April Fool’s Day is coming right up. That’s the perfect time to talk about the Fool Archetype and see how playing the fool is good for you. Before we do that though, let’s talk about what the Fool is. If you were ever told, “Don’t be a fool” you might think that fools are bad. However, as with all archetypes, there is a positive side and a shadow side.
The Fool is the prankster who loves to laugh and make others laugh. He pursues fun and wants to lighten dark spaces. He can say tough truths to people who may not be open to hearing them because he does it in a humorous way. Other people may not know whether to take him seriously, but the Fool doesn’t really care what others think. This adds to his strength as a wise teacher.
Another attribute of the fool is that he doesn’t take anything too seriously. Everything can be made into a joke. In fact, life is just a big game for the Fool. This moment is all that matters, and so he’s a master of present moment awareness. He doesn’t get stuck in “supposed tos.” If he doesn’t like something, he will just make up a new rule. He doesn’t need to control the game, just play it.
The Fool’s shadow can show up with overindulgence. Sloth, gluttony, hedonism, lust, impulsivity, and addiction can be the Fool’s playground. When the Fool fears that things aren’t fun or light, he can go to extremes to avoid feeling bored or dead inside. He loses all self control and dignity. The shadow Fool can also leave a trail of destruction behind him when his games are too over the top.
Now that we have an overview of the Fool archetype, let’s look at how playing the Fool is good for you. Spring is the perfect time for renewing your relationship with childlike innocence of the Fool. New beginnings are happening all around. The Fool archetype can help you keep the energy moving so that you stay in the wheel of life.
- Honesty. The Fool has the eyes of a child and sees everything. He’s not politically correct. He’s got no filter. This doesn’t mean that he’s brutal or rough necessarily, just truthful.
- Perpetual Trust. No matter how many times a Fool is hurt or disappointed, he never gets jaded. He is always optimistic and believes that this is a new day. He exhibits eternal trust in everyone and doesn’t see new adventures as taking a chance. It’s just a new game.
- Always Present. The only moment is this one for the Fool. He’s always right here. He’s not checking his stocks to see if he will have enough money for tomorrow. You’d never see him crying over last week’s spilled milk.
- Authenticity. The Fool doesn’t care about fashion, form, expectations, or saving face. He cries when he’s sad and laughs when he’s happy. When he’s sleepy, he sleeps. What you see is what you get. There is no conformity or restraint. If you think about it, it’s a bit ironic that fools often wear a mask but are more transparent than those without one.
- Innovation. The Fool is amazingly creative. He uses his words and body to entertain but also his imagination to solve problems.
- Fun. Perhaps the Fool’s biggest motivation is to have fun. Who doesn’t need more of that? Routine and obligations too often bog us down.
- Resilience. When life gets tough, the Fool keeps going. Like a Bobo doll, he keeps popping up no matter how many times he’s knocked down.
- Trusts in the Plan. Some people portray the Fool as an puppet master who whispers in the king’s ear, thus controlling the realm. I don’t agree with that at all. While the Fool often does have the king’s ear, he is not a conniver. He isn’t that forward thinking. The Fool is the one who trusts that whatever is happening is what needs to happen. He doesn’t have an agenda.
- Wisdom. The Fool is a paradoxical creature. He has many childlike qualities that can make him seem simple. Yet he’s not a child. He’s able to see what’s important, functional, and effective and often chooses this path and advises others to do the same.
If you are stuck, depressed, anxious, distrustful, or feeling foolish, check in with your Inner Fool. Listen for his lessons. We all have access to this energy. It’s here to help us through the journey of life, so why not use it? And when you see it alive and well in others, enjoy it. It’s a beautiful thing.