Wednesday, December 05, 2012


Still on the topic of Fools........for anyone with a hint of "woo" in their soul the first Fool to spring to mind is The Fool of the tarot deck. The Fool card is numbered "0" in the Major Arcana and represents a beginning, innocence, freshness, eagerness, impulsiveness, someone entering life without fear, preconception or prejudice. Nutshell description: the child within. Compare that with keywords for the first zodiac sign, Aries, and you'll find many a match!

Minus "woo", The Fool as we know it is said to have
..... emerged in medieval England in the13thC. The rigid social hierarchies of medieval society relied on these reality maintenance constructs which were closely related to traditional inversionary re-enactments of mis-rule to create a sense of release for and in the population. Although, ultimately the role was meant to re-affirm the hierarchy and strictness of the medeival system. "Fools" became a construct whose unique position in the community's power structure demonstrated the reality of secularized opportunism, relativism, and immoralism. The “fool” wore a subtextual connotation of evil, pretending stupidity, often opposing the figure of the wise or holy man in a culture's structure. In the moral/philosophical dimension, s/he is the negative inversionary counter-point to virtue and wisdom.
Above quote comes from History of Fools

I feel certain, though, that there must have been such figures, perhaps differently named, well beyond 13th century England, in earlier civilisations. What The Fool motif, in general, represents has always been a part of human nature, whether as the innocence of the tarot's version, or as the Trickster, Jester, Joker images which remain familiar to us today.

From a piece All the King's Fools by Suzannah Lipscomb at History Today website, comes a theory that indicates there was present in this medieval custom a dreadful streak of careless cruelty - but we ought to have guessed as much!
The popular myth about court fools and one that some historians have perpetuated is that they were simply clowns aping foolishness for a laugh. Yet my research suggests that many – perhaps all – court fools in the early Tudor period were ‘natural fools’, or what we today would characterise as people with learning disabilities and that explains much about their prominent position.

That court fools were ‘natural fools’ needs a little explaining. In 1616 Nicholas Breton defined a natural fool as one ‘Abortive of wit, where Nature had more power than Reason’. The legal term idiota was interchangeable with ‘natural fools’, who were characterised as incapable or insensible of their actions:........

Image identified by the The British Library: French. Detail of a miniature of King David in prayer, and a Fool, at the beginning of Psalm 52. Attribution: Master of Guillebert de Mets

So, I wonder whether figure of the Court Fool of Tudor times slowly evolved into the Court Jesters, who were not "natural fools" but persons of sharp wit and some wily wisdom?

Shakespeare mentioned Fools often, a list of his Fools is at Wikipedia, here. Best known are : Touchstone in As You Like It(1599), Feste in Twelfth Night,(1600), and the Fool in King Lear(1605); not forgetting Yorick, in Hamlet, the deceased court jester whose skull is exhumed by the gravedigger and evokes a monologue from Prince Hamlet on the effects of death:
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? (Hamlet, V.i)

And from Twelfth Night

"This fellow is wise enough to play the fool;
And to do that well craves a kind of wit:
He must observe their mood on whom he jests,
The quality of persons, and the time,
And, like the haggard, check at every feather
That comes before his eye. This is a practise
As full of labour as a wise man's art
For folly that he wisely shows is fit;
But wise men, folly-fall'n, quite taint their wit."


mike said...

I was mortified to be a fool in my younger days, but I think I've matured into gracious acceptance! Here are several quotes to celebrate:

"A fool and his money are soon elected."
Will Rogers

"Humor is such a wonderful thing, helping you realize what a fool you are but how beautiful that is at the same time."
Lynda Barry

"I have memories - but only a fool stores his past in the future."
David Gerrold

Twilight said...

mike ~ Me too! Nice quotes!

so, then.....On with the motley.. (Vesti la Giubba)

Mario Lanza - a fool to himself in many ways - and we had to lose him much, much too soon.

mike (again) said...

I think he enjoyed himself while here...the good die young! Sadly, his entire family died prematurely, too...incompatible Earth genes maybe.

Wisewebwoman said...

Pagliacci, one of my faves....

Enjoyed this good read, T. We are surrounded by fools these days.


Twilight said...

mike ~~ I've fished out my post from 2007 with Mario's chart:

He had Saturn/Jupiter in Virgo opposing Venus/Mars in Pisces and Neptune opposing his Aquarius Sun.
Maybe some tension within his nature arose from those oppositions.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Mine too - at least the famous arias. :-)

We sure are - knee-deep in 'em in fact!

mike (again) said...

From Astrotheme:
Mario Lanza
Born: January 31, 1921, 9:45 AM
in: Philadelphia (PA) (United States)
Sun: 11°13' Aquarius AS: 10°50' Aries
Moon: 20°09' Scorpio MC: 5°50' Capricorn

I knew Mario Lanza was considered an operatic great, but I knew nothing about his personal life. He was a shooting star until age 33, then his life turned, then he died (in a shroud of mystery) at the age of 38:

Fired by MGM during production of The Student Prince (1954) in 1952 after the German director Curtis Bernhardt assailed him over the "excess" passion of one song in his stunning recording of the soundtrack, his career began a downturn that would never be reversed. Lanza never fully recovered from the emotional catastrophe of The Student Prince (1954) fiasco and losing his MGM contract, and declined slowly in a pattern of near-alcoholism, food-binging, huge weight gains and losses, and professional tempestuousness. (From

It's always so difficult for me to determine how a person will use their astrological's always apparent that there is a positive-negative possibility. It's always enlightening to observe charts of individuals like Lanza that have difficult aspects and to know how that life played-out. When he was 32-34 years old, transiting North Node (where he should direct his attention) was in the tenth house, directing him to his career and public. Consequently, transiting South Node (what he was drawn toward, the past) was in his fourth house, conjunct his natal Pluto. This would indicate to me that this was a dark time for him and that he'd want to seek safe shelter out of the public's view. The nodes in his 10th and 4th houses would have brought solar-lunar eclipses then, too, drastically changing themes for him.

You have a good quote on that post:
"Our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness." Sasha Guitry

James Higham said...

secularized opportunism, relativism, and immoralism

The paradigm in today's society too.

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Aha! Astrotheme has a birth time for him eh? I must not have looked there in 2007 -or maybe they didn't have it then). So he had Aries rising! Interesting.

Loved The Student Prince, back in the 1950s. saw it at least 3 times and bought the LP. Mario wasn't actually in it - he just sang the songs while Edmund Purdom lip-synced and provided the (rather wooden) slim good looks.

The nodal transits have marked changes in my life too - but I've usually thought it's because Uranus is conjoined to S Node.

Twilight said...

James Higham ~~ I guess so - but then there's quite a bit of religious opportunism around still, also!