Way of the Sacred Fool: Disability Spirituality

Learn about ancestors, heroes and deities with different kinds of minds and bodies, how to adapt practices to different learning styles and physical needs, be inclusive of people with different kinds of mental wiring AD/HD, autism, dyslexia and even how particular mythic & historic roles and archetypes- like witch, seer, trickster/fool, bard can be incorporated into a personal path.

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Opening the Way of the Sacred Fool

When I first became interested in Paganism, one of the things that drew me in was the idea of women's spirituality and bringing the unique experiences of being a woman (often left out of Christianity and Judaism) into my path. As I further explored though, many of the concepts mainstream feminism focused on, like how to juggle career and motherhood, didn't seem to resonate with me. The way I think, and how I communicate is shaped through my perspective as an autistic woman. Along with the growing, mostly online neurodiversity community, I came to see autism not as a set of deficits, but as a different way of thinking and being. I found further inspiration in the GLBT community, as I saw folks like P. Sufenas Virius Lupus honor queer ancestors, heroes and deities. As a bisexual, I drew on that heritage, while also looking to eccentric inventors, artists and mystics throughout history and disabled gods like Hephaestus. I felt a calling to share this understanding of disability as a part of human experience, rather than something to only be pitied, "fixed" or medicalized.

But, Mariah you may be thinking- what is this Sacred Fool that this blog is named for? Is it something to do with the Tarot card? In part yes. I think everyone has been known to make a fool of themselves at times, and autistic folks like me are often unintentionally funny- or the last ones in a group to get a joke. Over time, I've learned to roll with it, and not worry too much about being a little awkward or embarrassing. My sense of humor has given me a strength of character and spirit that has gotten me through difficult times. A while back there was a call for submissions for anthology about alternative archetypal roles- ones less gender stereotyped than the typical Maiden/Mother/Crone or Youth/Father/Sage in much of Paganism.  One that was suggested was Trickster, and my mind drifted to sacred or holy fools and jesters. While the Trickster makes cunning plans that he/she thinks can't go wrong, the Fool succeeds often by stumbling into the right place at the right time, making a seemingly silly decision. Sometimes the Fool fails and falls on his face, and learns from his mistakes. But in the end, he wins- even if his idea of success is different! The call for submissions link disappeared, but the idea stuck in my mind, waiting to pop out when Anne asked me to blog for Witches & Pagans.

So that's a little about me, and what brought me here. Fool that I am, I can't help being curious- what brings you to the Way of the Sacred Fool?

The top pic is of me from a few years ago hiking in Boulder River Canyon in Montana.

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Mariah Sheehy is an ADF Druid/Heathen and has a B.A. in political science from Augsburg College. She serves on the board of the Bisexual Organizing Project and lives in the Twin Cities (Paganistan) in an all-autistic adult household. She enjoys biking, camping, crafting and grappling with the Irish language.


  • Jan Johnson
    Jan Johnson Thursday, 09 July 2015

    I'm looking at the Way of the Sacred Fool much as you are, Mariah. I'm ADD, CFS/FM, a former Christian chaplain (now a retired Pagan chaplain), feminist, and am still finding my way in this new, but old, path. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

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