Let’s start 2019 on the right foot with a post on the tarot.
Le Matt, The Inner Child, The Student
Upright – Beginnings, Spontaneity, Innocence, Freedom, the start of a journey, unformed potential
Reverse – Naivety, Foolishness, Recklessness, acting without care or thought, taking unnecessary risk
The Fool of the Rider-Waite-Smith
The Fool stands in the centre of the card, face upturned and filled with unconcerned anticipation as he journeys towards the edge of the precipice without heed of the barking hound at his feet.
The Fool represents be beginning of things, his potential as yet unformed and unrealised, but there is complete confidence that the choices made are the right ones. He heads towards initiation of sorts, an initiation by air which is an initiation of trust. Air is the element of the Fool and is indicated by the cliff, feather and the predominance of the colour yellow.
The Fool carries a staff, and symbol which is seen throughout the major arcana, but rather than using it to aid his step or show his power the Fool uses it to carry his pack, which in a sense is a misuse of his power.
At the end of the staff, the Fool carries a travel pack. The pack is small and can be taken to indicate that the Fool has either discarded all but that which is necessary to his journey or has planned for his journey poorly.
The little white dog follows his master and faithfully, regardless of his actions and decision. Hrs mirrors his master in his blind faith and his colouring is a reminder of the purity of the Fool’s thoughts and intention. The dog can also be interpreted as attempting to get the Fool’s attention, warning him of the dangers ahead. In this interpretation, the dog becomes a representation of the people around the Fool, who may be giving both good and bad advice in equal measure.
The Apprentice of the Arcana
In the Arcana deck, the Fool card is also called the Apprentice and this is the only card within the deck that does not have an animal image to represent the card. This is because this is the card that represents the playable character in the game and so the developers did not want to create preconceptions regarding the age, sex or gender of the person ‘taking the journey’. In the same way, the card represents the querent without the presumption.
Of the key symbols retained from the Rider-Waite-Smith, the element of Air is heavily emphasised by the presence of large whispy clouds in the distance whilst the cliff remains in the foreground reminding us of a leap into the unknown future.
The Sun, which is also prevalent in the Rider-Waite-Smith Fool (though not discussed here), is represented stylistically with the 5 rayed sun in the centre of the image. If the arms of the sun are projected there would be 12 in total, reminiscent of the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The rays, touching the middle distance in the image, are a reminder that an important interpretation of this card is as a beginning of a journey from innocence and ignorance into power and knowledge, which very much the journey of the Apprentice through the game itself.
I quite like that this card is so far open to interpretation if for no other reason it reminds me that the energies it represents are so unformed as to have no form at all. The potential energy is there but no steps have been taken mould it in many ways. Equally, I have always found the court cards as significators problematic as they attempt to cram people into boxes which may not be entirely relevant in this day and age. The fluidity of the Arcana’s Apprentice card as a catch-all significator appeals to my intuition fully.