Tarot Myths – No Foolin’ Old Man Death

1744b-avatar_square_150x15by Denise Golinowski

Welcome to Myth Perceptions! Thanks for dropping in again. So, continuing to explore the Tarot this month, I wanted to touch on a few of the common misconceptions I’ve encountered about selected Major Arcana cards.

Starting at the beginning, let’s talk about the Fool. This is the first card of the Major Arcana and in some schools of study, this card represents the first step of the Hero’s Journey through the Tarot. The very name of this card can create some mistakes for the casual observer. The name does not mean foolishness, though it can represent naiveté or lack of foresight. I guess the most straight forward interpretation that I’ve made is that the Querent may need to take an action that others will perceive as foolish. When I see this card, it usually resonates more to trust and acceptance than with stupidity or mistakes.

220px-RWS_Tarot_00_FoolI love the Fool card and often see it as the beginning of something exciting. Starting something new is always a little scary and there are often folks trying to hold you back, but if you want to move forward, you have to take that first step. I have adopted the Fool card as my litmus test for any deck I’m considering acquiring. If I don’t think the Fool card is well presented, I will usually pass on the deck. It’s subjective, but I feel that if the creator of the deck hasn’t captured this card’s essence in some way that resonates for me, then I cannot trust that they’ve done any better through the rest of the cards.

DeathThe other card that gets a bum rap is–you guessed it–Death. I only wish I had a penny for every time I’ve turned this card in a reading and the Querent took a little gasp of concern or fear. To lighten the mood and address the elephant that just settled on the reading, I usually reassure the Querent that the card doesn’t mean what it seems to mean, and besides ‘none of us are getting out of this life alive.’ Death is about transformation and change. Life is about to make a shift. It’s the old one door closes and another door opens. Again, trust plays an integral role in the experiences represented by the Death card. Accepting a major shift or transformation in one’s life is often difficult, we are more creatures of habit than not.

Guess I’m going to stop for now. What do you think of the Fool and Death? Got any insight to share? Please add them in the Comments below.

The Fool Card – Rider Waite Deck – Wikipedia

Death Card – Robin Wood Deck


Denise Golinowski is a reader and writer of fantasy and romance. Her enovellaCollector’s Item, is available as both print and ebook The Wild Rose Press. Her next enovella, Aces Down, is expected to be published in 2015.

Her first enovellaThe Festival of the Flowers: The Courtesan and the Scholar is also available  through the Wild Rose Press. You can visit her blog at Golinowski’s Gambol.


4 thoughts on “Tarot Myths – No Foolin’ Old Man Death

  1. I love your deck’s Death card! Very cool! Pointing to a different way… Death is my “litmus test” card, like the Fool is for you.

    • Kathryn – I totally see how the Death card could be a litmus test card. Very important that the designer understand the underlying themes of such a misunderstood card. Thanks for stopping by and sorry to be so slow responding.

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