Book of Shadows, Vol. I: "As Above" - 0 - The Fool - The Summerlands


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Book of Shadows, Vol. I: "As Above" - 0 - The Fool - The Summerlands


A tanned man moves quickly through a field. His long black hair dances in tendrils around his head. Above the field is a swirling blue sky, upon it sways tall, vibrant green grass.
The man holds his right (active/masculine) hand up towards the sky. His right wrist is wrapped with a blue ribbon. From this hand bursts of white light come forth. His left arm is down by his hip and behind him. On this wrist a yellow ribbon is wrapped.
Upon the man's neck is an elaborate collar of some sort. It runs from his collarbones to the part of neck just below his jaw. His chest and back are left bare. Half-dressed in blue pants, a yellow/golden ribbon supports them as a belt. This yellow ribbon matches the one on his left wrist.
The sky around him is full of colourful things. Objects swirl mysteriously around him. Are these objects fruits, flowers or leaves? -Perhaps this man is the source of all this abundant energy.


To me this man represents raw un-tamed power. While he is mysterious, we know he is not afraid of action. The title of the card "The Summerlands" tells us it's theme is of life, death, and rebirth. The cycles of Nature. Not too far off from the traditional Fool's definition.

The LBW accompanying the deck reads: "a new life, a fresh start a journey into the unknown, naiveté. [reversed] Making a wrong or absurd decision."


Defining The Summerlands/Background Information:

Summerland: "Underworld realm where the rested spirit may enjoy a paradise of light and joy, and where the spirit may remain or move on to rebirth; comparable to the Elysium Fields of the Greek worldview." (Grimoire for the Green Witch, Ann Moura, p. 37)

An excerpt on The Summerlands from Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham:
"This realm is neither in heaven nor the underworld. It simply is -- a non-physical reality much less dense than ours. Some Wiccan traditions describe it as a land of eternal summer, with grassy fields and sweet flowing rivers, perhaps the Earth before the advent of humans. Others see it vaguely as a realm without forms, where energy swirls coexist with the greatest energies - the Goddess and God in their celestial identities."
-This selection seems to fit almost perfectly from the imagery found upon this card!
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The Summerlands


Here are my impressions and possible interpretations of this card.

The card is titled The Summerlands, and is numbered 0, the number of The Fool card in traditional decks. The character in the card is male, bare chested and wearing what look to me like a pair of blue jeans. He has long grey hair that partially obscures his face.It looks like there are what may be 2 blue feathers in his hair. He is walking through long green grass, and the background is blue sky. Butterflies flutter around him. One hand is upraised, it has a blue ribbon wrapped around the wrist and a white light/energy is either being emitted or drawn into this hand. The other hand is facing down and is aborbing or emitting a dark light/energy. There is a yellow ribbon wrapped around this wrist, which mirrors a similar ribbon/belt that is wrapped around his waist. There is a wide cuff/collar necklace around his neck. The environment looks a bit surreal to me, as it is not quite a part of this reality

I think Eevie pretty much summed up what the Summerlands are in her post; a place where the soul goes at the end of our life, and depending upon your beliefs either remains there a bit like the Christian heaven or reincarnates back to Earth/mortal plane-perhaps to develop spiritually through lessons which we have picked.

The companion book states that the dark energy is drawn in to the Fool and transformed into the white energy being emitted from the other hand. Butterflies are a symbol of transformation, so it appropriate to see them fluttering around the fool as this transformation occurs. The transformation of the soul, as it dies, goes to the summerlands before being reborn again, in a cycle that spirals ever onwards until nirvana and true enlightenment.

To me this card speaks of the beginning of something new, a new cycle, the beginning of a journey, and like the fool there is a certain naivety there, as the belief is that when we reincarnate we do not have any memory of our previous life, our time in the summerlands or the purpose of this incarnation. We are stepping into the unknown, and who knows what dangers lurk in front of us?

I get quite a shamanic vibe from this fool though I have as yet been unable to pinpoint quite why! Maybe it is the dreamlike quality to the card.
The spiralling ribbons decorating the fool remind me of how we spiral ever upwards as we strive for enlightenment over the course of all our lives on Earth.
The Fools face is also partially obscured, so it is easier for this to be anyone, could even be us. He is in the middle of taking a big stride forward, it's like he is creating a portal with the white energy to step through back to the mortal world and his next life.

In summary I can definitely relate this card to many of the traditional meanings of the Fool card, yet it has managed to fit in pagan ideals and beliefs at the same time, so if it was a spiritual reading I was doing I could relate it quite easily to my beliefs.

I may be back to post more, as I haven't finished with the card yet. These are my initial impressions
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyebright View Post
Butterflies flutter around him.
Ah! Butterflies! symbol of births and new beginnings! Very good.

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Originally Posted by Eyebright View Post
The other hand is facing down and is aborbing or emitting a dark light/energy.
I didn't notice that, I shall have to go back and take another look!

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Originally Posted by Eyebright View Post
There is a wide cuff/collar necklace around his neck.
THIS I would like to discuss more/know more about! These collar-like things appear quite often in this deck. Eyebright, as you have the book, does it make mention of them at all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyebright View Post
The environment looks a bit surreal to me, as it is not quite a part of this reality
That's a good observation. I had "ethereal" in my notes, but wasn't sure if that was quite the word I wanted to use... Upon looking it up, it seems rather fitting.

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Originally Posted by Eyebright View Post
The companion book states that the dark energy is drawn in to the Fool and transformed into the white energy being emitted from the other hand.
-That's interesting... I wonder if this "Fool" has the ability to transform the negative (dark) into positive (light). I wonder if it's linked to some ideas that The Summerland is a place of reflection on their previous life, to become a better person in their next...

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Originally Posted by Eyebright View Post
Butterflies are a symbol of transformation, so it appropriate to see them fluttering around the fool as this transformation occurs.
This is good info!

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Originally Posted by Eyebright View Post
I get quite a shamanic vibe from this fool though I have as yet been unable to pinpoint quite why! Maybe it is the dreamlike quality to the card.
I like this vibe you're getting... I'm wondering if it's a link to the Shamantic "Dream Time" or Dream Worlds or what have you...

Do keep us updated! I know I'll be adding as I see fit... =]
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Originally Posted by Eeviee View Post
THIS I would like to discuss more/know more about! These collar-like things appear quite often in this deck. Eyebright, as you have the book, does it make mention of them at all?
I don't remember seeing any mention, though as yet I haven't read it from cover to cover. Will look again to see if it is mentioned anywhere!

Quote:
-That's interesting... I wonder if this "Fool" has the ability to transform the negative (dark) into positive (light). I wonder if it's linked to some ideas that The Summerland is a place of reflection on their previous life, to become a better person in their next...
I also thought of it as combining and uniting of opposing energies, female/male, yin/yang. Needing a balance of them both. I also linked the two as perhaps the spiritual and mundane energies, as a person we inhabit both realities to some extent and we need both types of energy to flourish and grow.


Quote:
I like this vibe you're getting... I'm wondering if it's a link to the Shamantic "Dream Time" or Dream Worlds or what have you...

Do keep us updated! I know I'll be adding as I see fit... =]
What I know about shamanism could fit on a stamp, so I don't want to say too much without further research, as I say I think I was responding to the artistic rendering of the card, but I will be looking further into the "dream time" you mentioned there!
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I've just realised I've also talked about this card in my daily draw thread in this post.

I feel I made some interesting points on further ways of interpreting this card if it comes up in a reading including:

Feeling stuck in limbo (or to put it in pagan terminology, the summerlands!), not being able to move forward or make a change
Taking a leap of faith or a risk
Striking out into the unknown
Change and embracing it (or reversed being afriad of change or resisting it)
Channeling divine wisdom
Accepting both the light and dark in yourself and channeling it to make change and more forward in life
The card is 0 - a number that is everything and nothing, it exists in a state of potential, anything is possible, you just need to what you want and shape the world to fit your dreams, aspirations and goals
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I don't remember seeing any mention, though as yet I haven't read it from cover to cover. Will look again to see if it is mentioned anywhere!
Please do keep an eye out! It's been bothering me since first skim through the deck! Perhaps we should have a "Symbolism" Thread for this deck!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyebright View Post
I also thought of it as combining and uniting of opposing energies, female/male, yin/yang. Needing a balance of them both. I also linked the two as perhaps the spiritual and mundane energies, as a person we inhabit both realities to some extent and we need both types of energy to flourish and grow.
Yes, this card (and other "Fools") has a definite theme of balance. The traditional positive definitions of new beginnings/adventures is frequently countered with rash/foolish/leaping before you look, etc.

I enjoyed your post on your Daily Draw of The Summerlands. It's nice to see general meanings/interpretations being applied in and/or derived from everyday life. =]
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Having a thread for recurring themes and symbols sounds like a great idea Eeviee

I will try to look thoroughly through the companion book after dinner to see if I can see anything regarding the collars, though I'm not optimistic if I'm honest. The book doesn't give much info on all the symbolism in each card...
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So in the companion book on page 120 (Where the brief comparison of major and minor Arcana in both the As Above, So Below decks is made)

It says for the Fool/ Summerlands:

As above: Creating the next lifetime
So Below: Creating the next moment

I think it's very fitting with everything you guys have already mentioned.

I did notice the white light emanating from his right hand almost immediately and looked to his left hand to see if anything was coming from that one and I did see the dark swirl which appears to be rising from the earth and going into his left hand. The transforming of the dark to the light seems appropriate.

I took the "butterflies" to be leaves, though by his leg I can sort of see how that one might be a butterfly.

I also felt his hair was grey.

The swirling energy is apparent in this card.

I wonder about this:

He is facing the left. I often associate characters in a card who are facing the left as looking to the past. If he is in the Summerlands and preparing for (or creating) the next lifetime, I guess rather than looking towards the past it could just be going back to where he was before? A return to "a" life, not particularly the same life. Returning to the physical place of the past, just in a different form? It makes sense in my own mind, not sure if I'm conveying it properly as my peaceful morning of Tarot on the back porch listening to water trickling and birds chirping has been disrupted by the neighbors buzzing garden tools and lawnmower..pfft.

Anyway, the man is so full of passion and energy it's almost as if he can't wait to get back to Earth and his next life.
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Originally Posted by Disa View Post
So in the companion book on page 120 (Where the brief comparison of major and minor Arcana in both the As Above, So Below decks is made)

It says for the Fool/ Summerlands:

As above: Creating the next lifetime
So Below: Creating the next moment

I think it's very fitting with everything you guys have already mentioned.
I agree, I definitely got the sense he is creating his next life!


Quote:
I took the "butterflies" to be leaves, though by his leg I can sort of see how that one might be a butterfly.
You and Eeviee both saw it as leaves, I seem to be the only one who saw butterflies lol! I liked how butterflies fit with the form of transformation which seems to be going on in this card.

Quote:
He is facing the left. I often associate characters in a card who are facing the left as looking to the past. If he is in the Summerlands and preparing for (or creating) the next lifetime, I guess rather than looking towards the past it could just be going back to where he was before? A return to "a" life, not particularly the same life. Returning to the physical place of the past, just in a different form? It makes sense in my own mind, not sure if I'm conveying it properly as my peaceful morning of Tarot on the back porch listening to water trickling and birds chirping has been disrupted by the neighbors buzzing garden tools and lawnmower..pfft.

Anyway, the man is so full of passion and energy it's almost as if he can't wait to get back to Earth and his next life.
I hadn't thought of that. I also equate looking left to the past, I suppose you could consider it to be going "back" to Earth from the Summerlands. To be in a spiritually pure and peaceful place and have to go back to Earth with all it's struggles and toil might well be considered a backwards step in a way. Thanks for this point, something to add to my notes on this card!
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[...]I hadn't thought of that. I also equate looking left to the past, I suppose you could consider it to be going "back" to Earth from the Summerlands. To be in a spiritually pure and peaceful place and have to go back to Earth with all it's struggles and toil might well be considered a backwards step in a way. Thanks for this point, something to add to my notes on this card!
Alternatively, he could be looking to the past to see what he has learned and what he needs to spend more time working on in his next life...
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