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12.18.6

Trickster, Fool and UFOlogy

The Major Arcana Tarot card The Fool seems like a good symbol to represent not just the UFO and related phenomena, but those of us involved in the phenomena in whatever way. All of us; experiencers, witnesses, researchers, writers, whatever tendril weíre perilously following share one thing in common. Weíre obsessed. Thatís a good thing, but it is a different thing, and an often misunderstood thing. Sometimes itís a lonely thing. Other times itís crowded, overstuffed with the noisy and garish. And itís always a fringe thing; out there, on the edge, perennially perched in a precarious and isolated spot.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Tarot, there are hundreds of decks.(Thereís even a Wizard of Oz deck, and an Alice in Wonderland deck! They're actually quite cool and useful, although some Ďtarot purists,í like my husband, look upon them with disdain.) The image I used here is from probably the most well known and popular Tarot deck -- the Waite deck -- and people without any familiarity with the cards would probably recognize it. Personally this isnít my favorite deck and yet, at the same time, it is comfortable to use.

Whatever the deck, the symbolism remains the same. The Foolís number is zero. Thatís a great number! It represents infinity; endless opportunities, endless possibilities. Thatís true of UFO and paranormal research; as anyone studying the phenomena knows, you only get deeper as you continue your search.

The Fool has his small bag of belongings, and at any time he can stop and do the mundane things he needs to do; eat, get clothing, drink, use the cover for bedding, etc. He has set out on a journey and is traveling light, but he is prepared.

He is going where others donít go. He isnít frightened. In fact, he shows a delightful yet some might say somewhat rash personality. After all, he could fall off that cliff any moment if he doens't pay attention to the mundane around him. His dog is there to warn him; barking or nipping at his ankles. Itís exciting and thereís a lot to be said for the process of the journey, as opposed to fixating on the goal (how can you have a goal when youíre not sure what it is youíre following?) but be warned: there are dangers ahead. The Fool is a man or woman who is free in spirit, a seeker. Excited by the journey, and not at all bothered by not getting the Ďbig answer.í

But there are dangers. UFO history has its share of individuals whoíve become mentally unstable, paranoid, ill, or died, often under mysterious circumstances. UFO and Fortean research can cause one to see things that really arenít there, or at least, make it seem that way. It can be an invitation for all kinds of unsavory beings (yes, most of them human, just not very nice humans) whose job it is is to play with your mind and manipulate events.

Iíve been thinking and writing a lot recently about those outside of UFOlogy who are really inside the fringes with the rest of us -- after all, if youíre talking about UFOs or cryptids or magick at all, be it irrational rationalist, practitioner or witnesses, arenít you then also ďinĒ it? --- and how the anti-UFOists complain that theyíve wasted time. Theyíre spent decades researching UFOs, or the paranormal, only to come up empty. No answer (s), nothing new, the mainstream still hasnít accepted any of this, so it's all for nothing. Well, that's what they think. Or say they think. (I suspect many of them know better but that's a different column.)

What they donít realize is that the mystery is as exciting as finding any answer. That aside, the phenomena canít give us an answer; it hasnít in thousands of years, why expect anything different now? The paranormal and UFOs exist in the fringe -- the outer realms - of polite society. Institutions will not, cannot sanction these areas; itís against their nature.

The Fool steps in gladly, with purpose, to see what she can see. There are many roads, often without signs. There are many lands, many choices. She goes where she will (thankfully she has her little dog to warn her of being too carefree) and finds amazing things on her journeys.

Like many immersed in the UFO phenomenon or paranormal research, we donít know where weíll end up. We know going in that thereís no blanket validity given to us by the infra structure, and that there will be those, even those on the outside fringes, who hurl insults and worse. Thereís danger of believing outlandish tales or of taking the messenger literally. Or becoming overly paranoid. But we have our little dog to warn us, in the guise of our peers and our own voices, if we listen.

Which all sounds very sweet and New Agey and there is truth in the above. But donít be afraid to be cautious while youíre tripping out there (I mean tripping as in, trippiní, not stumbling over rocks) because hiding in the fringe out here are some nasty forces that be. Those forces-- human and non-human alike -- are the oppositional side of UFOlogy, Fortean phenomeana, and the paranormal. The Trickster can be playful and merely mischievous on the surface, but it is also supremely capable of malevolence. Donít be so glib as to brush it off as you go off on your next UFO, cryptid, or paranormal investigation.

Sugggested Reading:

The Trickster and the Paranormal: George P. Hansen

Daimonic Reality: Patrick Harpur

Skepticism as Mystique: A Fortean Essay in Rationalist Panics and Skeptical Dementia: Colin Bennett, UFO Magazine vol 21, No.10 December 2006.


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