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Sacred Feminine - 0 The Fool

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Join Date: 11 Feb 2004
Location: Toronto, Canada
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Sacred Feminine - 0 The Fool


Image here.
The Fool is a Maenad, a Raving One, running outside in the bitter cold wearing only a thin dress and brandishing a thyrsus, a wand topped with a pinecone.

Context - The Rites of the Maenads
As the Greek god of wine, Dionysus/Bacchus represented the wild, untamed forces of nature that lie outside the walls of the civilized population. During festivals, women devotees of the god would abandon their men and flee the city, heading into the forests to conduct sacred rituals honouring him. They carried thyrsoi, wreathed their heads with ivy, and danced, sang, and spun themselves into ecstatic trance to communicate with Dionysus. In their frenzied state, they tore sacrificial animals apart limb from limb and devoured them raw in obeisance. Men were forbidden from observing these ceremonies, and a popular Greek myth that became a play by Euripides (The Bacchae) details how King Pentheus, who had banned the rites of the Maenads or the Bacchae from Thebes, was caught spying upon them and torn to pieces by the crazed devotees.

Analysis
In our Fool card, the Maenad is raving mad, howling at the top of her lungs and waving her thyrsus. It is difficult to tell whether she's on her way to the celebration in the forest, or coming back from it, and the sun striking the mountains in the background doesn't give an indication. If she is on her way, then she's a keener, already prepared for whatever frenzied rituals await her. If she's coming back, then the people who await her in town must beware her heightened state, keyed up, completely unpredictable.

This woman is experiencing a special state of ecstasy just for her, highlighting her uniqueness. However, like the Rider-Waite's Fool she also places herself in danger, as her thin dress isn't warm enough for the depths of winter. She risks death just as she reaches her ecstastic height, placing her own life at no cost for the experience. Unlike the Rider-Waite, this Maenad has no furry companion trying to warn her. Quite the contrary, any animal she came across in her frenzied state would likely be torn apart by her.

How much does the Fool risk to obtain special wisdom? Are you willing to throw yourself into the totally unknown, putting everything you know and believe to be true to the test? What you witness may drive you mad, but you'll be transformed, and never see life the same way again. The Fool abandons the comfort and security of the city for the untamed wild, unguaranteed safety.
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