In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities,
but in the expert’s there are few.
— Shunryo Suzuki-Roshi
At first glance, this week’s appearance of The Fool seems ironic. Here we are in the waning days of 2008, with so many things coming to a close, such as the final full month of the Bush administration and the end of the year itself.
Generally, we don’t equate The Fool with completions; he is frequently all about renewal and beginnings, and we are not quite really at the new beginnings yet. Are we?
In fact, The Fool is the Zero in the Tarot – the beginning and end of the Major Arcana journey, where all potential exists, all things are possible. He is poised on the edge of what has been, and what is yet to be. Similarly, here in America, we are in the strange period between the outgoing administration, but the new one has yet to take over.
And viewing this through the lens of astrology, the picture becomes even clearer. Two important events have just taken place. Last week, the planet Uranus completed several months of retrograde and went direct. Uranus is all about sudden and shocking changes and revolution, so reversing directions for a planet whose influence is reversal and overthrow is, astrologer Lynn Hayes notes, “likely to turn a number of things on their heads.”
The other shift is one of which has put us right at the beginning of nothing less than a new era. Last week, Pluto, planet of transformation, moved from extroverted, action-packed Sagittarius into serious, security-minded Capricorn. Lynn explains that for the next sixteen years, “Pluto will engage in a process of breaking down and then rebuilding the structures on which we depend for a successful experience in the material world.” What we have assumed is secure and solid will no longer automatically be so.
Will The Fool, then, crash down into disaster?
It may appear that way to the outside observer. But in fact, The Fool is only a fool to those who judge him. In his own mind, he is following the call of his own inner wisdom, which frequently looks crazy to those “experts” who know better.
But thank heaven for The Fool! For in truth, no breakthrough, no cure, no discovery, no accomplishment in human history was ever made without someone being thought a Fool for trying.
This week, be ready take your own leap of faith. If you are poised to embark on a journey — whether it is literal, or one of the mind, heart, or spirit — do not fear. You may not be able to explain yourself in rational terms, but you can, instead, trust your own crazy wisdom.
Cultivate what Zen practitioners call “beginner’s mind.” Be willing to get off the beaten track, and let go of your need to control things. Do not cling to the status quo by attempting to play it safe, for what was conventionally smart and safe is no longer so. The only real safety is to listen to the calling of your soul.
The slate is wiped clean, all things are possible and the great adventure that is your life awaits you.