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Bohemian Gothic Study Group - The Fool

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Couldn't resist posting as it is fantastic to see another convert to the deck.

I think the joke here is meant to be perhaps on the watcher: the Fool strikes me as perfectly poised and balanced. But is this overconfidence?...... Pride and ignorance can be a dangerous combination.

Aerin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thirteen
. . . The rest of this deck is all about things that lure us, about supernatural encounters. It's apt to start this deck with the Fool going out on the gargoyle to foolishly meet the supernatural. Are we, perhaps, doing the same and being equally foolish as we take on this deck?
You know, Thirteen, I hadn't thought about that.

But I also have only just heard this deck calling to me very recently after I spent the summer months with another.

So I think I will spend the winter finding out. I'm going to make this my primary reading deck for a few months and see what happens.
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I am a very late convert to this deck as I once said it did not attract me at all....but lately my tastes have changed radically & so here I am.....

To me that building behind him/her looks very forbidding & he/she seems to me to be turning away from the enclosed space & walls towards what the light is shining on & illuminating, he/she looks very focused almost as if in a yoga pose!....I'm also wondering how strong that structure is that he is standing on & whether he will have taken the leap & moved on before it gives way....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thirteen
Thus, we enter a deck with a Fool boldly leaving the safety of the church, stepping out atop the gargoyle as if wanting to come face to face with the evil spirits that the gargoyle faces every night; The Fool takes on gargoyle stance, as if that will protect him/her. But does he/she know what they're really getting into? Is it foolish to think that by mimicking the gargoyle he/she will fool the spirits he/she is about to encounter?
It's the Fool's Journey and the beginning of the deck and I totally agree with you,Thirteen!
It is a beautiful card for the start of the deck - the moon hints at the "lunar" part of the psyche, what we can expect to encounter in this deck. I see the Fool as who we are, taking a step into this deck and exploring the Dark Side to achieve Wholeness. It looks like the Fool is sleepwalking, lost in the Dreams of the Moon and following the unconscious to bring about "enlightenment".
Now I know why I "feel" so much with this deck, Thank you Thirteen!
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I don't see anything necessarily sinister about this card, beyond trusting ancient stonework to be structurally sound.

To me, the Fool looks like a woman, particularly under a magnifying glass. She looks like she's practising tai chi, wearing a black ghi instead of a white one. Tai chi is about focus and awareness, breath (chi, life force), balance, and coordination. It is practised in slow motion in deep concentration, in order that the movements become second nature should they be put to actual use. This also develops strength, coordination, and balance. At speed, tai chi is very dancelike.

Tai chi's three pillars, if I remember, are Spirit, Health, and Martial Art. Although physical danger seems the most obvious peril she faces, in this deck there is much spiritual darkness portrayed, which is the more dangerous. She faces the darkness that the gargoyles face, ready to tackle them as a martial artist, if she must. But the fool's journey is a journey of spirit, and as her eyes are closed, she is trusting her inner vision, her inner awareness, to guide her to enlightenment. Does she make it? Well, we see her again, wearing white, as the world dancer, with similarly controlled motions and balance, and an enlightened spirit.

I'm not sure what the significance of her headdress is.
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I sense we have here a fool/jester/clown person working on a number. He trusts himself that he is capable to hold and not to fall. This is not the first time he works on that one. It's possible there are people watching him below and this is a live representation. We at least know the gargoyle is there, watching him, wondering what to make of him. The Fool seems unaware the house is alive and could push him down there if it thinks he acts too foolishly. So while the Fool shows extraordinary control right now, life as the house can kick him down though anytime. It is possible as well the jester died here when he did his number and fell, and he keeps repeating the same thing again and again every night for a audience that isn't there anymore, his own king is long dead.
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I want to write mine without reading other's interpretations first :3

Androgynous Fool? No- I definitely think its a female right off the bat. An old Chinese lady who was part of an acrobatic circus troop that wasn't allowed to show their gender. Gender inequality, you know? It reminds me of Kabuki theater in Japan, too... where men dressed up as women to play them on the stage. But in this card, the Fool is that woman who snuck into the group and wanted to do it anyway... So much respect for her, too and maybe even lore and superstition. Why else would she be out on that building at night? Only she would be as brave as to do this stunt with respect from her peers.

That there's an acrobatic woman of Asian decent on top of a building in Europe flashes me to a time when both cultures were aware of one another and trying to mix. "Orientals" used to be the word and they were "exotic" and "curious" and all those things that today would be considered pretty racial. It's just an era, though. I get that feeling of it being so brave and daring back then (like no one today would blink twice at Houdini).

As for the building, cathedral, palace top she stands on... it's just a place where this Fool to act. Is this old woman part of a group of people performing, or is it just her? Somehow the building doesn't matter too much, really. The only thing that matters more than the woman is the moon and which really gives this a menacing feeling. The clouds are out- obscuring everything- but the moon is still peeking in, wanting to see the spectacle and the daring of the Fool. Not as a blessing or anything, but as in "I dare you." But there really isn't fear or even thought going through the Fool's mind. It's self concerned and almost blank, zen, going through the choreography.

Do I think there are people watching? To be honest, I don't know. It may be too high up (hence the mocking moon) for anyone on the ground to see. It's too dark for even lights from the surface of the earth to reach.

So then why is the Fool doing this? What's the reasoning? No idea, it's hypnotic, and to be honest it quite feels like there's a deeper meaning resonating that makes the Fool do it almost unconsciously. It doesn't sit comfortably, though.
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I'm coming to this discussion _well_ late, but was struck by the following comment by baba-prague:

Quote:
Originally Posted by baba-prague
With The Fool, yes, this is a cathedral. We actually based it on St Vitus cathedral here - it has amazing gargoyles.
Interesting to note that St Vitus (quoting Wikipedia here) is
Quote:
the patron saint of actors, comedians, dancers, and epileptics. He is also said to protect against lightning strikes, animal attacks and oversleeping, and is the patron saint of Bohemia.
I think there's a lot from this that lends itself to deeper understanding of the card - it also brings to mind St Vitus' dance, the dancing mania that (again, quoting from Wikipedia),
Quote:
occurred primarily in mainland Europe between the 14th and 18th centuries; it involved groups of people, sometimes thousands at a time, who danced uncontrollably and bizarrely. Men, women, and children would dance through the streets of towns or cities, sometimes foaming at the mouth until they collapsed from fatigue.
Linked to St Vitus being the patron saint of epileptics, this supports the whole 'letting go' of the known, and 'diving into' the unknown, the subconscious.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herself
Linked to St Vitus being the patron saint of epileptics, this supports the whole 'letting go' of the known, and 'diving into' the unknown, the subconscious.
What a terrific point! There is that about this entire deck, that however scary and creepy it is, it never quite forgets that it's also a melodramatic deck, a deck where most of these stories seem to be performed on stage or in a silent movie. I think the Fool does let us know that he's the prologue, warming up the audience with comedy and a silly dance before the curtain opens and presents its show. And the gargoyles are like an audience, silently watching his dance.

So the actors, etc. matches the Fool card, as do the other aspects of St. V. like manic dancing--the Fool as mad or foolish? Also, as you point out, with epileptic fits--called in olden days the "falling sickness" and the Fool is a card that always warns "Watch that you don't fall."

The connection with St. V. matches up with the Fool on so many levels. Bravo. And thanks for pointing that out.
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Herself
fascinating info about St. Vitus - I just read this thread from beginning to end (starting all over again I LOVE this deck) and Baba Prague mentions that the Tower is also St. Vitus Cathedral. The Tower has a lighting bolt right through the gargoyle's throat! Cool!

Thirteen
3 years later; still love your post about The Fool

I am not so drawn to the stance as, to me, it seems to be coming from the unconscious, truly "The Fool's Journey". I love the moon for it's "illusion" reference and isn't that what the Fool's Journey is about - an unconscious journey, where anything goes, even illusion?
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