Thursday, June 14, 2012


By Judy Jennings    © Copyright 2012

In conjunction with the discussion topics of the Tucson Tarot Meetup, this article begins a series on the major arcana.

The Great Cosmic Egg

The number Zero represents the absence of quantity and mass.  Let’s think about that for a moment before going any further.  The number assigned to The Fool doesn’t represent anything, it represents the absence of something.  That’s a unique characteristic of both the number and the card, along with another:  Zero completes the circle of life that is shown throughout the major arcana, and the state found in The Fool is where it begins all over again.  This is a state of unlimited energy and potential prior to manifestation, as the traveler teeters on the brink of a plunge into the material world.  In this state anything is possible. The Fool suggests the Limitless Light of the Kabbala and the Holy Spirit of Christianity. Its essence is that of the moment of the inheld breath.  An ellipse rather than a circle, Zero symbolizes the Great Cosmic Egg, source of all life and infinite potential.  

The Fool represents superconsciousness, beyond thoughts, feelings and inspirations.  Freedom from lower forms of desire is indicated, as are adaptation and the advancement of human consciousness.  That there is a choice at hand is clearly suggested by the illustration, and this choice leads to the expression of ego and the personality.  However, The Fool does not dwell in the realm of that expression, but rather, symbolizes the moment just before the choice is made.

Abundant symbolism in the Rider-Waite version of The Fool addresses the rhythmic patterns of universal forces and the powerful potential to be found in a connection with the natural world.  The color white, representing purity, is used in several different aspects of this illustration, each having its own specific idea.  The usual yellow sun is replaced, suggesting the cosmic energy found in this state is still vast and impersonal, as yet unrealized in the human life.  Cultural activity is indicated by the rose, a cultivated flower typically depicted as red and suggestive of desire.  In contrast, the white rose signifies freedom from base forms of desire.  The little white dog represents the potential of human alliance with the natural environment.

Like the Magician, the Fool wears a white undergarment representing purity, but in this case that is almost entirely covered by a black cloak of ignorance.  It is from this state of naivety and inexperience that The Fool gets its name.  The wand slung over the shoulder of the happy traveler indicates untapped strength of will.  The sack attached to the wand carries the experience of past lives and the tools for survival in the next; the wand, cup, sword and pentacle.

In a reading Tarot offers three types of expression for every card.  Each has the potential to address integration, equilibrium or disintegration.  The experienced interpreter is able to recognize these nuances through surrounding cards and of course, old-fashioned intuition.  Applied to The Fool, that scenario might look something like this:  The personality that is integrating the forces found in The Fool faces change with an open mind.  A person living in equilibrium with those aspects will have spiritual aspirations and an unselfish nature.  Disintegration of the characteristics might manifest in unrealized potential, lack of boundaries, or inconsiderate behavior.

A person represented by The Fool will have a vast imagination and a creative mind, along with the possibility of eccentricity.  Originality or even audacity is indicated.

Meditate on The Fool for a Fresh Perspective.       

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