I’ve recently gotten back to my Thoth Tarot and thought it would be good to revisit and expand upon my initial impressions of this multi-layered take on the Tarot system. I find the deck both fascinating and challenging to use. It’s got this “in your face” very direct set of messages, and does not shy away from illustrating the negative as well as the positive. I will begin this series with my take on the Thoth Fool.
The Symbols on the Card
The Thoth Fool has plenty of symbolism to spare. Lots more stuff than in the RWS version. He fills the card and seems to have already stepped off the cliff, but is suspended, and not in free-fall, so that’s good, I think. He doesn’t seem concerned about his current situation. The animals (tiger and crocodile) don’t seem real friendly; the tiger is actually biting his leg. He seems to be carrying his star chart with him in the blue bag. The sun is not behind him but is shining out from his genitals. There’s a butterfly, Holy Spirit-like dove and a cadeucus swirling around his upper body. Below his crotch are three flowers, one upright, the other two fallen downward and pointing at what looks like two tiny intertwined babies. The Fool also has a weird crystal-looking cap and little horns on his head. His arms are up at head level, and he’s holding a diamond-shaped crystal in one, and what look like flames or a torch in the other. Also a bunch of grapes is hanging out just below one arm. Two symbols are on the bottom of the cards . . . Uranus and the symbol for Air.
Interpreting the Thoth Fool
So, what does it all mean? I get the sense that this Fool may not be so foolish. I get a feeling of power over all aspects of creation, as if all of creation is flowing from him into whatever journey he takes. Since he’s suspended in the air, there isn’t the same sense of moving along a path and off a cliff to anywhere. He carries the Universe (the last Major Arcana card) inside of him already and seems to be at the point of creating a new world and feeling the first aspects of that world, including fire, pain (from the tiger), the idea of life followed by death, change and process (the flowers). So, take that risk, step off that cliff, but do it knowing that you have the power to create the wings to fly across to the next adventure. It’s all within and you are ready to let it out.
The Mythology and Alchemy of the Fool
Lon Milo Duquette, the author of Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot (I will be using his perspective throughout this series) emphasizes the relationship between the Fool as the beginning and the Universe as the end; they have that egg shape thing in common. Life is a series of spiraling circles of experience. The Fool represents non-being, the Tao, prior to manifestation. Note the encompassing of myriad mythological symbols from various cultures; he includes it all. There’s also a certain focus on sexual, procreative energy related probably to Crowley’s interest in sexuality. The sun is right there in the sexual chakra. The babies turn up later, by the way, in other Major Arcana cards as part of the great archetypal Fool’s journey.
The Fool includes both masculine and feminine energies, but I get more of an impression of the masculine energy from this card. Something new is manifesting through your or around you, stepping into the new. Up to you how you accept that into your life. Ready for a change; ready for birth into the duality of existence, into pleasure and pain? Here it is.