The Fool

This man is no fool. He’s opted for the magical portal door out of 2020 and into a magical garden. His dog points him in the right direction! He’s traveling light. Nothing but a backpack. Whatever awaits him will be a fabulous new adventure!

What this Card Means: when you draw the Fool card in a tarot reading, it usually indicates a new beginning, a fresh start! The Fool is ready to take on a new adventure and doesn’t bring a lot of expectations of past baggage into the next moment. He doesn’t worry either. He’s kinda oblivious. Some might say reckless. But for the Fool, it is important to remain open minded to what you might find in this new moment. Coming in with preconceived notions, expectations, a rigid set of what you will accept—these dont work in this situation. This card is asking you to go with the flow, to walk intuitively into the next situation, start the next adventure with a freedom and a flexibility.

I often think of the Fool as a traveler. When you travel, especially to a foreign country, you are not going to get the kinds of things you had back home. And that is a PLUS! But it can also be a bit of culture shock.

I went on a singing tour of Germany when I was in my early 20s with a group from my college, and everything was awesome for all 16 of us at first. But as the two weeks went on, we started dividing into two camps: those who were going with the flow and enjoying the adventure, and those who felt homesick and pushed back against the strangeness.

For that latter group, a German hotdog could be a statement against the US, with its hollowed out bread and the hotdog stuck through the top (almost like a corn dog). They refused to learn the language. They started becoming more American as we were there, wanting to sing the National Anthem everywhere. They complained about things Germans offered them, and formed a support group based around how much they felt like a foreigner. To them, the country was not accepting them as an American—and they couldn’t get American things, and so they were rejecting Germany as hard as they could. They saw any adaptation as a loss of their identity. Why should they change to accommodate others?

For others, like myself, we found ourselves learning German, tasting all the wonders of German cuisine, allowing ourselves to enjoy sandwiches for breakfast, and just ‘becoming German’ as much as we could to blend into the culture. We didn’t see it as a loss of our American identity—-we knew we were American—but we felt it important to enjoy the host country and live as Germans to understand them better.

THE FOOL is the energy of adaptation, of meeting a new situation and going with the flow, of being open to new experiences! He can also be interpreted as reckless, not really considering his actions, and there is a warning of looking before you leap—sometimes.

WHAT I CONSIDERED IN MAKING THIS CARD: I made this card in September of 2020, after 6 months of Covid isolation, during the fires in California, the pandemic, the collapse of trusted government offices and positions, and lots of feelings of powerlessness. I wanted a portal out of here.

My Fool is still poised like the Original Rider-Waite Fool, walking into a new situation, but he is purposely escaping one situation and walking into the unknown. He has incentive to leave. The original Fool? We don’t know if there were an inciting incident that causes him to leave his familiar surroundings, or be willing to walk off a cliff! But the card is usually interpreted positively. Beginnings! Free Spirit! Innocence!

I kept the overall stance of the Fool. His packing light mentality. In this card, he is unaware of his surrounding, but I gave my fool a keen awareness of what was around him so he didn’t miss this new opportunity—this door opening up. Because I see the Fool as opportunity! Take the leap! Does the man know where the door will go? no. Could it be worse than the flames and “dumpster fire” around him? Yes. But he is going to try it anyway.

I kept the little white dog—who in my case might be directing him TO the portal. In the older card, the dog is neutral, or might be trying to stop him. But I felt like if the little dog is a conscience that he would be pushing my Fool into the portal.

The card is peak 2020. But I think the themes are universal.

When it is reversed it can mean recklessness, taking a risk when you shouldn’t, or sometimes even stopping yourself from taking an opportunity because you have doubts. Upright, you are in the flow of the universe and it is taking you to new places. Reversed and you are fighting that flow—either jumping when you shouldn’t or holding back when you should take a leap of faith.

What does the FOOL card mean to you?

Published by jstueart

Jerome writes science fiction/ fantasy and queer fiction and has been published in many magazines and journals including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Lightspeed, Fantasy, Tor.com, Strange Horizons. His first collection, The Angels of Our Better Beasts, was published in 2016 and was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award. His work was/is a finalist for the Eugie Award and the World Fantasy Award. He also makes art---acrylic paintings and small watercolor paintings. He holds a PhD in English and is currently working on an MA in Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life at Pacifica Graduate Institute. He lived for 10 years in the Yukon Territory, but now lives in Columbus OH.

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