In this section of The Chariot I will explore the symbolism surrounding animals. This will include my personal views, as well as how animals are viewed in the Tarot and in the mythology of different cultures.
In both the Inner Child and Whimsical Tarot decks, the Fool is looking at a butterfly rather than the rose that’s the case in so many decks. So I wondered what this might mean. (Of course, it might not mean anything specific, but simply be part of the overall impression of the card.)
The first thing that pops into mind is that the buttefly stands for rebirth or transformation. which doesn’t seem to fit the Fool. While the Fool can be likened to a newborn child, innocent and pure, rebirth implies something more to me, an opening into a new level of wisdom, and not the empty innocence of the Fool
On the other hand, if you consider that you will likely go on many Fool’s Journeys in your life, then each time you start a new journey, each time you head your life in a new direction where you are open to new possibilities, you are reborn into innocence.
After writing this, I checked the Inner Child book. (I don’t have the book for Whimsical). Alhought she doesn’t explain her use of a butterfly for the Fool, she does use a butterfly on top of the wand for the Magic Wands suit: “The Magic Wands are topped with a butterfly to further imply the natural wonder inherent in the invisible process of metamorphosis. In each of us, this creative transformation can occur metaphorically, again and again, throughout our lives.”
Which is kind of what I was saying.
Butterflies don’t live very long but their existence is vital to their species since this is when they reproduce. So they could also symbolize something fleeting but important. In Fool’s case, this would be that brief moment when you are truly open and innocent to a new idea. It doesn’t last very long. It can’t, or you’d never progress to the next step. But it’s important because without it, you’d never get started at all.