The Fool's Journey

A Screenplay by

Roger & Jennifer Powell
and the Society of Elder Faiths

Opening meditation: Up the Tree.
Photo: the stairway to the tree. Keep onscreen throughout meditation. When finished, fade to black.

LET'S START IN A SOMEWHAT TRADITIONAL MANNER...

IMAGINE YOU'RE A TREE... WITH ITS ROOTS DIGGING DEEP INTO THE EARTH, HOLDING YOU UP FIRMLY, ABSORBING MOISTURE AND NUTRIENTS.

YOUR BRANCHES REACH UP AND OUT INTO THE BRILLIANT SKY, YOUR LIMBS STRONG AND SUPPLE, AND YOUR LEAVES PLENTY AS THEY RUSTLE IN THE BREEZE AND SOAK UP SUNLIGHT TO PROVIDE MORE OF THE NOURISHMENT YOU NEED TO KEEP YOU STRONG.

NOW STARTING AT THE BASE OF THE TREE AND CLIMBING LITTLE BY LITTLE, WE THINK OF ALL THE THINGS THAT MAKE UP A FULL LIFE...

EVERYTHING SOLID THAT WE ARE MADE OF... OUR BLOOD AND BONES; THE ELEMENTS EARTH, AIR, FIRE, AND WATER;

UP THE TRUNK WE GO...ALL THAT WE DREAM OF AND ENVISION;

ALL THAT WE REVERE, ALL OF OUR KNOWLEDGE;

INTO THE BRANCHES NOW... ALL THAT WE LOVE AND ENJOY, THE EXPERIENCE OF OUR SENSES;

ALL OF OUR SELFLESS ACTS FOR THE GREATER GOOD;

HIGHER AND HIGHER... OUR DECISIONS AND DETERMINATION;

OUR THOUGHTS AND PLANS;

THE GODDESSES AND GODS THAT WE NAME AND CALL ON,

AND THE UNKNOWABLE SOURCE, BREATHING LIFE INTO EVERY GALAXY AND EVERY ATOM.

YOU ARE AT THE VERY TOP OF THE TREE NOW, AND THERE WE FIND SOMEONE AT THE BEGINNING OF A JOURNEY.
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO HE IS, BUT LET US JOIN HIM NOW AS HE STEPS ONTO THE ROAD...
OR RATHER, THE RATHER STEEP CLIFF LOOKING OUT OVER THE ROAD, OF DISCOVERY, FAR BELOW.

FOOL
Photo: the tree on the precipice. After 10 seconds, the photo fades to black.

The Fool speaks:

WHO AM I, AND WHERE AM I GOING? WHO WILL I BE?
I KNEW NOTHING OF THE AFFAIRS AND WAYS OF MORTALS,
SO I DECIDED TO STEP INTO THE VOID, AS A FOOL.
YOU'D THINK THAT FROM THIS VANTAGE POINT, ALL WOULD BE CLEAR, BUT NOT SO, MY FRIENDS.
CURIOSITY HAS MOST CERTAINLY GOTTEN THE BETTER OF ME.

JOIN ME ON THIS EXCURSION INTO THE UNKNOWN.
BRING A COMPANION IF YOU WILL,
THOUGH YOU ARE LIKELY TO FIND OTHERS ON THE WAY.

OH, WAIT, DON'T I NEED TO PACK SOME SUPPLIES FOR THE TRIP?

(Packs bag, from items arrayed around him: a key, a compass, a leash, a carpenter’s level, a red rose, a large Eye pendant.) Ties the bag onto a stick and puts it over his shoulder.

OH, AND ONE THING TO REMEMBER:
I TRUST.
(To everyone in the room) DO YOU ALL TRUST?
YOU MUST, IN ORDER TO TAKE THIS TRIP. SOME THINGS JUST CAN’T BE PLANNED OR CONTROLLED.

(Steps out of center, to south, waits just out of sight.)


EMPRESS
Photo: the Gateway. After 10 seconds, the photo fades to black.

The Empress seats herself in the chair, and the Fool approaches.

Empress:
BY WHAT SIGN DO YOU ENTER?

The Fool presents her with the key, and she greets him.

HERE YOU ARE AT LAST! DEEP IN MY HEART, I FELT A SPARK, AND KNEW YOU WOULD SOON BE HERE, JUST AS I DO FOR EVERY LIVING BEING THAT TRAVELS THIS WAY.

EVERY ONE OF YOU ARE AS MY CHILDREN, AND I CHERISH YOUR COMING… I FEEL JOY IN ANTICIPATION OF YOUR TRIUMPHS, AND GRIEF AT THE HARDSHIPS YOU WILL ENDURE.

YOU ARE ABOUT TO JOIN INTO THE GREAT STREAM OF BEING. BY PASSING OVER THIS THRESHOLD, YOU WILL FIND MANY LIKE YOURSELF WITH WHOM TO SHARE YOUR LIFE. YOU CAN AND SHOULD CARE MUCH FOR YOURSELF…

BUT SINCE YOU WILL NOT BE ALONE, YOU MUST REMEMBER THAT OTHERS WILL ALSO BE PRESENT TO ASSIST AND GUIDE YOU – DEPENDING UPON YOUR ACTIONS AND YOUR ATTITUDES. SO BE MINDFUL OF YOUR INTERACTIONS WITH ALL.

KEEP THIS (hands key back to the Fool).
CHARGE IT WITH ALL OF YOUR BEST BEGINNINGS, AND IT WILL SERVE YOU WELL.

ALSO REMEMBER THAT THE STARS WILL ALWAYS BE YOUR COMPANIONS... FOR INDEED, YOUR VERY BONES ARE MADE OF THEM.

NOW – BEFORE YOU WOULD CROSS OVER FROM THIS PLACE OF IMAGINING INTO THE LAND OF THE LIVING. I MUST ASK, WHO ARE YOU? FOR THIS YOU MUST KNOW BEFORE YOU CAN STAND, FULLY FORMED, IN THE WORLD OF THE LIVING. (Pause, looks around to all people as if asking them, "Who are you?")

WHAT YOU ARE TO RECEIVE AND LEARN, ACCEPT AS A GIFT AND A BLESSING.

She sends Fool into the Abyss, and she departs in the opposite direction. The lights go off and a changing colored spotlight is projected from above. The Abyss music is played (4:24). Here is the first meeting of the Four Archangels of the Cardinal Points (Eagle, Bull, Lion, and Man), who become his guides:

The Fool is wandering in and out of the circle, bewildered. The Cardinal Points each appear at intervals and play "cat and mouse" with him, different ones at different times, passing in and out of the center circle area. After all have had a chance to chase the Fool, he ends up in the center and the Cardinal Points form a ring around him and dance/circle around him until he pulls out his compass and "orients" himself.

Eagle:
WHERE ARE YOU?

Fool:
I THOUGHT I SHOULD ASK YOU WHERE I AM.

Bull:
NO, THIS IS WHERE YOU ARE. YOU, NOT ANYONE ELSE.

Fool:
AREN’T YOU HERE WITH ME?

Lion:
WE ARE NEAR; WE WILL ALWAYS BE NEAR. BUT WE ARE NOT YOU. YOU HAVE A PATH THAT IS YOUR OWN.

Fool:
I KNOW THAT’S WHY I CAME HERE…
BUT WHERE DO I START?

Man:
FIND THE COMPASS POINTS AND SEE THE PLAN LAID OUT BEFORE YOU.

Bull:
LOOK AT IT OBJECTIVELY, AS IF IT’S A LANDSCAPE LYING BEFORE YOU.

Lion:
BUT ALSO SEEK OUT WHERE EACH COORDINATE LIES WITHIN YOURSELF.

Eagle:
AND DON’T WORRY… WE’LL BE BACK.

The Cardinal Points depart in different directions. The Fool steps back from the center a little, looking thoughtful.

STRENGTH
Strength tree photo on screen (leopard in tree) . After 10 seconds, the photo fades to black.

Strength enters, looking determined:
I WILL FIND HER, NO MATTER WHAT!

Fool:
HAVE YOU LOST SOMETHING?

Strength:
YES, MY LION. I’VE MISPLACED HER TEMPORARILY.

Fool:
YOU HAVE A LION? WHAT A STRANGE AND WONDERFUL THING!

Strength:
YES, AND YOU HAVE ONE, TOO.

Fool:
OH. THEN MAYBE THAT’S WHAT THIS IS FOR? (pulls out the leash)

Strength:
EXACTLY. YOU ARE TRYING TO DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT, OR MORE PRECISELY, WHAT YOU WILL, AND THIS (touches leash) IS THE PASSION THAT LINKS YOU TO IT. YOUR INSTINCTS ARE SOUND.

Fool:
I’M NOT SURE I UNDERSTAND WILL.

Strength:
WELL, IT ISN’T ALWAYS EASY, OR ELSE MY LION WOULDN’T WANDER OFF FROM TIME TO TIME.

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT HAVING ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST WHENEVER YOU WANT TO, OR THINKING YOU SHOULD BE FAMOUS… ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE NOT GOOD AT THAT!

BUT – IT IS DESIRE, THOUGH NOT JUST DESIRE. IT’S A HEARTFELT SENSE OF WHERE YOU BELONG, WHAT YOU ALWAYS THOUGHT YOU SHOULD DO AND HAVE ALWAYS YEARNED TO DO… AND THE THINGS THAT YOU DO BEST. YOU GET A SATISFACTION FROM FINDING YOUR WILL -- COMING FROM A SENSE OF DOING THE THINGS YOU WANT TO BE DOING, THAT INDEED YOU SHOULD BE DOING IN ORDER FOR YOUR CORNER OF THE WORLD TO WORK OUT RIGHT. AND THE WHOLE WORLD, TOO, FOR IF EVERYONE FINDS THEIR TRUE WILL, AS THE STORY GOES, HARMONY IS ACHIEVED.

YOU MAY BE FULL OF IDEAS, AND INDEED, IT’S BEST TO START OUT FULL OF IDEAS. THE FIELD IS WIDE OPEN, AND FROM THERE WE NAVIGATE, USING OUR INSTINCTS – AND OUR PASSION – TO FIND OUR WILL.

(Looking into the distance) I THINK I JUST SAW MY LION, SO I’VE GOTTA RUN. PLEASED TO MEET YOU — AND GOOD LUCK! (she exits, and Fool smiles)


JUSTICE:
Justice tree photo on screen (pruning) . After 10 seconds, the photo fades to black.

Justice enters, with sword and scales.

Fool (who is still standing there):
HELLO! ARE YOU SEEKING YOUR WILL, TOO?

Justice:
WILL IS ONLY ONE PIECE OF THE PUZZLE. I AM ON A MORE DELICATE QUEST – FOR EQUILIBRIUM. (holds up scales)

Fool:
BALANCE. (reaches into pack and brings out the level)
I THINK I HAVE A TOOL FOR THAT. BUT IT SEEMS SO SIMPLE – EITHER YOU LEAN TO ONE SIDE, OR TO THE OTHER.

Justice:
AS YOUR LAST VISITOR SAID, THERE’S NAVIGATION INVOLVED…. BUT THERE ARE SO MANY SMALL ADJUSTMENTS ALONG THE WAY. THE WIND CAN LIFT THE SAILS WITH GUSTO OR NOT AT ALL, OR ANYWHERE IN BETWEEN.

DO YOU AVOID THE OBSTACLES? DO YOU RUN DOWN ANYONE IN YOUR PATH? DOES THE PLACEMENT OF EVEN ONE NAIL OF YOUR CRAFT, OR YOUR VERY THOUGHTS STAND IN THE WAY OF YOUR PROGRESS? HOW IMPORTANT, HOW STRONG IS ANY ONE FACTOR AGAINST THE OTHERS? YOU MUST LEARN TO TEMPER YOUR WILL WITH DISCERNMENT.

Fool:
TO ADJUST.

JUSTICE:
YES. AND – (holding up the sword) THERE’S ANOTHER PIECE.

FIRST, JUSTICE IS NOT ONLY SOMETHING METED OUT AMONG MEMBERS OF A SOCIETY; IT IS A NATURAL LAW OF SORTS. EVERY ACTION, EVEN THE SMALLEST, HAS ITS CONSEQUENCES, WHETHER ANYONE IS WATCHING OR NOT!

SECOND, ONCE YOU CHOOSE A PATH, YOU WILL FIND THAT THERE ARE OTHER POSSIBILITIES YOU HAVE PRUNED AWAY. ANOTHER CONSEQUENCE TO BE ACCEPTED.

The Cardinal Points enter and say:
GOOD EVENING, YOUR HONOR.

Justice (departing):
GOOD EVENING.

Lion (to Fool):
THERE’S A LOT TO ABSORB, ISN’T THERE?

Eagle:
WHY DON’T YOU JOIN US IN A CHANT. (To all assembled) YOU, TOO!

Man:
LET’S BEGIN. POWERS OF THE MIND, BE WITH US. REPEAT AFTER ME, SO MOTE IT BE! (waits for them to repeat)

Bull:
OPENNESS AND FLEXIBILITY, BE WITH US. SO MOTE IT BE!

Lion:
DISCERNMENT AND INTELLIGENCE, BE WITH US. SO MOTE IT BE!

Eagle:
CLARITY AND SANITY, BE WITH US. SO MOTE IT BE!

Man:
CREATIVITY AND INSIGHT, BE WITH US. SO MOTE IT BE!

Bull:
ALL THAT WE MAY MEET THE CHALLENGES THAT COME OUR WAY. SO MOTE IT BE!

The Cardinal points say “THANK YOU”, take a bow, and depart.


DEATH
Death tree photo (willow carved gravestone). After 10 seconds, the photo fades to black.

Death:
THE POWERS OF THE MIND ARE INDEED WONDERFUL!
SO MANY THOUGHTS AND PLANS AND DECISIONS…
BUT DAY BY DAY, YOUR BODY BEGINS TO CLAIM YOUR ATTENTION –

AT FIRST QUIETLY, AS YOUR STRENGTH GROWS,
THEN THE AWAKENING OF THE SENSES,
DAY BY DAY, LOUDER AND MORE DEMANDING,
AS CONTROL OF YOUR PHYSICAL NATURE BECOMES A STRUGGLE, TO CONFOUND AND OVERWHELM YOU.

THEN ONE DAY, YOU FIND THAT ALL THE PIECES
START TO FIT TOGETHER,
AND TO LIVE INSIDE THIS SKIN AND TO OWN THAT EXPANSIVE MIND –
IT ALL COMES TOGETHER IN HARMONY,
AND IT IS A JOY TO BE FULLY ALIVE.

CHOCOLATE! STRAWBERRIES! SEX!
THE SIGHT OF MAJESTIC MOUNTAINS, OF SPARKLING WATERS; THE SCENT OF ROSES…
THE EXERTIONS OF MOVING, IN WORK AND PLAY,
THE ACHE OF HUNGER AND THE JOY OF ITS SATISFACTION;
THE COMPLEX DELIGHTS OF FRIENDSHIP, AND LOVE…
ALL THINGS AND ALL BEINGS ON A VAST PALETTE OF EXPERIENCE…
ALL IS TRULY YOUR “OYSTER.”

Fool:
THAT’S WONDERFUL! (brings out the rose and smells it)

Death:
BUT WAIT – I’M NOT FINISHED. THE DOWNSIDE OF THIS IS THAT BODIES WEAR OUT. EVERYONE’S. THAT’S MORTALITY. AND NO, YOU WILL PROBABLY NOT BE PREPARED FOR IT.

YOUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES WILL BE TAKEN BY SICKNESS AND DEATH. AND SO WILL YOU. SO MANY SIGNS ALONG THE WAY… SO MANY DAYS WHEN THE PATH IS SET WITH THORNS. THE FLOWER IS BEAUTIFUL, BUT THE SEEDS OF ITS DESTRUCTION ARE BUILT RIGHT INSIDE OF IT, AS IT LURES THE BEE TO HELP IT CREATE ANOTHER GENERATION TO TAKE ITS PLACE. I’M SORRY, BUT NO ONE WILL LIVE FOREVER, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WILL WANT THEM TO.

WHAT DO YOU MOST FEAR LOSING? HOW WILL YOU STAND THE PAIN AND THE SEPARATION THAT WILL COME? I SAY, YOU MUST LET GO. YOU CAN KEEP MEMORIES, BUT LET GO OF YOUR DESIRE FOR THINGS TO NEVER CHANGE, FOR CHANGE THEY ALWAYS WILL.
Death departs, leaving the Fool in the center.


TOWER
Tower tree : lightning-blasted tree. After 10 seconds, the photo fades to black.

Fool:
ALL THESE THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING
ARE TOO MUCH FOR ME.
THEY ALL COMES RUSHING IN AND I HAVE NO CONTROL.
AND SOMEHOW, I’VE BEEN WRONG ABOUT SO MANY THINGS ALL ALONG AND I CAN’T FIX ANY OF IT.
HOW CAN THIS BE? WHY CAN THIS BE? WHO AM I NOW?

Tower enters and says:
YOU HAVE SEEN SADNESS AND HORROR, YOUR HOPES HAVE FALLEN ON ROCKY GROUND, YOUR DREAMS HAVE WITHERED, YOUR ILLUSIONS HAVE BEEN STRIPPED AWAY. GRIEF HAS BEEN YOUR SOLE COMPANION. AND NOW, IT SEEMS, THE UNIVERSE KNOWS THAT YOU ARE READY.

Fool (incredulous):
READY!? NO…… READY FOR WHAT?

Tower:
DO YOU CHOOSE TO KNOW WHAT IS TRUE? DO YOU OPEN YOUR EYES AND MIND, AND RIDE THE FIRE,
OR WILL YOU HIDE AND EVADE, AND BE DESTROYED?

THE LIGHTNING’S FIRE DISSOLVES YOU.
ITS BRILLIANCE CAN BE PAINFUL, BUT PURIFYING.
IN THE LIGHT, YOU WILL REALIZE WHAT IS,
AND FROM THE ASHES YOU WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD AGAIN.

Fool:
AH, NOW I SEE. (brings out eye pendant from kerchief).

Tower departs.

The Fool sits down and takes the rest of the items out of his bag, realizing that he has no more tools left unused. He crumples the kerchief in his hands and looks down at it.

Lights dim halfway down. Silence for ~30 seconds, then a voice sings:

A BIG STORM CAME THROUGH THE OTHER DAY
I NEVER SAW IT COMING FROM WHERE I STOOD.
THE HEAVENS SHUDDERED AND THE BIG TREES SWAYED
IT CAME DOWN HARDER THAN I THOUGHT IT COULD.

SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE REDEEMED IF YOU CAN'T BE BOUGHT OR SOLD?
YOU'VE GOT TO BUY YOURSELF BACK WITH ALL THE LOVE YOU CAN HOLD.

A BOLT OF LIGHTNING BLEW THE TOP AWAY
SO STRONG THAT IT OPENED MY EYES TOO WIDE.
THE STORM TOOK MY ILLUSIONS THAT DAY,
LEAVING SOMEONE ELSE, BUT STILL ME, INSIDE.

SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE REDEEMED IF YOU CAN'T BE BOUGHT OR SOLD?
YOU'VE GOT TO BUY YOURSELF BACK WITH ALL THE LOVE YOU CAN HOLD.

OH, WHERE IS THE GOLD IN THAT PILE OF STONES
LEFT LYING ALL AROUND ME WHEN THE STORM IS DONE?
THE REMAINS OF THAT VIOLENT NIGHT ATONED
FOR IN THE SWEET, SHINING DROPS OF THE MORNING SUN.

All goes dark. A bell is rung, x 8, at 10 second intervals. (Meanwhile, the Sun takes his place lying on the bier, lays his cap upon his chest, and covers himself with the shroud.)

The “stars” come out: people distributed around the room with small candles light them, one by one. Fool is in the center with his kerchief in his hands.

The Fool opens his kerchief slowly, and the lights come up:
Fool:
OH, THERE IS ONE MORE THING!

SUN
Sun photo (tree laden with blossoms) . After 10 seconds, the photo fades to black.


The Fool walks over to the shrouded bier, contemplates for a moment, then turns back the shroud to find the Sun, who is lying there, eyes closed, with his feathered cap upon his chest, his hands over the cap. After a moment, the Sun blinks his eyes, then sits up and puts on the cap.

Fool:
WHO ARE YOU?

Sun:
I AM THE CHILD, SON OF THE MOTHER;
THE SOLUTION TO THE PUZZLE, HARD WON.

THE NEW GROWTH OF SPRINGTIME,
A SPROUT FROM A TREE THOUGHT DESTROYED,
AND THE BRIGHTNESS THAT EMERGES AFTER A STORM,
WHEREBY IS REVEALED THE SPECTRUM OF COLORS
THAT MAKE UP ALL THINGS.

(Sun dismounts from bier and stands beside Fool)

I’M THE EGG AMONG THE ASHES,
FROM WHICH RISES TRIUMPH OVER DESOLATION,
NEW HOPE READY TO SOAR OVER THE DEBRIS OF WHAT WENT BEFORE.

I, LIKE YOU, HAVE BEEN THROUGH MANY TRIALS –
HARROWED BY ILL FORTUNE AND SICKNESS,
BROKEN IN SORROW AND LAID LOW,
BUT I HAVE RETURNED, AND FOR REAL.
AS YOU ARE MY WITNESS, I CAN NOT, WILL NOT BE TAKEN.
I ENDURE.
AND HERE, NOW, I WILL CELEBRATE.
I INVITE YOU TO CELEBRATE WITH ME:

(Leads the following call and response chant:)

I CELEBRATE MY LIFE AND ALL THAT I AM.
I CELEBRATE THE DEPTHS AND HEIGHTS OF MY EMOTIONS.
I CELEBRATE THE WILD EXPANSES OF MY MIND.
I CELEBRATE MY DECISIONS,
I CELEBRATE MY MISTAKES, AND EVERYTHING I LEARN FROM THEM.
I CELEBRATE MY STRENGTHS, AND MY WEAKNESSES;
I CELEBRATE ALL OTHERS WHO LIVE, AND ALL OF THEIR COMPLEXITIES.
I CELEBRATE THE SOURCE FROM WHICH I CAME!

NOW, YOU MAY GO FORWARD TO A PLACE
WHERE ALL COMES FULL CIRCLE, AND IS MADE FULLY MANIFEST,
WHERE YOU WILL FIND COMPLETION.


WORLD
World tree photo (children around a tree). After 10 seconds, the photo fades to black.

The Cardinal Points enter from various directions.

Eagle:
WELCOME, TRAVELER, TO THE LIVING EARTH.

Bull:
JOIN IN THE COMPANIONSHIP OF ALL EARTH’S DENIZENS,
FOR YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Lion:
HER PLENTY IS ARRAYED BEFORE YOU, SO YOU MAY COUNT YOURSELF RICH BEYOND MEASURE.

Man:
ALL KNOWLEDGE AND MYSTERIES ARE AT YOUR HAND.


World:
HERE YOU ARE AT LAST! DEEP IN MY HEART, I FELT A SPARK, AND KNEW YOU WOULD SOON BE HERE, JUST AS I DO FOR EVERY LIVING BEING THAT TRAVELS THIS WAY.

YOU AND ALL LIKE YOU ARE AS MY CHILDREN, AND I CHERISH YOUR COMING.
I FEEL JOY FOR YOUR TRIUMPHS, AND GRIEF AT THE HARDSHIPS YOU HAVE ENDURED.
WITHIN THE CIRCLE OF EARTH, YOU ARE COMPLETE.

NOW, BECAUSE YOU HAVE MASTERED THE WAYS OF LIFE IN YOUR JOURNEY,
I GRANT YOU THE WANDS OF THE MAGICIAN.

(Gives Fool the two wands. In exchange, he gives her the foursquare red kerchief belt he’s wearing.)

DRINK DEEPLY OF THE WATERS OF EARTH,
EAT OF MY BOUNTY IN ALL ITS FORMS.
PARTAKE AND FILL YOUR SENSES WHILE YOU CAN.

The World dances a scarf dance/spinning dance (about 4 minutes); and kerchiefs for everyone are handed out by the Cardinal Points from baskets.