Zero to Infinity and Back Again: The Fool's Journey
This is a transcript of an actual "Fool's Journey" performed at Mountain Temple Center. Fra. Michael Crowley (8=3) played Brother Paul, the Guide through the Symbolism of the Major Arcana of the Tarot.
BROTHER PAUL: Ladies and gentlemen what we are about to do is an interpretation of the fools journey as found in THE METAPHYSICAL HANDBOOK by David and Lucy Pond that we call the FOOLS PARADE.
Within the major arcana of the tarot is one of the oldest stories of the human experience. Because the tarot is presented in a symbolic form, it can at first appear a complex task to decode the total story; but it is actually a simple tale which describes the continuous cyclic process of growth experienced by all of us.
As the story begins, the soul is in spirit form: pure, unmanifested energy. Here, as THE FOOL, our wayfarer begins the journey of life with knapsack on his shoulder, eyes glazing at the heavens, one foot on the ground and the other foot in the air. He is at the top of a precipice, and as his raised foot comer down, he will naively tumble into a new world of experience. Within his knapsack he carries all the tools necessary for his journey.
THE FOOL: I am the FOOL when I appear a decision is to be made, a new direction is open, an opportunity to try something new is at hand, move on faith.
BROTHER PAUL: A decision has been made the fool continues his journey with his first step, he experiences the world of THE MAGICIAN. Here the Fool learn the seemingly magical process of the spirit world becoming manifest. He is given access to the tools he is carrying, an a will to create. the Magician's role is to teach our Fool how to focus the creative energy flowing through him. The Fool must learn how to align his will with the universal will, as that is the source of his creative power.
THE MAGICIAN: I am the MAGICIAN I have access to tremendous power. Strong self motivation is present. Express your individuality with courage. All the tools you need are before you to be used in a balanced way.
BROTHER PAUL: To balance this outpouring of energy. THE HIGH PRIESTESS becomes his next teacher. from her he must learn faith and trust in order to be penetrated with and guided by spirit. Receptivity is the key, and acceptance is the path.
THE HIGH PRIESTESS: I am the HIGH PRIESTESS I represent hidden issues, the situation is not what it appears, trust your intuition and sense of right timing for guidance. Unseen assistance is present.
BROTHER PAUL: Continuing on this path, his next step is into the world of the senses. The physical plane is represented here by THE EMPRESS. Our Fool now finds himself in the world of fertility and abundance, which is enjoyable and tempts our traveler to tarry to long in experiences of sensuality.
THE EMPRESS: I am THE EMPRESS I represent fruitful experiences, sensual pleasure, abundance, indulgence, potential birth. A fertile situation that promises growth.
BROTHER PAUL: Strength and direction are required to keep the Fool moving but his passions have now been awakened, so his next lesson must teach him to control these inflamed passions. THE EMPEROR shows him how to gain power by controlling not only his emotions, but all aspects of his life. The gift of the Emperor is the two-edged sword of power. The temptation to use this instrument for his own good must be overcome before the Fool can continue on his path to discover the world.
THE EMPEROR: I am the EMPEROR I am a person who can be dogmatic, unyielding and stubborn. I have an authoritarian attitude. With me you exert your will. It is time to put form and structure into your plans.
BROTHER PAUL: Having experienced both sides of passion (the passion for life through the Empress and the passion for power through the Emperor) the Fool is thrown back to his roots, and is engulfed by a memory of all that has been previously experienced. This prepares him for his encounter with THE HIEROPHANT, where he is offered the wisdom of those who have passed before him. Sanctity in the traditions and conventions of religion is the enticement of this stop.
THE HIEROPHANT: I am the Hierophant I represent the traditional search for spiritual values and meaning.
BROTHER PAUL: Now our youthful traveler has experienced two sided of his nature. The Empress and the Emperor taught him of the pleasures of the material world and the Hierophant exposed hem to the world of spiritual comforts. Integration is the principle he must learn from THE LOVERS. Through the awareness of duality and the attraction of opposites, he sees that he is made up of light and dark forces, the "yin" and the "yang". and that both are necessary components of wholeness.
THE LOVERS: I am the Lovers I represent the presence of magnetic attraction and human love. Friendship and courtship. You will attract what you desire, be it business or romance.
BROTHER PAUL: Gaining mastery over these light and dark forces is what must be accomplished next. The lessons of THE CHARIOT is how to handle the ups and downs of life with equal dexterity. This course is guided by using the invisible reins of his will to balance the constant riddle of opposites perceived by his senses.
THE CHARIOT: I am the CHARIOT I represent travel. Moving forward as you handle the ups and downs of life through the balanced use of your will. Continue on your path. Mastery of opposites.
BROTHER PAUL: Becoming more aware of the subtle laws of nature gives our Fool inner STRENGTH. This card shows a woman calmly closing the jaws of a lion. Love, compassion and a sense of control origination in her higher consciousness are all she needs to tame this beast, showing the strength hidden in softness. The realization that spirit can conquer matter marks the beginning of spiritual awareness.
STRENGTH: I am Strength I represent willpower. You will develop strength through this situation. Control your desires. Lower nature is brought into harmony with higher self.
BROTHER PAUL: From this point onward, the action will be less spontaneous and more deliberate. With the new awakening of the guiding power of consciousness, the Fool is ready for the teachings of THE HERMIT. The Hermit instructs the traveler that the esoteric knowledge he is now learning in not meant to be hidden from the masses, but to gain the esoteric knowledge, one has to search in areas where the masses are not typically found. The inner light he is gaining from his experiences isolates him from the common path. His first feelings of aloneness are erased by the peace of all-oneness which inner tranquility brings.
THE HERMIT: I am the Hermit I represent solitude. Separation from others is required to restore inner balance. Listen to the quiet voice within. Guidance is available.
BROTHER PAUL: Next comes the lesson of the WHEEL OF FORTUNE and the dramatic changes of fate. here the Fool learns that no matter how centered he stays, life continues to change. When he stays centered, all the changes are like spokes of a wheel: separate but united at the hub. He begins to learn of the retribution of karma: what he sows he will also reap. He sees that each step is laying the foundation for the next step. This causes him to consider the consequences of his actions more thoroughly.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE: I am the Wheel of Fortune I represent change. All things must pass; the situation is not stable. Expect a change. Life is in perpetual change; prepare to adapt.
BROTHER PAUL: The Fool is made aware that there is a certain JUSTICE in the way the wheel of life moves for each person. He is able to see definite themes in what once appeared to be random changes. Now he sees that he is bound by inner laws.
JUSTICE: I am Justice I represent karmic retribution. A time for inner adjustment and the use of good judgment. Restore balance. An unfinished lesson from the past reappears.
BROTHER PAUL: At his point, his awareness of spiritual laws serves more as a form of bondage than as a basis for freedom; his consciousness had been awakened. At the stage of THE HANGED MAN, he is very aware of what he can and can't do if he is to remain centered and in balance with his karma. He knows what interferes with his enlightenment and is quite willing to make sacrifices to maintain his spiritual identify. The challenges is one of expressing his individuality in the face of possible ostracism, without falling into the role of a martyr The Hanged Man shows the Fool the fine line between real and imagined limitations of spiritual identity.
THE HANGED MAN: I am the Hanged Man I represent enlightenment through limitation. Trust your inner voice. Sacrifice pleasures now for later spiritual rewards. Remain true to inner goals even in the face of questioning by those around you. Though the Hanged Man is upside down, he is comfortable. He is in a yoga posture and there is a halo around his head.
BROTHER PAUL: Now our maturing traveler has found his individual path to enlightenment. At this point, others seem like a deterrent to spiritual progress. This attitude must undergo a certain DEATH in order for him to progress on his journey. He is shown that he must let go of all attitudes that restrict his interaction with others. The lesson is that in order to be reborn and continue to evolve, he must be willing to let his previous concepts of self and life die. Evolution and transformation are the means, and confrontation with the self is the method.
DEATH: I am DEATH I represent transformation and regeneration. A time when something of importance is passing away. Let go of the past. The situation is over. Prepare for rebirth.
BROTHER PAUL: Undergoing the death of previous consciousness has brought the Fool a new awareness. Now he must balance and integrate his physical and spiritual lives. He is shown that he must have a firm footing on the material plane before he can wade into the waters of consciousness. It is the teaching of TEMPERANCE. He cannot move ahead until his objectives become more clear and he has fully integrated all that he has learned.
TEMPERANCE: I am Temperance I represent moderation, compromise. Expand yourself through blending of high ideals with reality. You must be patient and wait. Integration.
BROTHER PAUL: This brings on his confrontation with THE DEVIL, "Use it or lose it" is the name of the game here.. It is not enough to know of spiritual laws; if they are not integrated and activated, he will succumb to the temptations put before him by the Devil. It is easy for the mind to become cluttered and only see that which it fears losing. These fears are played upon by the Devil, and unless the Fool is strong, his development will be held in check by negative thinking patterns. If he can deny the power of negativity and refuse to be ruled by his own weaknesses, he will move on.
THE DEVIL: I am the Devil I represent deep-seated passions, indulgences and ignorance. A challenge to your weaknesses. If you are feeling chained to a person or a situation it is because you choose to be. Notice that the chains are loosely places around their necks; they can be removed easily. Let go of attachments.
BROTHER PAUL: Next, THE TOWER will sweep away everything in the Fool's life that is not needed for the journey ahead. Unexpected disruptions and threats to basic security help the Fool distinguish between things of lasting value and those that are only temporarily satisfying. The energy of the Tower is like a bolt of spiritual awakening that purges our Fool of everything in his life that is not built on a solid foundation of value. This cleansing is so intense that it is hard for him to immediately adjust, but gradually the experience flows into an awakening.
THE TOWER: I am the Tower I represent drastic sudden changes. A shake up. All things of no value will fall away. Expect a break-up of crystallized patterns.
BROTHER PAUL: Stripped of all the illusionary aspects of life, the Fool is able to see THE STAR of his own enlightenment. Now that his senses are uncluttered with attachments to physical pleasures, he is able to clear channel to receive inspiration from his higher consciousness. He learns that there can be bondage not only to things1 but to thoughts as well. To receive true inspiration, he has to learn to quiet his mind.
THE STAR: I am the Star I represent honesty, clarity, insight, hope and truth. Trust your intuition. Reputation is on the upswing. What has been promised will come to pass.
BROTHER PAUL: A new danger befalls the Fool. By quieting his mind, he was able to get in touch with forces beyond himself. This brought the risk of attachment to these new psychic abilities. What he must learn now is to relax and be like THE MOON: reflecting the light that he receives. By quieting his mind, he sees that his intuition can go far beyond the boundaries of logical thinking. Thus he learns a new facet of himself a clearer and purer reflection of the wisdom that is already in the world. This is the last phase of self doubt.
THE MOON: I am the Moon I represent mental unrest. The emergence of repressed tendencies from unconscious. Psychic powers emerge as you learn to separate the real from the imagined. Move ahead with caution Hidden forces are at work.
BROTHER PAUL: Now THE SUN comes shining through with radiance. Our Fool is becoming innocent and joyous. Like a child, he is ready to experience the fullness of life. He starts as a child, and he must leave as a child. It has been a long road back to the state of innocence for our traveler, but he is not bitter, exhausted or too tired to continue. Quite the opposite is true. He is now riding on the wave of solar energy and is swept along in a direction that he is glad to follow.
THE SUN: I am the Sun I represent vitality, zest, enthusiasm. Strong direction toward a conscious purpose brings good fortune. Be joyous. Life is moving in a direction that you want. Enjoy the ride!
BROTHER PAUL: By becoming what is possible for all to become, our transformed traveler now can hear the trumpet of JUDGMENT. He realized that the trumpet was sounding all the time, but by his own actions he was never able to hear it until now. He is shown that the Day of Judgment is ever-present and that he, as well as all beings, is a product of his own actions. This awareness has opened up the locked doors of his own mind and he is now able to receive direct guidance from his higher self.
JUDGMENT: I am Judgment I represent spiritual awakening. Benefit for all concerned. Revelation of truth. There is an urge to uplift the total personality. The decision has been made.
BROTHER PAUL: Then next step is the last before the cycle repeats itself. The final step is THE WORLD. The World itself is the same but our traveler has grown and sees it all with new eyes. He now has consciousness to take with him, and he will dance through the universe with newly gained awareness. Our traveler is ready to emerge into the world of spirit, again as the Fool, ready to start another cycle of incarnation.
THE WORLD: I am the World I represent harmonious molding of earthly powers and spiritual values. You have reached the end of this particular cycle. Celebration of right use of power.
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