Last night I had a revelation. It wasn’t the kind of revelation that woke me up completely, it was one of those subtle ones where things you already know click into place in a way that registers in your consciousness to create clarity. It all seems so simple, so obvious, that you are amazed you didn’t get it long ago. In fact, you probably DID get it long ago, as a child, before things got so complex.
The Fool is very much the archetypical Child, as far as I see it. Children have a natural, instinctive wisdom that surpasses by far what most adults have- including the most educated amongst us. A big part of that instinctive wisdom is in freedom from the mind, and the ability to live fully in the moment. Kids – before they take on what they learn from adults – don’t sit around analyzing or worrying about things, they just DO what they feel. Whatever emotion comes up, they act on without judging it or repressing it or thinking about it and what it might mean. In this way they connect directly with the heart, and cannot but be true to themselves (again, until they are taught otherwise). The Fool steps out because she feels like it, not because she has thought about it and decided it might lead to her reaching a certain goal or destination. There is no projection into the future, there is only the joy of the moment. Life in its entirety is lived in each moment, each step.
We have all heard ad nauseum about personal psychological “baggage” that we carry with us from the past. Entire industries are built upon our baggage and how we (don’t) handle it and need professional help with it. Most of us carry a LOT of stuff we may or may not be aware of and would dearly love to dump and leave behind to make the journey lighter. The past comes with us most of the time, whether we like it or not. I went to a workshop recently with an interesting native American man called Medicine Crow. He does a lot of healing work on people with both physical and mental illnesses, and one of the things he emphasized most strongly was how incredibly powerful are minds are at manifesting disease if we are focussed on past pain, resentment, anger – anything basically which is heavy on our heart and spirit. He tells people point blank to shut up when they start going on about their past and how its effected them so badly and how hard they’ve had it. He said, and this is the part that really struck me, imagine having a path before you, your journey ahead, and then getting all this stuff from your past and dumping it right in front of you. You can no longer see clearly, and you’ve got all this crap to try and get over or get past before you can even take your first step.
My revelation was this: that we not only have all this baggage from the past, we also have baggage from the future. Ideas we get attached to of what our future should look like, what we should have and what we should be doing, often create an anxiety and stress in the present because what we have now doesn’t seem good enough in comparison. We load ourselves up with images of us as happy and fulfilled WHEN this or that happens, one day, in the future.
Our projections, desires, visions of what we want to happen, what will make us happy or what we need, can be helpful only if they are not interfering, or causing heaviness, in the present. I know there are times when we have to plan and having visions of the future is necessary in many ways, and as adults we do have to keep the balance between passion and reason, but most of us spend WAY too much time in our heads, thinking about things so much rather than listening to our bodies and actually acting on our instinctual nature. There is so much power in trusting your instinct and stepping outside the confines of your own patterns of thought and ideas of what is “the right thing to do”. Now that might sound trite, but it was truly an awakening for me, not only because it came to me as a thought, but because where i found myself at that particular point in time was the direct result of my own living in the moment and taking the risk to do what i felt like doing. The cliche that this moment is all we ever have, is embodied by the Fool. It is the wisdom of the Child.
To me, wisdom and freedom go together. Both are characterized by a lightness of spirit- the Fool’s backpack is practically weightless. There is a bounce in his step and a smile on his face and a feather in his cap! He’s a traveller of many lands, creating stories with each step he takes. He’s also acting in the spirit of Love. His instinct and action comes from a place of joy, both for himself and for the world around him, which is obvious in his freedom. When you know freedom, you wish it for others too, for the idea of being trapped, tied or tortured is abhorrent. (Often in our culture, this is in reference to our own minds rather than the physical, though both are intrinsically related).
Wise people laugh, that’s what i’ve noticed; they seem a lot more free than people who are serious all the time. You can laugh when you know that taking the risk because your heart jumps up and down and begs you to act, is going to be much more of a story than telling yourself to think, sit still, don’t act, be sensible, make sure you’re doing the right thing in this way and that way and blah blah blah. How will you ever know who you truly are if you don’t act on your heart’s urging? Things are in a constant state of change, this we all know, and no window of opportunity stays very long. We grow old and we die, and that’s that. The Fool and the Child know how to live in their bodies, not get trapped in their heads. The future may or may not happen at all for you, and it’s bound to be different from what you think its going to be anyway, so let it go.
I have come to see that too many times in my own life I have missed the beauty of the moment because of fears of the future, and trying to force things to be a certain way, searching for a kind of security that simply does not exist. The only real security is in letting go and finding “home” inside yourself, allowing the natural course of things to be, and trusting in love to bring you happiness, whatever form that takes, right now. Not waiting for it, just enjoying who and what is in your life right now. Again, it sounds trite, but the Fool’s wisdom is often simple and avoids the mind making things overly complex. Don’t get trapped in it!
As a tarot reader, I must say I see the paradox, the irony, in what I am saying. Most people want a vision of their future but don’t know how to keep it light. Unfortunately, the cling to it, hold onto it and think about it all the time, worry about it or try and make certain things happen faster, or avoid other things – and so much energy goes into all of this, that could just be used in the present, creating life and enjoying just what is.
I read Tarot because I am passionate about finding freedom and helping others find their own freedom. What i feel is most important is to know who we are and what amazing things we are capable of if we can use our gifts and energy, our life force, in the present. Tarot is helpful for revealing underlying patterns of behaviour and thought so that real changes may be made to shift whatever is holding us back – whether that be stuff from the past, or ways of thinking about the future. I believe a good reading is one in which you get a deeper insight into who you are, and some guidance about how to unburden yourself of what you really don’t need to be carrying, with the ultimate aim of being as free as the Fool, as open and light in the mind as a Child.
So in a nutshell, the wisdom of the Fool is this: to live knowing that the greatest and best energy in the entire universe is Love, and that there is an infinite supply of it. The more you love, the more love you receive, simple. Don’t waste a second of your life holding it back. If you feel love, express it, tell it, show it – but do so without attachment (baggage) to the outcome. In other words, free yourself of any expectations of how you want others to respond. Respect where others are at and let them be free also to choose how and whom they love, based on their own instinct. This can take a bit of learning- it certainly isn’t easy! But just remember, you can’t hold onto a butterfly without damaging its ability to fly, so let it be free.