Recent online conversations that I have had have turned to the topic of divination and have inspired me to share my thoughts on my favorite form of that art with my readers here. Whilst I have used every kind of divinatory technique over the years it is the Tarot that remains the most reliable and which is the first method that I will resort to when I wish to answer those difficult questions in life. It would seem that Tarot, in one of its many forms, is still the most popular and accessible methods of divining with most magicians and even amongst witches.
I thought that the best place to start is with the description and meaning of the most important suit of the Tarot deck the Trumps, also often called Keys or Atu. With the wide variety of decks available it would have been easy to be tempted to display the most artistic forms of each of the cards but because the traditional Rider-Waite deck is still the highest selling set of Tarot cards I have decided to stick with those images. I begin today with the first card in the suit of Trumps, 0 The Fool. I will endeavor to describe the remaining 21 cards in the coming weeks.
0 The Fool
The first of the Tarot Trumps is the Fool. It is an image of a harlequin or jack in the green dancing on the edge of a precipice whilst a dog nips at his heels. The Fool carries a staff, usually concealed as a pole with a knapsack tied to it, indicating that the nature of the card is uncaring of material matters whilst the path along the edge of the cliff indicates that his focus is at the fringe of the physical universe where it meets the abyss of the spiritual. The dog indicates the dangers of the material world that threaten The Fool yet his indifference belies their true irrelevance to him.
The Fool is attributed to the path of Aleph on the Tree of Life which joins Kether (1) with Chokmah (2) thus it represents the initial movement from perfect unity towards material imperfection and so it correlates to the beginning of the creative process connecting the Fool to the green man of spring, the redeemer who brings life and light back to the world after the cold and dark of winter. This initial movement from Kether is as yet inarticulate and without design and so The Fool has an innocence that is often mistaken for folly. It is that purity that protects the Fool from any harm as his actions are all without the lust of a result and therefore expressions of his True Will.
Well dignified The Fool indicates inspiration, enlightenment, renewal and innocence. When connected to material affairs it signifies folly, stupidity, waste, indulgence or, at best, mere playfulness. When poorly dignified by the surrounding cards The Fool presages madness, carelessness, self obsession, or even self destruction. In purely spiritual questions The Fool is nearly always a sign of inspiration.