April 1, 2012
Born from the Foam
This month was named for the Greek goddess Aphrodite (aphros=foam, dite=born): she who was born from a drop of sperm fallen into the sea, and who emerged from the foam, as later recorded in many great paintings of the Renaissance, riding on a scallop shell. This foam-borne shell, (the ‘Birth of Venus,’ as she was called by the Romans) much later became the calling-card that marked the path taken by Saint James the Greater, in his journey across France and Spain, a path which – much, much later -became the ‘Way of Santiago,’ one of the great routes of Christian pilgrimage in western Europe:
“In April when the sweet showers fall…” said Chaucer. “Then good folks set out upon pilgrimages.”
Let’s do it Today.
Birth of the Fool
The words in the Greek lexicon that interestingly follow on Aphrodite’s footsteps are Aphroneusis= Playing the Fool, or Aphroneo=to act foolish or silly, or Aphrontis=to be heedless, free from care. The Wise Fool – whether in the Tarot deck or in world literature – is my favorite character, the one who is not afraid to step off the cliff into a new reality. He appears as Khizr the Green Man in the Qur’an, he delights (and fools) people, in teachings from the Sufis to the Southwestern Indians, with his freedom from scholarly rules, regulations, rigidity. He is the Coyote, the Trickster, Thoth and Hermes and Mercury, all rolled into one. He is everywhere and nowhere. His number is zero, the most important number in the world.A quote from my heroine Verity Banks, in my book, A Calculated Risk, may sum up this viewpoint. Verity says:
“Some people think that rules are made to be broken. I have never thought so. For me, rules are like flagpoles in a slalom race: You observe their presence religiously, skirt around them as closely as possible, and never let them cut your speed.”
HAPPY FOOL’S DAY, EVERYONE!
And when we feel ourselves sliding down, let’s not be afraid to dig in our edges, pick up speed, go with the flow, and slalom down that mountain!