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The Joker/Fool Archetype

Updated: Apr 21, 2020


“I form the light and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil. I the Lord do all these things.”

The "Great Fool" or the great "father of all", being depicted as a jester or clown-like figure, is often a metaphor for the Supreme Being, utilized in Hermetic texts such as the Tarot. God, from the Hermetic perspective as well as a Jewish perspective, is similar to an “evil clown” in that he’s apathetic at best, and even cruel and sinister quite often, because he is the origin of what we perceive as “evil”— “He, the Lord, does all Things.” The power of the Joker archetypal figure stems from his solidified connection to his gravitational center, the center of the controlled force of absolute truth. With such a uniting with one’s center, the actions are no longer inhibited or rationally controlled. The most seemingly uncontrolled & unpredictable outward behavior rises from the mysterious flow of internal, constant truth and pattern. One who embodies this archetype has the freedom to play in the world, while paying no attention to the arising fluctuations or reactions— increasing chaos in the world that tests the worthiness & strength of others, who act outwardly controlled but actually inwardly lack any steadiness. This connection to play is also why women are given a special emphasis in occultism, as they are embodiments of Maya and illusion and have an innate resonance with nature, sexuality, the unconscious and the irrational-- all things that the occultist seeks to gain a special kind of understanding and control over. It is precisely this understanding and control over these forces that leads to the elite power that those who succeed in the occult arts eventually obtains over those still subject to illusion, that forever eludes the unworthy seeker. Initiates throughout history have sometimes depicted themselves as jesters; the jester's laughter, cruel jokes, and freedom to do things, even to a King, that would get other people killed, mirrored in some way the power of the adept to seemingly transcend or invert the laws of nature and society that others were bound to. 2 more comments below or read it on my site.

The laughter of the clown can also be interpreted as stemming from the Adept's position of elitism over the common masses, the uninitiated beings who do not strive for self-knowledge, as studies have closely tied laughter to the suppression of the ego of the individual being laughed at, and have linked laughter to the impulse towards cruelty. The jester or clown is also "laughed at" by those who do not understand the adept and who cannot penetrate the illusion or maya cast by the adept, and so it is also meant to symbolize the natural protection the adept employs to defend themselves and their secrets. Genius stems only from one’s connection to truth, and looseness in body and mind to allow that truth to move them. The uninhibited “Fool” annihilates all internal, rational blockages to this truth so he can flow in its direction, dissolves all dualistic conditioning, and revels in the chaos he stirs in the uninitiated masses. On a deeper level, however, while having attained an elevated state, the “Fool” is actually the only one to view himself as equal to all of those around him— and he demonstrates this in his actions. He doesn’t assume to teach or lecture anyone. He doesn’t act holy or pious. He doesn’t inflate his ego and presume he is superior enough to have“mercy” on others, which are almost always just masks conceit, pride and a haughty sense of superiority, and tolerance for things out of alignment with truth. He knows anyone can attain a connection to truth, and that each individual has an equal opportunity and the internal power to do so, even if so many fail and think they have to submit to someone else to grow. His trust in truth is so strong that he feels no urge to interfere with the misconceptions of another, and instead laughs at their mistakes. To be a Thelemite, for example, means that you reject the idea that you need to "correct" the perception of individuals who fall into illusion, and that you leave everyone to stand or fall on the merits of their own power. If a person believes something that is false and this angers you in some way, ask yourself why you believe you must sacrifice yourself for them? Do you believe that you are their keeper or parent, or that you are in some way responsible for their well-being? Could this be revealing a kind of distortion of your own ego, and reveal your own perceived sense of superiority over that person, that you need to show them the "real" way? The Thelemite and the Fool archetype rejects all such notions and understands that it doesn't matter if a person believes in things that are false. If a person cannot figure out the truth, have you ever considered that they do not deserve to know it? You should not try to control their reactions to truth or falsehood; the contrast between truth & falsehood should be clear— and depends only on the perceiver’s internal state. The Adept, like the Clown, understands that Truth is actually best revealed and displayed through deceiving or tricking others with powerful illusions. This is because the attainment of truth cannot be shown, it can’t be taught; truth can only be revealed through willed attainment, through personally encountering and overcoming illusions. The Clown is the archetype of understanding that you are the teacher of no one; only the truth they encounter is their teacher. This lack of responsibility & unified perspective allows him to dissolve into joyous laughter whether those around him are failing to align and so being destroyed, or whether they individuate— that, either way, destruction or liberation, Truth is always their master.

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