Saturday, 29 December 2012

le fou ravi

My friend Mara, who lives in the Provence region of France, told me about the nativity set that she has at her home. It includes many characters typical of life in a traditional Proven├žal village, called "santons" - little saints. Each family's set may differ, but some of the santons include bakers carrying baguettes, a washerwoman, a spinstress, shepherds, women collecting lavender, wise men, the knife-sharpener, a blind man and his son, and the mayor. Rural and city folk, mighty and low, mingle together in the nativity display.

Three figures seem to be prominent in every Proven├žal creche: the drummer boy, the miller, and the fou ravi. This fou ravi is the crazy villager - the village idiot, in a fond and loving way - who has "seen the light." They remind me a bit of the humble shepherds. How were they chosen to receive the news of angels, and to visit this baby on the night of his birth? They were - and they returned, praising God for what they had experienced. They were in awe. Enraptured. Ravished fools.

I am intrigued by this character - arms raised in praise and joy of the unexpected miracle of God-with-us.

This is the character I want to be in this new year: le fou ravi. Not the village idiot, exactly, but someone who is enraptured, awe-stricken, ravished in bliss, dumbfounded and overjoyed at unexpected miracles.

I'm not one to raise my hands in joy, but maybe it's time to try something new. Because I think that our physical stance - the way we hold our bodies, the way we present to others - affects the way we think/act, and vice versa. So this will be my new stance, even if I just practice it in my bathroom at home.

More pictures of awe and enraptured joy:

at the butterfly conservatory
Photo credit: Shauna Leis
at the Mediterranean Sea, Cinque Terre, Italy
Advent week 4: LOVE

December 29th: What is your stance/approach to the coming year?


  1. You ask Rebecca, "What is your stance/approach to the coming year?"

    To ...“Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud.”
    - by Maya Angelou

    And to remember to ..."Go through each day singing at least once, regardless if it is a happy or sad song: Sing!" - by Mush :-)

    1. A rainbow and a song - I love these! They make me smile.

  2. This idea of the fou ravi really resonates with me.

    Mush - I love the sing every day even if it's a sad song. There are so many of my close friends that are going through very challenging times now - and this is good advice. Music heals. Paul bought me a speaker for Christmas, and now I am listening to music all day every day, and I feel calmer and so much more joyful.

    Rebecca - love the "Fou Ravi" idea. This resonates with me because I have been finding that the older I get, the more humbled I become because I find myself in situations where I thought I had the cat by the tail, and then have learned some good lessons from unexpected people/ situations. This is a good image to have - every day with a little sprinkling of curiosity added to it. I like it.