The F ool Archetype


The F ool Archetype
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Carl Jung believed that our minds come coded with patterns, like magnets that lead us to perceive
the world in a particular way. He called these predispositions archetypes. They have some
interesting characteristics in the case of the Fool Archetype:
They contain all aspects of “foolishness” that are possible. For example in the Fool archetype you
find the Sacred Clown, the Comedian, the Mystic Fool, and the Healer Clown like the character
Patch Adams.
They are present at birth and have the power
to command our attention. It leads us to
events, people, and opportunities. We have a
built in mechanism to notice the things in its
The Archetype takes life force and gives it a
direction, provides focus.
Like a moth drawn to the light, the archetype
is a light that draws us to develop and grow
through the use of the power it gives us.
It helps us energize in challenges, that without
the archetype we might give up. . . The Fool
persists on the journey, when others might
turn back and head for the familiar, or give up
on a relationship instead of continuing to love.
Archetypes are like invisible magnets. Their
fields are invisible until we place metal filings
around them and can see the force field they
exert. Our life experiences are like the metal
filings, showing us where our strengths lay. .
They are also like the DNA of the personality,
holding potential, and directing life paths with
the field of influence
We gradually learn who we are through the
challenges and accomplishments gifted us
through the archetypes
They also require faith at times, when
confusion and chaos strike. They help us
know what to do when the manual is missing.
They require us to hold the tension between
conflict and resolution where our creativity is
Dancing Fool by Suzie Wolfer
invoked and helps us find out way on the
Hero’s Journey.
These struggles have personal meaning when the archetype has chosen us, so that the resolution
of these challenges makes us alive authentic human beings. The challenge carries the seeds of
our true self and call us to the task, transcending our fears.
The archetype energizes us so we can overcome our fears. They move us from the world of the
known, secure predictable world, to the world of the possible.
The Fool Archetype by SuzIe Wolfer LCSW . . . . . . . . . . page 1
Whenever we think we’re in charge of things, the Fool may enter center stage to remind us to be
mindful, humble and amused. The Fool reminds us to Lighten Up! Not take our selves so seriously.
But more importantly, the Fool leads us to opportunities we would never consider when everything is
going our way. This powerful and universal archetype has been known as the Jester, Coyote and the
Interrupter. And his or her gift is always a wake up call.
The word Fool comes from the Latin word follis, which means a pair of bellows, which provide the
oxygen needed for a combustion. The Fool "fires us up" with the impetus for action when something
is finished or goes stale.
According to Jacquelyn Small
The Fool represents an inner attitude of Divine
Innocence, willing to have total faith in the
process of living. He casts himself totally -- and
with gay abandon -- into all with which he comes
into contact, and redeems whatever he meets.
This quality of Divine Innocence is a form of
continual humility in all our relations, which
prevents any adversity from causing imbalance.
Anything adverse The Fool encounters is
brought to the heart of its positive quality with a
sense of awe; it is transformed.
Without accepting our dark or "unlived" side with
this child-like quality, we take on a false
spirituality, one where "niceness" replaces the
raw beauty of real-ness. This Divine Person has
so much faith in this process and in God; a
symbol of our core Self. "Fools rush in where
angels fear to tread." This is the one who
always takes us to the next level, not afraid of
stepping off the bluff into the chasm of the
Unknown. The Fool combines wisdom,
madness, and the folly of the spiritual
adventurer, but never stays attached when it'
time to move on.
Confounding the establishment by playing
God’s Fool Committee Card by Suzie Wolfer
Trickster is one of The Fool'
s most loved tricks.
When this archetype is present and active in your psyche, you can be completely unpredictable
and amoral -- a divinely sanctioned lawlessness that is hard to rationalize -- guided wholly by an
experimental attitude toward life. In this willingness to be so un-programmed by culture, tribe, or
society, we carry the makings of the Hero/Savior archetype. This provides us the archetypal
impulsive curiosity that continually moves us toward the fulfillment of our ideal, though we'
re often
surprised at how this comes about.
In the Grail legend, Galahad showed the power of the Fool archetype of Parsifal who welds together
a broken sword, accomplishing what all the heroic knights were unable to do. The innocent or fool
represents that part of us who is willing to ride off into the unknown, let go of preconceived ideas, old
programming, ego, and intellectual ways of approaching things. That innocense allows intuitive life
The Fool Archetype by SuzIe Wolfer LCSW . . . . . . . . . . page 2
forces to emerge. The Archetypal Fool interrupts our plans to open a new door to who we were really
meant to be and what the Universe needs us to do.
The Fool leaves the past behind. He carries nothing more than
his purity, innocence and trust. No matter how many times the
Fool is deceived; she goes on trusting, acting “like a fool.” Her
trust and innocence springs eternal and is incorruptible. She
has no interest in being other than where she is.
The Fool tells the truth! In history and legend, the Court Jester
Fool came closest to the seat of power and had the capacity to
reveal the truth. Because no one took them seriously, the
Jester was able to influence and cajole the King, and in some
cases bring them back from the brink of maddness and
obcession. In the Dark Times in Europe past, the Jester Tribe
spread through out Europe carrying news, using influence to
move the ruling class to see the value in more humane
treatment of their subjects. They traveled under their
convincing cover as buffoons and thus had access to power
and resources with which to promote their goal of humanist
Shrek Community Card
We may have been chosen by the Fool Archetype. The lives of Robin Williams and other comics
portray this partnership with “the Fool.
The Fool can show up in all four suits, not just the Council suit: as a committee member, disrupting
our plans; as an Animal Companion such as Coyote teaching us about mischief or as a Community
member who inspires us to break out of our limiting stories, such as Byron Katie.
The Fool can also dance in and out of our lives, especially in childhood and Elderhood. During these
life epochs, we partner with the Fool when we either don’t notice or don’t care about the rules that
govern modern life. We don’t conform. We aren’t trying to impress or get ahead. We may love life
but we’re not attached to it, living instead in simplicity and joy.
The Shadow Fool can be a strong player in chemical dependency problems, when we are taken over
and our judgment clouded when we long to be innocent and fun loving and happy. We seek the
Fool’s apparent care free life but then wake up to the consequences of the Shadow Fool’s choices for
us. In recovery, the Fool can become our ally alerting us to when we are off balance, as they say in
AA, when we are hunger, angry, lonely or tired, the Shadow Fool may tempt us to drink or smoke our
way into problems. So we watch for the Fool to point us in the direction we do NOT want to go.
We may also fear the Shadow Fool and in our resistance try to block spontaneity and then, can act
with blindness, rashness, or cruelty in the name of humor. We may love foolishly over and over,
never seeing the pattern repeating itself as we watch our lives self descruct. For example, when in
the grip of the Fool, we may impulsively act, say things that the other members of our “board” may be
unprepared to support. We might feel foolish, for acting so rashly! But then time may reveal that we
indeed made a wise move with the Fool’s help. Only with time, conscious awareness and
resourcefulness can we know the outcome when the Fool dances into our lives.
Most people have a the Fool in their “shadow bag” either fearing or trying to control the impulse to go
innocently into the unknown. To do anything else would be . . . well foolish!
The Fool Archetype by SuzIe Wolfer LCSW . . . . . . . . . . page 3
The Fool invites us to begin an adventure in innocence and trust. You can almost hear him or her
whistling as s/he steps once more onto the path, embracing future with optimism. The Fool doesn’t
worry about doing the right thing, what the neighbors will think. The Fool doesn’t think ahead, trying
to prepare. The Fool is prepared for anything! When the Fool shows up in our lives there'
s a rare
opportunity at hand.
The Fool may be appear to be mocking himself, but in reality mirrors what he sees in us. We laugh at
his antics, never suspecting we are the topic of his story. John Stewart and Steven Colbert play the
roles of the Court Jester, poking at the heart of our culture and government and ourselves when we
look in the mirror.
The Holy Fool or Sacred Clown casts doubt on our beliefs, our abilities, our motives, our institutions,
our sanity, our loves, our laws and our leaders. They make us quesiton things we have always taken
for granted. They challenge us to walk a more choice driven life. They invite us to ask ‘Is this
seriousness really appropriate?’ Sacred Clowns hold up the mirror of innocence to show us our folly
as well as our resilience. They may even call into question our entire understanding of ourselves and
the world. . . . No wonder we fear them! Yet what may initially appear to be folly, may open the door
to our deepest wisdom and our highest good.
The Fool Archetype can reveal itself in different ways. The arts and literature are ripe with examples
of the Fool:
Many of Robin Williams & his characters:
Patch Adams, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Fisher
Mork in Mork and Mindy
Peter Sellers many roles
Touchstone in As You Like It
The Fool in King Lear
Feste in Twelfth Night
Launcelot Gobbo in The Merchant of
Lavache in All'
s Well That Ends Well
Yorick in Hamlet
Two Clowns in Hamlet
Clown in Othello
Puck in A Midsummer Night'
s Dream
Lakota spirituality . . . the Trickster,
Coyote, Heyoka folks
American folklore ... Brer Rabbit and Aunt
Nancy, a corruption of Anansi (Ananse)
Judeo-Christian ... Jacob
French folklore ... Reynard the Fox
German folklore ... Till Eulenspiegel
Greek mythology ... Eris Goddess of
Discord, Prometheus who tricked Zeus,
Odysseus (example of a human trickster,
who manages to evade dangers thanks
to his wits.
Hopi and Zuni mythology ... Kokopelli
In contemporary culture, some may consider George Bush the Shadow Fool. And Eckhart Tolle and
Byron Katie give us living examples of Mystic Fools. Some consider Jesus to be God’s Fool.
The Fool Archetype by SuzIe Wolfer LCSW . . . . . . . . . . page 4
Whenever we collaborate with any powerful archetype, we engage in the Hero’s Journey. It can take
us through some of these steps. The Fool often enters to start us off on our path, when we act on a
hunch or trust without examining the facts. And thus take the first step toward our hopes and dreams.
If we knew the trials ahead in any project or dream, we might not have the courage to start
Potential, inaction
Call to action
Dark night of the soul
Return hom to begin again
Use your SoulCollage card to engage in a dialogue with the Fool.
People make two common mistakes when the Fool shows up:
We may suppress this lively energy at great cost to ourselves,
by judging ourselves, and redoubling our investment in dead
Or we let the Fool run the show.
The Fool can be a powerful initiator of change. And when we don’t
listen, his or her antics may become increasingly “vivid” to get our
attention. We can listen now or later. Perhaps the Fool invented the
phrase “Truth or Consequences.”
Comedian Fool Card –
Council Suit
When things don’t go as planned, consult the Fool. Look at the gift in the disruption. When we’ve
acted foolishly out of character, stop and consult the Fool. Ask her what she sees, what he senses.
You may not get a straight answer, but Coyote always answers! Look, listen, feel and sense,
because opportunity knocks. . . . And then laugh!
Don’t take yourself seriously!
Remember the Fool is on a sacred
mission, not necessarily here to disrupt
for the pure mischief of an adventure;
but as an Awakener. The choice is
always ours how we will respond when
the Fool shows up.
Innocence and wisdom may seem like
polar opposites, yet the wise see the
simple, innocent, effortless solution.
Wisdom sees the bigger picture without
the limitations of conventional
knowledge. Both the Sage and the Fool
stand outside culture, unattached to
Though the Fool may seem simple, she
is one of our most complex archetypes
with many gifts and opportunities.
The Fool Archetype by SuzIe Wolfer LCSW
The Genome’s Fool . . . . . . . . . . page 5
" #$
– I have worked as a psychotherapist both in
private practice for over 20 years and at Providence hospital for the last 7 years.
Though I am a school of Social Work graduate, I have also been a healing arts
practitioner since 1988. I like to weave the rich and diverse training I’ve received over
the years into my workshops, groups and therapy practice: 2000 hours of training in
metaphysics and meditation in the Christian Mystical Tradition, transpersonal
psychology, psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational
interviewing and the Lakota Medicine Way.
I’ve been teaching calligraphy and doing graphic arts since 1979. My artwork has
been published in Somerset Studio, Vamp Stamp News, The Gleaner Zine and Cloth
Paper Scissors.
- I’ve been collecting images since about age 10. I just didn’t know it would turn out
to be SoulCollage back then! When I discovered Seena’s work in Nov 2002, I felt like a dream had come true:
finding a tribe of women whose passion co-mingles art, intuition, spirituality and personal growth. Upcoming
groups and tele-classes will include in depth work with the chakras and animal guides, visual journaling, as well
as CEUs offered to therapists interested in using this process in their work with clients.
– I’ve been doing work with my inner parts for years. The
SoulCollage cards bring a depth and power to these insights. For example, one day I was puzzling over the next
step in my career. My analyzer part was making things VERY complex. So I took a breath, quieted my mind and
drew a card. It was The Dalai Lama community card. Using the “I am the one who” process, the card
communicated the following: “Follow your joy. Remember who guides the work. It’s not you! You are not the
weaver, so just feel the support of the web. . . . Show up and remember to chuckle.” I’m trying my best to follow
the advice!
Please check my website!
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me:
Call 503-762-7612 or email [email protected]
Or checkout my website
The SoulCollage® website at
I also work as a psychotherapist and enjoy using SoulCollage cards with clients.
To inquire about an appointment simply call me at 503-762-7612. Your health
insurance will usually cover 50 – 80% of my fee as long as there is a diagnosis.
For out of town clients I offer telephone consultations.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your workshop today! Thanks so much for joining me in the
The Fool Archetype by SuzIe Wolfer LCSW . . . . . . . . . . page 6