The April Fool

 You could probably learn all you’d ever need to know about the Tarot’s Fool card by spending this day browsing various posts on the internet. April 1st is the day of The Fool in more ways than one and lots of people will be talking about that today.

Known as a day tailor-made for practical jokers the world over (yes, it’s not just Americans who enjoy this secular holiday), the customs of the day derive from the Roman festivals of Hilaria, a statement which in itself sounds like a joke aimed at the more gullible folks in the crowd.

But the Hilaria were actual Roman festivals celebrated in late March, in recognition of the vernal equinox and to honor the earth goddess Cybele. In a significant correlation between these festivals (whose purpose was the expression of a deeply felt gratitude for the return of the “life force”) and the advent of spring is the appearance of the astrological sign of Aries.

Considered the “first” astrological sign, Aries is the force that spurns the cycle of life back into gear yet again, as it begins another spin around the wheel. Assigned the attribute “cardinal fire,” Aries signals the return of vitality as evidenced by longer and warmer days, budding trees, and the mating of animals. It isn’t surprising to note that the Christian celebration of Easter occurs near the early days of Aries and has symbolic roots to the Hilarian rites of renewal and transformation. Each event provides the same message: Life is changed and Life has returned to earth… hallelujah!

The Fool’s role in the Tarot is perfect in its relationship both to these concepts as well, in that:

  • The card represents a deeply meaningful event and at the same time is lighthearted and joyous (as were the festivals of Hilaria)
  • It is a card that reflects the notion of the transcendence of the physical while being of the physical at the same time (the resurrection story)
  • It is a card that symbolises both the instigating force of and the completion of a cycle (The Fool is both the Alpha and the Omega)
  • It is the embodiment of being “in the moment” as well as the experience of eternal life
  • It is a card of boundless awareness and childlike innocence coexisting within an individual person or any given moment

With all that in mind, it’s significant that The Fool’s number assignment within the Tarot system is Zero. This is a very transcendent concept, Zero. How do we conceive of that which is  Zero? Anything we might think of is something and therefore is not Zero. Even to envision a spacious black hole-like vacuum is to conceive of some-thing, and so is not a no-thing.

And do we need to mention that the number zero itself  is a circle, a never-ending path, an image of cycles and of eternity? Round and ’round we go and yet we’re always in the same place. Is your head spinning yet?

It makes no sense and yet is transcendent and true in the same breath. This is the nature of the Tarot’s Fool.

When we see The Fool in a reading it can imply what its name might suggest: that someone is being immature, careless, self-absorbed, or ignorant of the reverberations of their actions. But more times than not, The Fool indicates the call to a new beginning; not just the turning over of a new leaf but the planting of a new tree.

In a twist of irony and word play, The Fool is the card in the Tarot which is closest to The Source/Creator/God/Universe … whatever word you prefer for that concept. As such, this is the card which speaks most closely to our real and true authentic Self. An unfortunate truth it is that when we act from that pure and authentic place within ourselves we are very often perceived as actually foolish.

So here’s the April Fool’s Day Challenge: rather than playing a meaningless prank on someone today, consider expressing some of your inner Fool. Prank others by being real.  Be childlike. Be boundless in your awareness. Be in the day, moment to moment, and recognize your place in the dance of eternity.

Have a Hilarias day.

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7 Comments

  1. Margret said,

    April 1, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Another sacred day desecrated to keep us enslaved to false beliefs. Aha!

  2. Karen said,

    April 1, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    In the very first tarot reading I had, more than 25 years ago, I was crowned by The Fool. I loved that, and still do. Give me a knapsack and a cliff, and off I go . . . . Here’s to laughing at ourselves and with Life.

  3. Josephine Mori said,

    April 1, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Thanks for introducing me to Hilaria. I’m definitely going to make an offering.

  4. Jennifer Arnold said,

    April 2, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    The lesson on Hilaria and the Fool coincided nicely with April Fool’s Day!

    • April 2, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      Yes, isn’t that interesting? A little research on the history and origins of April Fool’s Day brought up that little gem, which I will remember every year from now on! I love all those connections~~

  5. LaTanya said,

    April 6, 2012 at 7:31 AM

    Thanks so much Jeanne! I love this blog! I will be checking in with it frequently as I love the Tarot as much as you do!

    • April 6, 2012 at 8:04 AM

      Thanks LaTanya! Feel free to share the link to other Tarot people you may know, and thanks for checking in.


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