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0: The Fool

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 15 Aug 2001, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Apona  15 Aug 2001 
I'm just curious. Does anyone know what the little critter by the fool's leg is supposed to symbolize? 

Rhiannon  15 Aug 2001 
In the rider waite deck it's a dog and to me dogs represent loyalty. It's also barking at the Fool to say "Hey! You're to close to the edge, silly! Watch where you're going! Pay attention!"

Just my take on it.

Rhiannon :) 

destinyawaitsme  16 Aug 2001 
I've always thought of it as...the dog is following him. And the dog being a symbol of loyalty, represents other people who are loyal, or care about the fool. You know like the old saying, "if so and so jumped off a bridge would you do that too?" Maybe the dog is there to remind you that you effect other people also with your decisions. So while you are being foolish, not only can you hurt can hurt others. 

tarotbear  16 Aug 2001 
It's generally a dog, although older decks seem to have other odd creatures accompanying the Fool. In one of my books the dog is 'leaping at the pouch hanging from the Fool's belt' -- that's not a pouch -- that's the Fools' butt showing through the rip in his tights! :-D 

EveAnna  16 Aug 2001 
Le Mat (The Fool) in the 1JJ Swiss deck hasn't got anything with him at all, he's just standing there, face fowards.

I like the little dog in the Rider Waite, he's got a smile on his face, I always wonder if he's waiting for The Fool to go over the edge :) 

StarShine  16 Aug 2001 
Maybe the little dog is Lassie. You know, he will go home and bark and the Fool's mother will say, "What, Fool fell of the cliff AGAIN?! Okay, HONEY...GET THE ROPE!"

Seriously, I see the dog as a symbol of loyalty. Depending on the spread, question, and position, I have also felt that the dog represented a youthful sense of adventure. Don't ask me why, that is just what I felt. 

Rhiannon  17 Aug 2001 
tarotbear: It's so funny that you said it was the Fool's butt showing through the rip in his pants! I was just thinking about a saying my mother had... if someone was doing something foolish, stupid and wrong and not wanting to face the consequences she'd say that person was (pardon the language) "showing his ass" LOL! What a great comparison the the Fool card!

Rhiannon :) 

purplelady  17 Aug 2001 
The fool is a youth who has run away from home (see the knapsack thing he carries,a handkerchief with 4 corners tied to a stick,if this were "the little rascals",wouldn't they run away from home with one of these?)or perhaps a young person who has "left home" for a time to seek their fortune , or see the world. The little dog , or animal is his faithful companion on his (or her) journey,or perhaps a symbol of the inner voice or instincts. 

Buca  20 Aug 2001 
The critter is there to symbolise the fools obliviousness to his surroundings.
In some cards it is a loyal dog barking a warning, in others a beast of some kind biting at the leg. In either case the fool is oblivious and does not notice,paying no heed to the danger.Likewise he does not notice the precipise he is walking towards. 

.dc  20 Aug 2001 
Of course, the symbolism on the Vertigo tarot albeit somewhat traditional, takes a darkened and warped view. View to speak.

Instead of the fool (john costintine) being on the cliff, he's at the bottom... a shadowy figure being on top of the cliffs. The thing has it's arms and legs stretched out and appears almost as a star.

Wilting flowers and a skeleton of a dog appear in front and behind our fool.

He is definately oblivious to his surroundings and sorta seems withdrawn from them at the same time. His face is blurry which is quite different than the rest of him which is 100% in focus.

Blessed be,

raeanne  20 Aug 2001 
In the RW deck, the Fool’s clothes are much too clean for him to have climbed up the mountain! I see the card as if the god/s just reached down and put the Fool on the top of the mountain to start his journey. The animal is there to remind us that before we begin our spiritual journey, we are very close to our animal selves. We have a decision to make right at the start; do we move forward on our spiritual journey or do we fall back to a more animalistic nature? 

Major Tom  21 Aug 2001 
From The Tarot by Paul Foster Case:

The little white dog is a descendant of wolves and jackals. Thus he is a human adaptation, whereby something given in a wild and dangerous state by the unmodified processes of nature has been changed into a friend. He also indicates the truth that all subhuman forms of the Life-power are elevated and improved by the advance of human consciousness.

Hope that helps explain the presence of the critter. }> 

Kimon  21 Aug 2001 
besides the interpretation of the dog as a loyal friend, the dog has also on one side the meaning Foster mentiones (the civilized forces of nature by men), and on the other side in egyptian times jackals, later dogs, were always guardians of the underworld, as Anubis or Kerberos/Pluto. So the dog, as nice as it may look, has also a very serious and dark side. Waite whitened it, Crowley changed it into a tiger, but you can see the same dog in his Eremit card IX, again as three-headed guardian of the dark side of the world.

Rhyannon  22 Aug 2001 
The two decks that I have, The Dragon Tarot and the Witches Tarot, do not have a dog or animal in the Fool Card. I've certainly seen Fools that do, most of them have one in some form or the other. Interesting, perhaps I should re-evealuate those two cards. 

MeeWah  22 Aug 2001 
The dog can be a symbol of the natural instinct that warns of danger (only The Fool may choose to heed it or not). Also of Spirit that resides in all creatures of this world. Unconditional love--in the Ryder-Waite deck, the dog is apparently willing to follow The Fool (over the precipice). Playfulness. The taming or "domestication" of the animal or baser nature of man. 

The 0: The Fool thread was originally posted on 15 Aug 2001 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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