Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Fool’s Journey

Happily I opened the email from my friend Mike. How long has it been since we talked? It used to be daily when we worked together in now-far away Illinois, fellow technology soldiers in the war against bugs and for a major insurer’s health claims system. How far our paths had taken us! I had enjoyed watching Mike and the other guys from our department play volleyball and win. I was their slightly-past-prime cheerleader. It was a time when there were still two men to every woman in technology. It seems like a long time ago now. Happily we landed geographically a stone’s throw from each other in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our schedules were another thing, though, and we haven’t had that next dinner with his partner and my husband as we keep meaning to. Yet. We will, I’m sure.

But until then a little news was welcome. I’ve always envied Mike’s appetite for travel, not just appetite but resolve and accomplishment. He’s like a National Geographic all on his own. And he makes what I can only call “Killer Brownies” with fudgy chocolate interlaced with ripples of melted caramel. Ah. But I wander off the path a moment.

Mike had an opportunity for me, a connection with a good friend of his who needed a tarot reader for a Mardi Gras Ball in Eureka, about 5 hours’ drive away. Was I interested? I was! After assuring Mike’s friend David, one of the organizers of this event, that I did not expect to be reimbursed for mileage or lodging, I made plans for the long drive and overnight stay. I found my old Mardi Gras beads, selected decks with care and at the last minute grabbed a lamp in case the night club was too mood-lit to see the cards.

The drive was glorious, springtime in the redwoods. We saw horses running in a long field. We saw deer on the hillsides, hawks in the sky, early spring wildflowers near the meadow runnels. I loved my Fool’s Journey, packed light, dog and husband companions, not really knowing what to expect next. We stopped to eat in Willits at Busters and had one of their famous and delicious hamburgers. We revisited our Highway 101. I had not been to Eureka since 2001.

We found our motel and Auntie Mo’s without incident. I met David, found my table and chairs, well enough away from the music and dancing, and within good view of the pool tables, I noted. I met Chad and others helping to make the Mardi Gras Ball possible, helped make signs and got my cards out. I was ready. I did not mind that I was unlikely to recoup my expenses this trip. This was a mini-vacation for me.

Of the readings, one stood out, another Fool on his journey, one longer than mine. Chris was in the first days of his trip and truly the epitome of the card.

Many people interpret The Fool as someone foolish, at best “Baby-Wise” as in The Jefferson Airplane’s song “Lather.” He is not so much that as everyman who has taken steps into the unknown, a leap of faith without clear understanding of what is ahead, ready for the next bend in the road, ready to seek his path for better or worse and happy in the traveling. He is a seeker, perhaps not completely prepared for the journey, but knowing that the journey itself is preparation. There is possibility of fortune. There is danger of a fall. There are twists in the road. It is his Progress we trace in the Tarot. Like the King’s Fool, he may say or do what others in court may not; he may tell the king the truth. He may amuse. He may confuse. He is the leap into the void.

I read Chris’ cards, learning that his journey is as much spiritual as it is physical. Chris has a blog chronicling his journey, So few of us interrupt our lives to go on a vision quest or spiritual journey that I feel his story is remarkable. I wish him well and hope he finds the *Great Zot!* of enlightenment a journey like this can bring.

The last visitor to my tarot table asked to read for me! This isn’t the usual request I get as a professional tarot reader, but I was open to what he had to say. My Fool’s Journey was meant to take me to a road not yet traveled. Or, had I traveled it before? As Justin spoke, I recognized him, not from this life of his but one prior.

A lovely elderly man volunteered at the hospital across the street from my house in New Mexico as I did every Saturday morning. He had a glow about him, more than the red coat, bright blue eyes and brilliant white hair. In the confusion of my teenage years, my imperfect gift often seemed more like a curse. But in Mr Shultz’ tranquil presence, I felt clear. One day, he told me that I would be going to California. At first I resisted the notion. I had no wish to go there. I wanted to go back to Florida, to the wildlife and beaches I loved. It took only a minute to know it was true and to further understand my path. The words fell out of my mouth, “Yes, but first I have to go here,” and pointed to a place on the map I did not know. In fact, I traced my own geography, years later going to Illinois, then moving to California in 1989.

As Justin held my hands, basically asking what a nice old broad like me was doing in a place like this, a raucous and costumed Mardi Gras party, when he saw my readings were serious and not a joke for the celebration, I recognized him again. And he recognized me, delivering a message of peace and love, solace and support. Once again, my Fool’s journey has taken me to the mountain cliffs with little more than a bag of cards, my dearest husband and my dog. Once again, the profit of the path could not be counted in coins.

Fool’s Journeys are like that.

Best wishes.

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