So, my big news this week is that I lost my job last Tuesday. As will surprise nobody, I am more than a little freaked out by this development, for any number of reasons. The fact that my health insurance is scheduled to lapse on November 30th (that’s tomorrow, for those of you keeping score at home) is among those reasons, but certainly not the only one.
It’s no surprise, then, that this has been on my mind for the past few days. After I tried to approach the topic through last week’s failed draw, I decided to try a different approach with my next question.
Question: What gift should I take away from my recent job loss?
Card: The Fool
First impressions: My whining about ending up with a major on the previous draw was, unsurprisingly, nowhere to be found. I actually laughed out loud when I turned this card over. I love the card – not only that, but I love the idea of The Fool.
About the card: This is one of those cards where it will be difficult to focus exclusively on the image itself, but I’ll at least start there. So, we have a guy dressed in colorful, festive garb with a bindle his right shoulder, and a white flower in his left hand. He’s looking up into a completely clear sky, the sun shining down on him…and he’s about one step from stepping right off a damn cliff. In the background we see a steep, sharp range of snow-covered mountains, and at his feet there’s a cute white dog. Said dog is up on its hind legs, apparently excited about something.
The story without words: There’s lots of narrative juice for me in this card – or lots of questions, actually, which is even better. Here are some of the questions that jump out at me immediately…
Where did the flower come from? The Fool travels light. I mean, here’s this guy walking along with what I have to imagine are all of his worldly possessions. Not only do they fit in two hands…they actually fit in one hand, which left the other hand free to either pick the flower or receive it as a gift from someone. Looking at the card today, I find myself wondering which it is – whether he saw it and picked it himself, or if it was given to him. I don’t think the answer particularly matters, to be honest. What stands out here for me is that he had a hand free for it, and it was important enough to bring along. He carries so little with him, I have to imagine that each item he has is important to him.
What’s going through his mind right now? Is he lost in thought? Does he know he’s close to the edge of the cliff? If so, why is he looking up instead of looking ahead? Perhaps he’s just basking in the sun and is otherwise unaware of where he is, but…I don’t know. Somehow I tend to believe that he knows exactly where he is, and is willfully ignoring what will happen when he takes that next step. I think that’s the only way he can enter a new life, or start a new adventure. Otherwise, he’ll just see the same things over and over again. Maybe the only way to really experience what comes next is to not really see I coming.
What about that damn dog? Man, I’ve never known about that dog. When I’ve looked at the card in the past, the lasting impression I’ve had is that it’s close enough to nip at The Fool’s ankle and send him over the cliff if he hesitates. Studying the card today, I don’t think that’s actually true. I’m still wondering, though…when The Fool takes that next step, does the little dog jump after, or shake his head in pity?
But what does it mean?: I’m biased as hell on this one, but today I can’t see anything bad or scary in the card, despite the fact that the idea of being without a job for any length of time scares the bejeezus out of me. I’m aware that I’ve spent a whole lot of time with my career taking up both hands, as it were. My most recent job included a commute that had me on the road anywhere between 2 and 3 hours a day, and also featured exciting things like the occasional 12 hour day in the office and at least half a day of work each weekend. I don’t mind working hard – I really like it, in fact – but I really haven’t had a free hand for the Fool’s white flower in a long time.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m about 95% as worried about the prospect of being jobless for months today as I was when I got the bad news a week ago. Drawing a card I see as hopeful doesn’t change that – or at least, it doesn’t change it for me. What it does do, though, is remind me that I have some choice in how I choose to view the situation. I have some prospects that will keep the mortgage paid and keep me fed for a few months, at least, and while it won’t be exciting work, shelter and food are a pretty good start for the moment.
The card in music: As most everyone who knows me is aware, my favorite musician is a guy named Stuart Davis, who I’ve followed for close to 15 years. He’s a brilliant songwriter, and a few years back he released a song that immediately made me think of The Fool. It’s called Already Free. Some of the lyrics that stand out for me when I think of the card include the following:
But I needed a push to get me to see
Wherever I am, I’m already free
And if that’s not enough, the one that feels like a sledgehammer tapping me lightly on the back of the head:
I dug a tunnel when I needed a lift
Such a fool just afraid of a gift
Something subtle when it started to shift
now I’m soaring over cliffs
To be clear, I have no idea if The Fool factors into the song at all for Stu. I could probably ask (he’s the sort of musician who might well get around to responding to a question like that) but I’m not sure if I really want to know. For me, it’s enough to say that if I ever make a Tarot mix (not likely, but it’s an idea I’ve kicked around a couple of times), this song will be the first track. Give it a listen, if you’re so inclined: Already Free.