Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The Tarot Fool

Charlie thought the long tailed rat, crawling all over the BBC Breakfast couch- was probably an April fool’s joke. You can’t trust anything you hear on TV or read in the papers on April 1st.

Many moons ago, when “That's Life” presenter Esther Rantzen pronounced, “Rhino poo is good for your face and makes you younger. ” People would have given their back teeth for a handful of the stuff.

In Tarot however, the free spirited Fool is probably the most misinterpreted card in the pack. His title conjures up someone easily deceived or a person that’s five eggs short of a box. Historically though, the fool was the daring court jester who amuses his betters with tomfoolery, satire and razor-sharp wit. Clowns who brought laughter to the royal courts were often dwarfs, simpletons or freaks. Yet the Medieval fool although physically handicapped was very rarely mentally hindered.

It’s claimed that Henry VIII’s favourite jester pulled a fast one on Cardinal Wolsey by tricking him out of £10 (£4000 at today's prices). Wily Will Sommers then gave the minister’s money to the poor people gathering outside the Palace gates. Sommers is portrayed in a family painting that hangs at Hampton Court

Another clever jester who capered in the same motley garb is humpbacked comedian, musician and ballad writer Richard Tarleton. Tarleton a performer with the William Shakespeare's company is said to have been the model for court jester Yorick in Hamlet. Another bell on his cockscomb is that he was the Queen Elizabeth I favourite jester and the only person allowed to point out her faults

Naturally, the Tarot Fool has much in common with his medieval counterpart … with his childlike, carefree qualities; he refuses to adhere to the usual rules. This gentle archetype is a dreamer who sets out on a journey with the belief that you only have to wish to make something happen. With his backpack of worldly goods he tramps life’s highways and byways- before stumbling over a precipice into the unknown.

Fortunately for the free flying spirit the route was paved with wise and wonderful people that helped him gain knowledge and experience. And the right tools brought exceptional returns. Eventually the fool becomes a creator, explorer, inventor, scientist, pioneer, and entrepreneur. He discovers medicine, builds railroads, canals, aqueducts and bridges…The list is endless. Without him there’d be no glowing gas fire or burning light bulb. And we wouldn't have jetted all over the world, or walked on the moon… if someone … along the Tardis of time didn't have courage to take chances.

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