All This Foolishness
The Fool card is everything in the tarot, and nothing. It is the alpha and omega, and here anything is possible. The joy of the Fool is in the beginning. It is assigned the number zero. This is quite fitting. This card is spiritual impulse, nonchalance, mania, and sacred sight all at once.
Aleister Crowley’s Book of Thoth gives the following magickal words about this delightfully foolish beginning.
All ways are lawful to innocence.
Pure folly is the key to initiation.
Silence breaks into rapture
Be neither man, nor woman but both in one.
The best custom surrounding the April Fools Day holiday comes from the French. Laura Moss’ recent article explains some of this history. The common story is that when the French adopted a new calendar with January 1st as the start of the year, some rural people still continued to celebrate April 1st as the beginning of the year. Moss says “these people were often referred to as ‘April fools.’ They were mocked by having paper fish stuck to their backs and being called ‘poisson d’avril,’ or April fish.”
Day for Differences and the Voodoo Spaghetti Harvest Ritual
Like most traditional holidays, the origins of April Fools’ Day are complicated. Many make the important observation that this holiday is oddly close to the Vernal Equinox, a time when eggs stand on end and things aren’t quite the same.
In Haiti and New Orleans Mardi Gras is a time of masked foolishness. Some of its origins in Africa seem to have a similar function, to reverse things for awhile, make weirdness the great equalizer as we welcome a new time and a new being.
I was going to title this piece the Voodoo Spaghetti Harvest Ritual, in honor of what I think is one of the greatest pranks of all time. (No, there is no Voodoo Spaghetti Harvest Ritual, but if you hum a few bars I’m sure we could make one up.) In 1957 the BBC show Panorama aired a segment about a record spaghetti crop in Switzerland. Many called the television station to see how they could get their own spaghetti tree. Here you go folks:
The common superstitions say men are not to be married on this day, for they will be forever cuckolded. Pranks are not to be performed after noon. Children born today are said to be extra lucky, except when gambling. So enjoy your April Fool’s Day. Contemplate the tarot and new beginnings, stick a fish on your boss, harvest some spaghetti, or maybe even kiss a fool, it’s supposed to be good luck!