Monday, April 18, 2011

A New Novel, A New Beginning

In Tarot, The Fool card, number 0 of the major arcana, represents a time of newness. With all his worldly possessions in a small pack on his staff, The Fool sets off on a quest, filled with visions and daydreams that make him feel excited and like anything is possible. And it is. He has all he needs to do or be anything he wants; he only has to unpack and put those possessions to use.

The card carries a warning, though.  It's shown by that little dog nipping at The Fool's heels, trying to warn him to watch his step and notice the cliff right in front of him. This doesn't mean he shouldn't be on this trek, not at all! It just means he needs to be present in the moment, and he needs to pay attention to what's around him. Above all, he needs to respect the journey he's about to take.

This is what it's like for a writer when s/he's ready for a new beginning, a new book. As writers, we have to reach a place of fresh beginnings in our minds and hearts to start this journey. There's a fabulous sense of freedom and a surge of energy that come with that. It's a wide open chance we're giving ourselves to write an incredible story. What a great feeling. There is a certain delightful naivet√© to this state of being, which is where the name, The Fool, comes from in Tarot. But I think we can consider ourselves Sojourners once we've committed to write that book, especially if it's not our first.  We know about that little dog's warning. To succeed, we must enter the journey not only with an open heart, but a willingness to pay close attention to what we come across along the way, and perhaps change direction as we learn from it.

The Fool's journey will be long and exciting, possibly arduous. He will meet fascinating, wonderful,  disturbing, and dangerous people and situations on the path that he must travel. There will be challenges, joys, and unexpected discoveries, both pleasant and not so pleasant. Will the sojourner take advantage of all that's on offer as he goes on his quest, learning from every danger, thriving from every gift, or will he ignore the dangers, underutilize the gifts, and be an actual fool (step off that cliff)?

The Fool's journey in Tarot is a beautifully wrought metaphor for a seeker's life, or a writer's quest.  It is laid out through twenty-two cards called major arcana, each of which represents a major step along the way.  I'm thinking it would be fun to follow The Fool's path, and learn from his encounters. I'll be posting each Monday on his steps for a while, reporting on the wisdoms he acquires as he goes.

Next week, we'll see what The Fool finds when he opens that pack, because according to Tarot, that is the next step.  The pack contains tools, and they are revealed to The Fool on The Magician's table. Whew, I'm so glad he's going to make it to see The Magician. He didn't step off that cliff.

I'm about at this stage in my new novel. I've got those tools in my hands and am plying them as best I can. I wouldn't mind some advice from The Magician about now.  Okay, I'll just reveal that I already did ask him which tools to use first, and how to reach my goal of finishing my book as I've envisioned it. And he said, "Sojourner, that's the wrong question." But he wouldn't tell me what he meant yet.  I'll get it out of him before next week, promise!

~Linda
My interpretation of The Fool's Journey as it applies to the writing life is my own, but the journey itself is long-established information from a variety of sources.  Those I've relied on most heavily are: TAROT BASICS by Burger & Fiebig, AECLECTIC TAROT by Thirteen, and EVERYDAY TAROT by Fairfield.

12 comments:

  1. Linda, this is wonderful. There must be a message in name itself... the fool. Maybe we all feel like fools when we venture into the unknown, just starting out. I'm excited to read next week and discover what is in his pack. Thank you for taking us on this quest. Way too fun!

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  2. Thanks, Karlene. Yes, venturing into the unknown can be so wonderful and exciting that we might not see what's around us, or the cliff right in front of us, so we COULD be fools, or we could FEEL like fools when we step wrong. But our little dogs won't let us fall too far if we listen to them! Yay, puppies.

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  3. Hi, Linda,

    What a fun and intriguing idea for the following Mondays' post. A fool we all be until we prove to ourselves it was worth the journey.... Foolish or not.

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  4. So, so true, Michael! And you KNOW it's going to be worth the journey, no matter what. I'm not sure even The Magician knows that, though. . .

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  5. What a creative metaphor that speaks to the heart of writing. Life involves choices...stepping into the unknown is a choice we have to take to make forward progress. I like, tho, knowing there's a nipping bit of caution. Curious to know what's in your box.

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  6. Me, too, Kittie. I love the idea of stepping off into the void, and flying! But I'm pretty sure that won't happen without paying attention to the nipping. Thanks so much for your comment.

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  7. What a fantastic connection to the journey of writing! I loved this and can't wait to see what's in the pack!

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  8. Yes, Heather, this will be fun! Which tools are YOU using right now??

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  9. I can't wait to see what Monday brings.

    I love new beginnings, but I love revisions (I don't know what that is tarot cards) even more. ;)

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  10. Oh, Stina, there are so many to choose from when it comes to revision. You would love it. Are you and my Crit Sister, Heather, secretly related, by any chance?? SHE loves revision, too!

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  11. Oooh, interesting! The fool's quest...yes, I think I've been on that road before, LOL! ;)

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  12. Yeah, that road DOES seem to strike a familiar chord, doesn't it Laura? The Fool's an interesting traveling companion, though. Verrry interesting!

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