“You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.” — Abraham Maslow
And so we begin our journey with The Fool. He is the leap of faith into the archetypal world of the Major Arcana, an optimistic, open and spontaneous soul ready to take a risk and follow his heart. He looks up, not down at where he is walking, operating by insight rather than eyesight. The sun is shining, it's a beautiful day and he has his trusty companion, a white dog in this particular card, to keep him from falling off that ledge. He's there on the edge with the potential to either fly or fall or just continue down the mountain on foot. He's in the moment, poised for the decision.
The Fool can be a trickster, Coyote, Bugs Bunny, the Pied Piper or Peter Pan, luring us away from reality, crossing the boundary line into fantasy, messing with our heads, and opening our minds. He travels easily between the chaotic world of the unconscious and the ordered world of consciousness. The Fool as Trickster prods us from complacency, urging us on to life where the thinking mind may urge caution.
The number associated with the Fool is zero, effectively freeing him from the numerical progression of the Major Arcana. Zero is a very tricky number. It is indivisible wholeness that occupies space and has the ability to turn 1 into 1 million....or back again to square one.
Math Nerd Alert-Do Not Watch the video below unless you love math, but if you do, it will, like the Fool, mess with your head. At 10:01 the Fool really makes an entrance- "The answer can be anything you want it to be, depending on the angle you come from.". The Fool is No-thing, not fixed in any one place, but definitely not nothing.
What do you feel when you see The Fool? Do you feel "Danger, Will Robinson!"? Is that your gut telling you that or your more cautious logical mind, or is it even worse, your harsh inner critic? Ask yourself what you fear and why. The Fool is asking you to suspend that logical and rational part of your brain and really listen to your intuition. At some point, no risk, no reward.
“We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.” — Henry David Thoreau
Jim has always had wonderful flying dreams. He jumps from tall buildings. He rises up from the ground. So, of course, flying figures have figured heavily in our work over the years, especially flying dreamers like the one featured in the paintings above. Our Fool will be a dreamer and an optimist and a risk-taker, but his free spirit will also be in harmony with his animal instinct, which will tell him the right moment to make that leap of faith. Timing is everything!
Interested in learning more about the Tarot? These are my favorite books right now:
Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack
Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols
The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination by Robert M. Place