Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot: THE FOOL-Key 0 & The Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 0: THE FOOL
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Thoth Tarot & comparisons

Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot: THE FOOL-Key 0 & The Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 0: THE FOOL

The Tarot of EliThe Thoth Tarot Card-The Fool, is the Divine Negative above the Tree of Life; the source of all things. It is the Dark Energy, the Unknowable, the innocent and it is the Vacuum part of Air.
This holds true for the Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 0 The Fool.

The Fool Tarot card is attributed to the Hebrew Letter Aleph or Alef, which means Ox, and by its shape represents a plowshare, making the symbol Phallic. Aleph is the first of the Mother letters, Mem and Shim are the others. Making this card a womb as well. These three correspond to all the triads that occur in the Thoth Deck cards, notably, Fire, Air and Water,; Father, Mother, Son (Sun); Sulfur, Salt, Mercury; And the Hindu, Rajas, Sattvas and Tamas.

The Fool, is the Qabalistic zero, which is the equation of the Universe; the initial and final balance of the opposites.

If we assume that the Tarot is of Egyptian origin (Crowley obviously does) then the medieval  name for this card, Le Mat (from the Italian, Matto which means mad-man or fool) becomes Maut, the Egyptian Vulture Goddess who was a more sublime modification of Nuit than Isis and judged the souls of the dead.

Among the legends concerning the Vulture, there are two most prominent and they are that the Vulture has a  spiral neck (the Universe according to Einstein, is of Spiral energy----we call this Spirit) and the other, is that the Vulture is supposed to reproduce her species by the intervention of wind. In other words, Air/Mind is considered the Father of all Manifested existence and yet Mind is a vessel and the first womb. Therefore the Fool, (derived from follis, which means wind-bag) is both the Father and Mother in the most abstract of terms.

Then there is the legend of  Prometheus [graphically shown in the famous: Prometheus Bound by Paul Rubens] who stole fire from his Father Zeus, and gave it to mankind (The Life Force). For his punishment he was chained to a mountain and a Vulture would swoop down every 7 days and eat his liver; somehow this never killed him. The legend goes on and he was later saved from this torture, by the Goddess Hathor, but it is important to note, that Fire is Spirit, and Mountain means Earth and Vulture is Air and also the Goddess of Reincarnation/Maat ( the number seven is the number of the Goddess).
The myth of Prometheus, is easily Googled, so basically, Prometheus (Fire-bearer) was disowned, by Daddy Zeus, lost his immortality and was made human and had to live and die with mankind. Some might call that theft Foolish, others would call him the Savior (or dying god/DNA). Therefore the connection between foolishness and holiness are traditional.

In the East the madman is believed to be "possessed" by divinity, a holy man or prophet. This was also a belief of many Native American nations, as shown in this original painting by Howard Terpning, a classical painter of the Plains Indians.

In our western culture, so deep is this identity of the fool, that it is buried in our language.  For example. "Silly" means empty, i.e. The Vacuum of Air, Zero. And the word is from the German Selig which means, holy or blessed. This describes the Innocence of the Fool. Since He/She is the Whole (Holy) One; the fool is also compared to the Christian "Holy Ghost".

In the beginning, there was no separation of male and female (there isn't really one now either) as Male is expressive and female is receptive, both aspects are attributed to the Fool and both aspects are in each of us. Thus male is easily categorized as electric and female as magnetic, inseparable in this electromagnetic universe.

In the Thoth Deck the Fool is illustrated as the "Green Man", the "April Fool", who to the medieval people of Europe, was the Personification of the mysterious phenomena that produces Spring. Any way you look at it, The Great Fool, is a definite doctrine. The survival mind  is always looking for a savior but salvation (whatever that may mean) is not obtained by any reasonable means. Reason is an impasse, a damnation of formed limits, only divine madness, offers an issue.
The Fool -0, is not a really a key card, for key cards are about doors or gateways of knowledge being opened. Nothing has nowhere to go---so it 0. It is all the Power that ever was or will be.

The design of the Thoth Fool card represents many mythological explanations of this Principle:
  1. The Thoth Deck Fool, has the horns of Dionysus Zagreus, and between them is the phallus  cone of white light---indicating the influence of Kether-Crown, upon him.
  2. His background is Air, drawing from Space and his attitude is that of one bursting unexpectedly on the world. A good simile for Time.
  3.  He is clad in the Green of Spring and wears the Phallic gold shoes of the Sun.
  4.  In his right hand is the Wand tipped in a pyramid of white---simulating Kether.
  5. In his left hand is the flaming pine-cone, indicating vegetable growth under the same Fiery influence of the White light.
  6. From his left shoulder, hangs a bunch of bagged grapes, representing sweetness, fertility and the basis for ecstasy (Ecstasy gave birth to the Universe); shown by the stem of the grapes forming into  rainbow hued spirals; The form of the Universe.
  7. Upon this spiral whorl are other attributions of the "godhead"; the vulture of Maut, the dove of Venus (Mari, or Isis) and the sacred ivy of the Devotees of the Green Man.
  8. There is also a buttery fly of many-colored air and the winged globe with its twin-serpents, which is echoed by the twin infants embracing on the middle spiral. 
  9. Above is the benediction of three flowers in one (Kether, Chokmah, Binah).
  10. The tiger (fear) is fawning unnoticed on his leg.
  11.  And beneath his feet runs the Nile with lotus stems and a crouching crocodile (Sebek).
The whole Fool card is a glyph of the Creative Light which is Dark Energy and unseen by the naked eye.

There is the formula of the Tetragrammaton/"the secret name of god", Zero = plus 1 plus minus 1. Therefore, Zero is the secret name! This is also the formula for what is male and female. Let me give you a clue, if you manifest a male-polarity form on this side of the Mirror of Light, than your identity on the other-side of the Mirror is Female in polarity, or vise versa,  for to be made "manifest" is simply to become a dual poled entity of the electromagnetic spectrum.  Welcome to the concept of Hermes-Aphrodite...Divine Hermaphrodite!

To reiterate: THE FOOL- 0, is the initial potential for thought, transcending all reason. Thus objectifying the Upper Regions of the Tree of Life, the Supernal Triangle, is a futile endeavor. However,once we recognize the impossibility of consciously approaching the Highest Levels of the Tree of Life, i.e. Carl Jung's, The Universal Collective Unconscious, in a direct manner, we are forcibly driven into the key Principles of the Mysteries/Metaphysics;  of "As Above, So Below".

 We begin seeing that the Below is a mirror reflection of the Above. The Divine Spirit is all we know, we breathe it, we live within it, it is ourselves. Because we know this Divinity to be "the One Energy that cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed", we know that everything is of this "One who is Two", as symbolized by THE FOOL that is the Path of Aleph.
In this context, Aleph is attributed to Air and means Life-Breath. Just as Spirit is from the Greek root word Spiro, which means Breath. Tho One Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is then the Life-Breath. This is well known in Eastern cultures, and Prana Yamas (Breath yoga meaning,"life/death") are a major if not primary part of all Spiritual development. The Hindu Word Prana, means the Life-Breath energy.

Now I have described the Magus in past blogs, as relating to "Words" (vibration), the underlying sonic of patterned manifestation. However, it is the power of breath that expels the sound. Thus THE FOOL activates THE MAGUS and therefore the Key 0 and Key1 are inseparable. Kether, the Source of All, is connected to Chokma, the first activity towards creation, via the 11th Path of the Fool. The Hebrew letter Aleph-meaning OX, is assigned to this Path. In the Zohar, the letter Aleph is considered representative of absolute unity. This supports the  Qabalistic interpretation of, Aleph-Ox, as the symbol of the Life-Power, and/or creative energy. As I have stated before, the Fool Card, demands multi-faceted and fluid interpretation.

The Path of Aleph, is called by Dr. Paul Foster Case, the Fiery or Scintillating Intelligence which proceeds from the Limitless Light of Kether, that is darkness to us (Dark Energy) . This Fiery Darkness is the possibility of motion or vibration and the First Perception or Will of the One that is the  potential for activity; the essence of all sine waves.
Qabalists know this One as the Primal Creative Energy of the Universe that acts upon Itself to emanate the Cosmos. To a physicist this is the, "One energy that cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed." . 

There are many attempts to explain the beginning of mind and thought; the first "movement" that created Mind; such as,The Word of God, The first vibration, etc.. However, all we can say is that from the invisible 3 states of nothing (Ain, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur) comes the potential for thought, thus space appears and emanates Mind which in itself, is the vessel that contains thought...this makes the Mind the First Vessel of Magnetic form or Womb. Yet, A. Crowley called the letter Aleph, a plough share in shape and thus a Phallic symbol of "Expression". Thus the Potential Androgyny is conceived of, as the potential for Sexuality, male-electric and female-magnetic polarity, which then unlocks the potential for creative-self- diversity. When considering all of this , it helps to stay fluid in your thinking, for there are no "separates" in the Supernal Triangle (Upper Triangle); there are no "forms", only a No-Thing, that is the ubiquitous  I Am, that is made out of a Trinity of Kether-Chokmah-Binah and forms the first "Plane" of existence. Also availing yourself of a diagram of the Tree of Life and its connecting paths will help in the enabling visuals.

The Magus-Key 1,or The Magician, as shown on the B.W. Tarot, is attributed to the Hebrew letter-Beth, meaning House which is a kind of"vessel that is mind", and connects Kether (Dark Energy) to Binah, the Great Organizer. Binah, known as the 3rd Sephiroth- Understanding, is the Potential for Womb, becoming the House or "dwelling place" for Spirit (spiral energy) descending towards the density of manifestation. Hence, The  Magus/Magician represents "that which builds the house", i.e. Will.  Will or the Magus, directs and encloses the One Spirit which is represented as THE FOOL The Actions of  directing is Phallic and the action of enclosing is that of the Womb. Thus, I call the Sephira Binah---"The Womb with a View" and/or Imagination. The word Imagination if examined  as I- Magi- Nation, which will not only titillate our brain , it may also shed some light on this potential of  Understanding the Will. 
One may note, that the higher one works up the Tree of Life, the differences between the cards is much more subtle and fluid than the lover levels. This subtlety is even more pronounce in The Fool and The Magus (Magician) that are only separated by a slight degree, as is electric and magnetic force, a fact that is not seen in the anthropomorphized symbolism of the cards or of the Spirit as human male and female forms!

Suffice it to say, Beth is the First in Principle, the first in creation, the beginning of the beginning, i.e. the Will-To- Be! To the Alchemist, Beth, is the Philosophic Mercury or First Matter and/or Space/Time. The Alpha, which is never without Omega! To create beginning is to create end, thus the opposites of life and death which are the key polarities to creation ("The dancing Twins"), are attributed to the letter Beth; here these twins  are the Fool and the Magus.  Specifically, without the energies of the Magus, life and death would not exist, nor would beginning and end; all would be formless.

The infinity symbol(lemniscus: meaning "ribbon"), seen as a figure 8 laying on its side, and/or a "lazy 8",  initiates and represents this cyclic process of life and death, as well as, the symbol of the Serpent that eats its own tail, Oroboros. Both represent the closed circle of spiral-energy in the Universe. A universe begun by number one Beth, acting upon the zero, Aleph. What may also aid in the thought of Male-eclectic and Female-magnetic force being separated by a slight degree, is that infinity symbol is merely a circle twisting to  looking upon itself, an action that creates a female circle of force and male circle of force where One equals Two. The same can be said for the electromagnetic spectrum of light. Electric-Male and Female magnetic, combine to form One Electromagnetic spectrum of great diversity! Such is the electromagnetic field of earth polarity.

In the Zohar, a Qabalistic Text, the relationship of Aleph-The Fool and Beth- The Magus to creation, are discussed in a most charming matter, which is unusual for esoteric literature. I would recommend that the discerning student of the Tarot read this Qabalistic book.  The relationship between The Fool and The Magus (magician) is so subtle that our best hope of even approaching an understanding, resides in meditation on spiritual text, like the Zohar, combine with the images of the Tarot cards.

To speak directly of the Invisible, would challenge Socrates and would definitely challenge the biggest "blow hard" of the U.S. congress; Hence, impossible; so a circle of ideas must be formed, each giving a suggestion about the nature of the inner Truth. Each Sephiroth on the Tree of Life is each a Circle of ideas, and each Form is an understanding of these circles while each Force is a potential to Form. I may have lost you with that one, so let me say, that The Magus is a channel through which the Energy of The Fool is organized and passes downward. The Magus is both active and passive, as the Magus is both the transmitter and the transmitted, i.e. the Life Force which becomes the primal material in the act of transmission. I know this as the "I Will Be" of Kether becoming the "Will-To-Be" of the whole Supernal Triangle. The Magus being the first step in evolutionary Universal energy towards "being". Thus, in the Thirty Two Paths of Wisdom, by Paul Foster Case, the Magus is called the Transparent Intelligence,  as light passes through a window from above, so dose the Magus pass The Primal Will.

Crowley, considered Air to be a vacuum, as related to THE FOOL who is the "Fertile No-thingness" and/or "egg of Spirit", so too speak. The universal Egg of Spirit is known, by Gnostic and Qabalisits, to be the EGG OF AKASHA or THE ORPHIC EGG, the zero of THE FOOL, which also represents this egg of spirit, and is the mathematical formula of one male, minus one female= 0 . Therefore, the understanding is that the Egg of Akasha, is a fertilized ovum of undefined sexuality, but having the potential for Both! One who is Two= 1-1=0.
THE FOOL, is the very expression of the god name of Kether, Eheieh, which means I will be. This is the Divine Child as yet unborn, who is all potential and who is the egg our very psyche!
Therefore the Tiger, "fawning about" THE Thoth FOOL'S  leg, is also an archetype representing the Animal Nature (survival mind) as related to the Higher Spiritual process.
The Horns on the figure represent those of Dionysus Zagreus, the green clothing is that of the Green Man of Spring/April Fool, the grapes at his feet are a tribute to Bacchus, the Greek God of Ecstasy, and the Crocodile (great creative energy)"a swimming at his feet in the Nile" (Crowley quote). Also there are images referring to the Godhead, such as the dove of Venus and the vulture of Maat. Then there is the triple egg shape created by the caduceus in motion, symbolizing the Ain Soph Aur (The three states of No-thing). 
As you may realize, the imagery is so subjective that I haven't the space to detail it all for you. If you need more detail, and you do, I would recommend reading Crowley's BOOK OF THOTH,  Robert Wang's Book: THE QABALISTIC TAROT, Barbara Walker's [the Secrets of the Tarot] and investigating the Mythology of the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians.
 Every card in the Tarot Deck is an aspect of THE FOOL-0, and therefore, 78 different aspects of your I AM Psyche.

 Aleph, As a Qabalistic Path, THE FOOL, connects Kether -1-(Crown) with Chokmah-2- (Wisdom). To the Qabalist, Kether is known as the Source of All, and Chokmah is known as Father God or God of the Covenant.

To reiterate: The Path of Aleph, meaning OX, is about the "flowing of Life Force and creative power", showing the "SPIRIT'S aim to be that of Earth and/or Sensual Being. Crowley symbolizes this "Holy Spirit" ( The Spirit on every level of the Tree of Life)  as a dove in the Thoth Tarot Card. Crowley also called The Letter Aleph, a phallic symbol.....but then so is the Projected Will that is THE MAGUS, and one wonders if Crowley was so besotted with the Phallus, that he was unable to see anything else; However, truth be told, by reference to Sexes and sexuality do we come to the minutest glimmering of understanding about the Universe.

To even begin understanding THE FOOL, we must entertain  a multifaceted and fluid interpretation of Force and Form. 
Paul Foster Case calls this Eleventh Path, in his book THE THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM, the fiery or Scintillating Intelligence. which makes sense as The Path of Aleph boarders on the Limitless Light (Ain Soph), which is "not" or "Zero", i.e., Light without limit which is darkness to us who need a beginning and a end to see; in other words, reflected light.  So here we try to explain what can't be seen as The Fiery Darkness which is the possibility of vibration or motion and the First Perception of the One having potential for activity.

In the context of Masculine sexuality, the Fool is the Testes, and the Magus is the Phallus,(represented by the three flowers beneath the spread legs of THE FOOL) as He directs active first flow from the Fool rather than potentiality doing so. However, I fear that is a rather limiting concept of the ONE-----as the Ain Soph is "No-Thing" and sexual organs are "something", but then, all concepts are less than the potential for conception.

We may reason that the potential for thought, comes from the Dark Energy as Dark Matter (The First Material). The appearance of Thought emanates Mind, which is the vessel for Thoughtful ideas and/or Womb of Thought Forms, i.e. The I-magi-nation, transcending all reason. Thus, our reason, leaves us with more questions than answers but necessarily so because we then must build (create) the answers!

Limitlessness is a very difficult concept! To say that THE FOOL represents the initial potential for thought which transcends reason, is about the best I can do with words. However, the special reality we may touch in sleep, often gives us images that do not correlate to our mundane understanding of reality, so our dreams seem to be so much abstraction and are considered as nonsense to our waking condition. However, The Great Work(As above so below) involves the assimilation of The Real, not a reality conceived of mundane ideas, translated into words, base on self-absorbed survival thinking. And the Real Concepts are from "what is Not" making "What is" from Dreams of Potential- Self!

To think of the Universe as "God Dreaming" (Darkness Dreaming it is Light) is very difficult to grasp, and the fact that you are a "Lucid" Dreamer (Image of God), who has been given the "Power of Observation", meaning you can change the Perspective of "Things", is just about as mind boggling as it gets....and just such a glimmer of insight requires a "beyond the Mundane" understanding of Self! Thus, your Divinity is not often acknowledge by the mundane; However, your Womb, the conception of "the image of God", is the invisible Sephira, Daath (knowledge), which is the Path Where Goddess (Understanding)/God (Wisdom) meet face to face ( Tibetan,Yab Yum) and is known as the Path of Daleth-THE EMPRESS, your Spiritual Birth Mother/ Feminine Principle of the Divine Creative-The Imagination!

I'll end this complicated dissertation on the Thoth Fool, with this: All the Paths leading upward to Kether,THE FOOL, THE MAGUS, AND THE HIGH PRIESTESS, must be approached with a certain understanding of whimsy, as we realize that by crossing the Abyss and approaching Kether/"I Will Be",  means the total annihilation of Self as we perceive it, thus presenting us with the irony of our attempt to grasp such esoteric and refined principles from an earthly-mundane perspective. Often,when teaching the Major Arcana and knowing what I speak, cannot truly convey what I am saying, brings a smile, if not outright laughter to my face. To me, The I AM potential is ironically displayed as a limited conception--a Me. Being a "Me" must never be taken to seriously, for that concept will change daily, when one enters the Impersonal Higher Self.

The Fool - Key 0 of the Barbara Walker Tarot, seems to be designed after the more traditional medieval tarot fools. Interestingly, the Fool, or Jester or Joker, also called , The Foolish Man, Foley, Le Mat, and El Loco-the mad man.
These names point to pre-Christian religions, known as Matriarchal religions. Where the Moon was the Goddess symbol. In fact all lunar religions were latter vilified as madness and/or of lunatics for once, before revisionism, a lunatic was a worshiper of the  Moon Goddess Luna.  One of her older names was Mania, which also under the indoctrination of Patriarchal religion, became a name for madness.

It was said by the Romans, that the Moon-Mother-Mania gave birth to the ancestors of humanity, whom the Romans called "manes". It was thought that these ancestral deity's souls still dwelt in the earth.

The Tribes of Northern Europe, knew the Moon Mother as, Mana; Arabs knew her as Manat: the Egyptians knew her as Maat. No matter the name, it was told that her chosen prophets and/or sybils,
were "moon struck" or "touched by the Moon", which became the colloquial English "tetched". The Special Children of Mana where called "moon calves", being latter applied to lover's and idiots. The sacred games of the Moon, were called ludi, which became ludicrous thus making her ceremonial kings, clowns who preformed the ancient dances called Antic. These clowns, where then called silly, meaning they were particularity blessed.

The medieval fool's cap, a dunce cap, was designed after the conical miter, the apex, worn by Rome's ceremonial High Priest who was known as the Flamen Dialis.  The Lord of Death, and/or Helman, was shown wearing the same cap on Celtiberian medals.
A Helman was a term belonging to a consort of Hel, the lunar goddess of the underworld. The Norse Lord of Death called Frey, also wore the apex.

Another name for the Carnival King of Europe, was "the Prince of Love".
This was because the pointed hat always represented the Phallus of the Earth-god, mating with the Goddess of Heaven, variously named Nut, Hathor or Isis.
I would get the book: The Secrets of The Tarot, by Barbara Walker, for an even greater study of the history of the Divine Fool. His association with the April Fool, the Christ, and the Sufi sect the from a school in Afghanistan called the Christi, that used to preform mystery plays of religious message, with music, drumming, horseplay, and antics.

Traditionally the Fool, carried in his bag, the symbols for the elements (suits) that are seen on the Magicians table. The suits were thought to reveal his fate, although he couldn't see them.

Since the fools number is 0,"The age of a child before their first year", he was always considered as without experience and/or "silly". The zero became the symbol for all fetal beginnings, including the World Egg. Such infantile ignorance was called, in Tantra Buddhism,  Avidya, meaning "want of knowledge" or unconscious will animating the new born before any reason for living can be understood.  This was illustrated on the Tantric Wheel of Karma, as a blind man stepping towards a cliff or precipice. As shown on the Fool card of Barbara Walker's Tarot.
 Therefore the Fool Tarot card, always represented a novice  at the start of his journey, always walking forth, moving towards the pitfalls that lead to enlightenment, which he arrives at in the end of the sequence; The Universe.
Resurrection is also a theme of the Fool card. There was always traditionally, a dog like creature snapping at the Fool's heals. This dog, symbolized death in the ancient world, including Egypt and guarded the gates of the underworld. The Fool is always ahead of the dog, which was said to symbolize his escape from death, as reincarnation, resurrection and/or rejuvenation which was and is promised by the pagan and latter Christian mysteries.
 The butterfly, as the Fool is seen chasing in the Barbara Walker Tarot, is the traditional symbol for the Human soul, which in its pure state, is shown as Adam Khadmon in the Qabalah.

As you can see, Barbara Walker's Fool, is also showing more meaning than is apparent in the illustration. Totally following the Philosophy of the the Hermetic Qabalah.

Unless there are many surrounding cards of a very spiritual nature or the position of the Fool card is thrown into  a highly spiritual position in the reading, a more mundane reading of the Fool card is often warranted.

When thrown during a reading, the Tarot Fool represents:
  • Idea, thought, spirituality and that which endeavors to rise above the material world.
  • However, if the question of the querent is regarding a material event of an ordinary life, this card is not well defined. Herein, it shows folly, foolishness, stupidity, eccentricity and even mania.
  • The Fool is too ideal and unstable to be generally good in material things.
  • The Fool is more about a willingness to "Throw oneself into the Abyss of the Unknown" rather than operating in a reasonable manner.
  • The querent is in or experiencing a state of  ecstasy and/or a state of Peek experience.
  • Fearlessness.
  • Courage. 
  • And is completing all motion  by Faith, absolutely trusting THE SPIRIT.
  •  A feeling of being protected, and that everything will work out.
  • Being open to what the future brings!

If ill defined by accompanying cards, The Fool, is then the harbinger of folly, mania, extravagance and even negligence

Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper.

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