Monday, June 6, 2011

Do You Have the Inner Strength to Succeed? Week 8 With Tarot's Fool

Well, it's been a hard day's night (to borrow a phrase) for The Fool. While he slept on the barren plain he dreamed of victory, and voilà! The Charioteer appeared and gave him the strategy he needs to get to those beautiful trees of abundance that were in sight but out of reach at the edge of the flatlands. (Week 7 post. Links to previous posts in this series are at the end of this entry.) So now, he's angling in on a diagonal, skirting around the fissures in the plain that would swallow him whole (checking and double-checking submission guidelines before hitting the send button; revising his protag's character arc to reflect a deeper and pithier understanding of the power of the character's wound in everyday actions—no more superficiality or essential inconsistency in the writing!)

Near the tree line now, the scent of water intoxicates The Fool's senses and he steps up his pace. Yes! No question he's back on the right path at last. With every step he feels stronger. Once inside the cool caress of the forest, he finds a mountain-fed stream, clear water burbling over a bed of time-smoothed rocks. He kneels and drinks deeply, then splashes icy water over his face, and sits back for a moment to savor his renewal. (His revisions are finished; he has a new understanding of how to approach agents and editors based on THEIR needs; he thinks he knows how to work the angles.) Still, part of his new and improved understanding includes an awareness that there will be more obstacles, and some of them are total mysteries—they will reveal themselves at unknown times. This is daunting. But what's his choice? Go forward, or give up. He's not going to give up.

In fact he's feeling righteous and powerful now that he's in the forest. He's feeling proud, victorious. Obstacles? Enemies? He's renewed, he's equipped to handle anything! The more he thinks about it, the more he wants a confrontation. He can be a hero and prove himself!

And here's his chance. Ahead on the path is a maiden struggling with a lion. OMG! He runs toward her, thinking fast about how he can distract the lion, maybe get it to chase him, maybe throw himself bodily onto it or lift it with Herculean strength and toss it over a cliff! But just as he arrives at the spot he sees the maiden gently but firmly shut the lion's mouth!  This is Strength.

"How did you do that?" The Fool asks, his eyes wide with awe.

The maiden glances at him and smiles, then returns her attention to the lion. "Will power," she says, as she rests one hand on the lion's mane. A low rumble comes from the beast, and The Fool realizes with a start that the lion is purring.

"Will power?" he whispers.

"Any beast will back down before a superior will," the maiden says simply. She looks up, directly into The Fool's eyes, and he sees that although she's young and pure, she possesses knowledge and power.  He stands before her and waits, and she goes on. "We are human, not beast, but we, too, have wild and unworthy impulses sometimes. It's natural. But as humans, we can control them with our will rather than let them control us." She takes her hand from the lion and it curls on the ground at her feet.

"But what of our righteous rage?" The Fool asks.

"It is a great source of energy," she says. "Have courage. Use the energy for higher purposes."

The Fool nods and thanks the maiden. He is enlightened. He steps back onto his path, knowing the lion wasn't the only one tamed by the maiden's pure and innocent strength.

He's not foolish enough any more to shout "Bring 'em on!" to his unknown obstacles. So he treads his path with clarity and determination, and careful discernment. His eyes and heart are wide open to possibilities, and if he meets danger, he won't run from it, but he won't run at it, either. He will do all he can to prove his mettle. He will use his energy for higher purposes. (He is becoming someone with the courage and depth to know who he is, to take risks, and to write a book worth sharing with the world.)

Links to Fool's Journey posts:  0—The Fool1—The Magician2—The High Priestess3—The Empress4&5—The Emperor, and The Hierophant6—The Lovers; 7--The Chariot  
My interpretation of The Fool's Journey as it applies to the writing life is my own, but the journey is long-established 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 


  1. I love how your posts aren't just about the cards, but the story you've found within them. *Like*
    (that's my attempt at a "like" button)

  2. There's a *Like* button, Lydia?? Ha. Thank you, I really appreciate it. What's life without stories, right? Somehow I think none of us who write could conceive of living in that world. Oh wait, that was the wrong word--immediately thought of Ayn Rand and Ray Bradbury. How about, it's just no fun without stories?

  3. Hi Linda, I love this and how to deal with the "lion" in our life. Lydia, I agree with you. *like* and... not only is there a story with them, but the story applies to what is happening in my life. The fool and I are living in a parallel universe, in sync.

  4. Karlene, this is part of why you will have a wonderful career as a writer. You love the metaphors. What more can a parallel universe want? :-)

  5. "To write a book worth sharing with the world," I love that part! It gave me chills! So did the part about superior will power. With that we can do anything! Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  6. You're welcome, Heather! So glad I could inspire you, as you so often do for me.

  7. Will power. Yeah that's pretty important in writing! :D Great allegory.

  8. Thanks for the comment, Lisa. You are so right, will power IS important. :D (And so misunderstood!)

  9. The jouney can be empowering, yes?

    Facing your fears, whether or not you're "successful" takes a lot of guts and is an accomplishment in and of itself.

    Lovin' this series!

  10. I love that that's your comment, Laura! Facing your fears. It's such a tough thing that *some of us* would rather call it almost anything else, but it sure enough comes down to recognizing, facing, and stepping into those fears!