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Light and Shadow Study Group - The Fool

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Light and Shadow Study Group - The Fool


I love the multiplicity of images on this card, and their meanings per the book.

Pyramid and eye of eternal wisdom - Symbol of Fool's godliness. (His innocence, per the book, makes him close to the godhead.)

Entwined lovers - Represent the innocence of Eden.

Crystal - In the Fool's hand, a tool which he can use to bring things into focus, should he choose to do so.

Flower - In the Fool's other hand, symbolizes pleasure.

Butterfly - The butterfly symbolizes both an erratic path, and is also a symbol of beauty and the ephemeral.

Crocodile - Represents danger.

Monkey - Represents the intellect trying to warn The Fool of real danger.

Sunburst on Fool's tunic - The Fool is a sun worshipper. Per the book, The Fool can sometimes forget the sun can be dangerous and draw too close to its power. But The Fool's innocence will triumph over any danger he encounters. He has a love of life and fearlessness that will see him through the worst of times.

Water - Represents the subconscious.

If there is one single image that attracts me to this card, it would probably be the crocodile. I don't think this is because the crocodile represents danger; it is because I don't want The Fool to step into the crocodile's mouth. I am also attracted to the crystal in The Fool's hand; the power which The Fool holds, of which he may be unaware. I also like The Fool's face, and how he keeps it tilted upward toward the stars. The Fool as shown in the card is taking the "easy" path, following the butterfly, keeping his eyes on the heavens. It is a beautiful, whimsical card, while at the same time imparting a deeper meaning.
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My first attempt to post crashed on me yesterday, so here goes! Keep in mind I did not check the book before writing down what I saw in the card, so it may not match exactly. I've been trying not to use the book for the past several months.


A dreadlocked hippie-type, walking off the cliff, at once heedless, ignorant, preoccupied with the sights and all his excitement. The monkey is an avatar of conscience, the gator the consequences if the Fool should fall in. (Hm, speaking of 'hippies,' I just realized... this fool could also on occasion be seen as 'tripping out' on some 'quality herbs.' LOL!!)

The items around the fool all denote specific meanings all related to beginnings and the unknown.

Butterfly: metamorphosis
Baby: new beginnings/the clean slate of life ahead waiting for the baby to etch his way through
Eye: the unknown mysteries ahead

The background itself beyond the gator is empty, showing that the journey ahead is as yet unwritten.

I'm drawing a blank on the crystal in his hand...


Quote:
Entwined lovers - Represent the innocence of Eden.
Ah, it was hard to tell what those two were. I've been thinking of them as a baby & mum. I guess it still works in the context of the fool though. *shrug*

The symbol that most attracts my attention is the Monkey. Here he is embodying the earthly and/or rational thoughts and things being overlooked, as well as the last defense (conscious or not) between the Fool and ruin. As a material being, the monkey may also be/have been a catalyst of sorts for events that occur on the Fool's journey. He reminds me of a blend of Jiminy Cricket and Aladdin's companion monkey, Abu.
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Gooneybird, I really enjoyed your take on this card! It's funny I wasn't thinking of him as dreadlocked; I was thinking of it as some sort of enormous hat.

I like your interpretation of the background being empty and "showing the journey ahead is as yet unwritten." I think that combines well with the water which is supposed to represent the subconscious, which is like the journey we are taking, a part of which is already written, and may affect our conscious journey.

I just really noticed The Fool's pants; he really needs a good seamstress, doesn't he?

I am also working on the Circle of Life study group, and it doesn't have a book; I'm just writing down my impressions as you are here. What I may do at some point is to first write my impressions, and then put down some of the book's symbolism, instead of mostly looking at the book. The cards are so rich in symbolism that I didn't want to miss anything!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooneybird
The symbol that most attracts my attention is the Monkey. Here he is embodying the earthly and/or rational thoughts and things being overlooked, as well as the last defense (conscious or not) between the Fool and ruin. As a material being, the monkey may also be/have been a catalyst of sorts for events that occur on the Fool's journey. He reminds me of a blend of Jiminy Cricket and Aladdin's companion monkey, Abu.
I like the idea of the monkey being a cross between Jiminy Cricket and Abu; kind of like the voice of our conscience that whispers in our ear and tells us the right thing to do, if we will only listen.
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Light & Shadow Tarot: The Fool


I think of what's on his head as the traditional 3-belled fool's cap, letting us know that he's playing the part.

The ragged clothing says that he's poor, & not interested in outward appearances or money.

The butterfly he's chasing is elusive (illusive?) desire.

The crystal indicates that he has the power to bring things into focus, but he has to make a conscious effort to use it. He's not doing that at the moment.

The eye is the eye of God. God looks after fools.

Water often stands for emotions. The croccodile shows the danger of entering into emotional relationships. You have to watch out, or you may get swallowed up in the emotion of the moment.

The monkey is his familiar, bringing him back to earth. It connects him to the here & now (animals live in the present).

The lovers are in a bubble. A possibility, maybe a consequence of entering into the sea of emotion.

The flower can stand for many things: the ephemeral nature of beauty, momentary pleasure, innocence, taking time to smell the roses.

A very rich card.
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Mark Hannan is with us! :)


We are very excited to have with us Mark Hannan, whose tarot poems appear in the companion book to this deck! He is a new member of AT, known as aadamfox. H will likely be be joining us in this study group. He can perhaps share his poems with us and his unique perspective of this tarot and his experiences with both its creation and his personal study of it, having worked in the studio alongside its author, Michael Goepferd (also referred to by Mark in the below discussions as "MG") during its creation. Our study group may be small, but hopefully it will be mighty!

karenquilter, I enjoyed your interpretation of the card. I like the monkey as the familiar, and the traditional three-belled fool's cap. The insight on his ragged clothing makes sense. He is off on an adventure, and possessions, at least his clothing, have very little importance to him. In fact, I have only just now realized that this Fool does not have the traditional knapsack. So, I look at the crystal as his "bag of tricks" or tools, that he has at his disposal, to use or not.
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The Incantations


I am glad to be here with you all and am excited about the study ahead.
I will post the incantation for each card as it appears in the threads and will share what I can to enrich the experience.

First, if I may, I'd like to say a few words about the Incantations.
They are just that - Incantations - and are meant to be used as such.
They are both a practical way to remember the card and its meaning AND a magickal tool to be used in a variety of ways to deepen the experience of wisdom each card and the reader generate during practice. I will share different ways I have used them with myself and clients over the years.

One interesting way to use them (and one of the main intentions I held in mind when crafting them) is to create a poem of the spread (whatever kind). I posted a reading in the readings forum (L&S reading - re-emergence - is the title of the thread) if you would like to see an example. This works about 85-90% of the time - there is a nice flow from stanza to stanza. Sometimes they seem disjointed and unrelated - so this is a clue to me to look at that disconnect as part of the wisdom. I recommend folks try it a few times and see how you like it. I'd be interested in how the process is for you.

More later. Contact me anytime with questions, comments, suggestions etc.

[I will post the incantation for the Fool a little later today with some notes about it]
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Talking Re: The Incantations


We are so thrilled to have you, Mark! For those of us who want to check out a sample of Mark's incantations/poetry and how the author applies them to a reading, you can see it here:

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=99499
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0. The Fool; Incantation


0. The Fool; Incantation

I? Who am I?
All of these who follow
combined light and shadow evolving.
Mind that though I am everything,
I am nothing
but a fool.

Parsing:

I?: read ego.

Who am I?: vary the tone when speaking it, as each expresses a different question; the existential, identity...

All of these who follow: the deck; the aspects each card represents; generations to come; the pied piper

combined light and shadow evolving.: integration of all aspects

Mind that though I am everything,: all the universe; all generations before and after; "one" with everything; in and of it self "I am everything" is a product of capital M mind...

I am nothing: impermanence; "zero"; no-self; absence of (the) ego

but a Fool!: blissful; freedom; "a fool to even think" that I could know The answer; throw all caution to the elements and live the experience, not of I or they, but of weee! The middle way.


- from the notes for "Incantations", Mark Hannan, 1995, San Francisco, CA.


MG knew this character well. Very well. He did everything, with passion, and robustly. He was strong, a body builder, a gardener. Little ever stopped him. He risked. He was open to every experience and experienced every opening as an opportunity to experience.

Like a method actor, MG dove into the character he was carving into the linoleum - he dug deep (pun intended) to find the nuances, the multiple aspects that comprised the essence of the representation.

The Fool was carved after most the others. He thought he might like to place the Fool, zero, at the end of the deck rather than in its traditional placement. There were enough cogent arguments on either side but in the end he decided not to alter the original math. The image was his priority and so he left theory to the thinkers. He was a seer.

Merry met.
Peace
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Welcome to the study group aadamfox!! (or should I call you Mark? )

It's awesome to get more insight on those poems. I saw your thread on reading, and really liked how you used the poetry to string together the card meanings. I'll definitely have to try it myself!

Quote:
I am nothing: impermanence; "zero"; no-self; absence of (the) ego

but a Fool!: blissful; freedom; "a fool to even think" that I could know The answer; throw all caution to the elements and live the experience, not of I or they, but of weee! The middle way.
ah, yes, free of Inhibition! That's another good key phrase to remember for the fool, which has been implied in our other posts but not yet stated outright.


Quote:
So, I look at the crystal as his "bag of tricks" or tools, that he has at his disposal, to use or not.
Y'know, it could just as easily just be a pretty 'rock' he picked up on the way (no inhibitions or worries about mineral rights, remember )... Then when he's got a little more traveling under his belt, he'll realize, oh, yeah! I can trade this in for that really cool hat I saw on the prince of cups!
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Questions re: Incantations :)


Mark, I have questions right away about the incantations! First, did you pen these incantations before the cards were created, or after? Next, I have never done magickal spells; are these incantations something that can be practiced by any tarot reader?

Third, I notice in this one that you use the words "light and shadow." Was this how the deck got its name?

Lastly, what is the difference between crafting a poem using these incantations as part of a tarot reading (divination), and invoking a spell using these incantations? As a related question, if one reads a Celtic Cross spread with 10 cards, does one do a magickal spell using all 10 incantations (one poem/incantation per card), or do you pick out certain ones during a reading and only use a few of them?

I will leave some of my questions regarding the actual poem for later. Your insights into the deck's author, Michael Goepferd or "MG" as you refer to him, are invaluable. Thank you!



P.S. -- And yes, would you prefer to be called aadamfox or Mark?
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