“the most wasted of all days is the one without laughter” – e.e. cummings
As each Gregorian calendar year comes close to an end after we cross the gate of the Winter Solstice, we arrive at yet another great rite of passage. What we call our New Year’s Eve is in the Astro Card system the day of the Joker – a card that is as unpredictable as its title describes. However the Joker is the one exception to the system, in that it cannot be “read”. Don’t we need the mystery element in our lives to keep it interesting?
Our lives should not be meticulously planned to the point of obsessive compulsive disorder or unrealistic expectations, yet it can be healthy for us to set goals and work toward them. I think of days such as December 31st as being portals of a sort that enable us to imagine, consider, and act on what we’re unaccustomed to, normally incapable of or too intimidated by. If we play our cards right we can make great use of the following Capricornian Spade days, beginning January 1st which ruled by the King of Spades, imbued with incredible power and potential for achievement and new beginnings.
Although he wanders, his footsteps are difficult to trace…the Joker startles and amuses us with his antics and disappears just as quickly and mysteriously as he arrived. This is the one card in the deck of 52 representing an energy that has no karma, no limitations in its expression, and absolutely cannot be bound, tied down or squished into a box, unless that is the game it chooses to play at its whim. As a card of royalty, it overlooks, perhaps more accurately it leaps through the entire Life Spread and gets to pick and choose who it will imitate or what it will embody.
Often said to share a correspondence with the Fool card of the Tarot, numbered 0, the Joker is symbolized as a carefree or silly chap. Just as the bag slung over the Fool’s shoulder contains the 4 suits, all kinds of memories, tools, and potentials, the Joker has the ability to try on any suit or card for size and play the part darn well. For this reason, this card can bring forth excellent actors, musicians or performers. The Joker is much like the Jack (of any suit, of course), whether of all trades or none at any given time – youthful, creative, and very slick.
As a modern day trickster, this card’s energy and those who have it as their birth card move and function much like the Heyoka, or sacred clown of the Lakota people, acting contrary to what anyone would think, do or expect. Author Sharon Jeffers calls this card a representative of “the Alpha and Omega” and states that absolutely anything can be created on the Joker’s day. We can say it is well suited to break a habit and expand the mind, but just like any real freedom or manifestation of wealth, what good is such opportunity if one does not put it to use?
The Joker, at least in my eyes also bears a bit of resemblance to the Holly and Oak Kings of Celtic tradition who switch roles between the Summer and Winter Solstice. These woodsy, leaf-garlanded patriarchal figures are the archetypes who in part represent our primal ability to actively synch ourselves with nature’s changing seasons and expressions. There is transition but also a choice factor here. Some things happen of their own accord, such as breathing and blinking, sunrise and sundown. We know those things are going to happen so we usually don’t try to make them happen or interfere. Other things like choosing to wear shorts and ride a bicycle when it’s freezing cold or eating a huge piece of chocolate cake instead of dinner are up for debate. Is there a method to that madness or a madness to the method? In a sense, the Joker couldn’t care less. We need his/her entertainment as much as we need special rituals a lot of the time in order to make light of what could otherwise easily be perceived as dark or troublesome occasions.
The Joker briefly reminds us that we are the writers of our own scripts and that we are not the masks or the costumes we so often wear. We don’t get to control the seasons, weather and most other things but we get to choose far more than is commonly recognized in our lives, including what to think, what to dwell on, what to say, and what to make of whatever comes our way. Those who work very hard or take too many of life’s challenges too personal may also take this as an opportunity to stand back and take themselves a little less seriously, at least long enough to get a good chuckle of out things.