Tarot Symbolism: The Contract Tarot 0: The Fool


BY JEAN HAMILTON-FFORD

“The Fool is cool! He’s old and he’s new Beginnings and choices As he approaches His journey, hearing voices Of inner wisdom. He is creative potential Innocent yet full Of faith and trust as Towards the Magus He must travel!”

The Fool card in the Tarot takes the completed energy of the Universe card and transmutes it into the start of a new journey! It’s almost like looking at the world anew through the eyes of a child.

Let’s look at the images on the card and then we’ll look at the symbols.

The background of this card is a sunlit atmosphere on top of a yellow/white diamond shaped background. Yellow is the colour of the element Air. The white diamond shapes signify Kether, the 1st Sephiroth on the Tree of Life.

In front of this background is a rainbow and a vineyard. The rainbow represents the promise of new life and is a link between the higher and lower energies of the chakra system. The vineyard signifies ecstacy and creative energy.

Three flying creatures can be seen: a dove, a vulture and a butterfly. The dove represents the descent of spirit into matter; the vulture signifies Mut, the Egyptian mother-goddess considered to be the creator of all things; and the butterfly is the symbol of Air and the soul.

In front of the vineyard are lilies and white roses. Lilies represent purity crowned by Spirit and the white roses signify Kether.

The lemniscate lies between Kether (Crown) and Chokmah (Wisdom) and represents infinity. The symbol for the zodiac sign Uranus is accompanied by the elemental symbol for Air and across from this lies the Hebrew symbol Aleph relates to the element of Air and the Scintillating Intelligence of the path between Kether and Chokmah on the Tree of Life.

The verse was given to me, or channeled. I ‘zone out’ and start typing and that is what emerged. I think it represents the Fool energy quite well. Any time you transmute energy, you keep a small part of what was and invite what is new to create something completely fresh. A new journey requires listening to that still small voice and applying creativity, faith and trust to go confidently forward without becoming attached to the outcome.

What do you see in this card?

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Tarot Symbolism: The Thoth Tarot – 3 Magi


BY JEAN HAMILTON-FFORD

In this post, I am exploring the symbolism of the 3 Magi. Did you know there were 3 Magi in the Thoth Tarot?

They are: I – The Magus, also known as The Magus of Power; V – The Hierophant, also known as The Magus of the Eternal; and IX – The Hermit, also known as The Magus of the Voice of Power.

Let’s look at the common definition of Magus. From http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/magus we find:

Definition of MAGUS

1a: a member of a hereditary priestly class among the ancient Medes and Persians
1b: often capitalized: one of the traditionally three wise men from the East paying homage to the infant Jesus

2: magician, sorcerer

of Magician we find:

Definition of MAGICIAN

1: one skilled in magic; especially: sorcerer

2: one who performs tricks of illusion and sleight of hand

and, of sorcerer, we find:

Definition of SORCERER

a person who practices sorcery: wizard

and finally, of sorcery, we find:

Definition of SORCERY

1: the use of power gained from the assistance or control of evil spirits especially for divining: necromancy

2: magic 2a

So, we have come full circle and can find the common theme to be: one skilled in magic.

The three magi in the Thoth Tarot are all quite powerful. They are in control of their skill and they each demonstrate mastery in their own unique ways. Let’s look a little more closely at them.
I – The Magus (The Magus of Power): This  young androgynous figure is the only one identified openly as Magus. He is so into himself isn’t he… all glorious and golden! On the Tree of Life, he joins Kether – the Crown to Understanding – Binah. His planetary trump is Mercury and he displays Mercurial properties magnificently! He looks like Mercury with wings on his feet. He is yellow and gray, Mercury in Atzilut (Emanation) and Yetzirah (Formation). He juggles eight tools which he uses to bring about his will. These eight tools are: the disk, censer, Wand of Double Power, the stylus/pen, the scroll, the Winged Egg, the cup and the dagger. Four of these represent the elemental weapons of the Magus. They are the disk, censer, cup and dagger. The Winged Egg represents Spirit. The Wand of Double Power is the symbol of energy and its function is to unite opposites under one will. The stylus/pen and scroll are instruments of Thoth, the Egyptian god of writing, wisdom and magick. His magick can be seen in the tools, the caduceus, the serpents, the infinity symbol, the blue dove, the winged sandals and the ape. Interpretation in a reading is around creative force of directed will, education, communication, change, messages, travel, commerce and business. You can find an image of the Magus here.
V – The Hierophant (The Magus of the Eternal): For a bearded old guy he really looks rather smug and know it all! He connects Chokmah – wisdom with mercy – Chesed. He wears the Crown of Osiris and radiates maturity and fatherly power. He rather bullish and this is Taurus in Atzilut (Emanation). His tools are the three-ringed wand symbolising the Thelemic (will) Aeons – Horus, Osiris and Isis. His magick can be seen in this card as the woman with the sword, the child Horus, the unification in the hexagram-pentagram symbol , the sandal strap, the oriel and Kerubim. Interpretation in a reading is around instruction, learning new things (like a child), intuitive understanding, esoteric knowledge, endurance, patience and physical labor. You can find an image of the Hierophant here.
IX – The Hermit (The Magus of the Voice of Power): He reminds me of a homeless figure being followed by his dog and, creepily, just a bit voyeuristic. Who knew? On the Tree of Life, he connects Chesed – mercy with beauty – Tipareth. He carries the Sun in his lamp and wears the white hair and beard of the Ancient of Days and the head of the ibis of Thoth/Mercury. His magick can be seen everywhere in this card from the Sun lamp to Cerberus to the Serpent Wand and finally, to the Orphic Egg. Interpretation in a reading is around illumination and isolation. You can find an image of the Hermit here.

I hope this has given you a beginning to understanding the symbolism of the 3 Magi in the Thoth Tarot. I have been studying using Lon Milo DuQuette’s book, Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, Michael Osiris Snuffin’s book, The Thoth Companion and various resources from the internet. I would encourage you to look into these texts as well as The Book of ThothThe Book of Law and the Liber 777, all attributed to Aleister Crowley, which can be found on the internet as free pdf downloads.

http://journeythroughtarot.com

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.