Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Fool

I Am The Fool

The Fool is the card of infinite possibilities.The Fool card is the zero card of the Tarot deck, and as such it represents the beginning and the end. It is almost impossible to predict exactly what will happen, since it is invariably something new, and not based upon what has gone before. The Fool defies rationality or logic. This creates an excitable sensation, a frisson or shock to the system. Zero also represents consciousness, and, in this regard, it is the conscious state of being present without the influence of the ego.

The Fool can represent the desire for rebirth, or making a new start to life, but with the proviso that the future path is not mapped out. The Fool is Nothing and Everything. It is the Empty set that contains all within it. The Fool is associated with fertility and the primal energy of Spring with the connotations of birth, rebirth, and transformation.

As a strategy, the Fool is all about avoiding the common path that everyone treads. It is finding new viewpoints, new ideas, shocking concepts, beliefs, or views. For hints as to where the Fool might be going, look to the cards around it, but remember that we may also be seeing nascent energies emanating from these cards. The Fool is something different, a fresh start.

The Fool represents crazy wisdom that shocks the listener into new states of consciousness. You can never retread an old tire when the Fool is around.

The Fool is an indescribable state of consciousness that works on impulse. It can never allow an external influence - everything is from within.

When the Fool struggles, there are problems getting out of a rut - nothing new seems possible. In the past, there are regrets over a new start that never materialized.

The white rose the fool holds aloft represents purity. This is the childlike innocence of the Fool, in which there is an organic wholesomeness. The ego has not tainted the Fool’s perspective of the world. The Fool reminds us to constantly treasure the child within us and to see the world through his eyes: with purity, excitement and a carefree attitude.

Another important symbol of the Fool Tarot card is the dog that remains by the Fool’s side. The dog is the Fool’s trusted ally, constantly reminding the Fool of the dangers that lie ahead. Symbolically, the dog represents our instincts. The dog's presence is a symbol of our internal gut reactions to situations that can be harmful or dangerous. The dog also reminds us to pay attention to our instinct, for that is what protects us before we even realize the danger.

The Fool turns to take that final step along his final path, and finds, to his bemusement that he is right back where he started, at the edge of that very same cliff he almost stepped over when he was young and too foolish to look where he was going. But now he sees his position very differently. He thought he could separate body and mind, learn all about one, then leave it to learn about the other. But in the end, it is all about self, mind and body, past and future, the individual, and the world. All one. As above, so below, and all opposites are each other, including the Fool and the Mystic who are both doorways to the secrets of the universe. With a knowing smile, the Fool takes that final step right off the cliff...and soars. Higher and higher, until the whole of the world is his to see. And there he dances, surrounded by a yoni of stars, at one with the universe. Ending, in a sense, where he began, beginning again at the end. The world turns, and the Fool's journey is complete.

In spiritual matters, the Fool means idea, thought, spirituality, that which endeavors to transcend earth. In material matters, the essential of this card is that it represents an original, subtle, sudden impulse or impact, coming from a completely strange quarter. All such impulses are right, if rightly received; and the good or ill interpretation of the card depends entirely on the right attitude of the Querent.

The Fool bears also the meaning of that which cannot be helped and which we do best to leave altogether aside; or that which will come right of itself and need not be heeded by us: that to which we are subject, as to the Earth's course in its orbit. It does not need our personal assistance. Realizing this, the 'fool' might after all appear to be wiser than a good many other people, who in their human vanity imagine they are greatly needed for carrying out the intentions of their Destiny, of Which they claim a sort of personal knowledge.

A proverb says, that children and fools tell the truth. Taken as a whole, The Fool signifies that which will prove to contain more truth than appears; that which cannot be helped; those who are unconscious of certain things, disregarding logical propositions and actions. Also that part of our surroundings over which we have no control or which we do not master; that which we have to obey or which we ignore.

"What has he in the bag?" I inquired, not knowing why I asked. And after a long silence the voice replied: "The four magic symbols, the sceptre, the cup, the sword and the pentacle. The Fool always carries them." The bag also carries the Fool’s early memories of pre-verbal experiences and unused knowledge. As well, as the Fool journeys through life, he places everything he learns into his bag. This bag of knowledge will, ultimately, form the Fool's identity and unique perspective of the world. In effect, the bag holds every meaning of every card of the Tarot deck, which the Fool can use at any time.

The Fool is everyone, and is no one.

Mohawk Prayer of Thanks

Mohawk Prayer of Thanks

The following version of the Thanksgiving Address
was sent by the Mohawk Nation and the Haudenosaunee Grand Council
via Chief Jake Swamp to the Fourth Russell Tribunal,
Rotterdam, The Netherlands, November, 1980.


We who have gathered together are responsible that our cycle continues. We have been given the duty to live in harmony with one another and other living things. We give greetings that our people still share the knowledge of our culture and ceremonies and are able to pass it on. We have our elders here and also the new faces yet to be born, which is the cycle of our families___for this we give thanks and greetings. Now our minds are one.


We give greetings and thanks to our Mother the Earth___she gives us that which makes us strong and healthy. We are grateful that she continues to perform her duties as she was instructed. The women and Mother Earth are one___givers of life. We are her color, her flesh and her roots. Now our minds are one.


We greet and thank the medicine plants of the earth. They have been instructed by the Creator to cure our diseases and sicknesses. Our people will always know their native names. They come in many forms and have many duties. Through the ones who have been vested with knowledge of the medicine plants, we give thanks. Now our minds are one.

We give greetings and thanks to the plant life. Within the plants is the force of substance that sustains many life forms. From the time of the creation we have seen the various forms of plant life work many wonders. We hope that we will continue to see plant life for the generations to come. Now our minds are one.

We give a greetings and thanks to the strawberry plants. We see them when the wind becomes warm again on the earth; the strawberries are indeed hanging there. And it is also true that we use them, that we drink the (straw)berry water. Now our minds are one.


We have been given three main foods from the plant world___they are the corn, beans, and squash___the Three Sisters. For this we give thanks and greetings in the hope that they too will continue to replenish Mother Earth with the necessities of the life cycle. Now our minds are one.


We give thanks to the spirit of waters for our strength of well being. The waters of the world have provided many things___they quench our thirst, provide food for the plant life, and are the source of strength for the medicines we need. Now our minds are one.


We give thanks and greetings to the animal life. They are still living in the forests and other places. They provide us with food and this gives us peace of mind knowing that they are still carrying out their instructions as given by the Creator. We therefore give greetings and thanks to our animal brothers. Now our minds are one.


We acknowledge and give greetings to the trees of the world. They too continue to perform the instructions which they were given. The maple trees are the symbols as the head of the trees. It is the maple trees that provide us with sap for our syrup and is the first sign of the rebirth of spring. The trees provide us with shelter, shade, and fruits. Long ago our people were given a way of peace and strength and this way is symbolized by the everlasting tree of peace. Now our minds are one.


We now turn our thoughts toward the winged creatures. They have songs which they sing to help us appreciate our own purpose in life. We are reminded to enjoy our life cycle. Some of the winged are available to us as food and they too are carrying out their responsibilities. To us the eagle is the symbol of strength. It is said that they fly the highest and can see the creation. We show our gratitude for the fulfillment of his duties. Now our minds are one.


We listen and hear the voices of the four winds. We are assured that they are following the instructions of the Creator. They bring us strength. They come from the four directions. For this we give greetings and thanks. Now our minds are one.


>To the Thunderers we call our Grandfathers we give greetings and thanks. You have also been given certain responsibilities by the Creator. We see you roaming the sky carrying with you water to renew life. Your loud voices are heard from time to time and for the protection and medicine you give, we offer our thanksgiving. Now our minds are one.


Our thoughts now turn to the sky. We see the sun, the source of life. We are instructed to call him our Eldest Brother. With the sun we can see the perfect gifts for which we are grateful. Our Brother sun nourishes Mother Earth and is the source of light and warmth. Our Brothers is the source of all fires of life. With every new sunrise is a new miracle. Now our minds are one.


During the night time we see the moon. We have been instructed to address her as our Grandmother. In her cycle she makes her face new in harmony with other female life. Our Grandmother Moon still follows the instructions of the Creator. Within these are the natural cycles of women. She determines the arrival of children, causes the tides of the oceans and she also helps us measure time. Our Grandmother continues to lead us. We are grateful and express our thanksgiving. Now our minds are one.


The Stars are the helpers of Grandmother Moon. They have spread themselves all across the sky. Our people knew their names and their messages of future happenings even to helping to mold individual character of mankind. The Stars provide us with guidance and they bring the dew to the plant life. As we view the beauty of the Stars we know that they too are following the instructions of the Creator. Now our minds are one.


The four powerful spirit beings who have been assigned by the Creator to guide us both by day and night are called the Sky Dwellers. Our Creator directed these helpers to assist him in dealing with us during our journey on Mother Earth. They know our every act and they guide us with the teachings that the Creator established. For the power of direction, we give greetings and thanks to the Sky Dwellers. Now our minds are one.


We now turn our thoughts to the Creator himself. We choose our finest words to give thanks and greetings to him. He has prepared all things on earth for our peace of mind. Then he said, “I will now prepare a place for myself where no one will know my face, but I will be listening and keeping watch on the people moving about the earth.” And indeed, we see that all things are faithful to their duties as he instructed them. We will therefore gather our minds into one and give thanks to the Creator. Now our minds are as one.

Iroquois Prayer of Thanks

Iroquois Prayer of Thanks

Greetings to the Natural World.

The People

Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as people.

Now our minds are one.

The Earth Mother

We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our mother, we send greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Waters

We give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms–waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water.

Now our minds are one.

The Fish

We turn our minds to the all the Fish life in the water. They were instructed to cleanse and purify the water. They also give themselves to us as food. We are grateful that we can still find pure water. So, we turn now to the Fish and send our greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Plants

Now we turn toward the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. With our minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.

Now our minds are one.

The Food Plants

With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them, too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting of thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Medicine Herbs

Now we turn to all the Medicine Herbs of the world. From the beginning they were instructed to take away sickness. They are always waiting and ready to heal us. We are happy there are still among us those special few who remember how to use these plants for healing. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the Medicines and to the keepers of the Medicines.

Now our minds are one.

The Animals

We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We are honored by them when they give up their lives so we may use their bodies as food for our people. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so.

Now our minds are one.

The Trees

We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade, others with fruit, beauty and other useful things. Many people of the world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the Tree life.

Now our minds are one.

The Birds

We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly about over our heads. The Creator gave them beautiful songs. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. The Eagle was chosen to be their leader. To all the Birds–from the smallest to the largest–we send our joyful greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one.

The Four Winds

We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They help us to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messages and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds.

Now our minds are one.

The Thunderers

Now we turn to the west where our grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life. We are thankful that they keep those evil things made by Okwiseres underground. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunderers.

Now our minds are one.

The Sun

We now send greetings and thanks to our eldest Brother, the Sun. Each day without fail he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day. He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Brother, the Sun.

Now our minds are one.

Grandmother Moon

We put our minds together to give thanks to our oldest Grandmother, the Moon, who lights the night-time sky. She is the leader of woman all over the world, and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon.

Now our minds are one.

The Stars

We give thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewelry. We see them in the night, helping the Moon to light the darkness and bringing dew to the gardens and growing things. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to the Stars.

Now our minds are one.

The Enlightened Teachers

We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring teachers.

Now our minds are one.

The Creator

Now we turn our thoughts to the creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator.

Now our minds are one.

Closing Words

We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it was not our intention to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way.

Now our minds are one.

by Ohenton Kariwahtekwen

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Comments on "Raging Bull"

Comments on "Raging Bull"

This movie brought up a long simmering rage within me, a rage I was once well acquainted with, a rage I enjoyed and loved. The few days since the movie hasn't been enough time for me to regain complete control of that rage, and therefore this paper is only a draft -- it has only my emotion, not any rationality or any research or any dead philosophers' words. It's just me.

Jake LaMotta: She says he's pretty.
Joey LaMotta: Yeah, well, you make him ugly.

Everything I have said about what it is to be a man is idealistic bullshit. To be a man is is to have an addiction to violence. To be a man is to validate one's Self by beating an Other senseless. There is no sweeter confirmation of manhood than to stand bloody but unbroken over the bloody and broken body of another man; a man broken by one's own hands. The familiar taste of one's own blood mingling with the strange taste of a beaten Other's blood is the nectar of the gods. To stand over an Other, rage subsiding, pain returning, realizing the Other can't get up any more; that is heaven. To walk into a room and have everyone fear and respect you, that is godlike.

"Who's an animal? Your mother's an animal, ya son of a bitch." -Jake LaMotta

Life is vicious. Life is uncontrollable. Life is suffering. Everyone else has goals that are at odds with one's own goals. While one can convince others to cooperate toward mutual goals for a time, only unyielding determination of Self over Others will strip the herd of its power over Self. Either you are the bull that leads the herd, the man who determines his own destiny, or you are part of the herd, a powerless nobody cowed by the leader.

"They're in a huddle. Big business meeting. By the pool, they sit around and talk. Big deals. They make sure she can hear. Big Man. Get the fuck outta here. Big shot. Get 'em all in a back room, smack 'em around, no more big shot, without his gun." - Jake LaMotta

Talking only goes so far. Rational discussion is always derailed by obstinate refusal to understand. Petty preferences of Others seek precedence over positive principles of Self. Intentional ignorance by Others frustrates the discourse and prevents full realization of Self. Cherished goals, precious moments of independence, delicious experiences of free will, exciting explorations of life's pleasures -- all obstructed by the empty adoration of the herd for an Other. One either joins the herd in their dementia or refuses to accept the shared insanity.

"He's a nice, a nice kid. He's a pretty kid, too. I mean I don't know, I gotta problem if I should fuck him or fight him." -Jake LaMotta

Strip away the herd. Send all the cows home. Just you and me. Just Self and Other. Throw away the restrictive rules of tame society. Forget the sugar-coated niceties of etiquette. Shrug off the shackles of domestication. Settle things once and for all. Settle things like men.

"He ain't pretty no more." -Tommy Como

To stand against the world, to stand while society tries to beat you down, to stand despite the herd deciding against you, to take everything they throw at you and never buckle, never bend knee to anyone; this is what it means to be a man.

"Hey, Ray, I never went down, man! You never got me down, Ray! You hear me, you never got me down." -Jake LaMotta

But in the end man realizes not only is there no god, but that man is not god though he strives so hard to deny his birth and Be God.

"Why? Why? Why?...Why'd you do it? Why? You're so stupid...I'm not an animal. Why do you treat me like this? I'm not so bad." -Jake LaMotta (alone in his prison cell, berating himself, beating the wall with his head and hands)

To be a man is to beat the fucking shit out of anyone who gets in your way. That is what is within every man. Violence is our nature. We can't be tamed. Look around you at all the senseless violence, bloodshed, rape and war. Where is the god-like rationality? Where is the shining idealism? Where is the messiah? Nowhere. Nowhere real. Reality is blood, life is pain. I would fight anyone and everyone if it would free me from the lying words of Others. Words kill. Words allow politicians to wield bombs and withold food. Words allow religionists to live comfortably while their followers suffer for the next life. Words allow the unscrupulous to chain down the honest people, and steal the riches of the world. Fuck them all.

"I don't go down for nobody." -Jake LaMotta

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Comments on "Mirror"

Comments on "Mirror"

“It is no more than a straightforward, simple story. It doesn't have to be made any more understandable.” -Andrei Tarkovsky

In other words: life is hell then you die. Simple and straightforward? Yes. We are all, each of us, alone in our misery. We are all, each of us, separated by our pain. We are all, each of us, unable to be intimate. We are all, each of us, swept up by the winds of fate. Our individual lives mean nothing in the grand scheme.

The Spanish Civil War, World War II, the Cold War; lose, win or stalemate there is no difference: life is hell. Death is the only escape, and even then it is only a cessation of life. There is no reward; no balancing the scales.

The Soviet Union during the time period encompassed by this film (1930's-1974) was a dreary, forsaken place to live. Stalin, Malenkov, Krushchev and Brezhnev; from one circle of hell to another without the promise of an end.

The use of the same actress for the narrator's wife and mother, the lack of a father (away to war), and the unfulfilling relationships the narrator had with all three trumpet Freud's Oedipal Complex -- albeit shallowly and without any original insight.

The narrator's reminiscing constructed as a jumbled sequence of out of sync time periods reflects how human memory sometimes works. However, memory recall seeks to order events into some sort of meaning, while this film sought only to ensure there was no order, no meaning, no connections. The end result is a memory of a life as seen by a person drowning in helplessness.

The camera work was the highlight of the film. The scenic panning was very well done. The winds that periodically rolled over the countryside carried more of a message, more emotion, than the words and actions of the actors. The world the camera revealed, the world outside human control, the natural country side, the vistas . . . all were beautiful. The earth is beautiful, it is the human race that is the blight -- if there is a message to this film, this is it.