An intuition arose to write a blog about the tarot card, The Fool. When not working on the draft, I noticed fools began to appear everywhere! Here are just two of many examples: 1)A British detective series to my surprise had an episode with a tarot reader and the first card pulled from the 78-card deck was The Fool; and 2) in a 1940's film noir movie on YouTube, someone was called a "fool" at the 6-minute mark, and again at 21:51, and within minutes of the ending someone called someone else a fool three more times. Anyway, back to my story and my blog. These "fool" coincidences are little signs that let me know I am on the right street and not foolishly going the wrong way in my writings.
The traditional tarot card depicts The Fool as a vagabond carrying a stick over one shoulder with a sack of meager belongings tied to the end. The boy radiates happiness, looking up at the sky, as he sets out on an adventure. It's a sunny day, yet, with the next step he is about to walk off the edge a cliff. Meanwhile, a dog at his leg tries to get his attention and warn of the danger. Speaking of cliffs, lately, I've noticed there are a few TV ads with things, people, trucks, or whatever near the edge of one. Not only fools, but cliffs are everywhere, literally and figuratively! Be careful.
Let's take a moment to make an important distinction. My examples of fools and cliff coincidentally occurring are not the same as "frequency illusion" or what's also known as the "Baader–Meinhof" phenomenon. This 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 is 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, which I wrote about in my memoir, My Random Death. Wisdom seekers must answer this undeniable calling. What compels them involves deep questions about self and trust. A sense of trust in oneself can bind you to a faith in a greater good. This kind of fool knows she will be safe. In my case, it was a way to know my uniqueness in the face of being a twin. Albeit not hitching rides, my twin sister later took her solo journeys from Machu Picchu in Peru, to being the first foreigner in a certain area of Afghanistan. Photographs of her travels are on her website: marla.net
There is a tale about the Baal Shem Tov. A famous rabbi and founder of the chassidic movement, who as a boy, the villagers thought a fool when after school he would spend time alone in the fields and the forests. Children were usually afraid of these places, but it was here he found the quiet time to contemplate the wonders of God. Whereas a witless person has no common sense about a big-picture, purpose. Instead, she'll plunge foolishly ahead to satisfy a seductive itch. Of course, it's common to inadvertently make a fool out of yourself due to sheer stupidity. A friend once said it’s healthy to do this twice a year. It can keep you humble. Perhaps, some people, especially seducers and 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 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 to succumb to fear and turn back. This kind of occurrence reminds us that life can be dangerous and full of edges. Yet to reach our goals, our highest dreams, we must move forward. 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 next step, and build on our your faith. You don't really know how steep the cliff is unless you check it out. Be aware. It's never easy. Life is always a step by step, inch by inch process. We must find the courage to act in the face of the known and unknown.
To understand the distinction between foolishness and a Holy Fool we must now briefly address the Hebrew Letter association to the Tarot. Generally, numbered 0 in the Suit of Trumps, the card, The Fool has nothing to do with zero. Pun intended! Frankly, its a meaningless designation to me, as are all the other numbers assigned to Trumps. You see, traditionally the Trumps are numbered from 0-21. Rather, the cards more accurately corresponds to letters in the Hebrew Alphabet and their ordering from 1-22. Uniquely, the Holy Hebrew Letters each have three aspects to their meaning:1) a sound; 2) it's numerical value distinct from its alphabetical order, ie the letter in the 12th position is Lamed. She has a numerical value of 30; and 3) a symbolic-spiritual aspect.
The tarot card, The Fool corresponds to the Hebrew letter Aleph. She is silent, has no sound, and is assigned the numerical value of 1 as in one God. Spiritually and symbolically, Aleph is associated with; a) an ox or energy, b) breath as in the silent, divine breath in all sentient beings, and c) wisdom, which comes from finding a balance between the spiritual and one's everyday, work world. For you see, this Holy Fool is silent and wise because she is listening to and following the inner whisper of the divine voice. She is confident, and building trust in herself and a sense faith as she pursues her calling. This distinguishes her from foolish, impulsive acts. The test for The Holy Fool is to stay the course in the midst of adversity, doubt, and fears. We'll see. . .
originally published October 1, 2023 (MyRandomDeath.com)