I thought today would be a good day to reflect on our friend the Fool.

I’ve actually been feeling pretty foolish lately, in several ways. So this will be a good exploration of what it means to be a fool, which will  hopefully help me to understand the Fool on a deeper level.

1 - Fool 4

Prisma Visions Tarot

On one hand,  I’ve felt like a drowning fool. Like the eager dog in the Prisma Visions’ Fool, I’ve swum out farther than I should have in my eagerness and excitement. Now I’m tired and the shore is far away. What have I done? Will I make it back to shore? Or will I perish here in this deep pool where I’ve landed myself? Will the pelican throw me that life preserver? Or it is indifferent? Or judging me for my foolishness?

I followed my heart in one direction thinking I was along on this journey with a pal, but suddenly I realized I was quite alone. I feel foolish for thinking I was part of a team. For placing so much of my heart in someone else’s hands. Of course I didn’t realize my mistake until the proverbial rug was pulled out from under me. It seemed sudden, but in hindsight I feel quite foolish indeed.

1 - Fool 1

Gypsy Palace Tarot

However, without taking foolish risks where I place my heart with other people, how will I make true connections with others? If we think of the Fool as how we are without our masks, as who we are at our core, showing our “fool” to others is the only way to make a relationship beyond the superficial level.

This in itself can be considered very “foolish” because it makes us incredibly vulnerable. If someone mocks a mask of ours, it’s easier to laugh it off because it’s not who we are. But if someone laughs at our inner self, at our soul or true self, that can be excruciating. It can be unbearable. And sharing this part of ourselves opens us up to the possibility of this kind of deep pain.

However, it would be another kind of foolishness to refuse to ever connect with with another person because of fear of ridicule. We are all connected, and if we isolate ourselves in this way we will wither and fail to thrive. We will not escape pain, but we will suffer it alone. So I to play the fool still, sharing my heart.

1 - Fool 3

Baseball Tarot

Another kind of foolishness that has been a theme over my lifetime is the fear of trying new things. If I’m not already good at something, I usually am too embarrassed to give it a try. But like the Rookie of the Baseball Tarot, you have to start somewhere. If I don’t step up to the plate, I’ll never get to play the game — only watch from the sidelines. Of course that’s okay sometimes. I don’t need to try every single thing. But to spend much of my life on the sidelines would be foolish indeed.

To avoid this, I need to “make a fool of myself” more often by getting out there and looking silly trying things I’ve never done before. I need to channel the Rookie. As the book the accompanies the Baseball Tarot says, “Experience can be earned only by those who take the chance to try” (49). The Rookie is probably nervous, but he steps up to the plate anyway.