Monday, August 1, 2011
Like a Phoenix from the Ashes: Week 13 with Tarot's Fool
Have you ever reached the point in your journey to publication where you want want to scream and break things, or maybe sit quietly in a dark corner with a bottle of Grey Goose? The half-gallon size? I know you have! Welcome to the writer's life. These days it seems like there are more barriers to successful publication than ever, but as Tarot has advised us, sometimes truth is in the angle from which we view things. And to achieve that illuminating angle, at some point it is necessary to strip ourselves down to bare bones. To incinerate our preconceived ideas and all those defensive reactions that built up over time as one barrier after another was put in our way. Incinerate them. Only then can we rise from the ashes and thrive anew. (Yes, this happens in every darned journey.) If you're ready to be a phoenix, Tarot's Fool has this bit of wisdom to share:
Poor Tarot's Fool! He's been through some harrowing trials, and it doesn't look like they're over yet. Just as he's gained all knowledge, temporal and spiritual, from his self-sacrifice and deep contemplation, he learns that the reward for this is Death. How is that fair?
(Fool's Journey Week 12). Now, as he walks across a fallow field, desolate and cold, he sees a skeleton in black armor, mounted on a white horse, waiting for him.
"Have I died?" he humbly asks.
"Yes, in a way," the skeleton, Death, says. "Through your sacrifice, your old world and your old self are gone."
"How sad," The Fool says.
"Yes, that is true." Death says. "But if you look closely at this field, you will see that it is littered with the discarded parts of yourself. Some of them are taking new root. Pay attention to those."
The Fool feels a twinge of hope. "What should I do?" he asks.
"Here," Death says, "take my scythe. Study the field. Let go of everything that is withered and fruitless. Turn your back on those things. Burn them. But harvest the new growths. They are ripe and worthwhile. A new sun is rising, and this is a time of great transformation for you. You have been brought low, but only so that you can go higher than ever before."
The Fool gets busy in the field. As he swings the scythe he notices that the sunlight has turned luminescent, the pain of using his muscles to harvest is connecting him to a new reality and creating new strength, and he's beginning to feel joy once again.
Ah, yes, The Fool's journey is ours. Not to put too fine a point on it, we need to recognize that Death is a necessary part of our journey. But also know that Death, per se, is an illusion—it is actually Transformation. The scythe is for harvesting, not for killing. To that within us which is worthy, we give new life. It is about finding our True North.
We are not, at this stage, like newborn babes. We have experience. We've conceived ideas, nurtured them, allowed our deep minds to contemplate our truths. We've had the backing of Luck (Wheel of Fortune), which we, ourselves, made possible through hard work, passion, and readiness for our ship to come in.
We are ready for a new emotional beginning, and that is what Death grants us. Our new beginning is garlanded with vivid dreams. It invites us to drink from the Cup of Life again. We have set fire to that which is no longer meaningful in our lives, and can now rise from the ashes, like the phoenix we know ourselves to be.
Links to Fool's Journey posts: 0—The Fool; 1—The Magician; 2—The High Priestess; 3—The Empress; 4&5—The Emperor, and The Hierophant; 6—The Lovers; 7—The Chariot; 8—Strength; 9—The Hermit; 10—Wheel of Fortune; 11—Justice; 12—The Hanged Man
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