[Lady Sheherazahde's Wiccan Ways : The Braided Wheel Tradition Home Page]
Send comments or complaints to sheherazahde@yahoo.com
This page created 12/08/03 last updated 12/08/03

Introduction to the Sacred Clown

[Notes from a 2001 Starwood Workshop]

An introduction to the concept of the Sacred Clown with a brief overview of world religions that embrace or exemplify the concept. This workshop, lead by a Wiccan Priestess with a BA in Religion and Social Change (sociology), will focus on the manifestations of the Sacred Clown in our own community (e.g. the Church of the Subgenius and the Discordians) and the social function these movements fulfill. Recommended for people who feel guilty for enjoying them so much. - Lady Sheherazahde

Fools and Clown from around the world and throughout time

Dwarves, Monsters and Madmen

Boundary -Transgression and Deviance

Fools

Tricksters and Shape Changers

Jesters

The Fool in Shakespeare. King Lear's fool told him the truth when no one else would.

Social Satire and Comedians

Humor as social commentary

Powers of the Clown

Types of clowns


"Man, Myth & Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythology, Religion and the Unknown." New York: Marshall Cavendish,1995

Quotes from the entry "Fool" by Gertrude Kurath.

"The privileged position of the fool, the clown and the jester allows him a wide latitude for satirical comment on sacred institution. By provoking laughter and bringing suppressed anxieties to the surface, he often plays a therapeutic role." p 933

"Shrewd men of all times and places have pretended folly or madness as license for social satire: the fool of ritual, court and stage, whatever his type, is no fool." p. 933 "Man, Myth & Magic"

"Taboos and repressions find vicarious outlet in the phallic play of fools." p 935

"The chthonic or underworld function is related to the reverse behavior, the backwards actions and speech, the progression contrary to the customary circuit, as in death rites." P 935

"By inducing laughter [fools] may avert any violent expressions of indignation and anxiety in their audience." p 936


"Encyclopedia of Native American Religions, Updated Edition" New York: Facts on File, 2000.

"Clowns make people observe and think about things in new ways. By causing people to laugh, they clear worry from people's minds and permit them to see higher truths. They teach by "bad" example. They mock the order of the ritual, prayers, song, holy beings, and sacred objects. They joke, satirize, and behave contrarily. They do things that are forbidden and unspeakable within a ritual framework. They create imbalance and disorder in the world in the midst of ritualized social order. Without the clown's disorder, order would not be so obvious and so justified."


Christen, Kimberly A., "Clowns & Tricksters: An Encyclopedia of Tradition and Culture." Denver: ABC-CLIO, 1998.

"Some fools' robes were one color on one side and another on the opposoite side to denote their character as having one foot in the real world and one in the imaginary."

"Not only were fools funny, but they further added to their popularity by being a voice of social commentary."


"Trickster as Transmitter of Mystical Teaching" by Arifa Goodman first apeared in the Spring 1989 issue of Emergence and as the Afterword in the novel "Trickster's Touch" by Zohra Greenhalgh

"In fact, it is the Trickster who can bring us face to face with the triths which the mystics and prophets describe. Trickster embodies an understanding which is beyond words or explainations or logical thinking, and so the reality of the ineffable comes to us direct."

"By not resisting or scorning Trickster's tricks, we loosen up the cement of the towering walls we have constructed of How Things Are Supposed To Be, and open ourselves to a larger vision of life, above and beyond the field of our self-interest and self-conception."


Bruce Stirling "Preface" To Burning Crome a collection of short stories by William Gibson. 1986

"We are the Wise Fools who can leap, caper, utter prophecies, and scratch ourselves in public. We can play with Big Ideas because the garish motley of our pulp origins makes us seem harmless."


Bibliography

Christen, Kimberly A., "Clowns & Tricksters: An Encyclopedia of Tradition and Culture." Denver: ABC-CLIO, 1998.

Goodman, Arifa. "Trickster as Transmitter of Mystical Teaching" first apeared in the Spring 1989 issue of Emerigence and as the Afterword in the novel "Trickster's Touch" by Zohra Greenhalgh. New York: Ace, 1989

Stirling, Bruce. "Preface" To Burning Crome a collection of short stories by William Gibson. New York: Ace, 1986

"Encyclopedia of Native American Religions, Updated Edition" New York: Facts on File, 2000.

"Man, Myth & Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythology, Religion and the Unknown." New York: Marshall Cavendish,1995


Hosting by WebRing.