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The Fool, the big Zero in the Tarot’s Major Arcana, is my favourite card. The quintessential fool fromRider Waite, or as I prefer to call it, the Pamela Coleman Smith deck is living on the edge– he’s prepared, packed up wand, pentacle, sword and cup in his hobo bag, but will it be enough to sustain him on his journey through the tribulations of the Major Arcana? His companion animal either cheers him on or warns him, depending on the position of the card in the reading. Before the grand story of the Major Arcana begins, the fool dances it into being.
Here I’ve chosen my five favourite fools with a few honourable mentions. What are your favourite fool cards? Happy April Fools!
Golden Tarot by Kat Black was a favourite of mine. The art, collaged from Medieval and Renaissance sources, make for a seemless and compelling interpretation. The Fool in this deck remains one of my favourite tarot cards still– the fool here is a female shaman with her power animal, initiating the sacred journey of knowledge, she plays her frame drum and begins her trance on the white cliffs of consciousness.
Mother Peace Tarot by Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble is the deck I currently use. This fool is the “Goddess’ favourite” according to the companion text. She playfully dances on her hands, balancing her all-seeing hobo bag with her feet on the banks of a river running through what looks like candy-rock mountains. Her stick is a staff adorned with bells and feathers. She has not one animal companion but 3 and two sacred plants as well. She is going to cross the rivers to the aminita mushrooms, the psychedelic fare of Siberian shamans.
Wildwood Tarot by MarK Ryan and John Matthews, is my newest deck and one I with which have yet to really acquaint myself. I love that this deck is inspired by Northern and Celtic traditions of pre-Christian Europe. Here the Fool, though androgynous, seems feminine to me. She begins her journey across Bifrost. The trees in the distance seem to stare back– will she find Yggdrasil among them, and can she climb? She is ready, sure-footed and open to the risks of the mists and the gods, distant seem to smile on her.
Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans. I do own this deck, despite my ambivalence about it. I see it as a pretty book of cards only, not as an effective divination tool. The art is beautiful, but I have only gotten the most superficial readings, or completely random-seeming spreads using this deck. (I will spare you my ranting that this deck has come to symbolize for me the new-agey-witchy trend, available at Urban Outfitters, etc.) Here a chick begins to take its first attempt at flight in the morning sun rise. It is still a beauty of a fool.
Enchanted Tarot (aka the Zerner-Faber Tarot) was the deck I used for many years. Its imagery is actually based on textile art or quilts by Amy Zerner. It is a very feminine, romantic deck and I found it quite comforting to use. This fool is a flamboyant nod to the archetypal jester in the pack, while being a colourful derivative of the Coleman Smith fool.
Here is the Fool from the Zombie Tarot deck. When I first saw this I got super excited because I thought someone had made a tongue-in-cheek Mad Men tarot deck. But then when I looked again, I realized this fool was from the Zombie Tarot, a deck I initially dismissed as silly. I have perused the cards and though it isn’t a deck I would use, it is an amusing and sometimes perceptive take on the traditional cards. I love this zombie fool– intent on mourning and picnicking even as the dead seem to wave to him. Plus, he kind of looks like Jon Hamm as Don Draper. Sigh.
Bohemian Gothic Tarot. I love this deck and it’s on my wish list. Here the Fool dances– a somnambulist tai chi dance– on the back of a gargoyle. A full moon lights their way. Here the gargoyle is the companion and the fool perches on the edge of the world of institutions and doctrines, Church gospel, ready to step off into the dark night’s mystery.
I’m offering my Witches’ Tarot Necklace at almost half price– only £10 from now until April 3rd, 2016. Happy April Fools!