According to Sandra Tabatha Cicero, the author of these fine and well researched tarot cards, the mundane Mesopotamian employed the services of astrologers, and magi (hereditary priest-magicians) for divinations, healing, blessing of talismans and amulets, purification, cursing, warding off evil, etc.. Private homes usually had a statues or shrines to a personal god or goddess where prayers and offerings were made to gain the deity's favor. It is these ancient spirits, and deities, of the "Land between the Rivers", that are the subject of the Babylonian Tarot.
The Deck is comprised of 83 cards divided into 2 sections; The Major and Minor Arcana. The Major consist of 23 Major or Trump cards. The Minor contain 60 cards divided into 2 groups-the pips, which are the numbered or small cards, and the court cards. 78 of the cards represent what is most common in tarot, zodiacal, planetary, Qabalistic, and elemental attributions that correspond with modern Tarot such as the Thoth Tarot. However, there are 5 additional cards in the Babylonia Tarot. These include one extra Trump-the Card of Genesis-4 extra court cards. As in traditional tarot, the court cards include the King, Queen, Prince and Princess, in the suits of Air, Fire, Water and Earth, with one extra as the Kerub, which represents the Suit of Spirit.
From Sumer to Babylon, the "Land between 2 Rivers", provided us with mankind's earliest recorded history, comprising written records of social, intellectual, scientific and religious expression. Theirs was a long history of human innovation and advancement, progress, set backs, hopes and fears as they developed under the auspices of the Annanaki - "Those who from the Sky came". There history is a rich source of knowledge from which Sandra Tabatha Cicero created The Babylonian Tarot.
Enkidu, the Fool of The Babylonia Tarot is not the first Major card of this Tarot Deck. That accolade belongs to the Genesis Card. Before there was a concept of 0, is represented in the Genesis Card, which would be the Ain (Limitlessness) of the Qabalistic Tree of Life. The Babylonia Creation Story known as the Enuma Elish-meaning "when on high", describes it this way:
When in height, heaven was not named,
And earth beneath did not bear a name,
And the primal Apsu, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamat, the Mother of them both,
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being ,
And none bore a name and no destinies were ordained
Then were created the gods in the midst of heaven.
Therefore, the Genesis card represents the birth of the Universe and the generation of the primeval gods. Hence, we have a head of an ancient deity high in the storm tossed sky. The sea beneath whipped into a fury while a fetus appears in the turbulent waves as the first of the gods born.
If thrown in a divination this Genesis card implies:
- The absolute beginning or a starting point.
- A new beginning.
- Commencement of a completely new outlook or phase of life.
- Having to start over.
- Entrenched in old ways of thinking.
- Fear of having to start over.
Fear not. What is not real, never was and never will be.
What is real always was and cannot be destroyed.
The Babylonia Tarot- 0- The Fool-Enkidu, represents the Wild Man of the Gilgamesh epic. The Goddess Aruru, created Enkidu to defeat in battle, Gilgamesh who began his early career as a tyrant who cruelly ruled and oppressed the people of Uruk. Enkidu, who was created out of a lump of clay, was said by some to be satyr like. With head, arms and torso of a man, and horns, ears, and legs of a beast. In Arcadian, he was a type of bull-man, a kursarikku and in Sumerian as a gud-alim. Enkidu's body was covered in hair and he ran and ate grass with the beasts. He knew nothing of man and civilization.
Tsaidu, a hunter, discovered Enkidu, when he found all his traps destroyed by the wild man. Exasperated, he informed Gilgamesh of this wild man's superior strength and swiftness. Gilgamesh, no mere mortal, suspects the purpose of this wild man's creation, and he bids Tsaidu to return to Enkidu with a priestess of Ishtar, a women named Shamhat. Shamhat, used her beauty and charms to beguile and "tame" Enkidu and for six days and seven nights, he was only aware of his love for her. At the end of this time Enkidu discovers he was a man and is no longer accepted by the gazelles or other wild animals. Shamhat, takes him to the city of Uruk, to learn the ways of civilization. Upon arriving in Uruk, Enkidu fights and befriends Gilgamesh.
The Card of the Fool, represents the Universal Element of Air. Enkidu is portrayed as a wild man, a not yet fully sentient being. Innocent, and happy. However, he is at a crossroads, between his animal nature represented as the leaping gazelle and green forest, and his full human potential represented as the golden city. Shamhat is shown as the one enticing him to come to the city. The meaning during divination is the same as the Thoth Fool.
The Tarot Fool is the universal key that is associated with the state of conscious energy that is us before and after death. In other words, the conscious state that is Holy 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 liberation and expansion to Earth anima and animus!
Rather than just being assumed as being mystical, trans-personal, transcendent, and ecstatic in its nature, the Fool represents the power of wonder and ecstasy that is so apparent in the very young; before they succumb to indoctrination and form a "cultural identity". The cultural identity is not real so Qabalists call it "reality" which we all know as relative. The Real is the infinite part of ourselves!
The Oriental symbol for fear is the tiger. In this card, fear is seen as attempting to gnaw on the leg of the fool who isn't giving any power to fear. He looks forward, and the tiger can't even make a dent in his perspective. Fear based thought is that of the Animal Subconscious, that is called the "survival mind".
The Fool is the energetic essence of who we are---an unflappable immortal spiritual flow of energy consciousness that flows from the Infinite Source. This card symbolizes the creative expression that is needed to give birth to new parts of our lives and to boldly take risks that are so necessary to evolutionary development!
The Path of Aleph: The 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 a Path of the Psyche (Whole person) 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. 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. 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, 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. This is well known in Eastern cultures, 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 received by the inhale and Yama is the death energy, as an exhale. 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, so to speak. 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; us 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!
THE FOOL, is the very expression of the god name of Kether, Eheieh, which means I will be. This is the Divine Child yet unborn, who is all potential and who is our souls very beginning!
The Tiger, "fawning about" THE FOOL'S leg, is an archetype representing the Animal Nature 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, 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 Then there is the triple egg shape created by the caduceus in motion, symbolizing the Ain Soph Aur (The three states of No-thing/Limitlessness).
As you may realize, the imagery is so subjective that intuition must supply the whole effect. 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 Babylonians, Greeks and Egyptians.
To even begin understanding THE FOOL, we must entertain a multifaceted and fluid interpretation of Force and Form.
Dr.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 0. 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. 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 0, 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). Visible light is a form of in-form-ation, and is something. The appearance of Thought , not language, emanates Mind, which is the vessel for Thought and/or Womb of Thought Forms, i.e. The “I-magi-nation”, transcending all reason. Thus, as often is so with the Supernal Triangle, 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. This being 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 brought about by language. 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-maker Psyche), who has been given the Power of Observation that changes a thing, meaning you can change the Principle that is Things (see> simulation hypothesis), 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 acknowledged by the mundane...However, your Soul- 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 (Yab Yum) and 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 subjective I AM- potential is ironically displayed as a limited conception—a Me. Being a Me must never be taken too seriously, for that concept will change daily, when one enters the Higher Self, 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. 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" (1st law of Thermodynamics), we know that everything is of this One, as symbolized by THE FOOL that is the Path of Aleph.
To go over some of the symbols again: The Horns on the 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 Then there is the triple egg shape created by the caduceus in motion, symbolizing the Ain Soph Aur (The mysterious three states of nothing).
As you may realize, the imagery is so subjective for Spirit, is the One Energy, that is moved by the shout of Eheieh-I Will Be, the "first breath"- a No-Thing that did Something, a subjective that has no object but does have an objective.....to be YOU! Hence, Energy and Mind are reflections of each other. 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. Modern Quantum physics is also a great study for it is as Qabalah.
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. 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!
- Possibility, Idea, thought, potential, freedom, innocence, transition, the beginning, a new venture.
- Choices yet to be made.
If ill-defined by accompanying cards, The Fool, is then the harbinger of folly, mania, extravagance and even negligence.
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