In the first (or the last, depending on your perspective) card of the Major Arcana we see The Fool starting off on his Spiritual Quest, a dog barking at his feet, his eyes turned toward the heavens.
And he’s very much alone. But maybe not lonely.
What starts us on a Spiritual Quest? It’s certainly not because things are going swimmingly. Sometimes it just a chronic, nagging feeling that something in our lives is just not quite right. Sometimes it’s a sudden flash of insight that’s like the first rolling stone that starts an avalanche.
Frequently it’s some life event that knocks us ass over teakettle and forces us to look at the fact that our assumptions and beliefs have been wrong all along. That what we took for granted isn’t worth a bag of spit. The death of a loved one. The suicide of a coworker. Surviving a crash or a deadly disease.
Even then, many people will embrace what might be called “a pseudo-quest,” or perhaps, “an aborted quest.” Shocked and shaken right down to their toes by some near catastrophe they respond by pulling the covers over their heads and crawling into the safe, warm womb of organized religions. Like the men kneeling in front of the pope in The Hierophant card they look to others for spiritual truth rather than seeking it in their own hearts.
The person on a true Spiritual Quest is there because he or she HAS to be. The choices of pretense, dull lassitude, and being a comfortable member of the herd no longer exist for them. They have a burning desire to know – or at least seek – the truth and that desire can’t be ignored.
And, yes, that can feel lonely at times.
For one thing most people aren’t really very interested in looking at the verities of Spiritual life. The next time that you’re at a family gathering just casually mention that everyone in the room is going to die sooner or later if you don’t believe me. You may not be invited back and, if you are, I guarantee no one will want to sit next to you at Thanksgiving Dinner. People actually seek out toys, money, meaningless sex, and anything else they can think of to AVOID talking about death and they don’t appreciate it when someone puts the subject right up in their faces.
A second factor, though, is that your Spiritual truths are YOUR Spiritual truths and not necessarily anyone else’s. As you tread your way down the path of The Fool you will discover certain things that you know in your heart are true but the people around you, even your loved ones, may think that you’re out of your mind. Or very much a Fool.
I remember when I first realized that visualization actually causes the things we visualize to manifest in our lives. And I don’t mean just reading about it or acknowledging it as an abstract idea. I mean actually sitting my butt down, doing the visualizations and having them actually manifest.
I was blown away. “This,” I thought, “is magic. Real, honest to goddess, freaking magic!”
And that realization was followed by a whole series of other realizations. If my thoughts and emotions can cause things to manifest in my life, then my life is . . . a manifestation of my thoughts and emotions.
Which means that I made this mess. Not my parents, not my environment, not my culture, not random circumstances. This thing I call my life is . . . ME. My thoughts. My emotions.
Which means that I’m responsible for it. It’s my karma that I made. BUT . . . it also means I can change it. And, man, that’s not just magic . . . that’s freedom!
It was a major turning in The Fool’s Path and I was tremendously excited about it. The people I tried to share it with . . . not so much. My New Agey friends sort of yawned and said things like, “Oh, yeah, I think I read something like that a long time ago in Ram Dass. Or was it, ‘A Course in Miracles?’ Maybe it was, ‘Codependent No More . . .”
My more conventional friends either edged slowly away or their mouths hung open for a moment before they changed the subject.
I realized eventually that it was MY Spiritual truth. It was a result of my Tarot readings and my studies and my meditations and it fit perfectly at that exact moment in MY life. The fact that other people didn’t understand it or know it or really, really dig it in their own hearts didn’t matter. What mattered was that I had found one of my truths.
And there’s a Spiritual truth in that realization, too. Just because you’re alone in your beliefs doesn’t mean you have to feel lonely. In all likelihood the people around you don’t share or understand your truths because they haven’t done the work that you have or they just don’t care. That doesn’t diminish what you know by one little bit. Every truth that you find along the path is a jewel to be treasured and uncovers a little bit more of who you really are.