The Fool

To start off this post, I would like to say that the reason I am a participant on this and other forums is in part that I am interested in the intuitions, beliefs, and views people as individuals have.  I do read more formal books on religion and religious history, of course, when I have the time and dedication.  That is also interesting.  But there is nothing like one on one conversation or even a web forum such as this to understand how people as individuals think.

I would like to talk about the Fool.  Does your tradition or other traditions you know of have the concept of a Fool?  If so, what do you think about that?  What does the Fool mean to you if anything?  Do you have any personal associations with that concept?

In Christianity even in the New Testament there is the “fool for Christ’s sake.”  Such a person rejects worldly concerns, at least in appearance.  A holy Fool in Eastern Orthodoxy is a form of the ascetic life.

The Tarot also has its Fool.  I associate that particular character and symbolism with beginnings, including a phase of my own spiritual beginnings.  Someone foolish and largely blind, but still nevertheless stumbling upon Wisdom.  The Lady Wisdom (the “Anointed Sophia,” as I call her) is an important devotional focus of my path, my devotion to the Christ as described in feminine terms.

And I have a friend whose views in my rather humble estimation in many ways are foolish.  I am very skeptical of absolutist views of conduct, absolutist worldviews.  Worldviews in which it is easy to declare many to be wrong, but which is the most grave offence to have declared against one’s self.  I consider this to be morally and politically dangerous, again as estimated by my own moral and political standards.  Your mileage may vary.

Nevertheless that friend whose views often seem to be in my opinion so foolish or misguided will sometimes provide me with striking insights.  The point I guess is that we learn from people whose views are different from our own, even if those views seem foolish at first glance or even after heavy evaluation.  I remember that friend describing to me how becoming a great saint is a matter of style, and that has stuck with me. Find your style What does it mean to be a god, whether we are speaking in terms of theosis or some other paradigm?  What does it mean to me in the context of my individual life?  (This may not be relevant to your particular path, but it is a consideration for me.)

Again, in my own life phases the period in which I was inundated with the energy of the Fool was a time of deep searching in the midst of pain and outer peril, searching for meaning and insights.  It was a period of youthful religious experimentation, making mistakes, learning from them, a period of deep but sometimes erratic exploration.  A time of just going with any “religious impulse” that arose and getting totally lost in it.  That is an approach I try to avoid these days, but it did get me somewhere at one time.

This phase of my life is still present to me in some ways and always, I suspect, will be, but I have matured since then, and I try to incorporate new aspects of spirituality that I am exploring into my path with great caution and care.  I try not to add more than is required, and I have to be careful about this because I am OCD and have periodic times of obsession with certain topics.  Finding that balance between my true spiritual needs and my OCD can be a painful struggle.  And sometimes a spiritual element may be better incorporated in my case through passive contemplation than active and structured ritual pursuit.  I have enough rituals. :)

During the phase of the Fool I did not have such regards.  Nevertheless, I benefited from that period in my life.

I would be greatly interested in other reflections on the Fool, whatever that may mean to you from your studies of the Tarot or religion or in your own life and perspective, should you wish to reflect on that.  Thanks again for reading.

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