Fool - Tav
A lone figure travels along an unseen path. His right hand carries a walking stick, and his left hand holds another stick that is attached to a bag containing something. He seems to be unaware of the animal (probably a cat) that is behind him. The creature appears to be reaching for his exposed genetalia. This graphic display of the human anatomy is a feature of this trump that is unique to the Noblet version of the Marseilles Tarot.
The name of the final character of the ancient alphabet is linked to the lone unnumbered hieroglyphic symbol of the Tarot. The original design of this character (pre-1200 B.C.) looks like this...
The letter that is paired with this most uniquely important of all the hieroglyphic symbols is the letter that is represented by the word תו. The basic meaning of this word is derived from the single consonant that is present (Vahv was originally a vowel and/or pseudo-consonant). This consonant is expressed in modern English by the letter X and the lowercase letter t. Essentially, this sign only requires that two perpendicular lines cross each other in some sort of fashion, regardless of whether they remain upright or placed at an angle. The basic meaning of this letter and its name is “sign.”
It is the sign that means “sign.”
X marks the spot. Not only has this sign been used by illiterate individuals to literally sign their signatures to legal documents but it is also the universal sign of some of the most influencial forms of spirituality known to humanity. It is the final letter of the ancient alphabet and the symbol of the fool.
One of the most important aspects of the Noblet icon (in addition to the exposed genitalia) to consider could arguably be something similar to the royal sceptre that is held in the right hand of its central subject. Another interesting aspect of this icon is the creature in the lower portion of the image that is highly interested the exposed anatomical region and is in the middle of some type of action that is to be directed towards it. Despite the crude nature of the Noblet image, it can be argued that the creature is more feline in nature and is some type of cat, although arguments for a dog or other type of creature could be sustained as well.
The Fool of Rider-Waite
In reference to this particular trump, A. E. Waite writes, "With light step, as if earth and its trammels had little power to restrain him, a young man in gorgeous vestments pauses at the brink of a precipice among the great heights of the world; he surveys the blue distance before him-its expanse of sky rather than the prospect below. His act of eager walking is still indicated, though he is stationary at the given moment; his dog is still bounding. The edge which opens on the depth has no terror; it is as if angels were waiting to uphold him, if it came about that he leaped from the height. His countenance is full of intelligence and expectant dream. He has a rose in one hand and in the other a costly wand, from which depends over his right shoulder a wallet curiously embroidered. He is a prince of the other world on his travels through this one-all amidst the morning glory, in the keen air. The sun, which shines behind him, knows whence he came, whither he is going, and how he will return by another path after many days. He is the spirit in search of experience. Many symbols of the Instituted Mysteries are summarized in this card, which reverses, under high warrants, all the confusions that have preceded it.
"In his Manual of Cartomancy, Grand Orient has a curious suggestion of the office of Mystic Fool, as apart of his process in higher divination; but it might call for more than ordinary gifts to put it into operation. We shall see how the card fares according to the common arts of fortune-telling, and it will be an example, to those who can discern, of the fact, otherwise so evident, that the Trumps Major had no place originally in the arts of psychic gambling, when cards are used as the counters and pretexts. Of the circumstances under which this art arose we know, however, very little. The conventional explanations say that the Fool signifies the flesh, the sensitive life, and by a peculiar satire its subsidiary name was at one time the alchemist, as depicting folly at the most insensate stage."
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