What does the dog symbolize in the Fool card?
The Fool card occupies a special position in the Tarot, because it does not have any number assigned – its key value is zero. Arcana the Fool represents freedom, not only physically, but also mentally. Leaving the past behind, he regrets nothing and can start a new life.
Archetype: the human soul that came into the world.
Number: 0 is an undeveloped number. Primary integrity. The paradox that says nothing exists.
The Fool – is the eternal youth (puer aeternus). In this picture, we see a young man who is standing on the edge of a cliff and looking at the sky. Fascinated by the weather and nature, the Fool does not notice the abyss into which he is about to fall. His arms are spread apart, in his right hand is a stick with a bundle, in his left hand is a white rose. The Fool is accompanied by a dog. In the distance we see mountains.
Let’s try to decipher the symbols that we see on the “Fool” card:
A symbol of devotion and faith, protection and self-sacrifice. For many people, the dog is assigned the role of psychopomp, the guide of the soul through the night of death. In Greek mythology, the dog is the companion of Hermes, the patron saint of travelers and the guide of the dead. In essence, we see the master and his devoted servant.
Also, the Dog symbolizes intuition, which is designed to protect and warn us. If you don’t hear it, you can fall into the abyss. It also indicates a bestial instinct, which we too can be guided by. The dog hints to the rational mind, with the help of which we analyze and determine the properties of the surrounding universe.
The Cliff, The Abyss
Step into the Future. New impressions, new experiences, new life. The view of the abyss is not terrifying. The feeling that the young man will be caught by the angels, if he decides to take a step into the abyss. It is also a danger that is overlooked.
White Sun – symbolizes spiritual purity, the source of spirituality. Means the search for meaning, openness, joy.
The sun is the masculine principle of Yang and the external influence on a person. Energy comes out of the Sun and moves towards an object, just as sunlight comes to you and fills you with power.
However, the Sun shines on the back of the Fool: he does not yet know what he is looking for. The Sun already knows. It knows where he came from, where he is going to and which way he will return after many years. The Sun is the Divine presence and protection from above.
This is an indicator that the energy of the card will be most revealed during the daytime.
In the Fool Arcana, the Sun is also an indicator of receiving information as signs of the Universe and the ability to read these signs and follow them.
The Mountain range covered with glaciers
Mountains are a symbol of triumph, they are the heights to which we climb, they are a challenge, achievement and realization.
A symbol of adversity and obstacles that each of us encounters in the process of becoming and achieving our goals.
The snow-white mountains are both a reference to the high mountain path of life, and to the magical land of Shambhala, which is hidden from prying eyes somewhere in the Himalayas (“the abode of the snows”). This country is inhabited by sages Mahatmas and powerful magicians. The knowledge they possess gives power over the world.
Mountains also represent infinity.
The mountains hint that the Fool is very high. Height means Heaven. The Heavenly cradle, from where a person’s soul comes to Earth.
Youth is always associated with strength, aspirations, faith and limitless perspectives that stretch at your feet. Irresistible impulses of passion, youthful maximalism, fearlessness of pioneers – everything is in this Arcana. The Fool on this card looks like a young sun god, a prince of another world. A prince that disguised himself, set out on a journey to undergo some kind of initiation. A spirit in search of experience. This is a thousand-faced hero on an archetypal journey.
The Movement from Right to Left
On the Arcana, the hero is active, the processes are running and the end is not yet in sight, a very dynamic card.
More than once I met the idea that the Fool is directed into the past, because goes de from right to left. In the Western tradition, the past is on the left, the future is on the right. But this is a secret sign. The Fool’s movement goes in the same direction as the Hebrew alphabet. All newspapers and magazines in Hebrew open from right to left. If we put the cards sequentially in this direction, then we will see that the Fool opens a sequential cycle of 22 cards.
At the same time, Death is the only card on which the movement goes towards the Fool, since Death is the end of our journey on Earth. The dancer on the World card is placed at the end of the row and turns her body towards the Fool, as if striving to receive the energy generated by the zero card, closing the cycle, and giving rise to the spiral at a new level.
The Bright Outfit
Symbolizes dynamism, energy and fortitude.
A symbol of the victory and triumph of the Spirit over all the troubles of the carnal world. Laurel is associated with Apollo, the god of the sun and creativity. Demonstration of a laurel wreath is the intention to overcome obstacles, the desire to rise higher, to transcend boundaries and limitations, and to win.
The Red Feather
The symbol of the element of Air. The element of the wind, speed, space, soul. The ease with which one can soar to the heavens like a bird. Often, the headdresses of leaders and kings were decorated with feathers, indicating their exalted position. The lightness and connection with the air made the feather an intermediary between people and gods, therefore, wands and shamanic robes were often decorated with feathers, which made it possible to fly between worlds. The feather is a symbol of truth. Osiris weighs the soul, throwing the feather of truth onto the second scale. It is also a symbol of creativity and poetry as a gift from heaven.
We see the Red feather in the Tarot three times – on the Fool card, the Sun card and the Death card. In this context it indicates the flame of life, vitality, that the human soul is alive.
A circle divided into 8 parts
A famous symbol all over the world – in Mesopotamia, Scandinavia, Central and South America, Ancient Rome, Mongolia. The eight-spoke wheel is a solar symbol. So among the Slavs it is a talisman. A wheel with eight spokes is the main symbol of Buddhism, a symbol of samsara, the cycle of rebirth and the transition from one state to another. In Germany, such a wheel is associated with a magic rune spell. A wheel with 8 spokes was applied to amulets, depicted on houses, armor, altars and sarcophagi, to protect against wild animals, the wheel was rolled around the house. To protect against dishonesty, a burning wheel was lowered from the mountain, gradually this custom turned into a ritual on the day of the summer solstice. Within the framework of the Tarot, such a circle was a symbol of the “Golden Dawn”, a harbinger of an eternal day and spiritual enlightenment.
The same wheel with spokes as on the Fool’s camisole, we will later see in the 10 Arcana – the Wheel of Fortune. This indicates a connection between the arcanas.
The symbolism of a wand or staff, or just a stick, is based on the idea of a straight line that personifies direction. Therefore, the rod not only protects, but also points the way. The magical power of the wand is associated with the power of trees, the energy of which conveyed mystical power to the owner of the staff, as well as with the symbolism of the phallus (power, domination) or the hand, indicating the finger. The Staff, stick, wand symbolize masculine strength. In a number of legends, staves have a soul of their own. Also, the staff can symbolize knowledge, which is the only support for a person. In Ancient Egypt, after the autumn solstice, the holiday “Birth of the Sun-Staff” was celebrated, it was believed that since this moment the day becomes shorter and the sunlight is weaker, the Sun needs a staff to support it.
The Small Bundle
The symbol of the begining. The Fool has not yet accumulated knowledge, experience, or material values. Some tarologists believe that the Fool has in his bundle the attributes of the Magician – a wand, a sword, a goblet and a pentacle – but he still does not know how to use them. The Fool is a blank slate.
It is also a female symbol of preservation, a kind of womb, storage of what is valuable. The bag contains the experience of the soul. As a symbol associated with pilgrims and wanderers, the knot often indicates detachment from material goods.
The Head of an Eagle Painted on a Bundle
A symbol of the Air. The eagle is a solar symbol associated with the gods (Zeus, Mitra, Garuda, Nergal). Spiritual beginning, liberation from bonds, freedom, fearlessness. Since the eagle hunts for snakes, it has always been associated with the victory over the lower earthly forces, the spirit over instincts. The head is also associated with the Sun, power, deity and microcosm.
The White Chemise
A symbol of the purity of the soul, innocence.
The Yellow Boots
They symbolize the search for meaning, openness and joy.
The White Rose
A symbol of purity, innocence, sincerity.
It is also a symbol of silence, non-disclosure of secrets. As you know, all members of the Order of the Golden Dawn took an oath not to spread about the ideas of the order, so Waite is often accused of deliberate confusion, which he introduced into the deck.
In the countries of Islam, the student receives a rose from the hands of a mentor as a symbol of the transmission of teachings.
In some traditions, the rose symbolizes the mystical path to God, because its beautiful flower is at the top of a long, straight stem covered with thorny thorns. Roses are also a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
The letter Aleph
The letter Aleph corresponds to the number 1 in the Hebrew alphabet, and this is no coincidence. All other sounds are formed from the sound “a” (more precisely, the glottal stop preceding it) – that is why the letter “a” is the first in most alphabets. Knowing this, it is easy to understand the symbolic meaning of the letter Aleph.
Aleph in translation means “ox”, formed from the Egyptian hieroglyph depicting a bull’s head associated with initial power and fertility. In the Scandinavian Futhark the first letter also denotes materialization and is translated as “Cattle”.
Aleph corresponds to the element of Air as the breath of life and life-giving principle. It is a mute sound. We see indications of this letter in the dog’s pose, as well as in the Sun that is behind the Fool’s back, and in the Moon and the Star on his left shoulder. The Sun, Moon and Star are symbols of the letter Aleph in Gematria, because they have the same numerical value.
The spirit associated with this letter is a divine genius manifesting itself in the creation of the universe. This is the first appearance of God, because His epithet associated with this path on the tree is “God who appeared.” But when the spirit hovers over the primordial waters, the Universe does not yet exist, and therefore Aleph is only a Fool, zero, nothing, an absolute emptiness that anyone can become, and the absolute freedom of this becoming. This Nothing contains everything in a potential state. Therefore this arcana is considered zero or the last in Tarot.
The root cause of all that exists, the egg of the Universe, the primordial chaos. It is both the circle of infinity and a point. The zero point is a portal through which a new life unfolds. It can be either expanded into Infinity or compressed to complete Nothing. This point is the beginning and end of everything. Nothing and All at the same time. The point is like the Absolute, which has no form and qualities and gives birth to all forms and qualities. In Kabbalah, zero is associated with God, who is called Ein, which translates as “that which does not exist”. The Creator created the world and maintains its existence, but he himself stands outside of being, i.e. does not exist, although it is reflected in all the particles of the universe.
The danger of the zero Arcana is that you can remain zero, but you also can create the Universe. This is certainly a very difficult task to do. In Crowley’s deck we see both the Tiger and the Crocodile, symbols of the male and female principles, the temptations of power and nothingness that threaten our hero, and many prefer not to move once again, so as not to expose themselves to the risk of being “eaten” or falling, passing over the edge of the abyss.
Just as multiplying any number by zero gives zero, so the Fool arcana is able to nullify any experience, any values and attitudes, nullify any accumulations and leave a person in the form in which he came to this world.
This is one of the basic colors, because there are only 3 colors in their pure form: blue, yellow and red. All other colors are obtained from mixing them. So, thanks to such an abundance of yellowness, it is immediately clear that there is something basic and fundamental in this card, the basis of the foundations, as in the following two cards: Magician (red) and High Priestess (blue). Yellow is a symbol of the Yang principle, solar activity, dynamics and growth, love of life, joy. Life as it is now on the planet earth is possible thanks to the Sun. Everything blooms and bears fruit only thanks to it. This is the foundation of life on earth.