Tarot Reading for January: The Fool & Turkey Tail Mushoom
In the colorful Tarot card the Fool, we see a person in a festive bright tunic with large billowing sleeves taking a carefree step near the edge of a cliff. Carrying a staff with everything this young fellow owns, and holding an innocent white flower in the other hand, the Fool stands overlooking a dramatic precipice with mountains in the background and a bright, strong Sun looking on in the righthand corner. A little white dog jumps up in joyous excitement at the foot of this card, or is it to warn their master of an impending leap? The Fool is indeed about to make a big leap – of faith? Or folly? Who knows?
Risk is a big part of what the Fool represents. Sometimes when we cling to our what-ifs or our regrets, we should instead turn to the Fool to remember the childlike qualities of curiosity and risk-taking. Foolish, it may seem, to leap off a cliff with little plan or resources, but sometimes leaps of faith pay off handsomely in both financial and spiritual dividends – there is a self-confidence earned from trusting our gut instincts, that no other experience in life can provide.
The first card of the Tarot deck, The Fool appropriately begins the story of the Tarot, taking us on a journey through the Major Arcana that explains life, in all its glitches and glories, ultimately ending in oneness and wonder with the World. Similarly in a reading, we may ask ourselves, what journey are we about to embark on? What discovery is up ahead? Excitement is around the corner, and it might be wise to expect the unexpected. The fresh, carefree, spontaneous energy the Fool brings us is just what we need to shake up our boring routine. It is time to be open to new experiences. Life is for living – which is risky, beautiful, dangerous, rapturous, tragic, glorious, miserable, and bittersweet all at once! The Fool already knows this – and yet they are open to each emotion, willing to experience every single one. They are hungry for a fresh perspective, a different story than the one they have been in, and in a way, they are leaving something behind for something new that is yet unknown. So above all else, they understand the importance of trusting their instincts as they navigate their new path, staying freely in the present moment, and accepting whatever that moment may bring.
In times of turbulent change and risky gambles, it is good to have a grounded, nourishing, and protective companion at our side. A natural companion to the Fool is the mushroom Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), a colorful fungus whose shape and swirling variegated colors resemble the tail of a wild turkey. Turkey Tail commonly grows in tiled layers in groups on rotting logs and hardwood tree stumps throughout the world. Used for centuries by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine as an immunomodulator to support immune function and help fight infection, recent research has revealed that the secret to this miraculous mushroom is in its natural polysaccharides, polysaccharide K (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP). These star players support a healthy and robust immune response as well as manage the inflammatory response at the cellular level. PSK and PSP are so potent that studies have shown a slowing or shrinking of tumorous cancer cells through their enhanced immune response. Turkey Tail is also packed with powerful antioxidants, including flavonoids and phenols, which address oxidative stress in the body and the health issues they cause, such as heart disease and certain cancers. And this mushroom is also high in prebiotics, which help nourish the gastrointestinal tract, supporting improved digestion.
Ready for a new adventure? Considering a leap of faith? Do not wait for life to happen - The Fool and Turkey Tail show us how to proceed, in high spirits, well nourished, and alert – expecting the unexpected and going with the flow, our eyes and our hearts open.
*Tarot reading is based on the Rider-Waite Tarot Card deck, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith
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Geer, Mary K. Tarot for Your Self: A Workbook for the Inward Journey, 2nd Edition. New Jersey, The Career Press, Inc, 2002. P233
Kubala, Jillian, MS, RD. “5 Immune-Boosting Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom.” Healthline, 6 November 2018. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/turkey-tail-mushroom
Pallav, Kumar, Dowd, Scot E, Villefuerte, Javier et al. “Effects of Polysaccharopeptide from Trametes versicolor and Amoxicillin on the Gut Microbiome of Healthy Volunteers: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 1 July 2014. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25006989/
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