Fools for God are much to be prized for they will willingly walk into a lion’s den, save another’s life knowing they well might lose their own. They give to the poor, even if it means going barefoot. Surely, Mother Theresa was a fool for God, bare feet and all.
The Fool is a specific person wearing many guises. He may be a court jester, a trickster. He may be Helman, son of Hel, and Hel is the daughter of Loki (another trickster). Hel lives in the underworld. The Fool may show up as Frey, the Norse God of Death (Death seems to be genetic in this family).
He may be the Green Man, Spirit of the Forest - what a guy!
As Jester to a royal court, he is encouraged to speak the unspeakable; that is his role, after all. No one else is ever so canny or so bold. Playing the fool, he is thought a bit mad, thus gets away with much. There have been evil court jesters who commit murder. There may have been some jesters murdered by others, but I’ve not found any - killed, yes - not murdered.
He is also the first card of the Tarot, his lack of a number very significant.
He is the Fool - zero, aleph, nothing, innocent - who holds the mystery of beginning - over and over and over. More often observing the twists and turns of life, he may experience a few surprises himself. He is a shape-changer, one can never tell - exactly - what he’s up to. The Fool may show up here or there - even on the dinner table as dessert.
And a glorious dessert it is. Often referred to as trifle it is also named called a fool. Recipes vary, but I prefer - homemade, you understand - raspberry jam roll cut in slices and standing against the sides of a glass trifle bowl - very decorative. Cooled Crême Anglaise and lightly sweetened whipped cream are layered into the bowl and topped with perfectly toasted slivered almonds. No foolin’.
For myself, the Fool of the Tarot is a glorious symbol of nothing. As he begins his empty-headed journey, he gains the wisdom of one trump after another. The trumps are numbered from 1 to 21, but the Fool does not necessarily experience them in that order. Number 21 is called Universe or World and in the deck that chose me, the Universe includes a reference to the Fool, as in let the journey begin again.
When on New Year’s Day 2011 I was wondering what next? I was concerned about finances - and if I should keep writing novels. I shuffled the deck thrice, divided it into three stacks and picked up the one that seemed to have information for me. I turned over the first card and stopped right there.
The Fool told me that what I need will come to me, that what I’ve perceived as my role is indeed my role in the Universe - for now. To understand that one is on the right path is everything. Some of us go along with our lives waiting for Something to Happen, longing for Something to Happen. That longing takes different shapes and those shapes are not always happy, too often illustrated by guns, some of them toted by children.
When we are frightened enough, angry or just plain mad, we shoot our classmates or pick off strangers on the street as we ride in a car. Are there more “good” people than “bad” people? Yes, I believe there are.
“It’s all good” is credited to Buddhism, but it probably arrived in the present via a Bob Dylan song and found its way into something approaching a mantra - and that’s not all bad. The concept is worthy of meditation. But what does It’s all good mean? To me, it means that faith is everything and that we understand very little. The Fool’s nothing is a symbol of learning, that we begin each day innocent, that what the day will bring unfolds as we move and have our being in it. If we are open to possibilities, it is possible that we may learn at least One New Idea. We learn compassion through pain, not through pleasure. And God knows, there’s enough pain in the world. To experience frequent joy is a great blessing, perhaps growing into a mitzvah!
The Fool on New Year’s Day told me everything. Foolish? Not foolish - rather the wisdom that comes from having lived long and prospered by faith. It is my observation that the reason some of us don’t make a commitment to faith is because we fear there is nothing but a black hole after all. Yet that’s what faith is: to believe - only believe - in that which appears as nothing.
Sitting here enjoying the idea of the Fool along with the fool that I am, gives me great pleasure. Fool that I am, I continue to learn never to expect anything, expectations being the disappointments created within expecting.
I might say, “I expect we’ll have snow tonight.” or, “Natalie’s expecting.” or “I don’t expect to have you love me . . .” It’s not normal not to have expectations. Sadly, those who go hungry and have no expectations of food or clean water have those expectations met.
“Wait just a darn minute,” I hear you cry. “You just told us about faith and now you tell us not to have expectations?”
“Ah!” I reply happily, “That’s it! That’s the dichotomy and that’s the paradox. It is my belief that Truth is found in dichotomy and paradox. Those words represent two very different concepts. A dichotomy is the pairing of two different items - dark/light, soft/hard, clean/dirty. A paradox is the marvel that represents the impossible.
It’s all good; we don’t understand it.
What is Fool? What does Fool mean, exactly? Fool may mean a fool, someone who is considered immutably ignorant - even stupid - or someone acting silly, acting the fool.