I hugged safety close to my chest and kissed risk full on the lips.
Betsy Cañas Garmon, artist and teacher
In this week when our Summer breaks are winding down and the world has perhaps been weighing too heavily upon us, it is with a glad heart that we welcome The Fool.
Sometimes misunderstood by those who prioritize the feeling of being in control, The Fool is a card of joy, risk-taking, and spontaneity.
In his hand, the Rider-Waite-Smith Fool holds a white rose – symbol of passion, beauty, and purity. He is about to take a fall into the unknown. This is despite, or perhaps at the urging of, the little white dog at his heels. He carries his “baggage” with him, indicating he has not entirely abandoned his history or life experiences.
Yet there is nothing weighty or ponderous in that bag. And the stick upon which it is attached is a magic wand. One could surmise that The Fool is unaware of his own power. His arms are spread wide, his heart is unshielded.
The Fool is the Zero in the Tarot – the beginning and end of the Major Arcana journey, but not a part of the story itself.
And rather than the Minors’ focus on, say, matters of the mind in the Swords, or security and resources in the Pentacles, remember that the Majors offer us powerful life lessons that affect all aspects of our lives.
So, after last week’s card about making up our minds, it’s time to follow through. Now is the moment to launch into the unknown. The Fool invites a complete reboot, right down to the soul level of our lives.
Play Days and First Days
Now that Lughnasdh has passed, those of us in tune with Nature can clearly see the proof of the waning daylight, even though Summer’s heat may still be its fiercest.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the first signs of Spring are becoming more insistent, and Winter’s grip begins to melt away.
For all of us, there are winds of change in the air, and stirrings of transition; endings and beginnings and the pause between.
The Fool is a splendid companion for those of us taking our final days of Summer vacation, leaving behind for a little while longer our serious grown-up cares, in order to enjoy playtime.
(You are giving yourself that, right? If your workaholic adult self wants to deny you, here is a New York Times article to convince even the toughest inner critic).
And as our Summer holidays wind down, lots of people are preparing for the new school year that begins soon. Perhaps for you, too, “Back to School” was an annual ritual of fresh beginnings: the first day of school, wearing new clothes, in a new grade, promising new friends, new teachers, and unknown experiences ahead.
Although we may be long out of our school days, the allure of all those crisp new notebooks, packs of clean, loose leaf paper, pencils, and day planners in the stores now is a temptation we still love to indulge, whether we really need those items or not!
Thus, The Fool is our guide through the endings of Summer’s carefree days, with Fall plans still yet to be. We stand on the cusp of a new beginning.
I Double-Dog Dare You
The Fool is the perfect representative for the millions who find themselves watching television comedians to get the real news, and consider the “straight” news to be laughably absurd.
He dares us to break free of convention, and be boldly honest. We invoke The Fool when we speak truth to power.
The Fool cares not one bit if he is criticized or laughed at. And unlike some in the current spotlight who are currying popularity by playing the fool, he is incapable of guile. He is a guardian and guide, whose candid boldness is never tainted by hubris or manipulation.
Thus, he bestows the gift of seeing through deception by our insistence on simplicity and transparency.
He is the part of us who knows that to be more creative, we must be willing to embrace failure. For without taking that flying, crazy, wild step, we will never move forward, much less, succeed.
The Fool is only a fool in the eyes of those who judge him. In his own mind, he is simply following his bliss. Thus, the Universe supports the Fool’s leap, for he embodies what is most tender and noble in our humanity.
No breakthrough, no cure, no discovery, no accomplishment in human history was ever made without someone being ridiculed as a fool for trying. And to fall in love is to be The Fool.
Taking the risk of authenticity is the scariest, most necessary thing we will ever do. And we are required to do it over and over, many times, every day.
But dare we must, or else join the ranks of the lost, who are paralyzed in fruitless caution. I am sure you, as do I, see them every day.
The Life-Healing Antidote for Our Need to Control
Please don’t stay stuck in last week’s Two of Swords. Do not overthink this! The point is that we must be willing to risk failure. Who cares if we look incompetent, silly, childlike, and raw? So what if we end up having to clean up a mistake or two, as long as our hearts are true?
Even though success cannot be guaranteed, you will always lose out on the attempts you do not make.
What crazy, foolish, you-ought-to-know-better thing is your spirit crying out for this week? For truly, you must take that step.
No more waiting, dithering, second thoughts, and self-doubts. This is your “get out of jail free” card.
Now is the time to step forward, sail away from those safe, stale harbors, though we might not know to what distant lands the journey may take us.
To discover your true calling, be willing to dance into uncertainty. It’s time to kiss your life’s adventure full on the lips.