About the card
The Fool is represented by the Greek God Dionysus, wearing an ivy crown and leopard skin, which are particular symbols of this God.
It is the first card of the Major Arcana in the Mythic Tarot deck, and it’s number is 0.
A red cheeked Dionysus is on the edge of a cliff, and looks like he is about to take a flying leap. Behind him you see a dark cave, and directly above, an eagle is sitting and watching on a tree branch.
In the distance, the landscape is that of dunes, a path can be seen in the middle and the sun is setting against a pale blue sky.
A Brief History
His father – Zeus, was known as the God of the sky, lightening, thunder, law, order and justice. Zeus was a bit of a lad in the Ancient Greek world, whose numerous ‘romantic liaisons’ resulted in several godly and manly offspring.
It is interesting to note that his symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull and oak, meaning that the eagle depicted on this card, could be symbolic of Zeus the father overseeing the actions of his son.
His mother – Semele was a mortal priestess who was seduced and invariably impregnated by Zeus. To make this story brief, Hera (the wife of Zeus), on hearing of the pregnancy, befriends Semele and put doubts into her mind that Zeus was in fact a God. Because Semele then demanded that Zeus prove his divinity, and because he loved her so much, he did as she wished.
The only snag however was that mortals cannot look upon Zeus without incinerating, so true to form she perished, but not without Zeus rescuing the unborn baby and sewing him into his thigh (as you do) for a few months until the baby Dionysus was born, which led onto him being called ‘twice born’.
Later on in the story of Dionysus, we see him rescuing his mother from Hades, who then became a Goddess on Mount Olympus with the new name Thyone.
He is the God of wine, fertility, rebirth after death, and a patron of the theatre and the arts.
On the one hand he was considered with joy and divine ecstasy, on the other, rage and madness.
His symbols include:
Thyrsus – wand or staff of giant fennel covered with ivy vines and leaves. A symbol of prosperity, fertility, hedonism, and pleasure / enjoyment
Panther and Cheetah
Tarot Card Meaning
When looking at the history of Dionysus, it is easy to see why, when in the upward position, this card means:
- Fresh starts
- Taking Risks
- New opportunities
- New developments
- New beginnings
In reverse, this card means:
- Acting recklessly
- Taking action without considering the consequence
- A warning to look before you leap – consider your options carefully, don’t just dive in
When looking at this card, I ask myself, is he bright eyed and red cheeked because he is excitedly hurtling himself towards great adventure? Or is it because he has simply gone a little mad, is blind drunk and Apollo dared him to jump of that cliff for a bit of a laugh?
Is he about to walk off this cliff because he young and foolhardy, inexperienced, takes action without thinking things through and is just plain naïve so doesn’t know what the consequences of his actions could be? Is that necessarily a bad thing?
Does the eagle above him symbolise a certain kind of wisdom, or the implication that someone is watching over you?
What’s at the bottom the cliff, where is he jumping off to?
One thing is for sure, for better or for worse, Dionysus is definitely about actions when commencing a new venture, whether that is slotted in within the health, wealth, love or happiness category will depend on what is going on with the other cards around him.
When reading with this card, it is important to take into consideration whether it has come out upright (positive association) or reverse (warning), and how that relates with the other cards that have been dealt in the particular spread you are reading.
Written by guest author - Harmony Helane