Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Path of the Fool as a Narrative Structure (Tarot)*

The Fool, ATU 0
(I technically wrote this for amusement on the Book of Faces, however, you can think of it as late April Fool's present for tarot users and lovers of myth. There are other applications that could be extrapolated, too. But, I leave that to the reader.

Being fond of Immersion tactics, why not also read this entry while listening to this song or this song?)

Doomed from the Start.
For the sake of brevity (of some sort), this commentary is based on the narrative/mythological structure suggested by Joseph Campbell in “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” and makes use of the archetypal symbolism of the Majors (tarot) in the Thoth deck. Taking Campbell's basic structure, the path goes like this:

- The call (beginning of the spiritual quest): represented by ATU 0, The Fool. He symbolizes Air, Emptiness, or the can be considered the representation of the Unrefined Magician/(YOUR LABEL HERE). He holds the Cup of Water, the Wand of Fire, carries the Sword of Air, and the bag of planetary disks. Thus - he has all the symbolic equipment of the Magus, but none of the skillz of the Magus (ATU I). His path is often sparked by the Magus, who appears before him at the onsent of his spiritual quest and often helps him discern the use of at least on instrument. In some cases, the Magus will be displaced by the Priestess (ATU II) who appears as the divine representative or helper/"fairy godmother" in folk & fairy tales. These two cards represent the helping hands or divine aid that provides the Fool for his potential progression.
The Tower, ATU XVI.

- The Fool and his quest are often opposed, at least symbolically, by Emperor (ATU IV) or the Empress (ATU III) who can be seen as either internal or external agents. They may represent faulty tendencies in the Fool, individuals he has to overcome, or the general State in which he/she lives.

- His first stage is marked by the “crossing of the threshold,” which can be seen as being the activation of one of his Tools. The world accessed can be represented by either Majors or the minor of that Tool at this stage.

- The Fool's end goal can be seen as embodying the following cards: The Lovers (ATU VI), The Hierophant (ATU V – internal or external), Fortune (ATU X), Lust (ATU XI – a true King this fool would be), or Art (ATU XIV).
Death, ATU XIII.

- The Fool, upon activating his second Tool, will normally find himself in the stage Campbell calls “The Belly of the Whale.” This is the point at which the Fool will either hit The Tower (ATU XVI), generate the spectre of Death (ATU XIII * - OOOPS. Fixed.), the Star (ATU XVII), the Devil (ATU XV) or a combination thereof. This is the true threshold state, and the Fool will be advised to have some damn good tech on hand to help. There are varying degrees of each, too. The Fool can also choose to do the Hermit thing (abandon the quest temporarily or permantently ATU IX), or the Hanged Man (ATU XII). The Hanged Man is the best bet, really. But also the most horrifying.

- The Fool normally has the blessing of the Moon (ATU XVIII) or the Sun (ATU XIX), but often is unaware of this. Aware fools might seek that advise, along with any/all astrological intelligences they can get at. (See the cards for each as a narrative springboard.)
- The World in which the quest takes place is represented by the Universe (ATU XXI), and the Time by the Aeon (ATU XX).

Lust, ATU XI.

“Yea! Before thee all the most holy is profane, O thou desolator of shrines! O thou falsifier of the oracles of truth! Ever as I went, hath it been thus. The truth of the profane was the falsehood of the Neophyte, and the truth of the Neophyte was the falsehood of the Zelator! Again and again the the fortress mut be battered down! pylon must be over thrown! Again and again must the gods be desecrated!
And now I lie supine before thee, in terror and abasement. O Purity! O Truth! What shall I say? My tongue cleaveth to my jaws, O thou Medusa that hast turned me to stone! Yet is that stone the stone of the philosophers. Yet is that tongue Hadit.”
- Aleister Crowley, The Cry of the Second Aethyr.


EDIT #2: I was, apparently, being far too cryptic when I wrote this. This does not mean to suggest that the structure I've given you is the only one, or even a good one. Re-arrange the card as necessary. And then, if you want something fun, maybe use the structure to write a story. And then maybe enflame yourself and let the story run wild in your head in some form or another.

The above does not, in any way, describe the Tarot as they are or how they specifically relate to one another. It's merely meant to suggest a potential for the progression of the narrative. In other words, it's meaningless. The links were intended to have more meaning and be more useful than the structure or writing itself... Hence, it's an April Fool's Present.


Sarah said...

I know this is a really old post, but I really enjoyed it!

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