Tarot Symbolism: The Fool in the Thoth Tarot


BY JEAN HAMILTON-FFORD

There is a lot of symbolism in the Thoth Tarot deck and it starts with The Fool. The Fool is beginning a journey of self-discovery. He is new and yet, he is the old man of the deck as he is finishing the end of the Universe and initiating a new path. He is the ‘missing link’ that completes the cycle and starts it afresh. Let’s look at this card a little more closely.

The Fool is wearing a diamond on top of his head which represents Kether – the Crown of the Tree of Life. Behind this is a rainbow halo which symbolises the enlightenment that Kether provides. He has yellow skin which is the colour of Air, the attribute associated with him. His yellow horns signify creative force and his yellow shoes signify the Sun, the creative light of life. He wears a green tunic and tights. Green is the colour of the fertile Earth. He wears the symbol of the Sun at his root chakra and this not only signifies the creative potential of the genitals, it also represents base human consciousness like a newborn babe. He holds in his left hand what looks to be like a pinecone on fire, a firebrand that travels over his head to meet the cup he holds in his right hand. This cup has a pyramid base and a bowl. He is emptying the contents onto the ground. The firebrand signifies creative fire, the pyramid base is the male phallus and the bowl is the female womb.

Behind the Fool is a background of yellow diamonds. Yellow is the colour of Air and the diamonds tie this to Kether. An arrangement of flowers can be seen between the Fool’s legs. One is a white rose, the other four are lilies. The infants below the flowers represent the ‘solar twins’ found in the Lovers and the Sun. A rainbow-hued spiral circles three times around the fool. This is attached to his heart chakra and is the link between the higher and lower energies of the chakra system.

A dove, vulture and butterfly fly towards the Fool’s heart. The dove,  the female symbol of Venus and the male influence of Yod (20 rays of light), is thus a hermaphrodite, and signifies the descent of spirit to matter. The vulture represents Mut, the Egyptian Mother-goddess, the creator of all things. The butterfly represents the soul and the symbol of Air. This represents the soul entering the unborn babe in the womb. The Fool is, like a newborn babe, trusting and full of potential.

There is a strange image on the spiral over the Fool’s left rib cage. It looks like it has pinecone head and the body of a caduceus supported by the blade of a sword. The caduceus and the sword are symbols of air. The pinecone suggests a Thyrsus, the staff of Dionysus, a symbol of creative energy.

The grapevine that sprouts from the Fool’s heart chakra ties this figure to Bacchus and Dionysus. Suspended from this grapevine is a bag of coins. The symbols on the coins are for the planets and the zodiac and represent the powers potentially available for the Fool to use.

Finally, a tiger and a crocodile are apparent near the base of this image. The tiger represents Leo. The color is reddish-yellow and this represents the world of Assiah (action – one of the four worlds associated with the Tree of Life). The crocodile is the symbol of Saturn, the devourer and a carryover from the Universe, the end of which the Fool takes on as he initiates a new cycle.

I know, there is a lot to this Fool! He is initiating a journey of discovery and growth. He is a newborn, trusting and full of potential.

You can find more from Jean at http://journeythroughtarot.com.

Comments

  1. Thank you, Jean!
    Thoth is my go-to deck…. ummm, for various reasons, and you are going to be my go-to for the go-to! Now that you mention it, I am focussing on the flame-cone and inverted chalice in The Fool’s hands and I am associating it with Shiva’s tools of transformation when he is the Cosmic Dancer…. a flame held in his left hand, being fed by the vibrations caused by the percussive beats of the palm-sized drum, ‘dumroo’, grasped in his right… Actually, even the ‘dumroo’ is formed of two triangles joined at the apex. This, too, is the conjoining of the masculine and feminine principles.
    Ah! One world!
    And, wow! Crocodiles! Okaaaaaaay…. I am thinking! :-)
    Much love,
    Mohini

  2. Take a look at the Constellation Orion, the “man” leaping from the Earth unto the vast unbounded Starry Night. Behind “him” is the “animal” chasing after “him”. The “animal” is classically called a “dog” — thus Sirius is called “the dog star” — but to me this can represent any animal. The Waite-Smith image is a definite indicator of this stellar portrait. The Crowley-Harris image is another way of depicting this “man” himself.
    Of the crocodile: there is a legend that an initiate, in order to get into the initiation temple, had to swim through a water-filled chamber populated with crocodiles! I guess that was their way of determining whether “the gods” favored the initiate?

    • Hi Odyn!

      Thanks for your comments! I do love the diversity of Tarot! The different perspectives and interpretations that arise are fabulous!

      I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d want to swim through crocodiles. Perhaps that was their way of making sure the crocodiles were well fed? That would have been a grueling ordeal at best!

      Thanks again, Odyn!

      Jean

      • Seeking Advice .. I chose a single card for myelsf (The Knight of Cups)in the presence of someone I just met- and really like. He chose The Knight of Discs (Twice)for himself.He is Pisces (Aquarius cusp) and I am Capricorn(Aquarius cusp)I am trying to be unbiased I would appreciate any help Love Light and Peace

        • Sorry Auth. I do not do readings at this time. Perhaps you could find someone on-line to do a free reading for you by doing a search in your browser. Love, light and blessings! ♥

    • Rootweaver says:

      Yikes! Swimming through a crocodile-infested chamber….

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