Monday, November 14, 2011

Never Underestimate Hope: Week 17 with Tarot's Fool

If you've been following the Fool's journey, you know that when he found the Tower last time we were with him, he yelled it down. The Tower was his alter ego, and when it crumbled, that felt like the end of him. It was the end of the him that used to exist, that got in his way of seeing his own truth and making it shine, but also of the foundations he'd spent much of his lifetime perfecting. What's he supposed to do now that he doesn't exist any more, at least not in any form that he recognizes or knows what to do with?

This might be the biggest question any of us ever asks ourselves. If we get to the stage where we have earned the right to be this scared and ask this question, we have accomplished something truly significant. But we sure as heck don't want to stay in this stage!

Luckily for the Fool, as he sits in the dark of night in the bleak landscape where the Tower stood, he notices a beautiful girl nearby. She has two water urns, and she's kneeling by a pool illuminated with reflected starlight. She's emptying the urns—one into the pool and the other into the earth. This is Tarot's Star.

"What are you doing?" he asks her.

"Refilling the pool," she says, her eyes twinkling, "so that those who are thirsty can drink, and also watering the earth so that, come spring, the seeds can grow." Then she says "Come, drink." The Fool joins her and drinks from the pool.

"I can see you are sad," she says, "but remember, you have not lost all. You still have knowledge, possibilities, and hope. They will lead you to a new future."

As the Fool feels the water's enlightenment, the Star begins to fade away, and he hears her say, "follow your star," as she disappears.

So, all is not lost? Distant as it may be, there 's a future ahead of him? It sounds farfetched, but something about the Star makes him sure this is not just wishful thinking. He has a guiding light. As he embraces this knowledge it begins to heal his heart. His thirst is quenched from the water she poured, that is true. If he plants seeds now, will they come up in the spring? Yes, he realizes, they will. He sets out to follow his star.

So what do we do with our newfound selves after we realize that yes, our foundations have crumbled? When we realize that what we thought was so great about our writing didn't quite meet our expectations? It didn't hold up because, as we've painfully realized, it was built on false ideas of who we are in the world and how accomplished we are. Ouch. We feel empty.

First, put the knowledge and experience you have gained back into that empty space, without any expectations. You have created a bedrock of work, a touchstone of hope that will see you through.

Second, you are in the midst of creating a new idea. Whether you're doing NaNoWriMo or waiting for that glimmer that tells you there's new stuff coming through your creative mind, you are in the midst of an effort that will take you somewhere good. No matter how exhausted you are, know that.

You may be working so hard that you feel you've used up all your energy and are not feeling your creative, driving force any more. Well, you've come this far. You have complete control, which also means you bear all the burdens of your choices. It's time to delegate some of those burdens to another person, if appropriate (like an editor), or to another time, so you can revive your energy.

Difficult as it all is, if you have reached this point in your journey, you know that part of you has achieved happiness, because that part feels a permanence of belonging in the writer community. That feeling comes from the knowledge you've gained through your hard work, and the support you've offered others and accepted from others. You've got peeps. And when you go through your dark nights of despair (as we all seem to do), they'll help you claw your way back to the light.

This is what the Star is telling you.

What else do you get when you follow your star? You get a project. You get a job. Whether that's a publisher buying your book, or it's putting in the time to achieve a step on the way to publication, you get the chance to do solid work, to make, create, and touch. Wow.

~ Linda

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 Fortune11—Justice12—The Hanged Man13—Death14—Temperance; 15—The Devil; 16—The Tower 

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. That's beautiful. So true, we learn more with each step and we grow. Though the destination may not be what we expected, it's the journey and what we gain along the way that really shapes us.

  2. Beautifully said, Heather. Thankyou.

  3. Your posts are awesome. I always learn something when I come here. But today's post is like, wow! Loved the part about the Tower. I've known too many who've achieved hard-fought goals then crumbled into a sad state because they didn't know what else to do. Do you realize you've got a self-help book here? Expand onward

  4. Linda, I have missed the Fool, and so glad he is back. Today's post is spectacular. We do bear the burdens of our choices. The hardest thing for most of us to do on this journey is to realize that what we gained may have been experience, education, lessons, and fortitude... when our tower is torn down and things don't go our way.
    We get so much when we follow our star. And the wonderful thing about stars is they are still shining bright even when they're not really there-- they bring with them a wish.

    Thanks for a great post!

  5. Your posts are always uplifting and inspirational! Christy

  6. Kittie, thank you so much. I love how the Fool's story is so close to our hearts!

  7. Karlene, you're so right! When everything looks dark, wishing on our star feels like a fool's game, but guess what? That Fool knows a thing or two. Heh.

  8. Thanks, Christy! I'm so glad you stopped by, and hope all's fun and football for you in Wisconsin these days.

  9. That was so wonderfully said! I like the Star's message. It's so important!

  10. Thanks, Lydia. The Star is pretty awesome, all right.