I can’t stand clowns. Cannot STAND them. (In fact, I cannot express how it pained me to put the image above.)
There is a scene in the pilot of “The Good Place” where Kristen Bell’s character learns that the person her house was meant for loved clowns. And not only did they love clowns, but there are images of clowns are all over the walls.
I recoiled. Physically drew up into myself. “Ugh! Honey!” I said to my wife, “Why didn’t you tell me there would be CLOWNS?!” She apologized on the spot, knowing of my revulsion.
I have also been known to be afraid of Santa Claus.
I have terrifying dreams of the top-hatted, masked, skeletal or emaciated dancers of the graveyard. Dreams I have committed to image and art.
Coyote has always seemed a little scary to me.
In short, I am a wimp, as witches go. Total wimp.
I hate to admit it, but it’s true.
Not only that, but I have a friend, whom I shall not name here because I don’t have their permission, but shall call by one of their monikers: Spoonie Cauldron Whacker!
Now the thing about Spoonie Cauldron Whacker is that they have two iconic images. One is a tool, the Mighty Spoon with which they can Stir the Pot. The other is the powerful archetype of the Fool. Whether the Fool of the Tarot (Spoonie Cauldron Whacker has a gorgeous tapestry of that glorious daredevil.) or a character more like the one played by the queer Danny Kaye in the Court Jester, these images of Foolishness are central for our friend SCW.
The Cauldron Whacker wields their mighty Spoon to stir the Pots of Tedium, Boredom, and Self-Righteous Self-Importance. There are also other Pots the Spoon gets into that I don’t always understand, but we’ve established that I’m a wimp.
You see, I am an anxious type. I’m full of contradictions, as you know, if you’ve read my work for any length of time. On one hand, I am drawn to religious institutions, and am an initiated leader in two of them. On the other hand, I am a mystic, and mystics never entirely fit into institutions. Body, heart, and soul, my desire to delve ever more deeply into that Well that never runs dry, the Source of Life…that desire will never entirely fit into institution.
But, on the other hand… You get the idea.
And so encountering the Spoonie Cauldron Whacker was somewhat alarming to me. I didn’t know what they’d do in ritual. I didn’t know what they’d suggest WE do in ritual.I just didn’t trust the process of Spoonie Cauldron Whacker’s tricking and treating.
There was always a sort of flutter of anxiety in my belly when I heard the laugh I associate with SCW’s most Trickstery moments.
And as years passed and we became closer and closer friends, I realized how brave they are, that Spoonie Cauldron Whacker. And how brave all Tricksters are. The Court Jester or King’s Fool who spoke the truth to power using Holy Folly. Coyote who submitted their tail to be set on fire for the good of humankind.
And Spoonie Cauldron Whacker in bright red patent leather heels, black ritual garb with cord of their own initiations, cropped hair and receding hairline…at an ordination, or an initiation, or an interfaith service full of traditional Abrahamic followers. Brave. Cour-ageous. Full of heart.
I’m still not entirely comfortable with Trickster energy. But then most of us aren’t meant to be, are we? That’s part of the point. The Trickster, the Fool, sets the world a bit on its edge, threatens to walk right over that edge and take your little dog too!
I know that I need Trickster energy in my life: Santa Claus, I mean! Without Ellegua to open the door, where would we be? Prometheus’ derring-do brought gifts to humanity, as did Coyote’s fearless actions. They both paid for their actions, and they did them anyway.
I need to be brave. I need not to shrink from those things that bring butterflies to my stomach. Spoonie Cauldron Whacker and all their Foolish kin can teach me a lot about stepping into fear.
I am already so ashamed of my body, my style, sometimes even my voice and my words. Worrying about making a fool/Fool of myself can pop up all too easily. And so maybe the Trickster points a finger at me and says, “Hey you! You can do better.”
I can do better. I can trust the Universe to support me. I can trust myself to live through people’s judgments. I can live through them and come out the other side feeling and being stronger and more capable of doing it all again.
How do you play the Fool? How do you enter into foolishness? Are you a Trickster for God? When and why and how are you trick-or-treating this world?
How much does the Trickster frighten you?
(Oh, and PS – I still hate clowns.)
This post in honor of Earil Wilson and their rubber chicken staff. Quintessential crackpot Fool, Trickster, bringer of Spirit, and Namer of Names.