Is he simple and a dumbling or is he really, really, quite wise? When she finally takes the leap will she fall on her face or discover that she has wings? And what of the relationship between what the world expects us to think/do/say and what we know, in our hearts to be true?
Now the tom cat was the master of the house, and the hen was mistress, and they always said, “We and the world,” for they believed themselves to be half the world, and the better half too. The duckling thought that others might hold a different opinion on the subject, but the hen would not listen to such doubts. “Can you lay eggs?” she asked. “No.” “Then have the goodness to hold your tongue.” “Can you raise your back, or purr, or throw out sparks?” said the tom cat. “No.”
“Then you have no right to express an opinion when sensible people are speaking.” So the duckling sat in a corner, feeling very low spirited, till the sunshine and the fresh air came into the room through the open door, and then he began to feel such a great longing for a swim on the water, that he could not help telling the hen.
“What an absurd idea,” said the hen. “You have nothing else to do, therefore you have foolish fancies. If you could purr or lay eggs, they would pass away.”
“But it is so delightful to swim about on the water,” said the duckling, “and so refreshing to feel it close over your head, while you dive down to the bottom.”
“Delightful, indeed!” said the hen, “why you must be crazy! Ask the cat, he is the cleverest animal I know, ask him how he would like to swim about on the water, or to dive under it, for I will not speak of my own opinion; ask our mistress, the old woman—there is no one in the world more clever than she is. Do you think she would like to swim, or to let the water close over her head?”
“You don’t understand me,” said the duckling. –From the Ugly Duckling
Card: The Fool
Planetary Ruler: Uranus
Zodiac sign: Aquarius
The Fool begins the journey into the Tarot. Though he is associated with beginnings it may be better to think of him as a radical revisionist. He has already done some traveling as evidenced by his handy pack–full of tools of his trade and a few essentials for the road. He has seen various paths and ways of being but he is looking for something deeper, something magical and ripe with meaning. But like all aspects of the other world, following intuition can lead to truth or illusion and so the Fool must watch both heaven and earth allowing the practical to intermingle with the more abstract and obscure.
* New Beginnings and Endings
* Foolish behavior, lack of awareness
* Faith and Devotion
* Risk and Reward
In the beginning there was nothing, only void and in the beginning we have nothing…or so it may seem. Rarely is there a time when an individual says to himself “yes, now is the time and the day that I will go and seek out my deep well of inner knowing., Now is the best time to pursue my dreams” No, no. More often than not life pushes us–through emotional travail, practical circumstance, or shattering revelation to go out on a journey looking for Lord only knows what. This initial step is what the Fool demonstrates and guides us in. For we all begin as fools when we search out and seek towards our deepest sense of knowing and acting.
In most Tarot decks the Fool card is labeled zero and many remark on the tabula rasa nature of the fool, on the fact that zero is equated to the cosmic egg, that the card in a way is a kind of birthing. These observations hold truth in them but I think there is more to the story. Many of us today have experiences in life where we would rightly say that we started not at zero but in the negatives. Perhaps day in, day out circumstance weighed against us or we lost ourselves to ourselves through one bad decision after the other, when the Fool shows up her presence indicates that in some way and to some degree healing and foreknowledge has already begun to take root–for we are not in the negatives-we are at zero and we are ready to set forth.
In literature, myth and story there are different kinds of fools. There is the foolish fool, the wise fool, and the holy fool. There are the Trickster Gods who are the fools’ boon companions, guides, and in some cases challengers all rolled into one black feathered raven or scatter-furred Coyote. But there is one thing that all of these fools have in common, one demand that they make of us no matter what kind of fool we may be-we must be willing to be ridiculous, to embrace the absurd.
Ridiculous, absurd, and hilarious behavior puts us right up close and personal with our pride, ego, and most essential of all concern with what everyone else thinks. The Fool is the right first step for any journey that takes us into our interior, any work that is determined to unearth the deep well of intuition because the first step is a turning away from “what the world thinks” and that is why the Fool shows us his back and not his front. He has by hook or crook turned away from the blathering on of the exterior world…for now. The Fool is, interestingly enough, concerned with knowledge but it is knowledge of the self he seeks out. He is seeking a different voice, one that is carried on the wind and sniffed out in woodsmoke, one that resides in just the right harmony, and in the wind that blows around our deep well of knowing.
In a reading: The natural expression of the Fool in our outer life looks different for different people but it often manifests as the individual turning their back–figuratively or literally–on that which no longer serves, takes up space for the sake of taking up space and wastes time.
When the Fool/ess comes into your life you can bet that s/he is going to turn it upside down and inside out-willy nilly. The Fool is not gradual change–there is little that appears to be reasoned or rational about her, she is after all a Fool. The Fool is fast and sudden change. It is the financier who after working 100 hour weeks for eight years decides to quit their job and follow their life long passion of photography. It is the artisan who leaves the big city that never had a place for her and chooses to homestead in the mountains with her partner. It is the mom who chooses to homeschool her children-other people’s opinions be damned, and it is the boyfriend who wakes up and realizes his life will never be the same without his mate…and ask for their hand in marriage.
These are all examples of Fool energy in action. Just as there is nothing gradual about the Fool there is also nothing done without order-although it may not be apparent at the time. The Fool always, always, always initiates a journey. When the Fool shows up he crooks his finger and says-come away with me. The journey need not be physically articulated-though it often is-because it is a journey into the interior realms, into the mountains and valleys of our soul selves-that is why the back is turned.
Sacred Journal Prompt: Where is the Fool in your life? What journey does he invite you take?
Build an Altar: To represent your understand of Faith, Belief, and Inner Wisdom.
Try Something New: the Fool likes journeys and beginnings, try one thing you have never tried before to honor your own Fool/ess.