Aeclectic Tarot
Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Forum Archive

Alchemical Study Group - 0 The Fool

  > Aeclectic Tarot Forum > Tarot Special Interest > Tarot Study Groups > Individual Deck Studies > Alchemical Tarot


 
Leisa's Avatar
Leisa  Leisa is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 22 Oct 2005
Location: Portland, USA
Posts: 291
Leisa 
Citizen

Leisa's Avatar
Alchemical Study Group - 0 The Fool


"Fools understanding the sayings of the Philosophers according to the letter do find out the truth."
--The Rosarium Philosophorum (pg. 11)

The Fool represents the neophyte alchemist, who is the beginning of the Work, and ultimately becomes the end of it as well. To obtain the philosopher's stone, the alchemist must learn to maintain and balance the adventure, honesty and sincerity possessed by the novice with the wisdom acquired by the adept. In Zen, this is called "beginner's mind." We must never lose our sense of wonder in the pursuit of truth.

The Fool is blindfolded to signify his ignorance of the basic principles of alchemy. He does not yet comprehend the prima materia, the first substance needed for the Work. It exists everywhere, but the Fool does not recognize it or realize its value. As a result, he risks stumbling about in darkness. The word "blind" derives from the Indo-European term bhlendhow, which means confusion and not knowing where to go. It is related to the word "blunder," which comes from the Old Norse term blunda, to shut one's eyes.

If the Fool could see, he would find the prima materia all around him. Since he cannot, it manifests in the form of a hare, a symbol with profound alchemical, archetypal and shamanistic meanings. In alchemy, the hare teaches the axiom, "visit the interior of the earth and by rectifying thou shalt find the hidden medicinal stone" (from Musaeum Hermeticum, translated by A.E. Waite, pg. 259). The hare lives in the earth, and is an archetypal guide to the underworld of the unconscious. The animal appears here to guide the Fool down into those depths--the darkness that must be charted for the Fool to lose his ignorance and reemerge into the light. It is a shamanistic journey, for the shaman goes down into a hole in the earth, led by a spirit guide, to enter other realms.

In addition to not seeing the hare, the Fool is unaware that he is under divine guidance. The star over his head is the Platonic star that guides every person through life. It is, in Jungian terms, the higher self. The feathers in the Fool's cap, done in the alchemical colors of opposites, function like antennae or sensors for the higher self, dividing the energy into masculine and feminine aspects. This guidance functions in spite of the Fool's foolishness, and when he drops his blindfold, he will be able to utilize this guidance much more astutely.

Psychologically, the Fool represents the natural mind. He seeks to find harmony in the universe. He is the beginning and the end, the place where the head of the ouroborous bites its own tail, forming the unbroken circle of the cosmos--the cosmic egg. The Fool is the newborn. Thus, the number of his card is zero, which is both beginning and end.

Tarot wisdom: The Fool shows us that everything we need to begin our spiritual journey, to initiate change, is within our grasp. We come into beginning with the raw material of transmutation ready before us. If we place our trust in a higher order, we will be guided through the dangers and darkness and into the light. We need only open our eyes and go forward with both awe and courage.

The drawing is based on Steffan Michelspacher's Cabala (1616).
Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #1
mj07's Avatar
mj07  mj07 is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 28 Feb 2004
Location: Chicago
Posts: 514
mj07 
Citizen

mj07's Avatar

All I can think to add to this is that when I first looked at the card, I thought the Fool had rabbit ears. Which, ironically, seems kind of appropriate after reading Leisa's entry.
Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #2
Kenny's Avatar
Kenny  Kenny is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Sep 2006
Location: England
Posts: 2,322
Kenny 
Citizen

Kenny's Avatar

Anyone notice the burrow entrance next to the staff of the fool?

Maybe it indicates that the end, or the start, is nearer than we know--if we could see the truth.
Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #3
sapienza's Avatar
sapienza  sapienza is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 27 Oct 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,680
sapienza 
Citizen

sapienza's Avatar

I haven't spent a lot of time with this card yet so I'm pleased to finally have the chance to sit down and really look at it. The image is very different to others that I'm used to. I read the following paragraph from Leisa's entry from the companion book and had to laugh....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisa
The Fool is blindfolded to signify his ignorance of the basic principles of alchemy.
So, obviously this card represents me

Seriously though, I like the idea that he is blindfolded. To me this indicates that it is very easy just to go through life without ever really understanding or without ever learning much about who we are. I imagine if this card came up in a reason the message could be that the person simply needs to open their eyes to what is going on around them.

I love the symbolism of the hare. I guess the Fool often signifies the beginning of a journey, which can be either a physical journey or a spiritual or emotional journey. But whichever journey it refers to, all journeys require that we journey within and this is how we grow and learn more about ourselves. Also does anyone think there is a link to the Ace of Coins as there is a rabbit on that card? The Ace of Coins is the first card in the minor suits going with Place's order. I think the cards have a similar feel in some ways. I notice this card also has the rocks and trees in the background as well. Could this emphasise the fact that the Fool is still in the material world and has not yet begun his spiritual journey? He also carries a staff though and Place has staffs last in order because he feels it is the most spiritual suit. So maybe this shows that he holds the ability to grasp the spirit but he just doesn't see it yet.

I hope all that makes sense. It's quite late over here and I'm just writing whatever comes to mind. It's certainly a very interesting card and I look forward to hearing what others have to add.
Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #4
Kenny's Avatar
Kenny  Kenny is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Sep 2006
Location: England
Posts: 2,322
Kenny 
Citizen

Kenny's Avatar

Quote:
Originally Posted by mj07
All I can think to add to this is that when I first looked at the card, I thought the Fool had rabbit ears.
I've been thinking about this, and do admit that when I first saw this card I thought of rabbit ears, but there could be more here than first seems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisa
If the Fool could see, he would find the prima materia all around him. Since he cannot, it manifests in the form of a hare, a symbol with profound alchemical, archetypal and shamanistic meanings. In alchemy, the hare teaches the axiom, "visit the interior of the earth and by rectifying thou shalt find the hidden medicinal stone" (from Musaeum Hermeticum, translated by A.E. Waite, pg. 259). The hare lives in the earth, and is an archetypal guide to the underworld of the unconscious. The animal appears here to guide the Fool down into those depths--the darkness that must be charted for the Fool to lose his ignorance and reemerge into the light. It is a shamanistic journey, for the shaman goes down into a hole in the earth, led by a spirit guide, to enter other realms.
There are one of two options. The first is that he place the feathers in his hat to look like a hare because of its powers. In this respect then he could be trying to become a hare to learn of the powers of the unconscious, and later to see the light.

Secondly the feathers are there to show that we have it in ourselves to become like the hare. It is inside of ourselves that we find the power to face the darkness before we are able to see the light.

The phase, 'as above, so below', is important too for this card. We have the entrance to the dark but also have an entrance to the light.

One last thing I'll like to say is about the blindfold. Has he put it on to signify that he is blind in the ways of alchemy or has he put it on so he could make sense of the darkness of his unconscious desires.
Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #5
sapienza's Avatar
sapienza  sapienza is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 27 Oct 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,680
sapienza 
Citizen

sapienza's Avatar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny
One last thing I'll like to say is about the blindfold. Has he put it on to signify that he is blind in the ways of alchemy or has he put it on so he could make sense of the darkness of his unconscious desires.
I like this idea Kenny. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to spend some more time thinking about it. As with all the cards, there is so much more to the image than you first see.
Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #6
mac22's Avatar
mac22  mac22 is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 20 Jan 2004
Location: ca usa
Posts: 2,280
mac22 
Citizen

mac22's Avatar

Quote:
Originally Posted by sapienza
I like this idea Kenny. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to spend some more time thinking about it. As with all the cards, there is so much more to the image than you first see.
.....Or is he blindfolded so that he can focus on his inner senses w/o distraction.

mac22
Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #7
mystere2e's Avatar
mystere2e  mystere2e is offline
Resident
 
Join Date: 25 Oct 2007
Location: New Orleans, LA, USA
Posts: 38
mystere2e 
Resident

mystere2e's Avatar
Exclamation


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisa
The hare lives in the earth, and is an archetypal guide to the underworld of the unconscious. The animal appears here to guide the Fool down into those depths--the darkness that must be charted for the Fool to lose his ignorance and reemerge into the light. It is a shamanistic journey, for the shaman goes down into a hole in the earth, led by a spirit guide, to enter other realms.
Is it just me, or does this sound eerily like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland?

He stumbles upon an ignorant yet curious Alice and persuades her to enter his "mysterious" world -- none of which makes sense, but could very well represent different aspects of our subconscious.

The first thing I thought of when I saw this card was the connection with Alice in Wonderland and the idea of the naive adventurer. This card strikes me as a warning of sorts. Just like Alice in Wonderland, you should not take the trip unless you are ready to experience some kind of mental & physical anguish that will go along with your learning process.
Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #8
sapienza's Avatar
sapienza  sapienza is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 27 Oct 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,680
sapienza 
Citizen

sapienza's Avatar

Welcome mystere2e.

It's interesting you mention about Alice and Wonderland. In an earlier post of mine in this thread I was questioning the link between this card and the Ace of Coins, as there is a rabbit on that card too. In the thread discussing the Ace of Coins there is mention of Alice and Wonderland as well which is interesting. The link to that thread is below if you want to have a read.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=49848
Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #9
brenmck's Avatar
brenmck  brenmck is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 28 Jul 2005
Location: Tatum & Bell
Posts: 1,919
brenmck 
Citizen

brenmck's Avatar

Quote:
Originally Posted by sapienza
Welcome mystere2e.

In an earlier post of mine in this thread I was questioning the link between this card and the Ace of Coins, as there is a rabbit on that card too. In the thread discussing the Ace of Coins there is mention of Alice and Wonderland as well which is interesting. The link to that thread is below if you want to have a read.

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=49848
Yes, I thought of the Ace of Coins here, too. The rabbit symbol is intriguing. I'm going to see what I can dig up (burrow?) about it in some non-Tarot references. Rabbits appear in the Golden Tarot too, I think in the Page of Wands - I'll check.

~B~
Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #10


 


Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Forum Archive
Aeclectic Tarot Forum Links
· Tarot
· Tarot Special Interest
· Beyond Tarot
· Forum Library

Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Angel Decks
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Cat Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· List All Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· Tarot Books
· What's New

Copyright © 1996 - 2017 Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Contact us.