This week we are delighted to post a commentary on the Fool, written by our old friend Barry Goddard. Here also is Rex's original drawing of the Fool before it was inked and coloured.
The journey through the Tarot begins with the Fool, in this case William Somers, court jester to Henry VIII. Wearing a mask of humour and bizarre behaviour, the function of the Fool is to puncture the realities we live in and open the way for insight. And to keep pushing the boundaries.
When Jane Seymour, Henry’s 3rd wife, died soon after giving birth, Will Somers commented:
"You find the perfect wife. She's sweet, pliable, she even has good ****. On top of that she gives you the son you've always wanted and you let her die...And she's not the only one, poor abandoned Catherine."
"Careful" – Henry
Unspoken, and by implication much worse, is what Henry did to his 2nd wife Anne, who was beheaded.
It is not just kings who need fools. Being surrounded by flatterers, they have a particular need. But it is human nature to create self-serving beliefs. Collectively, you get chosen peoples and master races. Individually, we preen ourselves while secretly harbouring self-doubts. The function of the Fool is to ridicule these beliefs about ourselves. Reality is often the opposite of what it seems, and in this context the Fool with his bizarre antics is the person with the level head.
And he does it through humour, he gets us laughing at ourselves. Nothing more need be said. We have been reminded of what’s what, and allowed it in.
And then life can change. Life always wants change, if you look at nature, it is a continual process of change. But humans have a way of getting stuck in who they are, they block new life.
So when the Fool appears in a spread, it is time to pack your bags and step out into the unknown. There is always an element of risk, but it is something in you that is pushing you on. Sometimes we go willingly, sometimes life has to do it to us, and that is what the reversed card can suggest: we need to change, but we don’t want to, we want to hang on to old ways of thinking and living. And that doesn’t always produce a good outcome: illness, for example, can result. Life will not be blocked. But when we go with it, it has a thrilling quality, life opens up in the way that the Fool with his jokes is always angling for.