Ground Zero: The Fool

This month, I'm starting a [pretty long] series tackling the Major Arcana cards, one by one, the Practical Magic way… which I guess is slightly unconventional, a little more relevant to my reality and my own day to day life. I'm guessing that a lot of people who visit this site share the same approach to tarot as I do—using it more as a tool to help you navigate real stuff than a predictive, divinatory or esoteric system. If you're keen on learning how the 22 cards of the Major Arcana can correspond to our modern lives, then here's a good place to start. Watch this space as I attempt to scratch the surface of tarot's major players week by week!

[Necessary disclaimer: This is in no way, shape or form going to be the be-all end-all dictionary definition of the cards. A, I'm not as well-versed in classic tarot symbolism as a ton of other readers out there are. B, I have studied the RWS, Thoth and Marseille to varying degrees but like everyone else (I'm guessing), I still have tons to learn. C, these are my personal views, which means these blog entries represent probably represent 0.0003% of the population's take. That said, whatever I have to say could potentially be meaningful to someone so I feel it's still worth putting out there :)]

Deck used: Spirit Speak Tarot (Mary Elizabeth Evans)

Deck used: Spirit Speak Tarot (Mary Elizabeth Evans)

The Fool is someone at the precipice of a journey. Like the backpacker depicted in the Spirit Speak tarot, she's free-wheeling. She may have some idea about where she wants to go or what she wants to have happen next, but she's subscribing to the Que Sera Sera school of life. The idea of cause and effect, action and consequence does not enter her mind, her heart or her spirit. At all. All she really cares about is adventure. Potential. Freedom. She's got a train to catch and it may take her to one place, or two, or three, or a hundred—the destination doesn't really matter because all she wants to do is hop on and get going. All she needs is in that backpack, which will become her best friend all throughout her travels.

I feel the Fool energy when the idea of travel starts calling out to me. It sparks when I start searching online for cheap roundtrip fares (destination: anywhere) and seat sales. Sometimes travel is a stupid idea (especially when you haven't actually saved up enough for it), but sometimes it's genius (when it all works out and the Universe provides you with all the resources you need). 

Decks used: Tarot Mucha (Lo Scarabeo), Pagan Otherworlds Tarot (Uusi Design Studio), Black Lilly Tarot (Aya Rosen), Centennial Waite-Smith (Pamela Colman Smith, US Games)

Decks used: Tarot Mucha (Lo Scarabeo), Pagan Otherworlds Tarot (Uusi Design Studio), Black Lilly Tarot (Aya Rosen), Centennial Waite-Smith (Pamela Colman Smith, US Games)

Pretty Standard Stuff About The Fool (check out the Tarot Mucha, Pagan Otherworlds and RWS depictions pictured above):

  • The Fool is on the edge of a cliff, representing a kind of devil-may-care attitude that can have you falling (maybe even to your death) if you aren't careful. This hints at how a Stranger Danger attitude can lead you to your demise if you're not careful.
  • The rucksack can mean you're carrying very little baggage (if not at all). You travel light, literally and metaphorically.
  • The dog frequently pops up as a loyal companion. I think of this symbol as the TonTon to the Lone Ranger, the Watson to Sherlock, LeFou to Gaston. There is always going to be that one friend who is silly / loyal / adventurous enough to go along on our haphazard adventures. I've experienced this a lot lately—after bemoaning how lonely it can be to travel alone, I've miraculously found friends from all over who are willing to be my foolhardy companions on all my trips. Thank the heavens for them :)

But what about cards that go off the beaten path?

  • The Black Lilly Tarot's Fool is naked, which I feel is an appropriate representation of that clean slate, zero-baggage feel the standard Fool tackles.
  • The birds in the card show flight—in the same way the classic Fool is taking off on a journey, so are these dynamic creatures of the air.

And if you're not used to reading cards that stray from the classics, here are prompts to ask yourself: [You could practice with the aforementioned Black Lilly Fool).

  • What does his stance remind you of?
  • Are the colors happy or somber? How does this relate or even disassociate the card from the typical Fool imagery?
  • Check out the expression on his face. Does it go against the grain or does it show you a part of the classic Fool that can be read between the lines?

Hope this series helps you out, tarot peeps! I'm excited to dive in, week by week. If you've got any other inputs about the Major Arcana, send me a message or hit me up on Instagram @practical_magical so we can have a conversation. 'Til the Magician comes around!