April 1, 2012

I Used to Hate April Fool’s Day. ~ Aminda Courtwright

April Fool’s Day seems to bring out the mean in people

And I guess I just never got the appeal, this almost pathological need to prove that people are gullible. To hurt people and make them look stupid. I don’t get it. This week already my heart strings were pulled by a “joke” from one of our editors saying she was quitting.

Now I don’t think at all she meant to be mean—I don’t think that’s the intention at all, but I fail to see what’s funny about making people worry about us. Last year a friend of my brother’s led him to believe she was pregnant and laughed at his obvious care, concern and distress in helping her out. Is that funny? Personally I don’t think so.

Now on the contrary I love Satire—Like the Onion—but it’s presented as such, a joke, a distorted mirror to help us see our folly. I’m not a humorously killjoy, usually. Perhaps I hate the tradition of April Fool’s because I have always been a trusting, naive and very gullible person—and it feels like a break of trust and it certainly feels like people enjoy making me (and others like me) feel stupid.

Does anyone stop to think how pulling a prank can cause stress? Tension? Emotional Turmoil? Just wondering.

But all that changed this year—oh, I still don’t like the pranks, I am still disturbed that people find meanness funny but I don’t hate the entire concept of the day anymore and it started with a simple statement—I hate April Fool’s Day.  Yep that was my status update today and a dear friend stated this: The “Fool” in the Tarot is the Seeker of Knowledge, so I celebrate that aspect.

Well know that’s a horse of different color! I asked my friend and colleague Laura Brown, who is a tarot card reader extraordinaire and can help anyone learn tarot, to elucidate for me! Five minutes later I got this:

I like to think of the energy of The Fool a lot like that of Skydiving, since they really do both represent playfully taking gigantic leaps of faith.

But—and this is where it really gets interesting: most of us need to feel safe in order to take a leap of faith!

In order to truly enjoy the experience of aligning with The Fool, you must first feel safe enough to do so. It’s a bit of a paradox, but so true. And when we feel safe, we can become playful and relax and when we become playful, anything is possible.

Personally, I don’t think you’ll ever catch me skydiving, but like all of us, we could all do with an alignment with freedom to soar into the adventures of our own choosing.

It is really interesting to me how many cultures around the world have connected to the mythology and symbolism of what I call “The Rainbow Bridge”: and the Rainbow Bridge is very connected to the Fool, as you will see.

Basically, many many people believe, in one way or another, that we choose our lives and experiences before we come to earth. In Waldorf (Steiner) schools, for instance, teachers tell a mythic story of “Becoming” to children on their birthdays, where they tell of that child deciding to come to earth, and then coming down to earth via the Rainbow Bridge into their physical experiences on the planet.

Others have likened this “Rainbow Bridge” to the form of kundalini energy entering the body, or of the rainbow of the full chakra system.. so mythically, we already seem to understand that leaps of faith are to bring us into the “body” of our new experiences.the Fool represents taking that leap of faith- and coming down the rainbow bridge of conceptual dreaming into full- born reality and manifestation.

If we take ourselves too seriously when the time is ripe for massive change, we’ll never accomplish much—we’ll be too afraid to! It takes the wisdom of play, and playful curiosity, to really make a massive leap of faith.

It got me to thinking about being playful—how humor can be such a great teacher, and if used properly the innocence of the fool is a gateway to change. I did a bit more research, here are some interesting interpretations:

 1. The Fool. The Marseilles deck shows the fool as a court jester holding a baton and standing near a cliff. This symbolism suggests silliness, but perhaps a deliberate silliness. The popular Waite deck is more complex. It shows a young wanderer holding a rose and a walking stick, to which a bag is tied, walking off a cliff. A dog romps at his side. This suggests a happy and carefree attitude that could be dangerous. The Golden Dawn deck shows a naked child holding the reins of a wolf while plucking fruit from a tree. This symbolism suggests that the fool is innocence, and that pure innocence can check animal passions while surviving quite nicely on what nature provides. In the Deck of Thoth, the fool is shown in a green suit and gold shoes. A crystal is between his horns, and he is falling. He holds A Wand in his right hand (power) and a flaming pine cone in his left hand (purity). The card shows a tiger, a dove, a vulture, a butterfly, a rainbow, children, flowers, grapes, a crocodile, and ivy. This card portrays Jung’s archetype of the divine child such as the infant Christ. The imagery also suggests the archetypal eternal youth or Peter Pan. Nichols (1984) calls the symbolism of the fool, the archetypal wanderer. ~Gerald Schueler, Ph.D. © 1997 

The fool as the “trickster”

Trickster is the teacher, when you attract lessons into one’s life. With his lessons, he awakens us to who we are and allows us to explore the true purpose of our soul’s journey in the holographic experience through which we experience consciously at this level of awareness.

His energy allows us to break out of old stereotypes, whether they’ve been imposed by ourselves, our families, our culture, or circumstance. This is the energy that opens the world of limitless possibilities and it behooves us all to work with it before it destroys us, to touch the Trickster as he touches us.

Trickster is a teacher, survivor, hero, always traveling, outrageous and cunning, foolish and wise, mischievous and often doing good despite himself. He is a metaphor for the evolution of consciousness in the alchemy of time.

After my reading I’m a bit less cranky about the “tricks”—after all one of my favorite characters of all time is Puck from A midsummer night’s dream and what is he but the fool, the trickster, the archetype of change through ridiculousness and mistaken identity.

So tomorrow if my gullibility feels overwhelming I am going to try to remember that it is in leaps of faith that change occurs, that the fool is one willing to walk to the edge, to jump and that my foolishness may indeed just be a sign of an open and growing mind and when others laugh at my folly, rather than being hurt maybe just maybe I’ll take a little pride that I am open to jumping no matter the outcome! But my friends please remember that I am very sensitive too, so try not to scare the living crap out of me!

If we shadows have offended, / Think but this, and all is mended, / That you have but slumber’d here / While these visions did appear. / And this weak and idle theme, / No more yielding but a dream, / Gentles, do not reprehend: / If you pardon we will mend. / Else the Puck a liar call. / Give me your hands, if we be friends, / And Robin shall restore amends.

If you are interested in learning more about Tarot and Jungian Archetypes:

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