You can read an introduction to the light & shadow series and find links to its other installments >> here! If you aren’t yet familiar with my interpretation of the card in discussion you might want to read up on its meanings before you continue with this article.
Traditionally, the Fox is a mostly negative card with very few possibilities of a positive interpretation – after all, dishonest intentions and trickery are hardly productive, no matter how you try to spin it; although cunning and hard work may be. The Anna.K Lenormand Fox on the other hand has a much wider and more ambivalent meaning, with self-interest, adaptability, and caution, at its core. And all those can be interpreted as positive or negative, productive or unproductive, depending on context.
Even in my own readings, the Fox sometimes represents very clear-cut destructive, negative, issues and goings-on. It does so because self-interest, if it is not accompanied by empathy and regard for other people’s well-being, will result in very selfish behaviour. The Fox can represent a person who thinks nothing of furthering their own interests to the detriment of others. If this is the type of self-interest the Fox represents in your reading, that is obviously destructive.
The same goes for a specific way a person can be adaptable: adaptability in the form of disingenuously changing with the wind purely for personal gain. A person who acts like that might profit from it for a while, but in the long-term it will also ruin their relationships with other people, and possibly destroy their own integrity and sense of self. And for the people who encounter them, they are a true danger.
As far as caution is concerned, if the Fox refers to a person who is unstable, fearful, paranoid, it very likely won’t represent realistic risk awareness but distrust and suspicion taken to such an extreme that it becomes damaging to both the person themselves and the people they direct their distrust and suspicion at.
Another dimension of the Fox’s meaning – hard work, and survival – becomes problematic if working hard, being in survival mode, is a constant habit independent of the current situation. If someone feels that they need to work hard just because, if someone feels that they need to fight for their life even though their life is not actually being threatened, this is harmful.
I mentioned above that the traditional meaning of the Fox leaves very little room for a positive interpretation. In my own readings, on the other hand, the Fox more often than not does represent productive, positive, issues and goings-on. It does so because self-interest, as long as (and maybe especially if) it is accompanied by empathy and regard for other people’s well-being, is very important for an individual’s physical, emotioal, and mental, health. Putting others first only works to a certain degree, or only for a certain while. If we neglect ourselves for too long, we eventually become unable to care for anybody else. We need to take care of our own basic needs first, before we can even think of looking after the needs of others.
I mentioned above that the Fox can represent adaptability in the sense of the often rather destructive tendency to change with the wind for the sake of personal gain. If, however, the Fox in your concrete reading relates to a person with a lot of integrity, or to someone who is extremely set in their ways, inflexible in their thinking and acting, it will instead stand for – or advise – the much more positive and productive willingness to adjust one’s behaviour (and expectations) to reality; to learn new ways, to adapt to new conditions.
Also, especially if you draw the Fox for a situation whose parameters are unclear, or which is potentially dangerous, the Fox gives you the very productive advice to assess the risks carefully, to be cautious, to think before you act. If the querent is overly trusting, gullible, wont to fall for tricks and frauds, the Fox definitely says that it would be a good thing to be more suspicious, to not trust appearances so quickly.
Another dimension of the Fox’s meanings, integrity, I also regard as something intrinsically productive. Of course, in some contexts, the Fox’s suggestion to follow our own conscience, or our own calling, our own tastes, means going against what other people wish us to do. Going the way of integrity could cause difficulties for us, trigger pushback from others. In most cases, though, I am deeply convinced that it would still be worth it, that, in the end, preserving our integrity will often contribute greatly to our mental and emotional thriving, while going against it will always damage us in some way.