Happy foolishness! Today is April Fool’s Day, well known for pranks and trickery and general silliness.
No one really knows how the day originated, although the most popular theory claims that it came about when the Gregorian calendar took over from the Julian calendar in 1582. According to this theory, some people didn’t get the message about the change, and tried to celebrate New Year’s (previously observed on April 1st instead of January 1st) on the wrong date. These poor folks were teased for being “April Fools.”
Other theories suggest that April Fool’s Day was derived from the Roman holiday of Veneralia, which celebrated the goddess Venus. According to Barbara Ardinger, “to the Romans, it was All Fools Day. They spent the day doing foolish things and playing pranks.” (2) It is also possible that there is an association with the Spring Equinox, when Mother Nature is known for playing her own tricks.
Still, whatever its origins, whether you call it All Fools Day or April Fool’s Day, it gives us the opportunity to indulge our playful side. But I look at it as a time to be more serious as well. (Reverence and mirth, after all, are at the core of all we do.)
Let’s take a look at my favorite Fool, The Fool card from the tarot. This card is number 0; either the beginning or the end of the Major Arcana cards, depending on the book you are looking in. Since all things are circular, maybe he’s both!
The most common representation of The Fool is as a young man with his possessions hanging in a bag on the end of his staff, cheerfully preparing to step off the side of a cliff. His little dog dances gaily at his feet.
Popular tarot expert Mary K. Greer, in her book Tarot for Yourself: A workbook for personal transformation, gives the following as some possible interpretations of The Fool: “Leaping off into some new phase of life. Free-spirited. Carefree. Being open to experience. Acting on impulse without thought or plan. Spontaneity. Childlike enthusiasm. Innocence. Lack of inhibitions. Footloose and fancy free. Being silly. Frivolity. Trusting in the universe. Experiencing life in the here and now—from moment to moment. Optimism.”
Doesn’t that all sound wonderful? Who among us wouldn’t like to have a little more of those qualities in our mundane lives?
So today, on All Fool’s day, let’s resolve to let ourselves be foolish. Let us live a little more freely, be open to what the universe has to offer and put aside our fear of change, even if just for a day.
What do you dream of doing? What would you change about your life if you could gather up your courage and take that leap of faith? Is there something you’ve been longing to do, but have held back from out of a fear of looking foolish?
Well, today’s the day! Make a wish list for yourself of all those dreams you keep in that dusty, “I just don’t dare,” corner of your mind and heart. Do you want a new job or a new career? Have you been pining for the guy next door, but lacking the courage to ask him out? Is there a writer or an artist, a singer, actor or comedian inside you, longing to be brought out into the shining light of day?
Today, on All Fool’s Day, why not pick one of the aspects of The Fool and make it your own? Choose to be more spontaneous or optimistic. Take a leap of faith. Trust in the universe to help you make your dreams come true.
And if things don’t work out the way you’d hoped, and you make a fool of yourself, so what? At least on April Fool’s Day, you’ll have plenty of company.