Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Fool

   The Fool is almost always the very first card of the Major Arcana and is either unnumbered or numbered as zero.
   In my deck (Robin Wood), the Fool is an androgynous person, colorfully dressed, about to step off a cliff while playing the flute, and is accompanied by a small dog.
   The Rider-Waite deck also shows the sun behind the fool, who is carrying his/her worldly belongings in a cloth tied to a stick and a white flower in the hand extended behind nim/her.
   From what I have learned, along with my own insight, the Fool can be interpreted on a few different levels. Naturally, it also depends on its position in a reading and what layout is used for the reading.
   Basically, though, by itself, the Fool represents an irrevocable change. In some decks, the fool is reaching for a butterfly and/or the dog (or cat) is nipping at his/her leg.
   The sun behind the figure is often interpreted as the light of reason or what is considered rational, and the firm ground which he/she is about to leave as the stable reality that can be seen and felt. The dog can be argued as either worldly creatures chasing him/her to the cliff's edge, or attempting to prevent the folly of him/her taking a leap of faith, where logic shows no solid place to stand.
   The beginning of the Fool's journey is here. It is a journey of spirit and so cannot be divined by reason or calculation alone. The beginning of such a journey often requires one to put aside those beliefs which have always been considered safe, sensible and comfortable.
   But, once such a journey has been undertaken, one cannot go back to the way things were before the first step had been taken. Now the Fool must learn to fly. But, doubt will undo the Fool. The childlike belief in magic and the innocent perspective that the universe is one of awe and wonder is what the Fool needs in order not to fall back to the Earth.
   There are more (and deeper) interpretations, including the one that the Fool's step into the unknown represents the beginning of the universe, expanding into what we know now from conditions to which the Second Law of Thermodynamics prevents it from ever regaining.
   Last but not least, the card can be dealt upside-down (called "reversed" or "inverted" in a reading). Many readers interpret that as causing the card to represent the opposite of its righted meaning.
   So, the Fool would normally be interpreted as the seeker (in this case, you) looking for fulfillment and new experience through an apparently undisciplined, unprecendented, and lighthearted throwing-of-caution-to-the-winds in anticipation of a whole new existence.
   Reversed, however, could be interpreted by some readers as simply carelessness, apathy, indecision, and/or poor judgment.