A few weeks ago we met The Fool, from Tarot, and found out he's a lot like us when we start off on our magnificent quest to write a book. Filled with excitement and possibility, he's practically giddy with imagining what he may accomplish. But as the little dog nipping at his heels warns him, he needs to watch his step, and learn from all his upcoming encounters in order to find his true path. There will be 21 enlightening, scary and joyful encounters with amazing personages and situations along The Fool's journey, and each Monday we'll travel with him to find out what he learns, and what we can learn about our own journeys to publication.
So far, The Fool has nearly stepped off a cliff (nearly started his story with "It was a dark and stormy night; it was raining cats and dogs!"); he's been astounded to learn from The Magician that he has all the tools he needs to succeed—intellect, passion, emotional range, and solidity—in the pack on his staff; plus, he has some excellent new ideas to work with (he's got a plot!). On top of that he's received guidance from The High Priestess in the form of ancient knowledge (the universal source of the heart and soul of his story) that got him totally revved up to get back on his journey (and write, write, write!). Links to previous posts in this series are at the bottom of this entry.
He's impatient to make his dreams a reality. He walks all night, through secret and unknown forests (scribbles away, channeling the secret knowledge he's received into the most stunning plot and character developments EVER). He trusts the path beneath his feet, and is aware, thanks to The High Priestess' influence, that with each step, he's shaping his destiny. Each step is affected by the last, and affects the next, for with each, the sole of his shoe is minutely worn into a different shape that will have an almost imperceptible but nevertheless real effect on how he moves forward. But before he gets too swamped by these deep ponderings, the sun comes up, shining a bright and inviting light on his path, and he gets a new surge of energy.
There just off the path in front of him, is a magnificent woman he instantly knows is a creator. She's wearing a gown covered with pomegranates (pomegranates, again!). She has a crown of stars, a heart-shaped Venus shield, and a rod that looks like it's alive with power. And she's sitting on her throne in a field of wheat. This is The Empress.
Without a second thought The Fool kneels in front of The Empress and tells her his story ("there was lightning and thunder, and then his life passed before his eyes and he moaned, 'stardust,' but that was just the beginning . . .!!!"etc., all the way to Plot Point 1).
The Empress smiles and The Fool's heart leaps with joy. "You have beautiful ideas and passion," she says gently. "A new creation is fragile." His heart settles back down. "It requires fertile soil, time, nurturing," she says. He thinks he might not want to hear this, but she looks straight into his eyes. "Much nurturing. Only this will bring it to fruition." She gestures to the verdant land around her that seems to draw its abundance and beauty from her patience and strength, her very being, and The Fool begins to understand.
It will take time to build his future (to speak from the heart and lose the clichés). It will take patience and perseverance and skill. He can do it!
"Thank you," he says humbly as he stands, and looks at her with gratitude.
She bows her head in acknowledgment and he turns to continue on his journey. As he moves onto the path, he is sad to step beyond The Empress' golden aura, but he hears her say, "Love and healing are their own reward, you will see," as he goes.
He begins to move faster. She was fabulous and all, like the best mom ever, but he's got places to go and things to do. All that nurturing and love and healing talk can make a person squirm. The Fool won't forget what he's learned from The Empress and will be forever grateful for it, but he needs action. Lucky for him, it's just around the corner.
Come back next Monday to find out what happens when The Fool encounters The Emperor. (hint: it's all about making ideas shape up and fly right.)
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.