April 29, 2020

The Tarot of Coronavirus.


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Check out Elephant’s Continually-updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn


Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could be children once again, maybe for a day?

Wasn’t it nice to live in a constant state of wonder, without a care in the world, always excited about new adventures and experiences?

I’d give anything to be able to feel that state of excitement about simple things again such as going back to school and meeting new classmates or playing with my new toy on Christmas after Santa’s visit. What an amazing thing simplicity used to be.

That sense of “childish wonder,” always looking at things with curiosity and amazement, reflects the core meaning of “The Fool,” a tarot card.

For starters, I must say that I am not a professional tarot reader, and I also understand very little about numerology and archetypes.

While I do believe in intuition and have used cards to guide me in the past, the main reason why I like the tarot is its deep and touching lessons. Not so much about divination, but I love the way it shows our place in the world.

I recently wrote an article about the beautiful teachings behind the Ten of Swords, which used to be considered a card to fear and avoid. I truly embraced that card with happiness, as it had helped me to stay in touch with my groundlessness.

Therefore, this article is not telling you to believe that cards can tell your destiny and that they can help you manifest what you want. I usually treat the Tarot as a tool for mindfulness.

Those cards tell stories that are relevant for all of us at some point in our lives. I have been the Fool, and so have you. We have been the Star, the Tower, the Lovers, and so on. Bottom line: all those cards have represented our human condition once.

I like to say that the tarot is a pure representation of the human condition. If used with mindfulness, it can teach us so much about our deepest motivations as well as reveal patterns of self-sabotage and fear. In short, I love meditating on tarot cards and thinking about what lessons they can teach me today now.

And that’s how we get to the Fool. What a beautiful card it is. The very first one of the Major Arcana. The number zero on the card, according to numerologists, represents the infinite, all that is, maybe God, pure consciousness. Whatever comes before the beginning, number one.

If we look at the picture of the Fool from the Rider-Waite deck, it can’t help but remind us of a child. Carefree. Maybe a bit careless, too. With a sense of wonder and no fear of the dangers of the world.

We can see that a young man is walking toward the cliff and still has a positive outlook. The dog beside him may be warning him of the dangers, for some believe they could be represented by the mountains and the eminent abyss.

The Fool could be all of us during this pandemic. That’s why I picked this card so we could mindfully get in touch with the Fool inside of us. How could we bring our mindfulness to the Fool’s journey during those difficult times? Well, what is the Fool’s journey anyway?

We actually don’t know what his journey is, and that’s the beauty of it. This card represents us when we have no destination in sight. It could mean we have been given a clean slate for new beginnings, new adventures. One step at a time, things will reveal themselves to us. The Fool urges us to return to our childlike state of not worrying so much about details. Just plunge into the unknown.

There are a lot of interpretations of this card, deeper meanings that I may never speak about or understand. But I wanted to touch the core meaning of this card in my point of view: living in the present moment with a sense of curiosity and wonder, just like a child.

As a child, I got excited about new things and had little concern about the consequences of my actions. When I learned how to ride a bike, I didn’t think of the falls and bad scratches on my leg, and I’m sure most kids were like that. Now I don’t want to ski because I’m afraid of falling and breaking a bone—adulthood can be so boring sometimes.

I don’t mean we should be irresponsible and start living like the Fool, stepping into the abyss and not caring about anything. It’s not about that.

The Fool simply teaches us to live more in the now. It begs us to look at everything around us with different eyes. Also, it invites us to become curious instead of reluctant.

The world is in shambles right now. People are dying, families are suffering from personal and financial losses. So I am not here to tell you to put a smile on your face and live in denial in unicorn land. Absolutely not. You must acknowledge the chaos in order to swim past it.

But take a look around you with the curiosity and wonder of the Fool. Have you noticed how beautiful the skies have become lately? You can see the mountains behind the smog now. I see a lot more birds flying around my neighborhood.

So why not become more like the Fool? What do we have to lose? We may not have so much security after everything that has been going on. Some of us are pretty much like the Fool now, traveling with little in his hands without no set destination. He’s got his faithful companion next to him, and we may have friends and family to guide us as well.

See the sun shining above? Life can be wondrous after all.

Take a leap of faith now. Things will never be the same after this virus. We may find a cure, and we may all get sick too, but regardless, we know the whole world will change. Businesses will die, but other businesses (hopefully small!) will rise from the shadows. We will still see death, but we will also see spontaneous acts of kindness and service. We may come out of this more depressed, tired, some with more skills and talents. There is no rule for anything anymore.

You have nothing to lose if you become the Fool for a little bit.

That doesn’t mean you’ll be making bad conscious decisions and not taking the right actions to avoid issues. That is, being inconsequent and naïve.

The Fool’s heart holds a different kind of naiveté. It’s about understanding that sometimes you simply do not know. Period. You don’t know what life will bring you.

We have discussed the concept of impermanence so many times on Elephant Journal (so many writers talk about it!), so you can definitely get it when I say that “we never know.”

We can be aware of the veil of our present condition. We can’t see what’s ahead, so it’s okay to keep going. We’ll see the signs if we are taking false steps. But why would we choose to not plunge into the unknown when everything is so unpredictable? Resisting probably won’t do much for us.

So, since we have to hop in this train of uncertainty ahead of us, why not carry the Fool’s simple and tender heart? Why not smile and be thankful when the sun is shining outside? Why not be grateful for the few friends and family members who matter the most to us? Why not see everything new at work as an opportunity to improve our skills instead of just seeing obstacles?

I understand that not everything is flowers right now. I also write a lot about not living in denial and being in touch with our darkness in order to grow.

Granted, in the article about the Ten of Swords, I talked about hitting rock bottom. Well, that is certainly a lot of us right now too. We can’t deny things are bad. We have to experience the darkness, the torment, with a mindful heart and mind.

But regardless of what we are going through, nothing, absolutely nothing, is too dark, too sad, or too difficult, that will stop us from seeing the world around us right now with a little tiny bit of joy. The present moment is all we have, and as of right now, where you find yourself reading this article, you could be a little bit “all right.”

The Fool’s journey is here, right now. So if right now is all we have, why not live it through the innocent eyes of a child?

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