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                           THE HOLY FOOL: 
                     The Third member of the Triad 
                      -some musings by: the Bard 
     "Remember, the Moon is only half as big as the Earth, but it's twice as 
      far away." 
             After some time musing on the concept of Goddess/God that is  
       common in Wiccan (and most Neo-Pagan groups) and seeing the common  theme
     of "things come in threes" in these belief systems, I fell to wondering  
     "Why only the God and Goddess? If all things come in threes, where is  
     the Third Aspect that should be there?"  

             So what is this Third Aspect? I feel it is the Holy Fool; the  
     Prometheus who is the Trickster, the God (neuter) that rolls the dice. 
     This also fills in certain holes  in neo-Pagan Theology that have  bothered
     me for some time, too.  

             First, we need to have a quick look at the Holy Fool in religious 
     and/or cultural beliefs, both primitive and modern:  
           American Indian: 
                    Aztec: Ueuecoyotl 
                    Caddo: Coyote 
                    Chinook: Coyote 
                    Coos: Coyote 
                    Haida: Raven 
                    Hopi: Mudhead Kachina, Clown Kachina 
                    Kiowa: Coyote 
                    Navaho: Coyote 
                    Nez Perce: Coyote 
                    Omaha: Coyote, Rabbit, Iktinike, Orphan 
                    Pueblo: Koshare 
                    Sioux: Spider 
                    Tillamook: Coyote 
                    Tinglit: Raven 
                    Winnebago: Rabbit         
                    Zuni: Coyote 
           African: Spider, Tortoise, Rabbit, Jackal 
           Graeco/Roman: Pan, Dionysis 
           Celtic: Phooka and the like (see Irish: Fear Dearg, and a host of 
                   others. The Fool must love Ireland very much...He made so 
                   many of Itself there!) 
           Norse: Loki...-and- Balder 
           Banks Island: Clat 
           Micronesia: Nareau 
           England: Puck, Black Jack Davy 
           Christianity: "Doubting" Thomas, and The Christ Himself, in many 
                         ways....and Judas, too. 
           20th Cent. North American: Bugs Bunny, The Joker, Mr. Mxyzpltk,  
                                      Murphy, ("And Pooh is a -good- example, 
                                      too!" said Eeyore) 


           Neo-Paganism: Discordians 
           18th thru 20th Cent. Appalachian: Jack (from British Isles) 
           18th and 19th Cent. N.A. Black: Br'er Rabbit, Long John, &c. 
           German: Tyl Eulenspiegel 
           Italy: Harlequin (check out Agatha Christie's stories about 
                  "Harley Quinn." VERY interesting!) 
           Islamic: Juha, Abu Nawwas, Mullah Nasruddin, Nasreddin Khoja, 
                    Nasreddin Hodja 
           Japanese: Fox, Hotei, and the whole concept of Zen...... 
             And the many, many instances of the Hero figure and his Friend in  
     most people's mythology....Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Robin Hood and Little 
     John, the Mythic Hollywood Western Hero and his ridiculous sidekick, Don
     Quixote and Sancho Panza.....and many times you see the recurrent theme of
     the Great Betrayal of the Hero, which leads to His death...and to His

             One immediately sees that the Fool is a universal constant in  
     folk belief, just as the Goddess and God are!  
             (NB: I have not gotten more specific for two reasons: one, for  
     limitations of space, and two, to encourage others to do a little reading 
     on their own!)  

             As most things, the Fool is Personified in three basic Aspects  
     that (of course) overlap with each other and with the God and Goddess.  
     The first is that of the Saviour God, the Prometheus, the Culture Hero, who
     brings Knowledge (and  -occasionally- Wisdom) to Mankind. This Aspect loves
     Mankind  with all  His Being,  and only  wishes Good.  His Good  Intentions
     sometimes fall short of His (or Mankind's) expectations,  however.
                     Thesecond isthat ofthe Clown,the Nerd,the Jerk,that teaches
     by his own mistakes (and who usually comes out ahead because of His own 
     Innocence.) This Aspect is mostly neutral, and is how He seems to mostly 
     manifest Himself.  

                     Butletus notforget thethird,and darker,side oftheFool, best
     exemplified by  Jack Nicholson's portrayal of The Joker in the film version
     of "Batman." Just as the Goddess has Her Dark side (the Crone,  the
     Morrigan, &c)  and the God  has His (Odin as  Death-God) so does  the  Fool
     have a terrifying Aspect (at least, from the human point of view): Chaos
             This is not an Aspect to invoke, as It does not care. Period. It  
       is the ultimate  psychopath, the ultimate Spoiled Brat,  the quintessence
     of Ego-centric self-love. In some circles, it could be quite nicely named 
     Ahriman, or Shaitan, or Satan, because it fits all concepts of that 
     Middle-Eastern deity....except one: It does not care if Man worships It  or
     not. It is not in  -conflict- with the God and/or Goddess, It is  -not-  on
     the kind of power-trip  that the Judeo-Christian Satan  is represented   as
     having, it just -is-. It should be considered as neither "good" nor  
     "evil," though it can personify both or either....or neither! This is  
     confusing, but with a little thought the concept will (hopefully) come 


          (And, just in passing, the film  version of "Batman" is perhaps a very
     good  metaphor  for the  eternal  struggle  between the  Fool-as-Prometheus
     (Batman) and the Fool-as-Chaos (the Joker). 

               Areyou confused? If youare, GOOD! If you arenot, keep thinking by
     not-thinking. (wha-a-a-a-a-t?) 

               Some of thebest examples ofthe three Personifications arefound in
     the Navaho and Zuni tales of Coyote, or the Br'er Rabbit tales, or the 
     older Bugs Bunny cartoons, or even Walt Disney's Goofy. And, while speaking
     of classic animation, if you can see  any of the cartoons of the   Cannibal
     Boy and the  Mynah Bird,  do so!  It shows  not one,  but TWO  Aspects   in

          For a look at His more serious (?) side, try J.R.R. Tolkien's 
     wonderful evocation of Tom Bombadil.....who is described as "the oldest."
     Prof. Tolkien came very close to the core of the truth with that one! 

          The Fool is your slightly daffy Uncle, that comes to visit at  
       Christmas and is  such fun to  be with, but who  seems to have  a sadness
     about  him too, that you found  out later, when you were  all grown up, was
     his slide  into alcoholism. The  Fool is  the American sit-com  "Daddy" who
     never seems to  get anything  right, but wins  out in  the end anyway.  The
     Fool is  the classic  scene of  Bugs Bunny,  floating in  a washtub in  the
     middle of the Pacific Ocean, happily singing "As Time Goes By,"  blissfully
     uncaring about his obvious which would send  a human into
     sheer despair....knowing that something  will turn up, some   scam that  he
     can pull that  will get him out of the washtub  and into  clover again. The
     Fool is the Tarot's Fool, of course....but He is also the Hanged Man. 
          Do -not- invoke the  Fool unless you are ready  for literally ANYTHING
     to happen! He just  might turn you into a Large Green Frog just  to observe
     what happens......He is capricious. He is unpredictable. He is  what He is,
     and  nothing you can do will turn Him  from His Purpose,  whatever that may
     be at any given moment. He is "Murphy," and whatever  can go wrong, WILL
     go  wrong...or  right. Unless  you have  an  uncommonly flexible  mind, you
     -might- not be able to handle it! 

          He has no Festival, unless it is the Lupercal, or perhaps April Fool's
     Day,  or even New Year's  Eve, for every  day is His, as  He chooses.  Some
     have   inquired   about  the   seeming   overlap   of  functions   in   the
     Goddess/God/Fool triad, and this should be addressed here. The modern 
     Western  mind tends  to  "pigeonhole" things,  and  rigidly excludes  other
     from these pigeonholes. This, I feel, is in some ways an error in thinking,
     especially about the Triad.  


          One cannot and should not "compartmentalize" the God/Fool/Goddess  
     into three rigidly separate Beings, but rather think of them as three 
     separate sources of ripples in the same Pond: the ripples interact and 
     intersect,  and  act  on  each other,  but  move  within  the same  Source,
     That may be.  
                                             -the Bard 
                                              at Samhain, 1990 CE 
      I wish I could list all of my sources, but if I did, it would add several 
     pages to this text, and I am trying to keep it short. I -will- recommend
     reading one  book, however, that  will give a  great insight into  the Holy
        Zohra Greenhalgh, Ace (paperback) April 1989 
        (it has a sequel, but I can't remember the title offhand....) 
                              "Rimble, Rimble!" 
      Permission is granted to reprint this article, both in electronic and in
     print. Any copy of this article must include the WHOLE article, and any
     comments should be sent net-mail to "the Bard" at FIDOnet 1:114/29 (602)
     439-7080. Copies of any printed reproduction of this article should be 
     forwarded to "the Bard" c/o DEUS EX MACHINA BBS, PO Box 35190, PHOENIX,  AZ
     85069. Thanks! 


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