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                            THE HOLY FOOL: 
                      The Third member of the Triad 
                       -some musings by: the Bard 
      "Remember, the Moon is only half as big as the Earth, but it's twice as 
       far away." 
              After some time musing on the concept of Goddess/God that is  
        common in Wiccan (and most Neo-Pagan groups) and seeing the common  theme
      of "things come in threes" in these belief systems, I fell to wondering  
      "Why only the God and Goddess? If all things come in threes, where is  
      the Third Aspect that should be there?"  
              So what is this Third Aspect? I feel it is the Holy Fool; the  
      Prometheus who is the Trickster, the God (neuter) that rolls the dice. 
      This also fills in certain holes  in neo-Pagan Theology that have  bothered
      me for some time, too.  
              First, we need to have a quick look at the Holy Fool in religious 
      and/or cultural beliefs, both primitive and modern:  
            American Indian: 
                     Aztec: Ueuecoyotl 
                     Caddo: Coyote 
                     Chinook: Coyote 
                     Coos: Coyote 
                     Haida: Raven 
                     Hopi: Mudhead Kachina, Clown Kachina 
                     Kiowa: Coyote 
                     Navaho: Coyote 
                     Nez Perce: Coyote 
                     Omaha: Coyote, Rabbit, Iktinike, Orphan 
                     Pueblo: Koshare 
                     Sioux: Spider 
                     Tillamook: Coyote 
                     Tinglit: Raven 
                     Winnebago: Rabbit         
                     Zuni: Coyote 
            African: Spider, Tortoise, Rabbit, Jackal 
            Graeco/Roman: Pan, Dionysis 
            Celtic: Phooka and the like (see Irish: Fear Dearg, and a host of 
                    others. The Fool must love Ireland very much...He made so 
                    many of Itself there!) 
            Norse: Loki...-and- Balder 
            Banks Island: Clat 
            Micronesia: Nareau 
            England: Puck, Black Jack Davy 
            Christianity: "Doubting" Thomas, and The Christ Himself, in many 
                          ways....and Judas, too. 
            20th Cent. North American: Bugs Bunny, The Joker, Mr. Mxyzpltk,  
                                       Murphy, ("And Pooh is a -good- example, 
                                       too!" said Eeyore) 
            Neo-Paganism: Discordians 
            18th thru 20th Cent. Appalachian: Jack (from British Isles) 
            18th and 19th Cent. N.A. Black: Br'er Rabbit, Long John, &c. 
            German: Tyl Eulenspiegel 
            Italy: Harlequin (check out Agatha Christie's stories about 
                   "Harley Quinn." VERY interesting!) 
            Islamic: Juha, Abu Nawwas, Mullah Nasruddin, Nasreddin Khoja, 
                     Nasreddin Hodja 
            Japanese: Fox, Hotei, and the whole concept of Zen...... 
              And the many, many instances of the Hero figure and his Friend in  
      most people's mythology....Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Robin Hood and Little 
      John, the Mythic Hollywood Western Hero and his ridiculous sidekick, Don
      Quixote and Sancho Panza.....and many times you see the recurrent theme of
      the Great Betrayal of the Hero, which leads to His death...and to His
              One immediately sees that the Fool is a universal constant in  
      folk belief, just as the Goddess and God are!  
              (NB: I have not gotten more specific for two reasons: one, for  
      limitations of space, and two, to encourage others to do a little reading 
      on their own!)  
              As most things, the Fool is Personified in three basic Aspects  
      that (of course) overlap with each other and with the God and Goddess.  
      The first is that of the Saviour God, the Prometheus, the Culture Hero, who
      brings Knowledge (and  -occasionally- Wisdom) to Mankind. This Aspect loves
      Mankind  with all  His Being,  and only  wishes Good.  His Good  Intentions
      sometimes fall short of His (or Mankind's) expectations,  however.
                      Thesecond isthat ofthe Clown,the Nerd,the Jerk,that teaches
      by his own mistakes (and who usually comes out ahead because of His own 
      Innocence.) This Aspect is mostly neutral, and is how He seems to mostly 
      manifest Himself.  
                      Butletus notforget thethird,and darker,side oftheFool, best
      exemplified by  Jack Nicholson's portrayal of The Joker in the film version
      of "Batman." Just as the Goddess has Her Dark side (the Crone,  the
      Morrigan, &c)  and the God  has His (Odin as  Death-God) so does  the  Fool
      have a terrifying Aspect (at least, from the human point of view): Chaos
              This is not an Aspect to invoke, as It does not care. Period. It  
        is the ultimate  psychopath, the ultimate Spoiled Brat,  the quintessence
      of Ego-centric self-love. In some circles, it could be quite nicely named 
      Ahriman, or Shaitan, or Satan, because it fits all concepts of that 
      Middle-Eastern deity....except one: It does not care if Man worships It  or
      not. It is not in  -conflict- with the God and/or Goddess, It is  -not-  on
      the kind of power-trip  that the Judeo-Christian Satan  is represented   as
      having, it just -is-. It should be considered as neither "good" nor  
      "evil," though it can personify both or either....or neither! This is  
      confusing, but with a little thought the concept will (hopefully) come 
           (And, just in passing, the film  version of "Batman" is perhaps a very
      good  metaphor  for the  eternal  struggle  between the  Fool-as-Prometheus
      (Batman) and the Fool-as-Chaos (the Joker). 
                Areyou confused? If youare, GOOD! If you arenot, keep thinking by
      not-thinking. (wha-a-a-a-a-t?) 
                Some of thebest examples ofthe three Personifications arefound in
      the Navaho and Zuni tales of Coyote, or the Br'er Rabbit tales, or the 
      older Bugs Bunny cartoons, or even Walt Disney's Goofy. And, while speaking
      of classic animation, if you can see  any of the cartoons of the   Cannibal
      Boy and the  Mynah Bird,  do so!  It shows  not one,  but TWO  Aspects   in
           For a look at His more serious (?) side, try J.R.R. Tolkien's 
      wonderful evocation of Tom Bombadil.....who is described as "the oldest."
      Prof. Tolkien came very close to the core of the truth with that one! 
           The Fool is your slightly daffy Uncle, that comes to visit at  
        Christmas and is  such fun to  be with, but who  seems to have  a sadness
      about  him too, that you found  out later, when you were  all grown up, was
      his slide  into alcoholism. The  Fool is  the American sit-com  "Daddy" who
      never seems to  get anything  right, but wins  out in  the end anyway.  The
      Fool is  the classic  scene of  Bugs Bunny,  floating in  a washtub in  the
      middle of the Pacific Ocean, happily singing "As Time Goes By,"  blissfully
      uncaring about his obvious which would send  a human into
      sheer despair....knowing that something  will turn up, some   scam that  he
      can pull that  will get him out of the washtub  and into  clover again. The
      Fool is the Tarot's Fool, of course....but He is also the Hanged Man. 
           Do -not- invoke the  Fool unless you are ready  for literally ANYTHING
      to happen! He just  might turn you into a Large Green Frog just  to observe
      what happens......He is capricious. He is unpredictable. He is  what He is,
      and  nothing you can do will turn Him  from His Purpose,  whatever that may
      be at any given moment. He is "Murphy," and whatever  can go wrong, WILL
      go  wrong...or  right. Unless  you have  an  uncommonly flexible  mind, you
      -might- not be able to handle it! 
           He has no Festival, unless it is the Lupercal, or perhaps April Fool's
      Day,  or even New Year's  Eve, for every  day is His, as  He chooses.  Some
      have   inquired   about  the   seeming   overlap   of  functions   in   the
      Goddess/God/Fool triad, and this should be addressed here. The modern 
      Western  mind tends  to  "pigeonhole" things,  and  rigidly excludes  other
      from these pigeonholes. This, I feel, is in some ways an error in thinking,
      especially about the Triad.  
           One cannot and should not "compartmentalize" the God/Fool/Goddess  
      into three rigidly separate Beings, but rather think of them as three 
      separate sources of ripples in the same Pond: the ripples interact and 
      intersect,  and  act  on  each other,  but  move  within  the same  Source,
      That may be.  
                                              -the Bard 
                                               at Samhain, 1990 CE 
       I wish I could list all of my sources, but if I did, it would add several 
      pages to this text, and I am trying to keep it short. I -will- recommend
      reading one  book, however, that  will give a  great insight into  the Holy
         Zohra Greenhalgh, Ace (paperback) April 1989 
         (it has a sequel, but I can't remember the title offhand....) 
                               "Rimble, Rimble!" 
       Permission is granted to reprint this article, both in electronic and in
      print. Any copy of this article must include the WHOLE article, and any
      comments should be sent net-mail to "the Bard" at FIDOnet 1:114/29 (602)
      439-7080. Copies of any printed reproduction of this article should be 
      forwarded to "the Bard" c/o DEUS EX MACHINA BBS, PO Box 35190, PHOENIX,  AZ
      85069. Thanks! 

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