Card No. 0: The Fool

The Fool is a very special arcana. It is the card number 0, we can place it at the beginning or at the end: the character is heading to one place and at the same time comes from another. When we understand this idea, we can begin to see The Fool's Journey as a repeating cycle. As Rachel Pollack states in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, the Fool teaches us that life is simply a continuous dance of experiences.

If we take this card from the She Wolfe Tarot deck, we observe a dynamic landscape, in which a she-wolf seems to be heading towards a cosmic space -a hole towards the "Void" as its author Devany Amber Wolfe affirms- and without ceasing to stare at us. On the other hand, in The Gentle Tarot deck we see a small salmon also heading towards the unknown, and in the Tarot of the Holy Spectrum we see a woman stepping into the void with the intention of reaching the infinite. They are very different images, but they all have something in common: they look like photographs taken at a very precise instant, as if they were in suspension, just before something important happens. They do not represent fixed states, but transitions in which the identity is indeterminate, the spirit totally free and the positioning in any social structure is in suspension. Nothing, yet, has really been decided or established, because it is not the will of the Fool. It can potentially be everything and at the same time nothing, and therein lies the beauty of what we call the "liminal state." Donald Kalsched, in his book The Inner World of Trauma, writes that, according to Jung, the Fool personifies the archetype of the Trickster, who changes shape and crosses all boundaries, even those established to separate gods from men.

If we want to begin a relationship with the art of Tarot, becoming familiar with the card that best symbolizes the ability to be carried away by spontaneity is a good start. The Fool ("Le Mat") has its etymological origin in the Indo-European root men- (to be mentally excited), from which comes both the word "mania" (mental madness) and " mantics", the art of prophecy. According to Ronald Decker, it is not uncommon to find cultures around the world where madness was related to supernatural knowledge, what Plato called "divine madness". Thus, in antiquity, shamans and prophets were revered for their power, but also marginalized for their eccentricity. Like the Harlequin of the theatre, neither servant nor lord, always between two worlds (and with an enormous capacity to understand them) but condemned to a life of what today we would call "outsider".

We could be tempted to consider the Fool as a "bridge between two worlds", but this would not be entirely accurate since, as we said at the beginning, the Fool does not necessarily have a fixed role. He is a free soul, he is not required to connect, nor to explain, nor to clarify. It would be more accurate to see this card as an invitation to connect with ourselves, to venture and rethink our own world. Mentioning Decker again, "the Fool is the person foolish enough to step forward and begin the mystical search."

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