The Fool is one of my favorite cards in the Tarot because of its ambiguity.
Let’s start with its number. The Fool is neither the beginning nor the end. It’s simply Zero: a circle with no end and no beginning — infinity.
Is the Fool at the end of their hero’s journey, standing on the precipice after integrating all of the lessons of the Major Arcana?
Or is the Fool at the beginning of their journey, blind to the joys and challenges that lay beyond the steep drop-off?
The Fool reminds us of the great cosmic joke that is life. On a soul level, we all chose to be here.
Perhaps we — like the Fool — naively believed that all we needed for our Earthly journey was a small rucksack and a single flower.
The dog alerts us to the steep drop-off. “This isn’t going to be easy,” it warns.
And yet this warning falls on deaf ears.
The Fool embodies blind faith: our eyes gaze upward toward the sky, toward God and then —
Do we fight the fall? Or do we become delicate like a cat?
From What is Tao? by Alan Watts:
“When a cat falls out of a tree, it lets go of itself. The cat becomes completely relaxed, and lands lightly on the ground. But if a cat were about to fall out of a tree and suddenly make up its mind that it didn’t want to fall, it would become tense and rigid, and would be just a bag of broken bones upon landing.
In the same way, it is the philosophy of the Tao that we are all falling off a tree, at every moment of our lives. As a matter of fact, the moment we were born we were kicked off a precipice and we are falling, and there is nothing that can stop it. So instead of living in a state of chronic tension, and clinging to all sorts of things that are actually falling with us because the whole world is impermanent, be like a cat.”
Can you pinpoint the instant the suited man realizes that he’s not falling, but flying?
The line between falling and flying is almost imperceptible.
Faith allows us to act from a state of pure relaxation. Its power lies in its invisibility.
It’s the knowing that the steps we are taking — no matter how ostensibly FOOLish — are leading us not into the dark abyss, but down a brightly lit path, a path that will become brighter with every step we take.
What cliff are we afraid of jumping off? Who is in our ear, projecting their doubts and fears onto us?
The other side of foolishness is wisdom, but sometimes wisdom can weigh us down.
The Fool, the cat, the suited man…We are all in this seemingly endless fall through life together. We can fall through it, kicking and screaming. Or we can choose to surrender to the unseen wind rushing past our faces — and fly.
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