The Fool

My favorite card in the tarot is The Fool. In the iconic illustration by Pamela Coleman Smith, the observer sees a young man taking a seeming precarious step near the edge of a precipice, looking upward, appearing engaged in the dance of life.

Illustration by Pamela Coleman Smith

In fact, this card isn’t necessarily considered the beginning of the journey through the rest of the major arcana in the tarot, rather, this is the journeyer. The Major Arcana is sometimes referred to as “The Fool’s Journey.”

For me that card also represents the full creative potential of any moment, and how in tune you may or may not be to that potential. Many times, we are everything that’s getting in our own way, our thoughts get in our own way…

“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”

Alan Watts

This archetype has been compared to living at one with the Tao as well. Not being bound by the wisdom of the world but being fully immersed in the dance of the Cosmos so that you can fully experience the moment without those troublesome thoughts which aren’t who YOU are.

A little photoshop experiment of mine when conveying this card.

The spirit of this card has been with me the past year as I’ve come to embrace my creativity through art and pinback buttons. I’ve allowed myself to play, to create, to express myself when so often I had been told to be quiet throughout my life. It has been enormously healing and given me the confidence to try new things, and trust that my brain is still healing after quite a few years of some traumatic events.

There is also wisdom in recognizing there our limits to our own knowledge, that in life we are all fools. Denying this aspect of ourselves leads to lives full of unnecessary seriousness and less play. Rediscovering my inner child has been huge for me the last year. And when I knew less about the world (when I was a kid), I knew more about what it meant to dream, dance, make stories, be creative.

I used to have a Tamagotchi that was a bright neon pink. Like the pinback button I designed here. I made art of the death screen. I thought it would make a perfect button for my kid self. I don’t know what happened to it (my actual Tamagotchi) other than that I accidentally left it in a public restroom when I was attending some sort of public event. I think of that thing quite a lot actually. . .

What dreams lie deep within your heart that have been smothered by the burdens that come with adulthood? Or the life traumas that have discouraged you? What light shines inside? The one kindled before all of your learned “wisdom and knowledge”?

And if you’ve read this far, I just want to let you know, you are a unique and creative and irreplaceable expression of the universe. I hope you can be foolish enough (and brave enough) to see what you are capable of when you aren’t worried about what others may think, and I hope you can be brave enough (and foolish enough) to suck at something new.

Further Reading…

https://www.organism.earth/library/document/the-joker

http://xtf.lib.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=DicHist/uvaGenText/tei/DicHist4.xml;chunk.id=dv4-70;toc.depth=1;toc.id=dv4-70;brand=default

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/30201/30201-h/30201-h.htm