Visualization of the Fool
(This Guided Imagery was Published in the Wonderful 2006 Tarot Reader by Llewellyn)

Close your eyes now and relax...See if you can position yourself as comfortably as possible....shifting your weight so you're allowing your body to be fully supported...

Breathe deeply and slowly and focus your attention on your breathing while you listen to the sound of my voice. As you breathe in, feel the life giving air invigorating every part of you. As you breathe out, know that you are exhaling that which is used up and spent, while letting go of your tensions and weariness.

Breathing in - feel yourself filling with energy and light.

Breathing out - feel yourself giving up tension and resistance.

See yourself now on a remote beach. You face the water and behind you lies a sandy bank, a narrow grassy meadow and a deep, leafy forest. Imagine that you are standing up to your ankles in the warm, ocean water. You feel the movement of the water and hear the cries of the seagulls overhead. Soft, fluffy clouds move slowly, lazily across the blue sky. A gentle breeze caresses your skin. The waves come in and cover your feet and then recede. As you inhale the waves roll in...full of energy of winds and tides as they softly massage your feet. As you exhale...the water recedes, washing away the tensions of your body. You remain there a while breathing in and out with the movement of the ocean, and being washed and caressed by the waves. Remain a while becoming more and more peaceful and open...more centered with each breath, more and more deeply relaxed with each wave.

When you have reached the deep feeling of peace at your center, you turn and walk slowly from the water towards the grassy, leafy forest at the edge of the sand. You see what looks to be a very old path leading into the woods. The shady forest beckons you. The grass is grown over in parts but still the path is visible. Slowly, serenely you begin to follow the path into the grove. Soon you are deep among the trees walking in a cool shade, hearing the rustling of the leaves and the chirping of birds, inhaling the smells of the leafy canopy and the rich soil of the forest floor. The trees are getting bigger as you walk along. Their trunks are gnarled and covered in plush, green moss. The path is soft beneath your feet.

You hear the faint sound of tinkling bells and soft laughter. You look around but see no one....but you faintly hear someone humming a playful tune, something old, familiar, yet not quite recognizable. It reminds you of a distant memory of childhood. If you could just remember the words you could return to that exact memory... But the words are just beyond your grasp.

Suddenly a brightly colored fellow jumps playfully in front of you, spinning cartwheels, going head over heels for your amusement. He has bells on his curly, yellow shoes and wears more bells on the sloping, pointy hat of a court jester. He winks mischievously and disappears into the glade. You look around and see a spotted dog watching the place where your new friend must be hiding and so you move slowly towards the dog. The dog cocks her head and gives you the look-over, but you pass inspection and she leads you to the Fool. You find him sitting on a flat rock playing with a deck of cards. As you get closer you notice the images on the cards are shifting. As he shuffles the cards you see memories of your lifetime - and beyond flash before you. A family gathering, a secret pact with friends, a trip to the lake, a birthday celebration...and some images hazy and unfocussed still so that you can't quite place them though you recognize yourself and some of the characters. The fool stops shuffling and begins to put the cards in a pattern on the flat rock. Again you see yourself and recognize some of the characters and settings in the cards...but others seem foreign to you as if they have not yet taken place. It seems to be mapping out a story, an adventure with you as the hero. Adrenaline rushes up your spine as you realize how exciting this all is. You move closer, catching the attention of your new friend. You ask if you may trade for this magical deck of cards. He mocks a sly smile and asks what you have to give in exchange. You feel around in the pockets of your faded jeans and pull out the objects within. A Zippo lighter, a folding tin cup, a pen knife, a lucky rock that you once favored. You are surprised to see these treasures because you thought you lost them long ago. These were all important to you once and you are filled with a feeling of warm nostalgia at seeing them again. But what must you give up in order to obtain this magical deck of cards...The fool tells you these tokens still serve you well and that they represent the 4 elements of fire, water, air and earth - "Haven't you got something else you are really ready to part with?" You check your shirt pocket...the one that rests above your heart, and you pull out a faded photo. A memory tinged with sadness crosses your mind. Can you make out the faded image in the picture?...

He asks to see it and as you hand it to him, a burden lifts from your shoulders...a weight that you didn't notice was there, until it was lifted. He smiles, nods, and says, "Yes, this will be a fair trade. Letting go of something worn out, that no longer serves you for this new companion and guide." He smiles wisely and you realize you know this familiar gentle face. He has been a friend under different guises at different times in your life and will continue to be so. He wraps the deck of cards in a black, silk handkerchief and hands them to you. You thank him and he smiles and wishes you well on your journey. You hold onto the cards tightly as you walk the path out of the woods. You feel excited about the future and the journey you are on. You feel a sense of purpose and a surge of energy and bright, optimism that feels as warm and inviting as the sun peeking through the trees. As you draw closer to the edge of the forest, you look back once and hear the soft chanting of a childhood melody and the dog howl in the far distance. You feel certain you could find this place again whenever you feel a desire to visit. You walk the path that leads out of the forest, aware of the light getting brighter and brighter with each step that you take. Notice now the aliveness, the eagerness and energy that you feel...

And so...feeling yourself slowly returning to this room, breathing in and out...very rhythmically and easily, gently and with soft eyes coming back into this reality whenever you are ready.

Arnell Ando