divinatory meanings-- wildness, taking risks. some kind of leap of faith. resisting authority, following your own path.

reversed-- hesitancy, caution. difficulty trusting your own instincts.

the fool

think of the major arcana as a comic book story. after all, it is told in pictures. like the best comic books, the major arcana begins with a hero, a wild outsider with strange powers. he is a lone mystery man, thumbing his nose at the universe, looking for adventure. eventually, he will confront his deepest fears and weaknesses. he will go beyond his personal needs to encounter the wonder and strangeness of existence. he will rediscover the childlike freedom which has always been his driving force. finally, he will return as something greater than he himself could ever have predicted. and yet, he will remain himself, with his own rebellious wit. this is the story of the major arcana, and the fool is its hero.

it is also the story of john constantine, the cynic who cannot resist a call for help, the outsider who battles against all authority, even including god and the devil. the fool's most important symbol is his number, 0. he moves outside the sequence of all the other cards, with their set places. the fool remains free because he is nothing, no thing. he does not occupy any hierarchical position. john constantine has no titles, and no followers. his refusal to settle down costs him his lovers and his friends. constantine and the tarot fool are archetypal tricksters, getting into and out of trouble recklessly, just for the experience.

the most famous image of the fool shows a young man about to step off a cliff. a dog or a cat dances beside him, and he holds a flower to the sunshine. here, the sun becomes a kind of nuclear explosion, the flowers have wilted, and the animal has become a skeleton penetrating his body. we are seeing the dark side of the fool, the price he pays for placing freedom above all other values.

1995 dc comics

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