By Joseph “Joe” Panek | A Seeker’s Thoughts
When we look at the card of “The Fool” in the tarot deck we see a person standing at the edge of a high cliff about to take the next step while gazing upward into the Infinite. There is a dog at the feet of The Fool and this dog is also at the edge of the cliff, standing on its two hind feet, with its front feet already over the edge.
Naturally, we wonder: “Why is this person so willing to take the next step off of the cliff and why is he gazing up at the heavens instead of watching where he is going”.
Like all of the other cards in the tarot deck, this card is full of Symbolism. So, let’s break down some the principal Symbolism contained within this card in order to get a better understanding of what this card is telling us.
The Fool: Although The Fool appears to be a masculine archetype, the face contains an air of femininity. This gives The Fool an androgynous appearance which Symbolizes a combination and Union of both the male and female essences. This means that The Fool does not experience his Journey through either a male or female perspective. He experiences it through both perspectives. This androgynous (Hermaphroditic) portrayal of The Fool reminds us that The Fool’s Journey is a journey that is available to any man, woman, boy, or girl who wishes to participate in an Adventure.
Mountains Symbolize the higher realms of consciousness. The higher the mountain, the higher the realm of consciousness. The highest mountain peak would Symbolize the highest realm of consciousness that we can experience while still on earth. In addition, when viewed from afar, mountain peaks are the highest points on the Horizon and represent the loftiest Border Between Realms; the highest borderland between heaven and earth.
The Precipice upon which The Fool and his dog are standing symbolizes the Threshold where one Journey ends so that another Journey can begin.
(Also: The Precipice Symbolizes the mental obstacles we create for ourselves which deter many of us from taking the next step in order to achieve and experience our dreams.)
The Dog is “Man’s best friend”. The Dog is Instinctive and is a Symbol for loyalty, trust, protection, and companionship.
White symbolizes Purity and Enlightenment.
Because the Journey of The Fool takes place in the higher realms of consciousness (mountains) it Symbolizes a Spiritual Journey. It is a Spiritual Call to Adventure which involves dreams, aspirations, imagination, and finally Enlightenment.
The Fool gazes up into the heavens because that is where his dreams, aspirations , and imaginings reside. The heavens also represent the highest realm of Divine Consciousness that The Fool can look up to for Spiritual Inspiration and Guidance.
Knowing that no physical harm can befall him in a Spiritual Quest, The Fool unhesitatingly steps off the precipice when his current Adventure comes to an end. He knows that only by ending, and leaving behind, his current Adventure is he able to begin his next one. Therefore, with great anticipation and excitement he proceeds onward and upward into the next chapter of his life’s Journey.
The Fool’s Dog, being an instinctive animal, also understands that there is no danger in stepping off of this Spiritual precipice. So it too follows its master onward and upward. In addition, because the Dog is a loyal and protective companion, The Fool need never feel alone in his Travels into new and uncharted realms.
The White Sun that is shining behind The Fool is a Symbol for the Pure Enlightenment which is forever accompanying The Fool and nudging him onward.
And finally, although The Fool is currently standing atop a high mountain, there are much higher mountains in the distance. These higher mountains remind The Fool that there are still more Journeys, and higher realms of consciousness, to be explored, experienced, and conquered. And the only way for The Fool to conquer these mountains is for him to continue to follow his dreams, aspirations, and imagination until he reaches the highest mountain peak of all…The Peak of Enlightenment!
Note: for literary simplicity I have used the masculine gender in referring to The Fool. However, the feminine gender applies equally as well.