(This is an article published in the Isis Scrolls/August 2011
Descent of the Fool
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” (Robert Frost)
Once again, with the passing of the Summer Solstice, we begin the descent into darkness as the days grow shorter. Similarly the Fool of the tarot, symbolizing the soul, emerges from the ecstasy of oneness with the Cosmic All and willingly descends into the depths of matter as he travels the path of the Major Arcana, until finally after many trials and tribulations, he is able to fully manifest in matter with The World card.
Who else but The Fool would be willing to venture from joyous light into punishing dark year after year? Some of us choose to never go there, instead spending the winter in Mexico, or medicating our dark induced depression, but what would happen if we took the journey joyously as The Fool, with the purpose of awakening? What if we claimed our birthright as emanations of a Cosmic Mind who chose to descend and experience humanity? And why, you might ask, would I choose to venture forth out of light into evermore darkening matter? Is it the call of the grand adventure? A compulsion to explore? Or is this yearly trek into twilight just the condition of being human? That in order to grow we must explore our duality again and again using the dark as a way to comprehend the light? Or perhaps we need this hibernation for the juices of creativity to bubble and ferment, fertilization for what emerges in the spring? Or, is it all a cosmic test, the Cosmic Will calling us to our true Selves?
These are good questions to ask as our own planet, Gaia, seems to be descending into a chaotic, convulsive Sphere, as she attempts to emerge into light. To those who are not aware of the transformation taking place, the world could look very dark indeed, a descent into madness, a planetary shake down of apocalyptic fire, flood, and earthquake. But what if we could look at this descent into seeming chaos as part of the journey to the new world, that in order for creation there must be destruction, that the old must pass away to make room for the new, so that this time of “loss” is really a time for weeding out what is no longer needed for a new planetary system?
A Reading For the Last Half of the Year.
Question: How to Navigate the path of descent to the Winter’s Solstice of 2011?
(I have chosen as signposts along the way of descent, the Celtic Wheel of the Year)
Pull out your Fool and Wheel of Fortune cards. Create half the yearly Wheel, placing The Fool card at the top as June 21st, the longest day of the year, with the Wheel of Fortune card at the bottom, for the Winter Solstice, December 22nd the longest night of the year. Now, create the path of descent between these two cards.
Card 1, Summer Solstice: Choose one card for the question: What door opened for you at the summer solstice, what aspect of yourself needs to be explored in depth? Cross the Fool with this card
Card 2 - Luhnasadh, celebration of the Harvest, August 1. Choose a card for the signpost, we just passed. Ask: What have you harvested this summer that will warm you as you descend?
Card 3 and 4 – Autumn Equinox, halfway point, preparation for winter, September 23. Here you will find a signpost , pointing in two opposite directions for further descent. Ask : What two choices do I have for positive change? Notice which card is the stronger choice, the riskier one. Take that road.
Card 5 - Samhain, November 1, The time of year when the veil between worlds is the thinnest and we can commune with the dead. Ask: What must die that I may live?
Card 6 – We arrive at the Wheel of Fortune, Winter’s Solstice, December 22. Here long ago in colder climes it must have truly felt as though one were dying, that the sun would never return. And how did people manage? What kept them going? Ask: What will keep me going in my darkest hour? If this card appears negative, then open up its possibilities, shine your light of awareness upon it and see it as a contrast which will enable you to appreciate the next phase of sun and light. Choose helper cards for how to break through. Ask: How can I shift my thinking so as to not create this hole? What can I do to alleviate the heaviness of the inevitable?
Card 7 - The “We.” Question: How can I help in the dark days that have been prophesied for the planet? How can I be focused and purposeful rather than resistive and fearful?
It is time for us all to realize that we are in this together. That our troubles are part of the big picture, of a bigger dis-ease. That if we begin to take responsibility for our own healing, we can bring light to the larger issue of planetary and human healing. If we see that we are all descending together, arm in arm to our rock bottom to bring in the new earth, then the fear is not so great and we can emulate the Fool feeling the joy of this adventure of planetary shift and evolution. We can laugh and sing as we walk together, keeping the dark spirits at bay. We can build campfires to show others the way as we warm ourselves at the fires of our hearts, building community, knowing that together we can overcome and create a lighter space for us all.