April Foolishness and Archetypal Enlightenment
April Fool’s Day is a day to play jokes, which can (if we’re lucky) have the positive effect of shaking people out of their stupor, and hopefully making them laugh. This is great for seeing things from a new perspective and lightening up – or maybe even Enlightening Up!
“Everything that I’ve read suggests that enlightenment is lightening up,” said comedian Mike Myers in an interview. “’Ha Ha’ and ‘A-Ha’ are connected – they’re related industries.”
Caroline Myss examines the archetype of the Fool along with about 70 others, in her book Sacred Contracts. She explains that the fool is more than a simpleton, but by acting like one, he is able to communicate serious issues through humor.
In the case of a Court Jester, the fool expresses to a King what commoners or even the court members wouldn’t dare to say, much like political satirists do today. In other words, at their most positive, the Fool can “carry truth into closed circles or closed minds.”
The shadow, or negative aspect, of the Fool archetype manifests as cruel personal mockery or betrayal, specifically the breaking of confidences gained through knowledge from the inner circle.
So if you see any unenlightened pranks being played on April Fool’s Day, step in to find and share the positive in the scenario. Tell pranksters and their victims about:
• the Sufi (mystics of Islam) figure Mullah Nasruddin, popular in Egypt, Iran, and Turkey– half saint and half fool, he acts like a ninny to teach wisdom.
• Or of King Arthur’s court jester, Sir Dagonet, who was knighted as a joke, but who also performed bravely in tournaments.
• Or the tricksters of Native American lore – Heyoka, from the Lakota Sioux, who does things backwards to teach people not to take themselves too seriously or the animal medicine of Coyote. (Remember Wile E. Coyote from Warner Bros. cartoons?)
So don’t be afraid to act like a fool on April Fool’s Day. It may offer the breakthrough you’ve been looking for!
Jester image from Spiritually Starving
Coyote Medicine Card from Animal Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams, David Carson and Angele Werneke.
Wile E. Coyote image from Digital Citizen.