Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Fool's Errand


The Fool card in the Tarot deck represents the first of the Major Arcana cards and is numbered at zero (0). Images on the card vary widely among the hundreds of decks available on the market today, yet many of the newer decks pay homage to the Marseilles Deck--one of the first, if not the first Tarot deck in the Western world--which depicts a man with a walking stick in one hand and another stick thrown over his shoulder with all of his worldly possessions gathered in a cloth at the end. A dog follows behind him, either begging to go along, or more likely to warn the traveler of the dangers of going on walkabout.

The second interpretation of the dog resonates with me. If we see the traveler going off to find adventure and whatever else may come his way, we can imagine the ego itself and its extensions in the world--namely other people, the state, the establishment and whatever internal need we have to impress this nameless and ubiquitous "they"--as a yapping, incessant nay-sayer.

The Rider-Waite Deck, the more readily recognized Tarot Deck in the Western world, similarly depicts a traveler with the high strung pooch following along, yet, it also shows the traveler heading toward a precipice, perhaps ready to plummet to the jagged depths below unless he awakens from his daydream and comes down to earth for just a moment to see what consequences his actions may have in the real world. In the third image above, we have a representation that harkens back to the Rider-Waite deck, but which shows a bubbly young woman and what appears to be a trailing rather than a warning hound.

The Fool card is the card of Journeys. It is the card that tells us that new opportunities for adventure, for change, for following a dream, for starting a new life are presenting themselves. We don't need much, and in fact, certain circumstances in life might very well reduce our wealth and possessions and force us upon an adventure. In part, the zero-ness of the Fool tells us that we are at a new starting point that is as yet undefined, that encompasses everything while having a distinct non-essence, much like the nameless Tao.

In practical terms, we may be at a point of having been reduced to nothing in financial, relational, occupational areas, as well as in relationship to our possessions or the number of ways we can think to get ourselves out of a jam. Once "there is nothing I can do" is accepted, it seems the door opens for endless opportunities that we couldn't think of or generate ourselves, or that we weren't previously willing to consider. Often these new opportunities entail taking that first step to adventure, to a spiritual journey to answer the big questions we may have not realized we were even asking.

The Fool beckons you to leave your tired life, the life of pandering to others, to the man, to the state, to God, to the church, or to any other thing that has you keeping a cap on your dreams, any other thing that has you saying, "I could never do that. It's just a daydream." The playing field has been leveled to zero. The road opens before you. Say "yes" to that nudge inside you that demands of you, "Trust me."