Updated: Oct 5
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.