The Golden Tarot (Visconti-Sforza deck)-Il Matto
As you can see we begin a new Tarot Card Comparison with the Thoth Tarot. The Golden Tarot - is authored by Mary Packard and most of the art work is done by Bonifacio Bembo. A beautiful deck that I enjoy and should be a part of any tarot readers collection. The Visconti-Sforza Tarot is one of the oldest and most complete deck of the 1400's and celebrated the birth of a daughter, a wedding, and an anniversary. Here Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan and Muzio Attendolo Families are being represented in the finest Renaissances art of the time. Muzio Attendolo, was known as Sforza (meaning "strong" in Italian) learned formidable military skills in the condottieri-soldiery and thereby was known as Sforza. These 2 families played a very important part in the history of Italy, and it is a long and fantastic story that the author Mary Packard, explains very well in her accompanying instruction book. Therefore, I won't go into the entire history of the 2 families. However, when Filippo Visconti found his dukedom of Milan under attack, by the Venetians, he called upon Muzio's son Francesco Sforza (Muzio drowned by this time) who commanded the most powerful army in Italy at the time to help him defend his dukedom. Francesco succeeded and was married to Bianca Maria, Filippo Visconti's only daughter on October 25, 1441.
The now traditional 78 cards are not in this deck, although there are 78 cards, as it is missing the Devil and Tower cards and this deck was designed as the card game of Trumps (Trionfi in Italian) . 56 cards are evenly divided among 4 suits, Swords, Coins, Batons and Cups. The 5th suit (Trumps) consists of 21 picture cards plus the Fool, who is the Wild Card. It is this Trump suit that distinguishes the Visconti-Sforza deck above all others of the time. Although these cards are not numbered, they still are of sequential value, with the lowest card in the Trump called the Magician and the highest called the World. Because these cards are not numbered, and the original art is scattered among collectors and 26 are housed in the Academy of Carrara in Bergamo Italy, it is impossible to know if the missing traditional cards, The Devil, The Tower, 3 of Swords, and Knight of Coins were ever included in the deck; it is assumed so, and these cards are included in the Golden Tarot deck, in renaissance style art of the time.
" If one heard it announced that there still exists in our days work of the ancient Egyptians, one of their books that had escaped the flames that devoured their magnificent libraries, and that contained in a pure form their doctrines concerning interesting subjects, everyone would without doubt be eager to come to know so precious and so remarkable a book". ( so wrote the French author Antoine Court de Gébelin, upon playing a game of Tarot.)
0-All the power that ever was or will be is here now.
Fear not. What is not real, never was and never will be. What is real always was and cannot be destroyed. -Bhagavad Gita
The Fool is the universal key that is associated with the state of conscious energy that is us before and after death. He is 0, representing the No-thing above the Tree of Life, (The Ain) as the Source of all Energy. In other words, the "Will to be" state that is Spirit. Many of us know that we “have a spirit" but few of us know that we are Spirit and seek not spirituality but rather are Spirituality; a Spiral Vital Force that brings whole-conscious Willful liberation and expansion to Self. Rather than just being assumed as being mystical, transpersonal, transcendent, and ecstatic in its nature, the Fool represents the power of wonder and ecstasy that is so apparent in the very young (and the “enlightened”) before they succumb to indoctrination and form a "cultural identity" and/or a programed personality,i.e.,the lesser ego. The cultural identity is not real so Qabalists call it "reality" which we all know as relative and subjected to the “I” (identity) of the beholder and therefore, an illusion. The Real is the infinite, invisible part of ourselves called the "I AM", which happens to be the 99% of Self, whereas, the visible part, is only 1% of Self. Hence, Qabalists call the visible world, the 1% world and/or "ME", which is always assumed and therefore an illusion.
What percentage of an atom is empty space? It's 99% empty space.
This makes matter and the body 99% empty space. The elements we just referred to are composed of atoms, and those atoms make up your entire body. One percent of every atom is composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons. The other 99% is empty space. To put this in perspective, imagine an atom the size of a football stadium. Now imagine a Sun, imagining itself! For you are Spirit which is all Photonic radiation of Stars and called "Sun's of Goddess/God". In Qabalah, this "Solar Self" is represented as the 6th Sephiroth-Tiphareth (Beauty), the Central Sun of your manifestation.
The Oriental symbol for fear is the tiger. In the Thoth card, fear is seen as attempting to gnaw on the leg of the fool who isn't giving any consideration to fear. He looks forward, and the tiger can't even make a dent in his perspective. This is because The Fool is the energetic essence of who we are---an unflappable immortal spiritual flow of energy consciousness that flows from the Infinite Source of Kether. Death is merely and end to a visible cycle as we return to the invisible photonic being we have always been. Hence, playing with lighted spheres, becomes the pastime of the Spirit.
Both the Thoth and The Golden Tarot (s) symbolizes the creative expression that is needed to give birth to new parts of our lives and to boldly take risks (standing on the edge of a clift) that are so necessary to evolutionary development (Feathers in the hair of the Golden Tarot Fool)! When this card falls in a reading it shows us that this is the moment to do what you fear and trust the spirit within! As an initiatory Path, THE FOOL connects Kether (Crown) with Chokmah (Wisdom). To the Qabalist, Kether is known as the Source of All, and Chokmah is known as Father God. The Hebrew letter, Aleph make this The Path of Aleph, meaning OX, implying the Fool is about the "flowing of Life Force and creative power", showing that the SPIRIT had a beginning aim to be manifested on Earth and/or as a Sensual Being.
Crowley/Harris symbolically present this "Wholly Spirit" (The Spirit on every level of the Tree of Life) as a dove in the art of the Thoth Card and the creative use of dove feathers in The Golden Tarot. Crowley also called The Letter Aleph (The Fool), 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 Universal Spiritual-Self. We begin seeing that the Below is a mirror reflection of the Above and therefore, the Divine Spirit is all we know, we breathe it, we live within it, it is ourselves. It is energy in its whole form of 0. Hence, death is not destruction of energy, it is just a transformation of energy necessary for the conservation of information. Hence, the sun is shown at the Phallic level of the Thoth Fool while the long staff of The Golden Tarot-Fool can also represent his Universal Phallic force.
Conservation of energy:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In physics and chemistry, the law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant; it is said to be conserved over time. This law, first proposed and tested by Émilie du Châtelet,means that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another.
In transformational context, the Hebrew Letter-Aleph is attributed to Air and means Life-Breath. Just as Spirit is from the Greek root word Spiro, which means Breath. The One Spirit, the Holy Spirit,and/or the One Energy, is then the Life-Breath. This is well known in Eastern cultures, as Prana and Prana Yama (Breath yoga) are a major if not primary part of all Spiritual development. The Sanskrit Word Prana, is the Life-Breath energy; Prana meaning life and Yama meaning death. Simply, inhale and exhale.
The Qabalah and I have described the Magus/Thoth 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. The Science of Crowley’s time, considered Air to be a vacuum, as related to THE FOOL, so did Crowley, but the Ancient Wisdom is that the Element Air is not a vacuum, as in empty of anything, but rather a No-thing who is the fertile No-thingness and egg of Spirit.
The Universal Egg of Spirit is known by students of the mysteries, to be the EGG OF AKASHA, the zero of THE FOOL, 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! This Universal Egg is shown as the circular lines around the Fool, that are made by the flying caduceus of Mercury and the Dove of Spirit. The Caduceus is
an ancient Greek or Roman herald's wand, typically one with two serpents twinned around it, carried by the messenger god Hermes or Mercury. The synonyms representing the Caduceus are: baton · stick · staff · pole · bar · dowel · rod · stake · club · truncheon · mace · scepter · twig · cane · birch · switch · sprig · withe · withya. All of these representations are traditionally associated with healing. The Golden Tarot uses the Staff or Pole.
On the Thoth Fool, the Tiger, "fawning about" THE FOOL'S leg, is also an archetype representing the Animal Nature of Survival thinking as related to the Higher Spiritual process of Love that is fearless. Again, as this cannot be said enough, the Horns on the Thoth Card figure represent those ancient mysteries of Dionysus Zagreus (the Horned Son of Zeus). The statues representing Dionysus Zagreus, are often shown priapic, as he is the fertile force behind the Flora of earth. The Thoth Fool is wearing the green clothing that is of the Celtic Green Man of Spring, the grapes behind his left arm, are a tribute to the Roman- Bacchus, and/or Dionysus the Greek God of Wine and Ecstasy. The Crocodile (Egyptian symbol for great creative energy) is “a swimming at his feet in the Nile" (Crowley quote). Making this 0, a complexity of subtleties and far from empty.
Images referring to the Godhead in the Thoth card, are the dove of Venus (Spirit) and the vulture of Maat the Dark Egyptian Goddess of Judgment, where she is the Mother of Dark Matter. Then there is the triple egg shape created by the caduceus in motion, symbolizing the Ain Soph Aur (The three states of No-Thing) and the Orphic egg. As you may realize, the imagery is so subjective that I haven't the blog length of words 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 and also investigating the Mythology of the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians.
In the Thoth Fool's right hand is a traditional diamond symbol (made of Pyramid forms, with bases adjoining) of "As above, so below" and in his left hand is the Fire of Spirit, the One Energy symbol. The Butterfly, symbolizes the Soul and transformation. The Coins on his left side, imply the overflowing wealth of manifestation.
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 of Aleph, in his student text-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 0 and/or called "non-space". Light without limit is darkness to us who need a beginning and an end to see. 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. This would make a modern definition of “Dark Energy” as the “first I” or identity. 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 who is potentiality. This active "ejaculation" of "I AM" into the "Abyssal Womb" is depicted by the intertwined hominoid forms. However, I fear that is a rather limiting concept of the ONE as the One who is 0, but then, all concepts are less than the potential for conception.
We may reason that the potential for Thought (first material of the Alchemist), comes from the Dark Energy as Dark Matter (The First Material). The appearance of Thought emanates Mind, which is the vessel for Thought and/or Womb of Thought Forms, i.e. The imagination ( “I-magnation”), transcending all reason. We see this action represented as the cup, representing the womb in the right hand of the Fool, as he is spilling out the Dove of Venus, the Vulture of Maat, the Egyptian Goddess of Judgment, the butterfly representing the Soul and the Caduceus of Mercury. Thus, as often is so with the Supernal Triangle (upper trinity of the Tree if Life), our reason leaves us with more questions than answers.
However, your Spiritual Womb, the conception of "the image of God", is the invisible Sephiroth, Daath (knowledge) seated within the Abyss (shown on the throat of Adam Khadmon), and is the Child of the Goddess (Understanding) and the God (Wisdom) who are face to face (Tibetan-Yab Yum). This middle path of Union is known as the Path of Gimel (meaning Camel); THE HIGH PRIESTESS OR HIGH PRIEST; the Divine Androgyny who weaves form from the vibrations of light (word). 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 (As above, so below) 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 subjective I AM- potential is ironically displayed as a limited conception—a Me. Being a Me (ego) must never be taken too seriously, for that concept will change daily, when one enters the Higher Self/Fool, and becomes a master of subjectivity. To reiterate, THE FOOL- 0, is the initial potential for thought, transcending all reason. Thus objectifying the Upper Regions, 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. The Universe, in a direct manner, we are forcibly driven into the key Principles of the Mysteries/Metaphysics of as Above, So Below. THE FOOL, is the very expression of the god name of Kether, Eheieh, which means I will be. This is the essence of the Divine Child as yet unborn, who is all potential and who is our very beginning!
In the Traditional Golden Tarot, the Fool is displayed as the "Innocent". He is known as IL Matto (The madman) in Italian. His tattered clothing, and long socks with feet worn away while also wearing feathers in his hair, depict an individual unprepared for the rigors of life. Hence, he must learn every life lesson through trial and error. Here is the beginning journey of all Soul's who manifest a homo sapiens sapiens form. Trusting, innocent, clueless and unprofaned by the "assumptions" of mankind.
When THE FOOL card is thrown of both the Thoth and the Triple Goddess deck during a reading 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! ·
- Magic, amazement and desire in a relationship.
- Act impulsively.
- Follow your feelings.
- Take opportunities that arise.
- Playful behavior.
- A leap of faith.
- Stepping off the beaten path.
- Auspicious start of new adventures and opportunities.
If ill-defined by accompanying cards;
- The Fool, is then the harbinger of folly, mania, extravagance and even negligence.
- Difficulty in believing in your instincts.
- Fear of stepping into the unknown.
- Do not be reckless.
- Taking more than you need.
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