The Fool occupies Path 12 on the 2020 Tree of Life. The Fool is possibly the most enigmatic of all the major arcana. Aleister Crowley dedicated over twenty pages in the Book of Thoth explaining the symbols and mythology behind the Fool in the Golden Dawn/Thelemic tradition.
This card design honors Crowley’s acumen, and much of the symbolism he invokes holds true for the 2020 Fool.
On the 2020 Tree of Life, the path of the Fool climbs straight up from the Axis Mundi to the sphere of Sagax, dominion of Mercury.
The Fool is the card of Elemental Spirit. A force that propels us beyond the bounds of our physical bodies and mundane consciousness. It’s our first realization that there is an observer behind our thoughts, emotions, sensations, and drives. A silent witness as vast and wild as the open sky.
The 2020 Fool retains the hermetic title “Spirit of the Aether.” But unlike the Golden Dawn/Thoth system, this is not the card of Elemental Air (although Aether has many airy qualities). Rather it implies the eternal breath of life. The great undulating emptiness that lies beneath all things.
The symbol of Spirit is the circle, akin, of course, to zero, which is the number of the Fool. In the alphabetic correspondence of the 2020 Tree of Life, the Fool represents silence. The phonetic symbol for silence is Ø. Crowley wrote an entire essay on silence and the Fool.
The Fool is our first step out of duality. Our first intentional movement into a radical way of being that accepts and incorporates all aspects of our humanity and of our world. As such, the Fool is both masculine and feminine, black and white, physical and phantasm.
At the card’s upper left, the Blue Orphic Egg rests in the Black Egg of Spirit. Both rest on a golden lotus, sheltered by the hood of a Serpent. These eggs imply emergence, innocence, inscience–the trance and delusion of daily life cracked open.
The gods Maut (the vulture) and Sebek (the crocodile) use incredible powers of creativity to self-generate their species. They are mother/father, creater/destroyer gods.
The ram-headed staff of the Fool mimics the relative path of the Emporer on the 2020 Tree of Life. The April Fool (aka the pagan Green Man) and the Bacchanalian gods are both begetters and devourers, evoked by the twining grape vine.
The dove is a well-established stand-in for Spirit. It is also a creature of Venus, flying in the direction of the path of the Empress.
The tiger on the cliff is an ambassador of mortality, an icon of hunger and fear. The Fool is unconcerned with any threat, instead focused on lepidopteran transformation of consciousness.
Finally, the rose–lotus of the West–bridges the sensual and spiritual worlds. Unfurling petal after petal of passion and mystery. The rose is a complete initiation unto itself, guarded by thorns. For many Fools the rose is white. Here though, the rose is red.
Brilliance from Lux, the sphere at the top of the Tree, illuminates the Fool’s way forward…