V

I just found out my friend V died in April 1. I met her while passing through Santa Cruz in 2002. She was a lesbian Wiccan and one of the most genuine, Christlike women I’ve ever met.  She was the first to offer me shelter when I introduced myself at the Unitarian Universalist church where Whitewolf was the minister. At first, they let me park my motorcycle at their place while I camped in the forest around the corner. When they got the Scamp, a little camper they were going to use for trips to the Michigan Womyn’s Festival, I had a new home for about three weeks.

Having just bought a motorcycle in Reno, she let me borrow her leather jacket, knowing that the windbreaker and sweatshirt weren’t keeping me very warm. Donner Pass was almost as miserable as if I were in the Party. But V’s jacket, with naked mermaids on the sleeves and Triumph on the back, kept me warm from Oregon to LA. She got sick when I was in Oregon, I think. A few months later, I stopped to see her on the way down to Los Angeles. The difference was staggering, but she still had that sweet glint in her eye.

I’ll always remember her as this vivacious, redheaded goddess who burst with love,  joy, and celebration of life with every wiggle, laugh, and kind word. She was the essence of life. She always will be. Although those who loved her are feeling the loss of her passing, I don’t feel as if I have lost anything. I have gained for having known her, and my life was indelibly enriched for the experience of her.

Thank you, V, for being who you were and making my life so much grander for having the opportunity to know and love you.

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Everybody Plays the Fool

One of the components of The Unbroken Path is a sometimes controversial method of storytelling often used by gypsies and fortune tellers. Considering how much ignorance and misunderstanding surrounds it, it is a bitter irony that the Major Arcana of the Tarot is called The Fool’s Journey. I think it’s entirely appropriate as we are all fools.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact, if we can come to the point of accepting the pure wisdom that we actually know nothing, it could quite possibly be the most empowering thing to ever happen to us. Because regardless of how much we think we know and how masterful we believe ourselves to be, the collective knowledge that we possess will always pale in comparison to our ignorance. But that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

The first card of the Major Arcana is the Fool. He is a sprite lad, with a flower in his hand, a bindle over his shoulder, and a peaceful smile on his face as he stands at the precipice of his journey. Although it appears that his first great step may be his last since none can see where his foot will fall, the Fool opens his arms to the world, ready to accept whatever Life may bring as she guides him on his quest to gain the world. Throughout the following series of 21 cards, the Fool’s Journey will introduce him to a variety of characters, virtues, and concepts that culminate in his inheritance of the world. Yet it is in this first step that he actually gains it. As Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Each of us, in every moment of our lives, is given the opportunity to begin and end this journey. By giving up our control of the world around us and giving ourselves over to mere blissful cooperation with our place in it, we become the rulers of the world. It is when we operate out of a forceful state attempting to bludgeon the world into our submission that we are actually at our most foolish. But when we acknowledge our folly and let go of our preconceived outcomes, opting instead to simply play our roles in the unfoldment of Life with a peaceful humility, it is then that we realize our truest power. The Fool, when he truly owns his folly, has the faith of a child and the vision of the kingdom of heaven. By accepting our folly, we embrace wisdom.

On this first day of the fourth month, may you find stable footing on The Unbroken Path. Although the journey ahead of us may be daunting and hold unseen challenges we may not know if we are ready for, it is the same path that has always been travelled by dreamers, heroes, and visionaries. Each of them found their footing even on the steps leading to stumble. Have faith that your journey will offer you the same.

“A bit of advice
Given to a young Native American
At the time of his initiation:
As you go the way of life,
You will see a great chasm. Jump.
It is not as wide as you think.”
— Joseph Campbell