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.

Tarot Symbolism: Ploughed Fields


Ploughed fields are a metaphor for the work that must be done before rewards can be reaped. In the Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot deck I found 5 cards that illustrate ploughed fields. They seemed to speak about the different stages of labour.

The Two of wands speaks to me of the planning that has to go into a project before the actual work begins, not that the planning phase isn’t in itself a labour mind you; it just seems less strenuous than the Ten of Wands who is in the thick of it. “Good planning,” says Two of Wands, “gives us more options later” while he looks over the plouged field from an observer position up high. He is also examining a world-globe in his hand as if trying to decide where to travel to next or what direction to venture into.  He asks: Are we putting enough planning and foresight into our projects or work to ensure that we will have options later on?

The next card, the Ten of Wands, shows an overburdened figure of a man struggling to carry his load. In the background of the card is a building, suggesting a community and a ploughed field suggesting the labour required for provision and self-sufficiency. Working in the community, for the community towards a goal or harvest, but feeling a bit overwhelmed perhaps at the responsibility or enormity of the task. The community of course could be his immediate family or his wider community. He asks: Are we all doing our fair share to contribute towards providing and being as self sufficient as possible, or is there room to delegate and to distribute the workload more evenly?

In the Seven of Pentacles a man is in the field, taking a momentary break while examining the progress of his labours. He looks a bit anxious; perhaps he is concerned that there isn’t enough? In Roxi Sim’s Seven of Pentacles from her Pearls of Wisdom deck we see the characters in more of a celebratory mood.  There is still much work to be done but the rewards of this labour is starting to become obvious and creating reason for optimism and celebration. Seven of Pentacles asks: Are we allowing ourselves to enjoy the early signs of reward for our labour while still diligently working at creating something of significance?

Which brings me to the next card, the Page of Pentacles. Here too we see the ploughed field in the background as the central figure holds the rewards up to examine them. “Should I put a little away for a rainy day” he wonders. “Perhaps I can study to improve my skills.” He seems to be deep in thought about what to do with the reward that he holds in his hands. He asks: Have we made provision for investment in the future by plouging some of our rewards back into our work or project?

 

This brings me to the last card, the Knight of Pentacles.  This Knight represents responsibility, amongst other. As he sits high upon his horse, carefully holding the reward in his hand, the freshly ploughed fields in the distance are ready to be planted again. He must be responsible in ensuring that seeds have been gathered or saved for the next season. He asks: Are we generous when rewarding others who have laboured alongside us, and are we being responsible with the harvest or rewards to ensure that there is enough to sustain us?