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The Fool in the World | by meeralee
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The Fool in the World

A pause. Regina’s face is intent but inscrutable and I wonder what waves of memory and imagination are rippling outwards from these dropped stones. Anya hmmms quietly to herself.


“Well, one of the first things I notice is that there are a lot of cards with swords in them… one, two, three, four sword cards here. In the suits of the Tarot, swords represent action: cups are the feelings you have about an action, wands are the ideas or the creative energy you’re putting into it, and swords represent the actions themselves – so it looks like you’re kind of at a point where you’ve been preparing and preparing and preparing for something, and now you’re ready to actually do it.”


A shared laugh rises; no one needs to mention what this long-awaited act might be. Anya points at a card showing a person, head in hands, sitting on a bed whose backing wall is pierced by the tips of nine swords. "See how none of the swords are actually hurting the person? This card can represent a fear or anxiety that you're holding on to, but that's really unfounded."


Regina nods, not for the first time. Eyes roaming over the bright pictures that she picked – or that perhaps picked her – she reveals some of her concerns about giving birth. Among them are the quintessential anxieties of the new mother: the worry that she won’t be a good parent, the worry that she won’t bond with her child. And, darkest of all, the odd sounding but very real dread that she’ll just not like her kid at all. I watch Anya for her response, curious about how she will answer this comment.


“Well, I think biology will take care of that one,” she quips, and in the same breath reminds Regina that the Nine of Swords, though it displays a sinister image, can be interpreted as a good warning; an encouragement to let go of false fears. I am struck by how closely common sense and symbolism are entwined in the Tarot, at least as Anya reads it. Today, Regina’s reassurance comes both from the cards (a mysterious, mystical source of practical advice) and from the card-reader (a warm, wise human source of ancient counsel).


Anya: "Another interesting thing is you've got both the first and last cards in the deck. The Fool, he's actually number zero. Some people think that’s like an egg, he's all about beginnings. And he's about to walk off a cliff, but he's smiling. He's not stupid, he's taking a leap of faith. So the Fool represents being willing to step out into the unknown. And here, the World, it's the last card. It represents success, completion of a goal. In a way, it's about getting everything that you want. So with these cards it looks like you’re about to make a huge leap of faith, but in the end things are going to work out really well."

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Taken on July 22, 2006