A leap of faith is required to start any journey into the unknown. The fool Archetype is an enthusiastic "Yes" to the journey, motivated by grandeur delusions of what may be ahead while not paying much attention to the potential danger. It is characterized by an optimistic confidence inspired by infinite potential requiring no evidence to support the reasoning. This lightheartedness invokes joyful social interactions, while looking for opportunities to joke around and encourage others.
At the beginning of 2018 I decided I wanted to try being a digital nomad internationally. My Swedish friend who I nicknamed Celestial Star-Struck invited me to a week long music and camping festival called Sáiva located far north east of Sweden in an area called Padjelanta. It is far enough north to see the northern lights.
It all sounds magical and impressive when I talk about it, like being called to adventure in distant lands. As the date of departure got closer I started to realize the scope and challenges of the trip I had agreed to so enthusiastically. I had a health concern which gave me an easy reason to cancel and stay home. But I imagined the Aurora Borealis shining off in some cosmic horizon, luring me to step into the foggy unknown. The only way I could get myself to go was to believe in enchantment and embrace the optimistic ideology of a fool, embarking on a journey without knowing what was on the other side.
When I arrived in Sweden it was full of wonder and excitement as I had imagined. But there was another element I was not prepared for: The language barrier. Granted almost everyone speaks English in Sweden, but as I traveled further and further away from the main city of Stockholm, more and more people spoke Swedish around me. I found myself unaware of what was going on or being talked about. I started to feel foolishly under-informed about the situations I was getting into, and how I was supposed to interact with strangers.
It was an important lesson about the archetype: when you step into a completely unfamiliar place with naive optimism, it almost always leads to an uncomfortable feeling of falling or foolishness as everything is different and all the normal ways of being no longer work. I felt a bit lost and dependent on my English speaking friends to direct me and let me know what was going on.
At one point everyone started singing together in Swedish. I looked around quite puzzled until I worked out that they must be singing happy birthday. I tried not to draw any attention to myself as I felt like a clueless outsider, patiently waiting for an opportunity to speak English to someone and get caught up on what else is going on.
This shadow element of the archetype of feeling uncomfortable and potentially falling into danger is just part of taking a journey into the unknown. It forces growth and learning new ways of being as well as teaches us compassion for others who are foreigners to where we call home.
This unknown danger ahead is represented by the Alligator in the drawing. The fool does not consider that there could be an alligator ahead. If you start to fear the potential alligator, then you fall out of the Fool Archetype, as it leads to preparing for the worst, or feeling under prepared.
This archetype is particularly useful in setting your mood in a good place to start any activity. It is acknowledging the infinite potential each moment brings to open up to something absolutely amazing. Life is joyful and fun when you see the bright side. It's always a good time to tell a joke or make someone laugh. Even if you have to be a bit silly or take a risk to do it. Say Yes to whatever life offers you and give it all you got!