0 Innocence - Saint Bernadette
traditionally The Fool
The innocent Bernadette lived a life of poverty and struggle
with her family in Lourdes.
Every day she tended the sheep and collected
sticks for kindle for the fire.
She went to a cave where rubbish had collected and it
is here where she had her first of eighteen visions of
the Lady in White. At first she did not tell anyone,
but when she did tell her mother, she forbade her to
return to the cave. However, the usually obedient
Bernadette, disobeyed her mother and returned to the
She said the Lady in White shimmered with a great
light and she had a rosary and yellow roses on her feet.
The Lady asked her to return to the cave for the next fortnight.
Bernadette faced much criticism and even persecution
about her visions. She was taken in for questioning
by the police many times and great pressure was put on
her to not return to the grotto.
Many felt the power of the Presence of the Lady, but
many others were disbelieving and openly scornful.
However, Bernadette retained a childlike innocence
and implacable faith in her visions and the messages
that she received.
In this card we see the purity and innocent open-heartedness
of the child. We see someone who sets off on a journey
without consideration of or without any expectation of
hardship and obstacles or even any sense of danger.
Bernadette, like the traditional Fool, is accompanied by
her sheep who represents the herd mentality of human nature :
that part in us that will not break with tradition or set out alone;
the obedient self. She is surrounded by flowers and greenery
of the forest and ahead of her are magical golden branches
and leaves, indicating that magic and miracles are ahead.
Behind Bernadette is the dark cave in which
she received her many visions.
She really steps out from the safety
of the world that she had known, into the unknown.
Like the traditional Fool of the tarot deck, she
steps off the cliff without regard for what is below.
She kneels into the
light that comes from the vision of the Lady in White
in front of her, thus stepping into the light
of a new adventure, a new beginning and indeed
a miraculous new era for humanity and
the message from the Divine Feminine appearing
as the Blessed Mary, the Immaculate Conception.
The rosary draped over Bernadette's hands
symbolize her faith in the words that
she received directly from the Divine.
At the end of the rosary hangs a Lourdes Rose
with an image of the Lady of Lourdes
appearing to Bernadette in the Grotto.
We may not all have visions, but we all do
receive the direct voice of the Divine in our hearts,
and like Bernadette, we are called to leave the
safety and darkness of the grotto behind
and to step into the light of consciousness
and awareness into a journey of self-responsibility
She has a small picnic lunch wrapped in sack
and cloth with her which contains her
simple lunch of an apple and bread and hidden in the packet
is the fragmented porcelain doll. These dolls are hidden in
many of the cards and they symbolize the imprisoned Self,
the divine Child Within, who is mostly unconscious or bound
by belief systems, traditions, culture and personal fears and
thus kept out of sight. Here the Divine Child of the Self,
that innocent part that has complete and utter faith in the
goodness of the world that we live in, has a rose perched
on her/his head, similarly to the apple placed on the head
of the boy in the story of William Tell.
As the self moves through the archetypal journey of growth
and liberation, the imprisoned Self is gradually untied and set free
until the very last card of the Major Arcana, XXI Liberation!
Bernadette has a beautiful shimmering nimbus of gold petals
around her head, symbolizing her steadfast faith in her
own direct experience and vision. Although she is only
at the beginning stage of her journey, she already emanates
strength and commitment, a pre-cursor of what is still