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Updated: Oct 5, 2023

An intuition arose to write a blog about the tarot card, The Fool. Usually, it's depicted as a vagabond carrying a stick over one shoulder with a sack of meager belongings tied to the end. The boy-man looks up at the sky as he sets out on an adventure. It's a sunny day and he radiates with happiness. Yet, with the next step he is about to walk off the edge of a cliff. Meanwhile, a dangerous looking dog nips at his leg.


When not working on the draft blog, I noticed "fools" began to appear everywhere! Here is the most specific example of many: while watching a British detective series to my surprise it had an episode with a tarot reader and the first card pulled from the 78-card deck was The Fool. Speaking of cliffs, there's been a lot of political talk about government shutdown and debt ceiling cliffs, plus TV ads with people, trucks, or whatever near the edge of one. Not only fools, but cliffs are everywhere, literally and figuratively! Be careful.


Anyway, back to my blog. These coincidences are little signs that let me know I am on the right street and not foolishly going the wrong way. But, let's take a moment to make an important distinction. My experience with "fools" and "cliffs" showing up is not the same as "frequency illusion". This phenomenon refers to the false impression that something happens more frequently than it actually does. It often takes place when we learn something new. As a tarot reader, I've studied and worked with The Fool and his metaphorical cliff for decades. More importantly, I've lived it!


When you set out on a journey as a hitchhiker, particularly if you are a woman, having a keen nose for trouble is helpful. At the time, I did not have a refined sense of danger. Although others thought hitchhikers foolish, I was undeterred but not naive. You know every time you’re about to step into a car, van, or semi-truck it could be like a step off a cliff. Nevertheless, it was my twin sister and mine's go-to means of transportation while at University in Ontario, and especially so when I traveled and backpacked throughout Canada's western provinces.


This occurred in the 1970's and my journey hitchhiking out west was more akin to a Holy Fool taking a solo quest. I wrote about it in my memoir, My Random Death. Wisdom seekers must answer this undeniable calling. What compels us involves deep questions about self. Trust in oneself can bind you to a faith in a greater good and a sense of safety. In my case, it was a way to know my uniqueness in the face of being a twin. Albeit not hitching rides, my brother's solo journey took him to Texas, and later my sister went to Machu Picchu, Peru and she was the first foreigner to visit an area of Afghanistan. Photos of these trips and more of her unique travels are at: www.marla.net and www.PeaceCaravan.com


A witless person has no common sense about a big-picture, purpose. Instead, she'll plunge foolishly ahead to satisfy a seductive, impulsive itch. Of course, it's common to inadvertently make a fool out of yourself due to sheer stupidity. A friend told me it’s healthy to do this twice a year. It can keep you humble. Perhaps, some politicians have extended their allotment of foolish days. Now they are incapable of humility. They want to make a fool out of you too. So, be careful!


Fundamentally, The Fool demonstrates a card of action. He or she is fearlessly going somewhere. And unless there is an awareness about truth and everyday reality, they're about to step off a cliff. Or not. It takes action to find out, or succumb to fear and never venture forth. Life can be dangerous and full of edges. Yet to reach our goals, our highest dreams, we must move. It's an initiate's test to take the risk, trust the teacher in you, or the person out there who guides you. But it's only yourself who can take that first step and build on your faith. You don't really know how steep the cliff is unless you check it out. Be aware. This card teaches that it's never easy. We must find the courage to act in the face of known "dangerous dogs" and unknown cliff edges.


To understand the distinction between foolishness and a Holy Fool we must now briefly address the Hebrew Letters' connection to the Tarot. The Fool is considered 0 in the Suit of Trumps, also known as Higher Arcana. (The Lower Arcana is comprised of the 56 other cards in the tarot deck) In previous posts, I've referenced the traditional numbering of 0-21 Trumps. Frankly, The Fool has nothing to do with zero. Pun intended! 0 is a meaningless numeric designation to me, as are all the following numbers generally assigned to the Higher Arcana. Rather, these cards more accurately corresponds to the letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Their ordering is from 1-22.


Uniquely, the Hebrew Letters are considered feminine in nature and each has three aspects:1) a vocalization, or a silent breath; 2) a numerical value sometimes distinct from her alphabetical order. Kabbalists find mystical associations in numerical relationships between words of the Torah which equal the same value. This is called "gamatria", ie the letter in the 12th position is Lamed, and she has a numerical value of 30; and 3) a symbolic-spiritual quality arrayed in each of the letter's form or architecture. Even if you don't understand the Hebrew language, scanning a text of each letter's sacred geometry will impart meaning to your subconscious.


The tarot card, The Fool corresponds to the Hebrew letter Aleph. She is silent, has no sound, and is assigned the same number and numerical value of 1, as in one God. Spiritually and symbolically, Aleph is often associated with; A) an ox or energy, which animates our actions, B) breath, the divine breath in all sentient beings, and C) wisdom, which comes from finding a balance between one's spiritual and everyday, work world. You see, The Fool is wise because she listens to and follows the inner whisper of the Divine voice that is available to all of us. The Holy Fool builds trust in herself. Not afraid to get on the road, to take that first step, she is in a state of wonder as she pursues her calling. This distinguishes her from those who do foolish, and impetuous acts. The test for The Fool is to stay the course in the midst of adversity, doubt, and fears. And if she loses her way, as we often do, hopefully she will find her way back.


Street Tarot Blog
Street Tarot Blog

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Updated: Sep 18, 2023

Most academics consider Rene Descartes (1596-1650) the father of modern philosophy and many people know his famous statement, “cogito, ergo sum”, (I think, therefore I am) which means thoughts cannot be separated from the person, therefore the person exists. Now, in the postmodern age computers can “think” and many jobs are becoming obsolete, even certain legal services, in favor of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Postmodernism now holds relativism in vogue. Initially, it was a counter-philosophy to the blanket consensus generated by a "powerful elite's theory" of truth. "History is written by the victors" is a fitting example. Relativism is perfectly fine if there is a genuine interest in pursuing credible, albeit, minority theories such as critical race theory, or occultism. It is not okay when relativism has no guiding principles about right and wrong, and no ethical guidelines. It results in gullible people believing false narratives. It's when propaganda is defended with arguments such as "truth isn't necessarily everyone's truth" "facts aren't facts" or "there are alternative facts".   


"Thinking" inevitably involves an internal dialogue with oneself, and speaking to others. For some folks the act of thinking is underutilized. Or maybe, they are insecure, not strong in themselves, and eager for a leader, someone to follow. . . .Then along comes a charmer of a person.


I influence, therefore I am. What does that mean? Today, very important people are trailblazers and trendsetters on podcasts, TikTok, YouTube, and other social media platforms. Some of the sites are places where people get their "news". These modern day leaders are masters of communication with an enormous amount of self-confidence. An influencer who monetizes what they put on the internet through followers and subscribers is the dream-job many aspire to. Self actualization comes when others "click", "comment" "like", and "love" your posts. It can be addictive, which is also a hidden danger. However, these influencers have no real motivation to harm anyone, rather their aim simply might be to capitalize on their own vanity.


The Torah teaches creation occurs through the spoken word. So, it's no coincidence God is known in Hebrew by the name, HaMashpiah or The Influencer. The phrase “God said”, or some fashion of those words, are stated nine times in the first chapter of Genesis, while the tenth is an internal utterance or inner will of God inferred from the opening sentence, "In the beginning" or "With beginning". Kabbalists recognize these sayings, or fiats, gave rise to not only the seven days of creation but, more importantly, ten power centers known as Sephirot.


As a very brief introduction, the sephirotic system is loosely similar to the more familiar Chakra system. The Sephirot (singular Sephirah) are ten characteristics attributable to the Divine. Since we are created in the image of God, they are mirrored in HaAdam, or humans, and the world we live in. When translated into English the Sephirot are known as: Crown, Wisdom, Understanding, Kindness, Judgment or Power, Beauty, Majesty or Splendor, Endurance or Eternity, Foundation, and Kingdom. Future blog posts will address these aspects and their associations with the Tree of Life, the Hebrew Letters and Vowels, and the Tarot cards in greater detail. For now, let's acknowledge the act of speaking (and the written word) can be an energetic tool for manifestation, self actualization, engendering wholesome relationships, and fixing what's broken in the world. I honor this type of communication.


Speech used as a weapon for self aggrandizement, personal advantage and profit at the expense of others is never my style. This type of influencer can lead to crimes. The con men, conspirators, flim-flam artists, fraudsters, grifters, and tricksters will talk you out of your money. Their sales pitch takes the proverbial "used car salesman" to a whole other level. All their illegal conduct uses speech to gain your confidence. You put your trust in this person, or group of people, and don't realize you are their mark until it's way too late. You've already been swindled.


The great Jewish philosopher and Torah scholar, Maimonides considered it our personal responsibility to develop divine qualities which required selecting proper role models. Who are yours? When I think of an Influencer who uses speech to take advantage of others the tarot card The Devil comes to mind. Numbered XV, or 15 in the Suit of Trumps, this card exemplifies the charismatic personality who convinces folks with lies and half-truths he has new ideas, creative projects, and promises great monetary returns if they believe in him. Actually, he will lead people down dark alleys, and inevitably rob them of their wallets, life savings, and their souls too. Be aware! The Devil can disguise himself as anyone, even a politician. This false-prophet distracts with words about making the country great again. Meanwhile, he's fleecing his flock of supporters, and he'll engage in a criminal enterprise to nullify people's vote and retain power.


The only way out of the devil's snare of corruption and web of deceit is through due diligence, make informed decisions, and not to follow others blindly. Most importantly, develop a sense of humor. It can be your greatest ability to disarm a bully. Laugh at the Devil. You will humiliate him. Tell others, and tell the "Devil" he is not wearing any clothes.


Street Tarot
Street Tarot

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Updated: Aug 2, 2023

While standing on my front balcony, situated across from three city parks and two churches, a tap-tap scraping sound captures my attention. My eyes focus on the culprit. It's a fallen, bronze colored, magnolia leaf. An early morning breeze rolls the hardened frond along the road. Tap-tap, scrape. Tap-tap, scrape.


There's something about Nature. As with me, does she call to you to see her, walk with her, recognize your body is aligned with her, and your senses interact with her? Mother Nature cleanses my spirit from the angst of city life. At the same time her raw power makes me fearful. We witness tumultuous conditions from climate change even if not experiencing her wrath directly. News outfits stream videos of catastrophic events from around the globe. It is unsettling. Full of compassion my heart sinks laden with sadness for those in harms way. Today, I feel lucky. But what is luck and how long does it last?


Awe and fear also characterizes how we can experience the spiritual realm. Interestingly, life-affirming and destruction wrapped up in one female god manifests in a number of religions; the Hindu goddess Kali exemplifies the powers of creator and destroyer; in Kabbalah, the feminine Divine Presence dwelling amongst us is known as the Shekhinah who rewards us for good deeds or meters out punishment for bad ones; and Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest who causes plants to grow or not.


Many people prefer to seek the divine amongst the forests and lakes, rather than in a church, synagogue or temple of organized religion. Even on a secular level most of us are in awe of Mother Nature. She reflects more clearly the notion God's presence is everywhere. As a society we place great value in preserving her through State and national parks, and protective statutes. Unfortunately, a few people hold everyone and everything on the planet hostage while they peddle their anti-science propaganda in support of polluters. Certainly, biblical exegesis of Genesis 2:15 recognize Adam was put in the Garden of Eden "to work it and to guard it" and not to exploit it to serve his own ends. "As stewards of resources placed at our disposal by the Creator, we are duty-bound to expand our concern beyond instant gratification and economic benefits and assign much greater weight to our policies' effect upon posterity." - Rabbi Walter S. Wurzburger.


I am no expert in the field of ecology and climate change, but I do know this; the minor suits of a tarot deck numbers 56 cards, and correspond to the four basic elements. Here, the suit of Disks, or Pentacles is earth; water is Cups; air is Swords; and fire is Wands. The major suit of Trumps, composed of 22 cards, provides an archetypical, and phenomenological map to mirror ourselves and our experiences in the world. Studying and working with the cards is a personal, subjective, and intuitive way to understand we are a part of Nature, and not totally distinct from her. "The Tarot could be described as God's Picture Book, or it could be liked to a celestial games of chess, the Trumps being the piece to be moved according to the laws of their own order over a checkered board of the four elements." - Lady Frieda Harris, artist and collaborator of Alister Crowley's Thoth Tarot Deck.


The Tower, numbered XVI or 16 in the tarot deck's major suit of Trumps, is representative of unexpected change, danger or destruction and a subsequent liberation that transforms one’s life and rebirths a new point of view. In its foreground, the card is traditionally depicted as a tall tower struck by a lightning bolt. Dark smoke billows, while a raging fire threatens folks inside. Some of them jump from the tower's balustrades. Terror reigns. Contrarily, a sun shines in a distant sky as a peaceful dove flies across the expanse.


The symbolism of a shattered structure can refer to an actual tragedy, or a forced move from a home, store, or office building. There is a psychological aspects to the card where one suddenly must abandon entrenched paradigms and beliefs for something new. A calamity can set you free from a stale status quo or prison-like conditions, and usher in new physical formations and cognitive formulations if you are ready to move forward…into the sunlight.


The Tower expresses profound, cataclysmic change. The card indicates innocence lost, never to be regained. We all must grow up, face hardships and some not of our making. In particular, it is apparent man's negligence, and in some cases greed, has escalated us into a climate emergency. The reign of fossil fuels is over. Renewables and sustainability is the new way. It has to be. Issues about access to charging stations, especially for renters, and the many hours it takes to charge an electric battery must be addressed. However, the danger represented in the Tower card points to this exact moment when the world experiences the hottest days on record.


So how does one best adapt to profound change? By being bold, experimental, and open to newness. The Torah states when the Hebrews left Egypt they did so boldly, being given what ever they asked for from the Egyptians. Exodus 13:36. This attitude of confidence beckons our society to take up the challenges of climate change. Sure there will be setbacks, ie golden calf. Nevertheless, we must allow our awe of Nature to guide us. To do nothing is to choose fear and to live on an increasingly uninhabitable Earth.


Street Tarot
Street Tarot



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