April comes from Latin and is named for Aphrodite who is known for love and beauty. The first day of the month we know as April Fools Day. Most of the time, we wisely avoid looking or acting like a Fool. However, this month I am sharing some positive aspects of the the Fool.
The Indo-European root of Fool is bhel, the same root as ball, phallus, and bold. Another derivative of the root is ‘to blossom’, also linked to our thoughts of spring.
In the past, at least in part, the word Fool evoked certain good qualities. Positive connotations include; great potential, trust, openness, independence, creativity, and the possibility of radical change.
In court life, the Fool was the one person who could openly show the King his blind spots. The court jester, or Fool, provided playful alternative views. Like modern political comedians, the Fool pointed out flaws and weaknesses using humor in ways to embarrass or shame leaders towards more honorable behavior.
History also references ‘Holy Fools’. Here the Fool illustrates qualities that subvert dominant collective culture and introduce a truth or a new perspective which defies existing social conformity, but elevates existence. The Holy Fool’s innocence protects him. Generally the Holy fool resides outside of the collective. Some have said Jesus, with parables and riddles, was a Holy Fool for his time. In recent years we have seen a new Pope’s innocent ‘outsiders’ eyes begin a restructuring of the Catholic church. We have seen Buddhist leaders challenge the cumbersome structures evolved within their tradition in favor of simple and direct practice. These actions invoke, at least in part, qualities of the clear eyed Holy Fool.
Another image associated with the Fool comes to us in fairy tales. In the tale a prince, (male principle) arrives in a new town, dressed as a peasant and competes to win the hand of the princess, (feminine principle). In these stories the foreign (never before existing in the village) male energy revitalizes the kingdom meeting the needs of a new time in history. Current scientific research is challenging us to imagine our world, galaxy and universe in new ways – quite at odds with the views of our planetary village existence 100 years ago.
Fearless young exploring energy is a Spring phenomenon. It can seed something which did not exist before. Being receptive to the ideas of ‘the Fool‘ requires both openness and imagination. In the old fairy tales, most of the townsfolk saw no value in the Fool. The Royalty, (elevated sight), allowed the Fool to present himself and be assessed without collective judgment.
Are our eyes royal or common when it comes to new ideas?
With a happy fearless spirit, exploring newness, a bit of foolish energy can ease our step into a new way of being. In this month when ‘the Fool’s’ newness and spark meet Aphrodite’s openness and potential, what will we conceive?