The beginning of the calendar is a time when we often start on a new path. It could be one of self-improvement, self-discovery or enlightenment. It may last a day, a week or a life-time but it is very common for people to pledge major change on January 1. It is also usually preceded by a planned night of unrestrained behaviour and planned excess. This beginning of the calendar makes me think of the Fool’s Journey.
I found it somewhat coincidental that, just a few short days ago, while reading Alain de Botton’s “Religion for Atheists” that I came across a passage describing the festum fatuorum, or the ‘Feast of Fools’. De Botton describes this as a medieval Church custom in which clergy acted in ways that were in opposition to their regular behaviour. Some of the behaviour he describes involved farting to hymns, speaking nonsensical sermons, attaching phallic symbols to cloaks and gambling on the altar. It allowed a letting go or cleaning of the slate. It acknowledged the playful, chaotic side of human behaviour. It made chaos and debauchery sacrosanct. (I think I’ve had a New Years’ party or two like that!) 🙂
The Fool is about beginnings but it is also about cleaning the slate. It is about jumping off the cliff and letting the journey take us where it may. When we jump, we take very little, if anything, with us. When teaching tarot classes, I often use the term tabula rasa to describe the essence of The Fool. She is associated with Uranus, and is thus the card of liberation, awakening and independence, characteristics often necessary for a successful new beginning.
And, as my Tarot focus shifts and I move into year four of ‘A Magician’s Musings’, so begins a new year and a new Tarot adventure. On a time frame that suits my schedule (very Fool-like), I am going to spend my blog posts this year exploring the Fool’s Journey. I will highlight some common knowledge around this often explored theme of the Tarot but also (hopefully) some new learning as well. I hope you choose to join me on this journey.
On Thursday, January 7th, a handful of Tarot enthusiasts assembled to discuss the journey of the Fool through the lens of the Tarot. We explored the Major Arcana through the use of key words, beginning with “tabula rasa” for The Fool and culminating with the World and “acceptance”. We explored several journey stories, in part or in whole, and began to compare the Fool’s Journey to the Hero’s Journey. Participants brought up various examples from religion and mythology. We finished off by assigning significator status (a significator is a card used to represent someone, usually the querent, but in this case,the card represented the fool through his journey) to the Fool and placing him at various points along the journey as depicted by the cards of the Major Arcana, laid out in ascending order. (My self-gift of an oversized RWS deck came in very handy here! 🙂 Willing attendees took up the tale of the Fool from the point of placement. At times the stories were fictional, at other times, semi-autobiographical, but always engaging.
Join us for the next Free Tarot Talk on Thursday, February 18th, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. This talk is a beginner’s talk and will overview the history, structure and uses of the Tarot. Contact me at email@example.com for more details and directions.
Future talks: I’m looking at holding a ‘free’ Tarot night on Thursday, January 7th, 2010 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. The topic for the night is ‘The Fool’s Journey”. It is intended to be interactive so bring your favourite deck. We’ll review various renditions of the Fool’s Journey (bring one if you have one), explore some of the repeating symbols of the Major Arcana and begin the construction of a ‘personal dictionary’ for the Majors. Bring a journal or a laptop to help with your dictionary. Of course, anyone who is interested and has not attended previous talks is still more than welcome to attend. Although the talk is always free, I am asking for small donations to cover paper, printing, coffee and tea. Or, bring a treat!
Also, if you know anyone who would be interested in attending a free Tarot talk for beginners, the next one is scheduled for Thursday, February 18th, 2010. This beginner’s overview of the Tarot will look at its history and the basic structure of the deck. Contact me at 519-217-7243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gift Certificates: A few people have asked about gift certificates. I now have them available. I’m new to the gift certificate ‘scene’ so, as an ‘incentive’, buy a gift certificate for someone for an hour consultation for $65 and take advantage of a $20 discount if you book a reading for yourself at the same time. The total cost for your gift certificate and consultation is $105. I have Paypal for your payment convenience.
The first seminar of 2010: On Saturday, January 23rd, 2010, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., I’m hosting a workshop exploring a 20-card layout based on Trish MacGregor and Phyllis Vega’s “New Year’s Spread” in my space in Orangeville, Ontario. This 6-hour intensive will use the Tarot to have some fun and explore goals for 2010. The cost of the workshop is $50 and, since it takes a lot of room to work with 20 cards :), space is limited to 8 people; book soon. Look for a one-day workshop on ‘Read, Write and Play with the Tarot’ sometime in April, 2010.
Please feel free to forward this information to anyone you think would be interested. Or, better yet, tell them about my blog.