The Fool

fool-140229_1920I have a wide variety of interests, though they’re all related. One of the things I love is the imagery and symbolism of the tarot. As a folklore and mythology junkie, I love exploring the various symbols found in world religions and belief structures.

The tarot is full of symbolism, as anyone well-versed in the system will tell you. The beginning of the journey is the Fool, often numbered 0 or 22. In many ways the fool is like the maiden seen in fairy tales. He is innocent and naïve, and he just flat out doesn’t have a clue about life or anything around him. He can be reckless and irresponsible, and, in literature, he is often seen hanging out by the well of the village.

The fool is the zero of the tarot, the one that comes before the beginning or after the end. He is pictured standing on a cliff with a dog biting his heels. He isn’t aware that he is about to tumble into the abyss, and it’s doubtful that he’d care if he did know.

The fool can grow into many things. He can become the knight and the hero, and he can become the father. If he refuses to grow, he can become the trickster, a person who is so self-absorbed that he is cruel to others.

We find the fool in just about everything that we read or watch. In Star Wars, he is Luke Skywalker, who must leave his home and claim his destiny, losing some of his selfishness along the way. In The Lord of the Rings, he is Frodo, who has to leave the comforts he has cultivated for himself and step into the world outside of Hobbiton. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he is Huck, and in the legends of King Arthur he is Percival and Gawain, both of whom are innocent and unknowing until they have gone on their quests.

In the story “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp” from The Arabian Knights, Aladdin is the fool. He is lazy and unfocused, and this causes his father’s death and his mother’s grief. One day he is approached by an evil magician, who claims to be his uncle. This man takes Aladdin to a cave and orders him to bring out a lamp. The magician becomes angry when Aladdin refuses to hand the lamp to him and locks the boy in the cave. Aladdin rubs the lamp and frees the genie, who gives Aladdin everything he could ever want, including the Princess for a wife. Aladdin believes that his life will be nothing but peace and contentment, but the magician and his brother aren’t finished with Aladdin. The magician steals the palace with the Princess inside of it, and the magician’s younger brother convinces the Princess that she needs a Roc’s egg in the great hall of the palace. This request angers the genie, and Aladdin is forced to act on his own before he is allowed his life of peace.

Still, Aladdin never really learns the value of hard work or fending for himself. He is always dependent on the generosity of the genie to survive.

The fool can show us the way to the divine. In many of his aspects he is like the child – full of unharnessed potential – but in the fool’s case it is time for him to choose a path. He can’t wander in the meadow forever. There are stories, like the one about Aladdin, where the fool can maintain his foolishness and survive by sheer dumb luck, but most of the stories require that the fool grow up. He must choose a road and walk it, learning a trade or going into service to others. And this is where we can learn from him. We all have to find a way to support ourselves, and, sometimes, we are forced into careers that we don’t enjoy. But we have to go to work anyway. The fool can teach us to view this as a necessary stepping-stone, and, when combined with the child, he can help us find a way to change our career and lifestyle without losing everything in the process.

The fool is also seen as beginning. He can be the first step on a path, or the first step that comes after the trial of rebirth. Either way, he is full of optimism. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘can’t.’ When the child encourages us to go with a new concept, the fool can help us take that first step toward a new goal. He can encourage us to climb the mountains to the divine or our goals, and he can help us get through the trials as we carry our Rings to Mount Doom.

Traditionally, the fool replaced the king in sacrificial ceremonies, and he was the scapegoat for all human folly. He was not a positive symbol, rather, he demonstrated how easy it is for humans to fail. He spoke of human ignorance and the refusal to become wise.

Meditation on the fool can show us where we are being stupid. It can show us how our actions affect others, and it can point the way to wisdom. He can also provide optimism when we are lacking in it, but his optimism is born of ignorance rather than knowledge. He can show us the foolishness of our thoughts and the ignorance of outdated beliefs, but he cannot change these things for us. He can also show us where we are refusing responsibility and failing miserably. On the positive side, he can show us how to pick up and move forward rather than spinning our wheels in a hopeless endeavor.

While the fool, in modern times, is considered a harmless figure, this was not always the case, and it is important that we remember this. The fool can help us begin a new journey, and he can show us where we are stagnating, but he must be used with caution and understanding. And we must constantly remember that the fool has no wisdom or experience from which to draw. He lives by instinct alone.

 

 

 

 

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Random

Spitmoller1So, I have this thing for documentaries. I love the historical ones and those about possible hidden codes in ancient monuments. I also enjoy nature documentaries and those about space and the evolution of life. There’s a really awesome one where scientists consider what life on other planets might look like, though I don’t remember what it’s called.

One of my favorites is Cosmos. It goes through the evolution of life and posits life on other planets. It talks about Titan having rain and lakes, and it mentions tiny creatures called tardigrades. I thought these were the coolest little critters, not because of what they are or where they live–inside the moisture of moss, lichen, etc.–but because they look a lot like I envision the spitmollers of Grevared. Granted, these little creatures have more legs, but their flat faces and wrinkled appearance are just perfect. I wonder if it would’ve been easier to picture the spitmollers if I’d seen the documentary first. It definitely would’ve made it easier to describe.

Where do you find inspiration for your writing?

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

Asing – The Flora and Fauna of Grevared

Asing Vintage BorderAppearance: The Asing is a creature that possesses the traits of several species. It has plant-like attributes, such as roots and leaves, but it also possesses a somewhat reptilian shell and head. There are parts of its body that are covered with fur, and it is believed that the Asing bears and suckles live young. Adults are rooted creatures without mobility.

Habitat: The only known habitat is in the depths of the forests of E’ma Thalas.

Diet: The Asing eats small birds and animals as well as insects. There is some fear that it will also eat humanoid creatures, though this has not been verified.

Threat: The Asing is a stationary being once it reaches adulthood, so its threat level is considered low unless one is within its reach. The young, however, are mobile and will attach themselves to anyone or anything that passes by. They possess small, sharp teeth and produce a poison. They are considered dangerous.

The asing is one of those creatures that came from my love of documentaries. One of my favorites is Blue Planet, which explores ocean life. Seeing some of these creatures, especially those from the deeper area of the sea, spark imagination like nothing else.

Gwennyth Grimsbane runs into an asing when she first leaves Crowrest on her journey. Its one of the first times she realizes what is really bothering her about the journey and Vonner:

We came across the asing on our second morning.

Vicious creatures that would consume any who stepped within their reach, the asing were the most bizarre creatures I’d ever come across in either study or reality. Tall and treelike, with a reptilian head protruding from the base of their trunks, the asing’s roots kept them anchored in place. That didn’t prevent snapping jaws from clamping onto one’s leg, and the young, born live, had no such restrictions on their mobility. It was the young with which we, or, rather, I, came in contact.

It began as a slight sting just above my ankle boot. I looked down, but the robe I wore – I was close to home, after all, and saw no point in donning the warmer trousers I’d packed for later in the journey – prevented me seeing my legs. I dismissed the sting as nothing more than a briar’s prick and continued through the forest. It didn’t take long for fire to pulse through my blood and pound its way into my head. I stopped, the trees spinning around me, and leaned against a broad-leafed tree, one I knew was innocuous.

 

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

River of Blood – Chapter One

Shizzuria Wasteland and Riverland Pearlrest VintageThis is a WIP that I completely forgot I had; I found the file this morning. It hasn’t been edited, so please excuse typos and the like. I just thought I’d put it up for the fun of it.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

 

Newpost, Shizzuria Wasteland

 

Erastus raced through the streets of Newpost with a band of boys behind him. He hollered as they did, and the group barreled down the road. He turned a corner and slid on a patch of ice. His long legs tangled, and he landed on his butt to slide several feet before coming to a stop against a crate. Erastus winced and climbed to his feet. His trousers were damp from the ice, and he shivered.

“You okay, man?” One of the boys asked.

Erastus nodded. “Yeah. I only cut my finger. It’s no big deal.”

Erastus stared in fascination at the blood that oozed from the small cut. It formed a drop, round and shiny, then slid down the side of his finger. The droplet hung there, suspended, then it rose from his hand to hover before his eyes. Erastus’s mouth dropped open in shock as he simply gaped at this freak of nature.

“Hey, dude. What’s up with that?”

Erastus shook his head but didn’t answer. He couldn’t. He’d never seen anything like it before.

The other boys pulled away, fear written in every line of their bodies, and disappeared into the shadows without a word, while Erastus stood there. Another drop formed, bright red in the gloom of the day, to join its brother in front of the boy. Erastus moved his finger, and the blood drops followed. He shook his head to clear it of any hallucination, but the blood stayed where it was. He used his uninjured hand to wipe his crystal eyes, but that, too, proved futile. Erastus squeezed his injured finger and watched as the drops became a trickle. He watched with morbid enthrallment as the dribble of blood swirled upward instead of falling to the street.

Footsteps on the cobblestones penetrated the edge of Erastus’s hearing. He turned his head slightly, but never let his attention divert from the phenomenon before him. The swirls broke apart into separate drops then came back together into a ball. The ball elongated and twisted to form a small knife in the air before Erastus.

“What the hell are you doing? Cover that up.”

Erastus jumped at the sound of Dooby Hallowell’s voice. He turned to see his father coming toward him with hurried strides, his usually kind face red with fury.

“Did you hear me, boy? Cover it. Now.”

Erastus nodded once, but he couldn’t get his tongue to work. He wanted to ask his father what was happening, to get an explanation, but all he could do was stare wide-eyed at the man who’d raised him.

Dooby pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and wrapped Erastus’s finger. The swirling drops fell, staining the handkerchief with bright red.

“Put some pressure on it to stop the bleeding, and come on home.”

Erastus didn’t argue. Instead, he followed Dooby back through Newpost to their small cottage at the edge of town.

“What the hell did you think you were doing?” Dooby demanded again once they were inside.

Erastus still refused to answer. His mind swirled with confusion over what he had seen.

“Did you hear me?”

Erastus looked up at his father, his eyes wide and frightened. “What happened? What was that?”

Dooby’s face softened, and he motioned for the boy to follow him into the kitchen. It was a simple room with a coal stove, a Cold Box, and a sink. A scrubbed wood table sat in the center, and a small counter held fruits and vegetables.

“Sit down at the table, son, and let’s get that tended.”

“It’s only a little cut, Father,” Erastus replied. His voice was hollow, uninflected, while his mind remained trapped in its muddle.

Dooby brought a clean rag and a bandage and stood before Erastus. “For others, yes. For you, any wound could be a potential problem.” Dooby cleaned the cut and bandaged it, then he sat down in the chair opposite Erastus. “I suppose you have some questions.”

Erastus nodded.

Dooby took a deep breath and blew it out. He looked at his son, then he nodded once and rose to his feet. Erastus watched, as it always seemed to take his father forever to reach his height. Dooby Hallowell wasn’t a small man, not by any means. Wide shoulders and over six feet of height filled whatever space he occupied. But Erastus didn’t want to think about that. He wanted answers, something to quell the fear that threatened to choke him.

Dooby pulled a bottle from the top shelf over the sink and poured himself some of the amber liquid. He returned to the table without speaking and lowered himself back into the chair. He took a long sip and sat the glass down, then he turned to his son and took another deep breath.

“All right. This is gonna take some telling, so don’t interrupt me once I get started, or I may not be able to go on.”

“It has to do with Mother, doesn’t it?” Erastus whispered. In all Erastus’s thirteen winters, he’d seldom heard Dooby Hallowell mention his deceased wife. When he was little Erastus had asked questions, but Dooby had always fallen into a sullen silence instead of answering.

Dooby nodded and drained his glass. He rose and refilled it before returning to the table and rubbing his face with his hands. “All right, son. You’ve asked about your mother your whole life, and I’ve never been able to talk about her.” Dooby paused to drink then looked over at his son with eyes swimming in tears. “You know she died just after you were born.”

Erastus nodded.

“We had to get a wet nurse to feed you. She wasn’t even able to do that.”

Erastus hung his head. For years he’d lived with a secret guilt, one that told him again and again that his mother had died because of his birth. He’d never shared that with his father. Or anyone else. But it gnawed at him in the quiet hours of the night, kept him awake when he was at the pinnacle of exhaustion. “I’m sorry.”

Dooby looked up, comprehension dawning. He reached over and patted Erastus’s hand, a hesitant gesture. “No, son. It wasn’t your fault. Your mother was injured by another.”

Erastus’s head shot up, and anger flashed in his gut. “What?”

Dooby took another sip from his glass. “It wasn’t your birth what killed her. It was something else.” He looked at his son with admiration. “I’m just glad she was able to birth you before she died, or I would’ve lost you both.”

Erastus stared at his father. Confusion was a shadowy veil that blocked all thought. All these years. All those nights. And it hadn’t been his fault? “What happened?” he asked, his voice more demanding than he’d ever dared be with Dooby.

Dooby sighed and rubbed his face. His eyes teared, and the color drained from his ruddy skin. “All right, son.” He looked up at Erastus as if judging his age and maturity, his ability to handle what he was about to say. “It was like this….

 

Meet Electa Norris

electa-vintage
Electa Norris

Name: Electa Norris

 

Age: 13 winters

Appearance: Electa has blonde hair and blue eyes. She’s short and little stout.

Birthplace: Atada

Family: Electa was given to her grandparents as a baby, but once she received the Shield of Evalach, they sent her Corleon for fear of reprisals from the Arcana Maximus. Electa has no idea who or where her parents are, for her grandparents never told her.

Current Home: Ymla, Corleon

Weapon: Shield of Evalach – the shield carried by Joseph of Arimathea in the Arthurian legends. It allows Electa to project a shield around herself and others.

Pantheon: Arthurian

Other Info: Electa is extremely smart when it comes to books, but she’s terribly timid when it comes to her magic, so much so that Damion and others fear that she may be more harmful than helpful as a Shadow Walker. She is loyal to her friends, though she truly trusts no one.

Favorite Foods: Electa loves Old Marshall’s fist meals above all others, but she’s also a big fan of the jelly candy she gets in Ymla. She’s cautious about eating sweets and never overdoes it, but the jellies are her true weakness. She also enjoys fried eggs and oatmeal and doesn’t like meats for breakfast.

Fears: Electa fears her own insecurities. She knows she lacks when it comes to courage, and this frightens her. She tries to step up like the others do, but she often finds herself frozen. This only feeds her fear and increases her inability to act.

Favorite Teacher: Electa enjoys history class with Mr. Bickersteth. She finds his knowledge of the history of Grevared and the various races fascinating and does all she can to learn more.

Greatest Desire: Electa wants to know who her parents are and where they went.

 

Follow Electa’s adventures in The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III, available in both print and eBook formats. Learn more about her world and read free stories for both children and adults at http://www.lissadobbs.com.

Meet Ethan Grimley III

Name: Ethan Grimley III

ethan-vintage-300
Ethan Grimley III

Age: 12 winters

Appearance: strawberry blonde hair, green eyes

Family: Ethan is the son of Gregory and Eva Grimley. He had an older sister, but she died when he was little.

Hometown: Land’s End, Moirena

Current Home: Ymla, Corleon

Favorite Subject: Combat

Friends: Kayne Soulton, Faylen Icebreeze, Electa Norris

Favorite Teacher: Damion Simmons

God/dess: Gaia

Pantheon: Greek

Weapon: Harpe

Weapon’s Features: The Harpe of Gaia gives Ethan strength and accuracy beyond his skill. It also glows and can provide light.

Favorite Activities: Ethan loves hanging out with his friends. He enjoys practicing his combat skills and playing kickball.

Favorite Foods: Ethan loves fist meals – meat, cheese, and veggies between two slices of bread. He also enjoys griddle cakes, candy, his mother’s bread and pastries, and warm soup on a cold day.

Fears: Ethan is afraid of not measuring up to others’ expectations of him. This causes him to charge into situations without thinking about dangers and consequences.

Greatest Desire: Ethan wishes more than anything to be the greatest Shadow Walker that ever lived. He wants to fight monsters and other creatures, and he wants to travel to all the lands of Grevared.

 

 Read more about Ethan and his adventures at http://www.lissadobbs.com

Upcoming Books

ebook-cover1Well, things are moving along nicely, I think.  The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III: Revenge of Cronus will release at the end of October. For this one Ethan returns home to Land’s End for the Yuletide holiday. He’s looking forward to it but apprehensive all the same. His mother, after all, didn’t let him leave home willingly. She restrains herself, however, since Ethan’s friends have come with him. They don’t get a quiet Yuletide, however, as Cronus hasn’t finished with them yet. This time, though, Cronus has an ace that they don’t know about, and Ethan has to deal with the possibility of betrayal along with the angry god.

 

I’m also hoping to have another adult novella out by the end of December. This one will be titled River of Blood, but I haven’t gotten far enough alone to make a cover yet. River of Blood takes place in the Shizzuria Wasteland, and will feature Erastus Hallowell, a ranger with a secret.

There’s also a young adult novel in the works tentatively called Darkmoor Thunder. This one deals with Sophia Theodosia Snettisham, the spoiled daughter of the governor of Starspire. Her father wants her to marry Marcus Pickleberry, but Theo has other ideas. After all, who wants to marry someone named Marcus Pickleberry?

And, finally, after months of staring at it blankly, I’ve finally figured out the ‘book that never ends’. It will definitely be more than one, but, at this time, I’m not sure just how many.

I’m also working on the bestiary for Grevared and some fairy tales for the world. Each of these will, most likely be posted on the website for your viewing pleasure.

It looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me over the next year. At least I don’t have to worry about being bored. At all.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

 

 

 

Learning Experience

Well, I’ve been learning how to use the software to make my covers what I want them to be, and I think I’ve finally made one I like for Wolf in the Shadow. Now, I’ve just got to do the others. The new cover should be on all ebooks and print books in the next couple of days. It took a while, but at least I finally figured it out.

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A Walker is Born

https://books2read.com/u/mVDKrb

Those who’ve been around a while know that the first book in The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III is A Walker is Born. Since book three is coming out this October, I decided to make the first book permanently free where I could. The above link is for the platforms where it is free. Hopefully, it won’t be long before I can have it free on Amazon as well.

Best wishes!