“The Way of the Fool is the way of the independent traveler on the Path of Initiation. Such a traveler may study under a variety of Masters, yet will strive always to preserve his or her own identity, and rarely undertakes vows of silence which will bind his or her being to a particular school or teaching. The most enduring arcane image of this wandering Fool is that found on the early Tarot cards.
His nakedness is a sign that the true Fool is prepared to show those things that others prefer to hide. Those Fools who show the way to that higher vision arising from initiation are often seen by the Sleepers as foolish. (The Sleepers are those who have not elected to follow a spiritual path. They are content with the realm of appearances, and want only to be left alone, to sleep.)
A man or woman’s life reveals the archetypes they have followed. That’s why the Fool is prepared to go through life naked to the world, knowing that the lower is nothing more than a reflection of the higher. The Fool progresses only by means of the questions he asks.
A Teacher can indicate the Way, but he cannot show the Way. There are the two Ways – the Way Up and the Way Down – and among the ways up is the Way of the Fool. The zero marks the intersection between the Way Up and the Way Down, where there is neither Up nor Down.
To what purpose, we must ask, would anyone wish to follow the Way of the Fool? It is no easy role to play. The Way of the Fool is so open to misunderstanding and mockery. To the casual glance – which is the glance of most people – it does not even appear to be a Way at all.
Yet there is such a Way, even if it is only one followed by men and women striving to establish a Spiritual identity for themselves, divested of outer trappings. On this way, the Fool is sensitive to symbols. Indeed, if the Fool is alert enough, sufficiently progressed along the Path, then everything becomes a symbol.
The keyword for all the paths is commitment. When you have committed yourself to an action, then the whole cosmos will conspire to help you.
The cosmos recognizes commitment, which is in itself a kind of prayer. If you commit yourself, then you will find that the angels are ranged on your side. And so, make a commitment. Remember it. Stick to it. And if you choose the Way of the Fool, do not fear appearing to be a Fool in the eyes of the world, for, if you do not stray too far from the ancient road, in the eyes of God, you will always remain the beloved Fool.
Yet, this is certainly no mystical injunction to forget the world, for the hermeticist is trained never to forget the world – as it is his or her forging ground. The hermeticist is ever prepared to burn in exchange for gnosis, or to peel away the onion which wrap up the world’s Mysteries and himself.
For every faltering step taken by Man, God in his stillness bounds towards Man a hundred steps. Initiation is an art, a Spiritual performance which can last a lifetime, and then pour into subsequent lifetimes.
There is only one complete initiation for one who dwells in the body. Then, at that marvelous moment of initiated insight, you will see that life itself is art: it is the art of the gods. The art of Man merely reflects the shadow of this creative exuberance. Initiation is the ultimate art of the gods, practised with more or less imperfection by men.
The Fool is prepared to reveal more than ordinary people, if only to lay bare the basic structure of the Spiritual world.”
– from “The Zelator” by Mark Hed