M1. This post is inspired by The Hero and the Light post by the Quantum Underground Blog.
I was taken by the remark that the blogger was searching for a path of awakening and they “found their path partially by the Way of the Fool”. Also recommended is a book by, and about, Mark Hedsel called The Zelator.
Mark Hedsel himself refers the idea of the Way of the Fool back to the Tarot cards. Here we have the kind of Joker in the pack of Tarot Trump cards which is often referred to as The Fool, as pictured here.
According to Wikipedia “The Fool is titled Le Mat in the Tarot of Marseilles, and Il Matto in most Italian language tarot decks. These archaic words mean “the madman” or “the beggar”, and may be related to the word for ‘checkmate’ in relation to the original use of tarot cards for gaming purposes.”
So the Tarot starts and ends with the Fool because the Fool has no number. At the start, it represents a naive entry on to the path of enlightenment. At the end, it represents the attitude of the enlightened one.
According to the psychiatrist Carl Jung, these ideas would be symbolic of the integration and assimilation of opposites.
The thinking process of dreams is very different to the logic of everyday life. In fact, dreams are almost the antithesis of logical thought. Bizarre things happen, things disappear and reappear, objects morph into other objects, etc.
When the images used for the Tarot cards first appeared in Medieval Europe, the Fool was often used as a kind of allegorical character to satirize society. And he often represented the weaknesses, vices and absurdities of society, and sometimes of the Catholic Church.
And I think there is a close parallel here between the illogicality of dreams and the characterization of the Fool.
The Way of the Fool
So what might we expect in the way of enlightenment by following the (any) Way of the Fool?
Quantum Underground Blog (I hope I have captured the essence) gives some clues such as:
- Keeping your beliefs open and fluid
- You must give All to enter into I AM
- Is all around us simply illusion, myth and allegory?
- Love creates energy
- The Flow… connecting me to things
The Fool’s Journey (Tarot)
My understanding comes from the Fool’s Journey through the Tarot Majors that yields some characteristics of awakening or enlightenment that I would like to share.
Firstly, to be enlightened is to have the experience of being “one with everything” (Sorry about the cliche). Here you understand that nothing in the universe is special in any way and all things are equal. The Fool simply acts out of his nature and cares about everything… or perhaps nothing.
Secondly, all forms are illusory. The Fool is often pictured walking off a cliff without regard to the risks. We cannot see the purpose or meaning of the universe but we can experience meaning and purpose in our own lives. It must, of course, be an illusion, but never mind.
We are also without a Self. This is easy to demonstrate by asking a series of questions that lead to what is essentially nothing. The Fool wears a costume that projects an image but also hides his real self. Is he really a Fool or is he a wise man lost in his own thoughts and not wanting to be distracted?
Finally, all is impermanent in the field of time. So why would the Fool worry about having no home nor anything but what he carries. Everything comes to an end (actually rather quickly) so why bother with the illusion of security, home, job, etc.
As a result, the Fool has no responsibilities, no regrets, no worries, no need to work and in fact nothing to do but follow his own nature.
If these things about enlightenment appeal to you then following the Fool’s Journey through the Tarot may be for you. To take the journey is to embrace your destiny. You will need to love whatever you choose to do, even if it looks like a train wreck. Whatever happens may be a triumph or a disaster, but if you survive it, then what a privilege it will have been to have led what is truly your own unique and personal life.