All 78 cards in the Tarot Deck is an aspect of THE FOOL-0, who is both the beginning 0 and the end-ATU- 22.
As a 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 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 Deck Card.
The Rider-Waite deck, which is represented here by the Radiant Tarot rendition, is the one most people are familiar with, suggest the Holy Spirit in the wheels of spirit on the Fool's robe. The concept of the Scintillating Intelligence is implied in the radiant sun and the white rose in the Fool's hand; a white rose symbolizes freedom from lower forms of desire.
In the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Deck, the wand, the symbol of Will, is elongated to support the wallet that displays the eye of Horus; the All Seeing Eye of Spirit. This wallet represents all the experiences of the Soul, that are kept in the Akashic records.
If you look closely you can see a girdle of 9 ornaments symbolizing the houses of the Zodiac even though there are 12 houses of the Zodiac. The artist field of view is limited to 9, so the viewer has to imagine the other 3 around the back of the Rider-Waite-Smith's Fool's image. Therefore, this girdle of coins does symbolize the Zodiac.
The faithful dog is the symbol for the intellect, mankind's faithful companion.
The Rider-Waite-Smith Fool is seen as staring at the bright sky while walking off a cliff into the abyss, implying absolute faith in spirit and the fearlessness of the truly innocent. All of this combines to symbolize the unknowable beginning that is Spirit.
Crowley was more prolific in his illustrated explanation of the Fool and also called The Letter Aleph, a phallic symbol.....but then so is the Projected Will that is THE MAGUS; 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.
In Rider-Waite-Smith tarots' defense, 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, that is the Fool , 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 0, Light without limit which is darkness to us who need a beginning and a end to see for without measurement there is no form to witness. 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 and the couple who are embracing) 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 0 and/or "no-thing", but then, all concepts are less than the potential for conception. This is because to have a concept, one must measure it, and the limitless, has no measurement.
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 thought and/or Womb of thought Forms, i.e. The I-magi-nation, transcending all reason. Hence, in the understanding of the infinite, our reason, leaves us with more questions than 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.
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 into Self as Awareness, not a reality conceived of mundane ideas. 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" and/or The Universal Collective Unconscious(Darkness Dreaming it is Light) is very difficult to grasp, and the fact that you are a "Lucid" Dreamer (Self Awareness), who has been given the "Power of Observation", meaning you can change the Perspective of "Things", as well as, change "Things" changing perspective, is just about as mind boggling as it gets! And this concept is but just such a glimmer of insight required as 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 (the Tibetan image of Yab Yum) and this meeting is done on what is known as the Path of Daleth-THE EMPRESS, your Spiritual Birth Mother!
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 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 Higher Self.
To reiterate, THE FOOL- 0, in both Tarot Decks, 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 and/or 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, as symbolized by THE FOOL; that is the Path of Aleph.
In this 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, is then the Life-Breath that is now I-Am-Me and/or Spirit-Mind and Body. This is well known in Eastern cultures, and Prana Yamas (Breath yoga) are a major if not primary part of all Spiritual development. The Word Prana, is the Life-Breath energy, the shimmering, warm and bright fire of Stars that burns in all Life.
Now I have described the Magus 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.
Crowley, considered Air to be a vacuum, as related to THE FOOL who is the fertile Nothingness and egg of Spirit. The universal Egg of Spirit is known, by Qabalists, 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!
Therefore, 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 our very beginning!
The Thoth Tarot illustrates a Tiger, "fawning about" THE FOOL'S leg. This is an archetype representing the Animal Nature as related to the Higher Spiritual process. The Horns on the Thoth Deck figure represent those of Dionysus Zagreus, the green clothing is that of the Green Man of Spring, 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). Images referring to the Godhead, are the dove of Venus and the vulture of Maat, the Egyptian goddess. 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 and investigating the Mythology of the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians.
When THE FOOL card is thrown during a reading:
- The querent is in or experiencing a state of ecstasy and/or a state of Peek experience.
- Fearlessness. Courage.
- 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 (Thoth) or Reversed (Rider-Waite-Smith), The Fool, is then the harbinger of folly, mania, extravagance and even negligence.