is a form of wisdom—see what he does there? A circular reference and we’re back where we started.
The Fool is about innocence, beginnings, spontaneity, and leaps of faith. The illustration shows him about to step into a chasm, and that feels about right to me today. The chasm is the unknown, and it takes a certain detachment to the outcome to step in, otherwise my fear would make me dig in my heels and leap back from the edge, heart pounding. The Fool encourages me to go on my merry way, and trust that my current direction won’t leave me crumpled in a heap at the bottom of the cliff.
His faithful dog nips at his leg. Is he warning the Fool of the danger ahead, pushing him over, or hanging on for the ride? In my case, my loyal canine instincts seem to be doing all three. There is risk involved in what I’ve chosen to do next, yet I want to move forward and risk experiencing the fall. Sometimes I just need a nudge from a faithful, trusted friend.
And while the idea of falling from a great height terrifies me, I imagine there’s a moment of surrender and peace that comes from surrendering to the spiritual plane, because the earthly plane promises nothing but a broken bag of bones at the bottom.
I will have to muster up some faith in mid-air transformation. A Fool steps off the cliff, but something else entirely may land at the bottom. Who will I be, what will I be, after I take the next step and surrender to the falling?
The bells on his feet ensure that I’m aware of his presence as long as he’s active. I can hear the Fool coming, and there’s time to prepare for his arrival: “Here comes that clueless Fool again!” I realize that the fool is me, and I can use that moment to choose between compassion and contempt for myself.
He’s traveling light as he steps into the unknown—all his belongings in a bindle. He has offloaded anything unnecessary for his trip, and he asks me to do the same. What is essential for the next part of my journey? Am I clever enough to leave behind what’s not? Will I find out along the way that I need something I hadn’t considered, and will I be resourceful enough to improvise?
He reminds me to forsake my ego’s need to be considered wise because ego will be smashed to bits at the bottom of the canyon, along with anything attached to it. He prompts me to consider how terrifying the descent might be, and how my essential, truest self might survive (and flourish) even after my foolish ego-driven self has wandered over the edge.
Do I know how much I don’t know? Or am I just worried that someone else will judge me for it?
The Fool reminds me that ignorance is bliss, that beginner’s mind exists to keep me curious and encourage growth.
Ignorance, in my personal history, has always meant shame. Yet the Fool is unashamed, and the message seems clear: there’s no shame in not knowing, only in pretending that I do.
* The Major Arcana cards represent the soul’s deepest longings, joys, desires, and needs.