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0 The Fool (Ginseng)


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What better place to start my studies in this deck than with The Fool!?


The Fool stands on edge of a cliff at the edge of a forest, beyond he cliff's edge is blackness.  It looks like it is winter time because the trees in the background are bare.  a golden light from the sky falls on The Fool.  The Fool himself is dressed in clothes of yellow and blue.  In one hand he carries his bag, in the other a red rose which he looks to be smelling.  His hair is curly and auburn and his hat is purple with a red feather.  The herb of Ginseng grows in the foreground of the picture, partly obscuring the Fool.


The Fool can indicate many things depending on its position in the reading, but in general, I feel that the Fool represents a feeling of boundless energy because he is ready for anything, ready to travel the world - to me he feels a little like a student who is taking a gap year to go backpacking around the world, wanting the new and exciting adventures and not knowing where they'll be sleeping from night to night and is excited about this.  He is new to the ways of the world, and encourages us to have a moment of 'child mind' where we just put our complete and utter faith in the path beneath our feet and trust it'll lead us right.  This leads on to his innocence - he doesn't know he's approaching the edge of the cliff, he trusts his path so much that he's willing to spend time smelling the roses on his way and not looking at his feet, completely innocent of what might be about to happen!


This is the Fool at the start of his journey, before he meets the Magician or The High Priestess, before the Tower experience occurs.  He is free, limitless and full of vitality and energy.  I also love his innocence and childlike manner.


The herb is Ginseng which I don't actually know much about, except that I had a lovely tea that contained it a while back so I started off my research with the companion book (I'm not going to provide all the detail from the book because that would be unfair to the publishers, but some of the infomartion is useful here!).  For the major arcana this book gives each herb a name.  Ginseng is the Herb of Cosmic Energy.  This means it can apparently provide pure motivation and creative energy within a person.  This links well with the Fool to me because it compliments his boundless energy and excitement and motivation to move onwards along his path.  Still working from the companion book, medicinally it can be a power herb for strengthening all weaknesses and lack of energy, which again I feel links well to the Fool here.  I've noticed that a lot of the herbs that I consider as more fiery (ginseng, ginger, chilli, cayenne) often seem to be herbs that strengthen and motivation and help to create a fire inside.  I love how fitting this is!


I then turned to my herb book to discover that because it is isn't usually grown in a UK herb garden it wasn't in there.  So obviously I turned to the internet into to research this herb.  I started off at www.herbsguide.net as I'm familiar with it which is where most of the following information is based from.



Family: Araliaceae

Botanical name: Panax Ginseng

Naturally, it would appear to grow damp woodlands (herbsguide.net reckons that it likes the damp woodlands of Manchuria which is a region in Northeast China).

In general it seems that only the root is used, which means that I'm surprised that the artist chose not to include the root on the card as they have done with (for example) the Eight of Pentacles (Ginger).  The root can grow to a length of 60cm (2 feet) or more!  It seems to have many medicinal uses for all sorts of things, so guess its appropriate that is the herb of Cosmic Energy.  I think of Cosmic Energy as a force that can heal the minds energy, so it seems appropriate that this herb can heal much of the human body.


Finally, I looked up a picture of the plant to see if the drawing was accurate and was very happy to discover that it was!


I do feel that looking even just this deep into this card and spending time with the Fool has really aided my understanding of this card.  I feel I've barely scratched the surface here but I thought I'd share a recipe for Ginseng Tea which I really like tp make on the rare occasions I have dried ginseng around.


- Add about 1 teaspoon of dried ginseng root per cup to an infusing teapot, add boiling water and allow to steep for 5 - 10 minutes (or longer if you prefer).  Serve and drink while still hot (but not so its burning your tongue!)

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Ginseng or Ren Shen, is warming (yang), and enters the lung spleen and heart. It is important to note that there are other types of Ginseng, which have quite different properties and often are confused as being one and the same.

Ginseng is possibly the most popular of the Chinese herbs, and probably the most well known outside of China. It's name 'Ren Shen' pretty much sums up what this herb is all about. Ren, referring to the meridian known as the conception or governor vessel, which is the life force channel that runs from the perineum to the area up the spine and to an area somewhere behind the eyes. From an energetic stand point, some may recognise this pathway where the chakras lay, ending in the pineal gland. Shen, refers to one of the 'five spirits' which is the spirit energy that is housed in the heart. The root is the only part that is used medicinally (as far as I have come to know), and the best quality Ginseng is grown for about 8 years, sometimes more (and can command quite the price!). 

There is something about Ginseng and The Fool that matches perfectly. He has a simple purity about him, and Ginseng is much the same. It as an awesome, powerful herb, that often benefits from the wisdom and energy of other herbs. 

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