“We're all fools," said Clemens, all the time. It's just we're a different kind each day. We think, I'm not a fool today. I've learned my lesson. I was a fool yesterday but not this morning. Then tomorrow we find out that, yes, we were a fool today too. I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we're not perfect and live accordingly.”
― Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man.
By the time you get this April Fool’s day will either be upon us or just gone.
As a child this particular day was relished. The anticipation of a day of chaotic attempts at daftness from school pals (I was much too nice!) plus an impending birthday a few days later made this day quite auspicious. The antics of pranksters which invariably led to detentions and other reprisals from fallen victims was so delicious and it made for a light relief from the monotony of a 2.4 nuclear education in a northern school in an equally nondescript northern town.
I remember fondly the BBC fooling us all with the spaghetti tree, a documentary about the farming of trees that grew spaghetti! There was also the National Trust who were moving standing stones to get better quality sunlight! So very jolly!
The beginnings of this eccentric cultural moment is lost in the mists of time.
After reading a fabulous book by Gary Lachman, 'The secret teachers of the western world' I began to wonder about the Fool in the Tarot.
In the book there is much discussion about the formation of consciousness through the centuries and the part about the Greeks is especially interesting. I particularly enjoyed learning about Orpheus and the Orphic mysteries and it occurred to me that an aspect of our Fool is none other than Orpheus himself.
An aspect of our Fool is none other than Orpheus.
Orpheus was a musician. His lyre was given to him by Apollo. Orpheus played his lyre so well and it sounded so beautiful that it was said to move men’s souls. It also pacified demons and gods and quieted Cerberus the three headed dog that stood at the gates of Hades. However the story of Orpheus includes his sad journey from the underworld to reclaim his wife Eurydice whom he lost again as he broke an agreement and looked at her before they reached the light and she fell once more into the world below.
The Orphic teachings are are aimed at freeing the soul from this fate, to avoid having the soul fall again into the body after death.
He was a reformer of the Dionysian mysteries and was associated with orgiastic drunkenness and madness. He could also be viewed as the archetypal image of indestructible life; this cannot be understood but experienced. Dionysius is a death and resurrection deity. He is still very much a part of the archetypal demography, remaining with us as the upholder of sex and drugs and rock and roll. Yet our spiritual spark stays with us and we succumb once more to ‘divine madness.’
But back to Orpheus, in a nutshell, he had to find a way of releasing the soul from the confines of the body. In other words that through the purification of countless rebirths one can attain a freedom.
Our Fool represents the spirit that lifts us aloft from the everyday circumstances of living.
It brings an awareness of sacred realms, the foolishness of saints and masters, the idealist that throws off the world and challenges the sober and the narrow mind.
The Fool points toward the inadequacy of the intellect, the limits of reason and the ideologies of skepticism, systemic thought and doubt.
The Fool also signifies the great work; the awakening of self to self and the realisation of potential. As a result of this, consciousness is cleansed through expansion and evolution perpetuated by rebirth both physically and spiritually.
Fool can blindly leap into chaos, confronting the unknown but there is no turning back. By following the path to the beat of his own drum, folly becomes wisdom.
However, he must be mindful that he doesn’t injure others and care must be taken of the well-being of others. Also to be aware of inappropriate life choices which leads to bondage and attachments. The Fool asks us to wake up and be enlightened as to our true nature; by trying to be perfect we become imperfect.
Illumination awaits us.
A reminder, before performing a spread do take some time to sit quietly getting all the everyday stuff out of the way. Focus on what you are about to do and enjoy where your cards will take you.
*How does the Fool express him/herself in my life?