Ok, so I know I said that posts would go up approximately weekly, and ordinarily I would be apologetic that I have been a bit late in posting. However, I’m not actually sorry, and in the spirit of self-care, I’m going to be honest about my actual situation.
I’m dealing with the death of one of the dearest people in my life. Also, this month, I did two trips related to a friend’s destination wedding, a trip to LA to go to a convention with some friends, and my husband and I had a transmission failure in one of our cars. We salvaged the old car, bought a new car, and we’re in the middle of working on a kitchen remodel. Also – I’m still holding down that full time job with roughly 25% travel, and I have two work trips lined up for the next two weeks.
Not that I’m required to give any explanation for why I’m not keeping up with this particular personal obligation, but I guess I feel like people aren’t honest enough about why things fall through the cracks. We’re human, and we fail sometimes. Period. In my case – I over-commit to things. I generally deliver on all my commitments, but it comes at the cost of my own mental/physical well-being. So, in the spirit of the new moon and Uranus moving into Taurus, it feels like a good time to recommit to personal goals, self-care, and things that bring me joy (i.e., this project, meditation, time for myself, etc.), and letting go of some of the stuff that I had to do but didn’t necessarily choose to do over the course of the last month. All of this discussion around conscious personal change has a link to the card we’re going to discuss today – the first of the Major Arcana, The Fool – which is all about new beginnings.
Before we dive straight into the card itself, I realized that I haven’t talked about reversals at all in the Tarot Basics Blog that I posted back in April. So, now is as good a time as any to cover it. Sometimes when you’re reading Tarot, you’ll pull a card in the reversed position – meaning the card will be inverted in the spread. Reading reversals is totally optional. I repeat: reading reversals is totally optional. I, personally, am an advocate for reading reversals. I think they bring something really useful to a reading. But, it’s absolutely not required. As was mentioned in the Tarot Basics Blog, reading Tarot is all about your intuition. So, if it doesn’t feel intuitively “right” for you to be reading reversals, then don’t do it. Also, for beginners, learning to read upright cards can be a lot of work. So, I recommend waiting until you feel comfortable with upright card meanings before you start working into reading reversals.
Alright, so what do reversals tell us? Reversals represent where the energy of the card is blocked, imbalanced, or internalized (rather than expressed in an external way). Reversals can also represent masked issues or opportunities that aren’t immediately known to us. Ultimately, I feel like they make my readings more complete.
Fool – Upright:
Remember in the Tarot Basics Blog when we talked about how the Major Arcana represent a journey? The Fool is the beginning of that journey. The card shows a somewhat young person looking optimistic. They have their belongings are on their back, and they're holding a white rose. The person looks like they're about to start off on a trip. On a macro-level, this card is about the beginning of a journey and new beginnings in general - specifically, this card (at Key 0) deals with our soul. The fool represents a soul stepping into a body and starting a journey or a cycle on the planet. It's the infinite part of us.
But, if we want to dive into some of the minutia, we can talk about some of the specific imagery on the card and what it represents. The white dog symbolizes our natural instincts and our ability to learn to follow those instincts, and the rose has been said to represent purity – the purity of something new. The person is smiling and looking off in the distance, and the dog appears playful and happy, but you will also notice that the person appears to be just about to step off of a cliff. These pieces of imagery are associated with the blind optimism that accompanies the naivety of being at a “beginning” in life. When we don’t know what threats are out there, we don’t know what to fear or how to protect ourselves. The person hasn’t come into contact with the external forces the world has to offer. Nor have they learned the vital life lessons required for survival.
There are appropriate times for optimism in life, of course. However, this card has always spoken to me, personally, from a cautionary place of “you’re at a new beginning, and everything is exciting, but remember – keep your wits about you.” Maybe that’s because my chart is very fiery (I’m an Aries sun and a Leo moon), and new beginnings are basically my favorite thing. I can get very seduced by the idea of “starting over,” and I love the potential that starting fresh holds. In general, I don’t feel like this card always carries that same cautionary message for everyone. It’s just the feeling that I get when I read for myself, but I have seen it in a few past readings for others as well.
One reading I remember particularly well was for a very close friend. She was in a relatively new relationship with a guy who had her completely snowed in terms of who he was. Everyone around her could see that this guy was an emotional and financial leech, but she couldn’t – at least in her conscious mind. She wanted it to work so badly. She had this blind optimism about the entire situation. So, when she asked me to do a spread about her relationship, and she drew The Fool, I wasn’t surprised in the slightest. The Fool was telling her that, "yes, this is all new and exciting, but be careful – you are more naïve with regards to the issues in question than you are currently aware of. Seek out some objectivity/wisdom and proceed with caution." In the end, the collective unconscious in her knew the answer. They ended up breaking up, and she moved on to meet the guy she would eventually marry. She looks back on that reading sometimes and remembers The Fool. We actually were talking about it the day after her wedding a few weeks ago.
In other readings, and in less of a cautionary sense, The Fool shows up as a blank slate or a new start which we sometimes desperately need in life. I have had The Fool pop up in readings with people who are starting new careers or relocating somewhere completely new. When The Fool shows up in this capacity, it signifies the start of a new “cycle” in life. These cycles are necessary for our growth and evolution as people.
The Fool is generally associated with elemental air as well as Uranian planetary nature. Each card has zodiac/planetary/elemental associations – the archetypes are all connected. So, for quick reference, remember that elemental air relates to the purity of the mind, our thought/intellect, how we process information, and synthesis/analysis. Additionally, the Uranian planetary nature is associated with ingenuity, new and unconventional ideas, individuality, democracy, and revolutions. So, when you put all of that together, The Fool holds the energy of complete unrealized potential. It’s a truly clean start to process information, learn about our instincts, create new things, begin a new cycle, and make fresh boundaries or life patterns.
Fool – Reversed:
As I mentioned earlier, when a card shows up reversed in a reading, it’s not necessarily a negative message – which is a very common misconception about reversals. Reversals show us “the other side of the coin” in terms of how the energy is manifesting or needs to be manifested in our lives. If The Fool, upright, is about fresh starts, potential, purity, and naivety, then the reversal can be indicating a block or imbalance of this energy. Is the person fighting the urge for a new beginning to stay in a stagnant situation?
The reversal of this card also brings messages about poor decisions and judgement which does not follow our instincts. This kind of goes along with the aspect of naivety which we discussed with the upright interpretation of the card.
Most often I find that this reversal deals with a desire to be free of the stuff in life that weighs you down. It generally shows up when we feel trapped or stuck. It’s priming us for that new beginning that the upright interpretation of the card brings. However, the energy of this reversal is all about how we get free to go after that new beginning. Typically, this reversal warns of using poor judgement to get out of a situation prematurely in an effort to start fresh. This card advises the use of sound reasoning to tie up loose ends on a given situation before proceeding into the next new thing. While the upright interpretation is about the purity, inexperience, and optimism of youth in an archetypal sense, the reversal is about growing up, dealing with our issues, finishing what we start, and moving on only when the time is right and we’ve thought everything through.
So – that’s The Fool – next week, we’ll talk about the next card in the Major Arcana, The Magician.
As always, and now more than ever, thanks so much for your support and for being patient with me as I’ve dealt with what feels like the craziest 7 weeks ever!