I like to think that I have a good sense of humor. Of course, people who do not have a good sense of humor probably say the same thing.🧐
However. I do not like practical jokes so I have always found April Fool’s Day cringe-y. Similar to the way that I have a hard time watching very amateur improv, it makes me uncomfortable to see people appear—and possibly feel—foolish. (At least with amateur improvisers, they’re in on the joke.)
But being seen as foolish takes on a different tenor when seen in light of the tarot.*
In the tarot, the Fool is often seen as the symbol of the start of a journey and all that may represent:
Adventure. Unknowns. Taking a leap of faith. Beginner’s mind.
Here are three traditional/traditional-inspired versions of The Fool (the caption identifies which decks they are from).
Looking up or at least forward, these people seem to be at risk but they are blissfully unaware of the cliff’s edge. What seems foolhardy may simply reflect trust in the universe. “Begin walking and the path appears.”
It is often our fear that prevents us from moving forward. Sometimes we just need to take a leap of faith.
The fool is not constrained by baggage (notice they’re all traveling light with only a satchel or mini backpack) and despite seeming ill-prepared, they step forward into the unknown. Untainted by what we have already experienced, how could we show up in the world?
We can surmise they are bringing a “Beginner’s Mind,” seeing every moment as new. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
The true beginner’s mind leads us to this version of The Fool:
This adorable newly hatched chick does not know anything, so it is a fool in the sense that it has no knowledge. It doesn’t even have its feathers yet—and looks like it’s about to learn a valuable lesson when it steps off that branch!
The tenderness this image evokes may remind us to see our own folly with benevolence and compassion.
You don’t know what you don’t know, sometimes the journey is the only way to learn.
This final Fool card may bring it all together:
Resting on what appears to be a log floating in water, the crow fool does not seem aware of how tenuous that position is: one slight shift in either direction and SPLASH! But instead, the crow looks at peace. Trust? Foolishness? Beginner’s mind?
Also of note are the three lotus flowers floating nearby. In many traditions, the lotus not only represents purity but also rebirth. What a great message for those of us who need to be reminded that out of muddy waters beauty may grow again. Life is an adventure, and every day and every step is a new beginning. No foolin’.
*This article was partly inspired by Empress Rose’s All Signs April Fool’s Readings.
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