Friday, April 01, 2005

A day for fools

Today is the day we honor fools in the U.S. No, not the fools allegedly running the country. The Fool. The Trickster. In a tarot deck, the Zero: the egg, the beginning, nothingness - everywhere and nowhere at once. The Fool is a powerful archetype: the one who can speak truth to power. She is the court jester. The juggler. The clown of God. The fool embodies boundless enthusiasm and the joy and excitement of new beginnings. He is also naive and may have his head in the clouds (watch out for the cliff's edge!). The fool carries her magic wand slung casually over one shoulder; her familiar - a dog or a cat - bounds at her heels. He surveys the territory before setting out. He travels light; his worldly possessions fit in a small bag. The fool can appear crazy or idealistic. But she reminds us to look at things afresh. He models what Buddhists call beginner's mind: approach each task as if it were new to you, as if you were only beginning to learn it. Life's journey is long and difficult; the Buddhists also teach us that life is suffering, and damn, if they aren't right. But the fool appears and reappears, weaving her way among life's stations, and she teaches us that this life is too important to be taken seriously.