Mythic Study - The Fool


I think it is a good link between Dionysos and the fool. Dionysos is linked with wine, with theater but what I find more to the point is that he is also a cross-dresser. So, he knows how to party wherever he is! To me, Dionysos know how to have a lot of fun!


hi i've just started learning my mythic tarot cards cos i've nearly finish my school exams.

i've read so many interesting stuff about the fool from all of you.

i noticed in the card of the fool that that colours used are very earthy, neutral - brown, yellow etc - dry, barren colours. However the only 'life' colour in the picture are the leaves. Perhaps, it's suggesting something like starting new. I can't think of anymore things to say about it but i think there might be more about it...


for me, the FOOL always represents a infinity of possibilities, he is independent, he is optimistic, he is fool, anything can happen, and it's a warning as well, "do not get lost in the beatiful chaos of your path"


Dionysus is such a great choice for the fool...the ecstic festivals etc held in his honour really make me think of "fool" behaviour. The need to sometimes just let it all go and take on whatever comes, leave your responsibilities behind.
It was said that wherever he went, he could stir people into ecstasy, causing them to leave their homes, drop their chores, and even forget their kids, going on mad dancing and drinking jags...people were even said to dance themselves to death... eventually, they would return...but men of anxcient Greece used to fear that their wives would go off with one of these Dionysian cults and never return!
That sums up the fool to me...

In the workbook, I coloured the ravine as a velley...he's about to plunge into lush green...guess I take a rather positive view of hedonism, eh ;)


A young man, dressed in various animal skins, dances at the edge of a precipice. He wears an ivy wreath in his hair and goat horns protrude from his brow. He appears to have just come from the cave behind him. An eagle perches on a branch above the cave's entrance. The landscape around him is barren as dawn breaks in the distance.

  • watches over the Fool as he prepares to plunge into the unknown
  • as “king of birds,” it’s the symbolic animal of Zeus
  • is associated with energy, renewal, contemplation, acuity of vision, the spiritual principle, ascension, inspiration, and release from bondage
  • “to be eagle-eyed” is to have sharp vision or to be able to see every detail

  • represents the past
  • symbolizes the womb so the coming out of a cave can symbolize birth or rebirth
  • may indicate the primitive part of the self or the subconscious
  • a place of initiation and the second birth
  • passing through a cave represents a change of state

Goat Horns:
  • suggest that the Fool is driven by instinct
  • the goat is sacred to Dionysus
  • a goat horn is the origin of the cornucopia as a symbol of the bounty of nature
  • representation of vitality and creative energy

Animal Skins:
  • suggest a sixth sense or an animal instinct that those who are used to concrete reality don’t recognize; as the son of Zeus, he’s in tune with his father’s spirit, but it isn’t always clear when the impulse strikes whether it comes from Zeus or from a darker place
  • a means of acquiring the power of the animal, putting the wearer in touch with the animals and with their instinctual knowledge

  • some plants are poisonous while others are medicinal
  • was considered as cooling and inspiring profound thoughts, thereby compensating for the heat-inducing wine
  • its cling represents true love and friendship
  • its robustness is associated with the clandestine enjoyment of life’s pleasures; revelry
  • symbol of the eternal life of the soul after the death of the body
  • clinging dependence, attachment, constant affection, friendship

  • Hera drove him mad
  • he was twice born
  • he brought drunken ecstasy and spiritual redemption to those who were willing to relinquish their attachment to worldly power and wealth
  • ecstatic dance was associated with the followers of Dionysus, and the Fool dances in ecstatic abandonment at the edge of a precipice
  • "Dionysian" is generally used to express sensual and irrational impulses in man, one of which is to leap into the unknown; those who are bound to the world of form, facts and logical order call this madness, although it can be seen as an impulse toward change
  • he represents the potentially irrational impulse to open one’s life to the unknown; these impulses can be destructive and/or creative; to resist or to ignore them is to deny all that is youthful, creative and in touch with that which is greater than ourselves
  • the Fool is ambivalent because there is no guarantee that once the journey begins, the destination will be reached safely or at all

  • “children and fools speak the truth” means that children and foolish people have a tendency to say what is true, because they haven’t learned that it may be prudent to do otherwise
  • “a fool and his money are soon parted” means that foolish people are easily swindled or persuaded to waste their money
  • “a fool at forty is a fool indeed” means that people who haven’t gained the wisdom of experience by the time they reach middle age are likely to remain fools for the rest of their lives
  • “a fool may give a wise man counsel” means that people are often able to give good advice to those who are considered to be intellectually superior
  • “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” means the victim of a hoax or swindle on one occasion may justifiably blame the perpetrator, but those who fall victim a second time have only themselves to blame
  • “a fool’s bolt is soon shot” means that foolish people act hastily and thus waste their efforts
  • “fools rush in where angels fear to tread” means that foolish people often act recklessly or impetuously in situations that others would approach with caution or avoid altogether
  • “fortune favors fools” means that foolish people often have good luck, or succeed by chance
  • “young folks think old folks to be fools, but old folks know young folks to be fools” means that young people think they are wiser than their elders, but the opposite is true

I completed the Fool card in the Mythic Tarot Workbook on 3 Aug 91. I used Jade as my key color and made the animal skins many different colors. This is what I wrote at the time:
Jade reflects the need to grow. The multicolored garment reflects independence (in leaving the womb), youthful energy, clearness of mind and purpose which are within yet unknown and not fully developed, determination combined with uncertainty


Great post Rodney :)

I love this depiction of The Fool. It's like the whole world is literally laid out before him. The link to Dionysus works so well and the idea that really captures me is that Dionysus was twice born. For me this card conveys that idea that we can be born again, that we can die to our old selves and be 're-born' more in alignment with our 'true' self. I often associate The Fool with travel because it's that concept of leaping into the unknown and discovering new things and, as a result, new things about ourself. When I first started working with tarot I read for a lot of travellers and this card came up very often. The theme of many of those readings was about how the querant had the opportunity to rediscover their true self away from the pressures of family and the structured world which they'd left behind. For me, the cave also represents that sheltered life we leave behind when we venture out into the world.

When I coloured this card in my workbook I had a lot more green in the landscape because, for me, it conveyed a real sense of growth.