The first card that we will cover is The Fool. There are 22 cards, or Keys, in the Major Arcana. The Tarot Tableau sets up these cards in three horizontal rows of seven with The Fool above them at the center. This location is a little misleading because The Fool is everywhere, above, below, between , left and right of all the other cards. But for study purposes this will do.
As we proceed through the cards we will want to study them in the order outlined in the Tarot Tableau. Later, if you wish, you may organize them in different patterns to get different results. Each card is based on understanding the previous card. You may wish to obtain a deck of theses cards. They can be found at http://www.scienceofman.org in a black and white version. You will be required to color them, following the directions given carefully. You may wish to color one at a time as I go over them. The point of you coloring them is to 1) get them in front of you, and 2) to create your own deck – which you won’t share with anyone. Keep them in a safe place. Take your time, this isn’t an intellectual pursuit.
The first row across contains Principals, the second row across contains Agencies and the third row contains the Results. These are the Results of the Principal card above acting through the Agency card below it. So each column is considered a stage of spiritual unfoldment. Paul Foster Case assigned names to each of these columns, which we will go into once we have looked at the individual cards. May I add here, that this is no mystery to you. The Life Power in you knows all about this. As you look at the cards ideas will come to you, write them down, create a journal for yourself.
The Fool card is you, the inner you, the Self about to engage on another adventure. Your innermost Self has nothing to do with time and place, or with name and form. And yet we insist on having adventures! Let’s see how the inner Self is expressed on the card through colors and symbols.
Behind the figure to the right is a white sun. From my explanation of colors, white is used to represent purity and the Primal Light, pure Spirit. Because the sun is behind the figure, it is considered where The Fool, or Inner Self, is coming from. Also, the figure moves within and is surrounded by a white oval, or egg, of light. The cosmic egg stands for undeveloped potential. The sun is also a symbol of the Christ and the Tao. “The Fool of God is the only one who can hear the Tao.”
We have the Fool holding a white rose, signifying purified action (action would be symbolized by a red rose). And we have a happy little white dog running along side. Here you have the intellect, purified and obedient to the Self, at a personal level. The real Master is the Self, not the ego which puts the intellect first. You may wish to pause and think about that!
And then we have the white undergarment with the Cabalistic Name of Names of God, the Tetragrammaton. And at the top of the violet mountains in the background, from whence the Fool comes, we have white snow. Violet symbolizes spiritual power and truth. It is the highest visible color vibration. It relates to the Manipura chakra, or solar plexus.
The sky behind is yellow, so The Fool is surrounded by a representation of Air and Light and breath. Yellow also signifies alchemical mercury, in Hindu the Sattva guna, and the superconscious plane of mental activity. The Fool wears yellow shoes protecting his/her feet.
Brown is the cliff upon which the Fool stands. It represents the earthly nature.
The garments are white, red and black. These are the three qualities of the Hindu philosophy, the three gunas. White is Sativa, light and consciousness. The red lining is Rajas, desire and passion. The black garment is Tamas, inertia, typical of the physical world. The whole Tree of Life decorates the Fool’s outer robe. Remember that we put on a cloak to protect us from the elements. Just so the Fool is protected by the Tree of Life, the Sun, the Moon and the Triple Flame of consciousness. Simply put we have the protection of the entire Cosmos. Not a bad way to start an adventure!
The Fool is also carrying a wand with a wallet hanging at the end. The wallet and wand form a sexual symbol. The wallet is feminine and the wand masculine, a symbol of the Will. The black wand suggests occult power. The red (activity) wallet carries all of the Fool’s prior adventures. The lock on the wallet is the All-Seeing Eye. It creates the future and you will need spiritual sight to open it. This sight is something that you already have and the Tarot is here to help you remember that. The red feather is desire raised to the highest level and symbolizes the King of the Air, the eagle, which is also on the wallet. The Egyptian Feather of Truth is Maat.
The green wreath on the Fool’s head is the binding of sunlight and Life-Power in Nature.
The belt that the Fool has wrapped around his waist is the zodiac of the twelve signs, representing time. So the Fool straps on time before beginning the adventure. Just think, when returning from the adventure what does the Fool need to take off first in order to remove the cloak?
The Fool is looking in the direction of the unknown and new enterprises, northwestward, but with eyes looking up, the consciousness never drops. In spirituality, up means within. Closing your eyes and going within. A sound tool for this is meditation. At the bottom of the card is a number zero, again the symbol of the Cosmic Egg.
The word The Fool comes from the Latin word “follies” meaning a bag of wind or bellows – Air/Spirit. The symbol is the Hebrew Aleph meaning ox, note the head of an ox in the lower right hand corner. Aleph also means the number one, and represents the element Air. It stands for Divine Breath. We directly communicate with Spirit every time we breath! The Yogis came up with one breath one movement. It quiets the mind and brings us home.
Now for the adventure. It really looks like the Fool is going to fall off the cliff! Not so, the Fool can’t fall off the cliff because the Fool is actually going around in a circle. As far as the Self is concerned, you never go anywhere. There isn’t anywhere to get. There is only right now! So, secure in the knowledge and protection of the Cosmos, let’s take this undeveloped potential, this Cosmic Egg of the Self, and traverse the Valley of Experience!
1 Corinthians 3:18 “If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.”