The Butterfly and the Tarot Fool

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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.

Inner Child Cards: A Fairy-Tale Tarot Whimsical Tarot
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Zero and the Tarot Fool

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Zero stands for nothing, for emptiness. Sometimes this serves a useful purpose, as the zero does as a placeholder in mathematics. Or consider the value of an empty container which we can fill.

Zero is the perfect number for the Fool in at least two ways. First, it could be considered the beginning of the infinite string of numbers, while the Fool stands for the beginning of an infinite series of possibilies. Second, like the Zero, the Fool is open and empty, ready to be filled with new experiences.

The point is, while Zero stands for nothing, nothing itself has value, as a starting point, as a place holder, as an emptiness waiting to be filled.

“The Fool as Zero” from the Supertarot: Essays on the Thoth Tarot Deck site points out something I didn’t know: “Strictly speaking, the Fool is unnumbered, therefore it can appear anywhere in the sequence. Some Tarot decks put the Fool last, after the Universe, but most Tarot decks place it before the Magus, 1.” (Then it gets into some really complex material such as the Golden Dawn and the Tree of Life, which is totally opaque to me at this time.)

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Oz, Tarot and the Scarecrow

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The Fool in the Whimsical Tarot is the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. He’s chasing a butterfly and is approaching alarmingly close to a deep pit filled with roaring flames. A little black dog - Toto! - stands on the Yellow Brick Road.

At first I wondered about the flames since they’re not ordinarily found on the Fool card. But then I realized that they’re necessary because a mere fall down into a pit won’t hurt the Scarecrow! However, the flames can burn him up and so represent real danger.

I point out in passing that both the Whimsical and Inner Child cards have the Fool holding or chasing a butterfly instead of the conventional white rose.

The Inner Child deck also has a card featuring the Scarecrow. In this deck he’s the Seeker (Knight) of Swords, and we see him waiting in his corn field before Dorothy comes along. There’s a crow or raven on the fence post, a rooster and hen outside the fence, and sunflowers growing inside, along with the corn. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Fool Card from the Inner Child Tarot Deck

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The Fool card from the Inner Child tarot deck is very different from most fools. Instead of the usual variation of a youth on a cliff, it shows Little Red Cap (Little Red Riding Hood), basket in hand and a butterfly perched on her finger, as she starts out on her journey to her grandmother’s house. The Wolf lurks behind a tree, waiting to approach her.

There’s a sense of innocence and wonder here, but with the real presence of evil or danger waiting if you’re not careful. It’s also, like most of the Inner Child cards, very pleasant to look at.

I did read the entry in the book when I got it, so I have a memory that this character stands for innocence. She has no idea of evil or who the wolf is and no thought to be careful. (Well, her mother warned her, but the warning has no real meaning for her yet, as evil is outside her personal experience.)

Two things pop into mind here: Read the rest of this entry »

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