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The Fool's Journey in the Movies
by Judy Dale, M.A., M.B.A.


In the Tarot The Fool is the seeker at the beginning of a journey. The Fool has beginner's mind and is open to whatever comes his (or her) way. The Fool's number in the deck is 0 indicating that from his starting point all things are possible. In this article I use characters in three different movies to illustrate the archetype of The Fool.

In the movie Forrest Gump, Forrest sits on a park bench as a white feather floats down from the sky. In Being There, Chance the Gardener steps out of a house with a small suitcase in his hand. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy steps onto the yellow brick road. These are images of The Fool in the Tarot about to begin a journey. We can learn a lot about The Fool by looking at these three characters.


Forrest Gump

Momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

The box of Forrest's life includes influencing Elvis and John Lennon, playing ping pong with the Chinese, meeting two United States Presidents, winning the Medal of Honor, and running a successful shrimping business. How did he do all that? No one would look at him and say, "That man is going to do great things." And yet with his open state of mind he takes whatever comes his way and makes something good out of it. The movie begins and ends with a white feather floating in the air. It is a symbol of the way Forrest has led his life and a symbol of The Fool.  As Forrest says at the end of the movie, "I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floatin' around accidental-like on a breeze. But I think maybe it's both."


Being There

Life is a state of mind.

Chance the Gardener has The Fool's state of mind. He walks out of the Washington D.C. house he has lived in for years when the old man who owns the house dies. He carries a small suitcase with all he owns much as The Fool is often depicted carrying a small bundle on a stick. Chance embraces what comes his way and ends up going home with a wealthy woman named Eve. Chance even takes on a new name, Chauncey Gardener, for his journey. Eve's husband Ben introduces Chauncey to the President of the United States and Chauncey's simple sayings about life ("All is well in the garden.") influence the President to have a policy of optimism and hope. Ben sums up Chauncey's Fool characteristics by saying that he admires Chauncey's balance and his gift of being natural, that he trusts Chauncey, and that Chauncey makes him feel good.


The Wizard of Oz

Follow the Yellow Brick Road.

No one would think that following a yellow brick road with a scarecrow, lion, and tin man as companions to seek the Wizard of Oz in Emerald City would be a logical thing to do. But Dorothy trusts the guidance from the Good Witch who tells her the yellow brick road is the path she must follow. This journey is filled with obstacles and challenges. Dorothy and her companions must bring the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West to the Wizard. In a confrontation with the witch, the witch sets the scarecrow on fire. Dorothy throws water on the scarecrow, some of the water gets on the witch, the witch melts, and Dorothy grabs the witch's broomstick. Dorothy's journey illustrates many aspects of The Fool. The Good Witch says, "It's always best to start at the beginning". Indeed, the mind state of The Fool is like the mind of a baby at the beginning of life. Dorothy is always protected and guided just as The Fool is. As the Wicked Witch of the West says, "Somebody always helps that girl." Finally, by saving the scarecrow, Dorothy brings an end to the witch. The Fool's Journey is a journey to get to The Universe. At the end of Dorothy's journey, she has opened up to the universe inside her and is transformed.


We can learn a lot from Forrest, Chauncey, and Dorothy about bringing The Fool state of mind into our lives. Let these characters inspire you to play around with being The Fool. Have a Fool Day for yourself and see what happens. You might want to try it for another day and then another. And who knows, you could end up incorporating The Fool energy into every day of your life!

© Copyright 2010 Judy Dale  All rights reserved.