O • The Fool

Hebrew letter

Spirit of the Aether

AS the first card of the deck, the Fool is the card of beginnings and creation. It represents generative power, and as such it is a card of opposites, both male and female elements combining to form a balanced whole. Its number is 0, the origin that comes before the solid reality of the number 1. It is the first measured stirrings of the universe. The image brings together the many threads of the Egyptian creation myth.

A mound was raised up, out of the primeval waters personified by the goddess Nun. Upon this mound the first god created himself, and then he made the gods Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture). These in turn gave birth to Geb (earth) and Nuit (sky). Other myths speak of the cosmic egg rising from the waters from which the sun emerges, giving light to the first day. The divine child within the egg is the unborn Horus, in the form of Harpocrates, his finger resting on his lip to signify silence. This is the light before dawn. A further mythic variant has a lotus flower floating upon the dark water, the petals opened to reveal the sun god.

The card shows the god Amun, the creator god, walking on the primeval mound. His name means 'hidden','veiled' or 'invisible'. He is the hidden god, the god behind the universe, the power beyond the sun.

From the Fool's belt hangs a bag. Traditionally it contains all his worldly possessions, his memories and his potentials. In Egyptian symbolism, the feather in his hand represents truth; it is the emblem of Maat, the goddess of truth. The wand held in his right hand combines the elements of the Waas scepter with the Djed and the Ankh.

A Crocodile is waiting unseen for the Fool to stray from the path. He is the embodiment of Set, the adversary of the gods known as the devourer of hearts. It is the destroyer that complements the creator, for within the beginning there is the seed of its own ultimate destruction.

The dog which traditionally accompanies the Fool suggests the dog star Sirius or Sothis, which played a large part in the Egyptian myths. In the sky is the vulture of the goddess Mut, the wife of Amun. The name Mut means mother, she was the great mother goddess. A symbol of maternal protection, it was thought that the vulture sheltered her young with her outspread wings. The Fool walks his carefree path, his steps random like the flight of the butterfly which precedes him. But his faithful dog guards and guides him from the hidden pitfalls represented by the crocodile.

Interpretation The card indicates new beginnings, the start of a new cycle of activity, innocence and naivety. A creative dreamer. Hidden talents and latent potential. Optimism unaffected by past events. This is a card of imagination and fantasies, impulsiveness and I blind instincts. He lives in his own mind, all that he experiences is interpreted to fit his view of the world. Conversely, the world is transformed to comply with his expectations. He is pure, uncomplicated and vulnerable. He searches for experience. He is the innocent child, a small boat adrift on the sea of life, blown by the winds of fate.