Monday, July 11, 2011

To Gain Insight, Stop Resisting: Week 12 with Tarot's Fool

The Fool is entering ever-more mysterious territory. Each time he learns something new he is strengthened. Each encounter with the elements of magic, nurture, enemies, complications, enlightenment, gifts, and luck, allows him to go farther along his path toward achieving his quest. At the same time, he's finding that his footing is slipping more often. He's gained knowledge, but in the process, he's lost some soul, and that is making the path slippery. 

How ironic! Soul was what drove him to his quest in the first place, and propelled him onward. (Writing that first draft was one of the most exhiliarating experiences of his life. Then he honed his skills through trial and error with workshopping and querying.) But along the way he found out that to make any headway, as an unproven seeker, he had to play by the rules. So he became a master of adapting his quest to the rules of the Gatekeepers. (Now, he's got the whole genre thing nailed. He's let go of overwrought prose, lofty ideas and internal monologues that don't advance the plot. Literary agents in the ultra-competitive debut-author-market responded well to his no-nonsense, suspenseful, short sentences. They expressed interest in learning more about his characters and their arcs! He sent off requested partials and fulls.) Great, as far as it went, but . . . (Last week, Lady Justice came along and opened his eyes to his own loss of equilibrium. (Last week's post, Week 11. Previous posts in this series are linked at the bottom of this entry.) She made him realize he's lost the spiritual heart that drove his early writing. He must recapture it, come what may.)

The Fool settles at the base of a tree, determined to reclaim his spiritual self. He sits there for nine nights and nine days. On the ninth day, without any conscious thought about what he's doing, he climbs the tree and hangs upside down. For this moment he gives up all that he is, or ever thought he was, and just becomes.

He is The Hanged Man. His existence is about suspension, not life or death or achievement or quests. He has entered a realm of trial, meditation, selflessness, sacrifice, and prophecy. He has stopped questioning; he has stopped resisting. He has made himself vulnerable. And in that moment, coins fall from his pockets to the earth below him. He gazes at them but doesn't see them as money, only as round pieces of metal. Everything suddenly changes perspective.

He is suspended between the earthly world and the spiritual world and he sees them both so clearly it's as if they are made of etched crystal. The moment is dazzling. He sees connections he's never seen before. Mysteries are revealed. (There's a never-ending swirl of realities in the publishing world that determines decisions, with a seemingly infinite number of possible combinations, depending on anything from excellent literary taste and judgment, to completely arbitrary factors unrelated to either of those things. The only thing he can control is his own work and his willingness to make himself available to those who might be interested. He has no influence on the other factors, but at the same time, he sees that the fact of his work is inextricably related to all that happens within this realm.) The Fool senses something else as well. It is that this moment of enlightenment is fleeting. Soon he will have to climb down from the tree and get on with life, and when he does, things will be different. He will have to act on what he's learned.

The Fool climbs down and scoops up the coins, which have become runes. All knowledge is contained in these runes. They are in his pocket. How will he use them? We'll find out when we join him again two weeks from now.


Announcement: next week I will be interviewing a wonderful debut author, Eisely Jacobs, about her book, Born to be a Dragon, coming out July 20. Commenters/participants in Eisley's scavenger hunt will be entered to win a Nook!

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 Chariot8—Strength9—The Hermit; 10—Wheel of Fortune; 11—Justice

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


  1. The Hanged Man always freaked me out. It was great learning more about him instead of just getting spooked!

  2. I know what you mean, Lydia! But there are no truly freaky cards in Tarot, not even The Tower or The Devil (the two that scare the bejeebers out of me!). They all have something great to offer.

  3. I love how you entwined the fool's journey with the publishing one. So many similarities, LOL!

    Nice job! :D

  4. There are, Laura! It's downright scary. Thanks.

  5. I love the fool's journey. Maybe we all need a little hanging to find ourselves. The fool's journey is still paralleling my life, or mine his. But now I need to pick up my coins of wisdom. Thanks for another great post!

  6. Mine too, Karlene, and my ankle is getting tired! Time to scoop up those coins for sure. So glad you find The Fool simpatico!