Welcome to a new series of posts that will compare each card in the Tarot across different decks in order to study and explore each archetype and concept more deeply. I will dedicate each article to the exploration of one card at a time. This is not necessarily meant to be a teaching tool for others, but if you like to study the Tarot as much as I do, I hope you find it interesting. Enjoy!
For more on the decks referenced here please another page in my blog: Tools of the Locksmith: https://wordpress.com/page/theramblinglocksmith.com/163
The first card of the Major Arcana is The Fool which is typically shown as a young man with a dog and a knapsack heading out on a journey, sometimes described as an epic journey. The fool traditionally carries a white rose as a symbol of peace and purity. The dog symbolizes the guide within offering divine protection, and the knapsack all of his past experiences and knowledge.
Its one of the foundational Archetypes of the Major Arcana along with the Magician, High Priestess, Empress, Emperor and Hierophant, and this foundation is being completely open to this new journey.
The 0 represents both being open and the process of returning back to the beginning and starting either the first journey, or a new journey from the beginning. The fool is open to all possibilities, even the possibility that things will not work out, or there may be unforeseen obstacles.
Let’s start with this card from the Osho Zen Tarot. In most Fool cards its unclear if the Fool is about to take the first step off a large cliff, or onto a fairly even path. In this card it looks like you are about to take a real leap of faith from the beginning, and without a dog or knapsack to boot! (Luckily you still get the white flower.)
The fool, more than maybe any other archetype, is living completely in the present moment which is where our intuition can function at its peak. He is not concerned with the past or what might happen in the future.
This card goes a little further than the classic image and asks you to consider that any start to any journey, no matter how large or small a trek is just as big of a leap of faith and a surrender to the unknown. Also, you may think you are more prepared with the dog and knapsack at your side, but what you may encounter on this journey may require something you don’t’ already have, and thinking that you are more prepared than you are is a false confidence in the first place.
So take the leap! All by yourself. Your path awaits.
This Fool card from the Santa Muerte Tarot does show a soul with several tools that they think might help them. They are leaving the grave which in this deck would be the nest with their heart on their sleeve and are looking forward to a joyful new journey and transformation represented by the butterfly on their finger.
On one hand its seems an easier start to just step up and out of the nest. On the other hand the place they are leaving was difficult to leave, and this may be a time to recognize the effort that goes into that first step. Or maybe dropping the baggage is the real first step to be able to be on the journey. Will leaving it behind free you up to channel your energy better? What will it take for you to take this first step out of the past?
Another very classic view of the fool from this card from the Lua Tarot. In this deck the card is not called the fool but The Seeker, which is the Golden Dawn Tarot name for the Fool card. This might cause you to ask if you know that your are seeking something and not starting out on the path without awareness of any preconceived intention. The fool does not necessarily carry the idea that they even intend to be on a journey, but the Seeker does. What might the idea of intention bring to your awareness of your own journey?
This card from The Mystical Moments Tarot is even more forthright about the dangers that the woman may encounter on the journey. The aspect of the fool that is being emphasized here is the idea that failure is part of the journey, and if you aren’t willing to be open to failure you are not truly open to the journey in the first place. This is a key aspect to the archetype of the fool.
Additionally the idea of learning is shown here as this person is genuinely curious about her surroundings. She is willing to surrender to the journey to experience life fully. Are you starting your next journey with any fears of failure? If so that will prevent you from connecting fully to the present moment where there is no failure, only opportunity and learning.
In the Afro Brazilian Tarot deck the Fool card is at the end of the Major Arcana. For me it has the connotation of openly coming from your place of power to start the next journey. Its the idea of willingly surrendering again to the journey over and over again no matter how experienced or practiced you feel you might be. There is nothing whimsical about this Fool’s journey here, this man is charging into the unknown in a way that connects to the earth in a very intentional way. Very different than stepping off a cliff into the unknown, but requiring just as much courage and surrender to head out once more and not get too comfortable.
This card also seems to connect with the Osho Zen Tarot concept of the Fool in that no matter how much you are exposed to and learn, you should keep dropping this “baggage” and come back to the present moment to start anew empty handed. Over and over and over again. That is a very pure essence of the Fool archetype.
In the Brady Tarot the fool is represented by a young cowbird who has dropped a feather to test the height of the nest first before heading out on its first journey. It is being helped by a bluebird who is feeding it one last meal before it sets out alone.
In this version of the fool card we are not talking about intuition or intention but instinct that allows this bird to start its journey. What’s the difference? Instinct implies an innate drive toward action and not thought. What would it mean to listen to your instincts versus relying on the more cerebral and spiritual process of intuition or intention? Would using instinct first or for a period of time allow your intuition to grow that much further? Maybe another aspect of the journey is this idea of instinct versus intuition.
The last example I have of the Fool is from the Way Home Tarot. It has more of a first person feel to the card versus all of the others so you could even picture these are your own two feet ready to take the first steps of the journey. Can you spend some time visualizing and meditating on what this journey, this first step, or this quest is? How would this work.
If we go back to the beginning of the article (see what I did there?) we can remember that in order to see the journey and start the journey we must be connected to the present moment. Close your eyes. Create that connection with your breath, drop your baggage, and take that instinctual leap! Be open and ready to leave the last journey behind and start anew.