In La Baraja del Brujo, the Fool card is replaced by el Santo – the Saint. This is not by accident or choice. Both characters are the object of scorn by society in their lifetime, and often enough, both are considered objects of scorn by those who do not understand what drives them to take up what others won’t.
The Fool and the Saint are marginalized characters who point out and expose contradictions and injustices. They offer a mirror to society that projects aspects it cares not to address. It is no accident that in this deck the Saint, and not the Fool, takes on the spiritual path through the Major Arcana. The Saint’s path is no different from our own. In our journey, we face the same obstacles a saint would confront, leading up to what St. John of the Cross would term a dark night of the soul. During this crisis, a saint foolishly continues to move along his journey, daring to face what Shadows and fears anyone’s heart would shy away from. It is when night is at its darkest, however, that the first rays of morning begin to make themselves known. Enduring his journey, the Saint emerges humbled but victorious, assuming the role of guide, teacher, and mentor to The World.
The Saint speaks:
The spiritual path is reluctantly taken. We are considered fools when we do so. We put ourselves and our beliefs on the line, trusting that what we are about to undertake is the correct way for us. We may have expectations, but when it comes down to it, we don’t know where or how we’ll end up. Ours is a journey of trust – of faith. We trust ourself enough to take on the first step in our journey. We trust that the Path we are following will lead us to our destination. We trust our guides, ancestors, and guardian angels will rise up and meet us along the way and offer support and aid when we need it. But we don’t know. Nothing in this path is certain. There are no guarantees. That is why the Saint and the Fool are one and the same. Both trust themselves enough to taken on the journey carrying only what we need and leaving all sense of comfort and pleasure behind. Ours is a blind trust others would regard as foolish. The Saint and the Fool ask you: Do you dare trust yourself? Do you trust your journey? Can you take a leap of faith and go where angels fear to tread? That is the path of the Saint and the Fool.
Image: San Roque. Urbano de Fos (Spanish). ca. 1610.