Originally posted by Estrella
I hate to repeat my question, but if anyone would comment on what appears to me to be a link between Masonic symbols and The Fool (Le Mat) from the
Tarot of Marseilles, I'd be interested to hear what you think. While the tarot is not exclusively used by practitioners of Wicca, it certainly
relates. I'm very interested to hear if any of you think there could be a link between Masonry and older Tarot decks.
A well-known Masonic scholar and philosopher named Albert Pike penned the following:
He who desires to attain to the understanding of the Grand Word and the possession of the Great Secret, ought carefully to read the Hermetic
philosophers, and will undoubtedly attain initiation, as others have done; but he must take, for the key of their allegories, the single dogma of
Hermes, contained in his table of Emerald, and follow, to class his acquisitions of knowledge and direct the operation, the order indicated in the
Kabalistic alphabet of the Tarot.
- ("Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry" by Albert Pike, 33°, p.
The Tarot is in itself a storehouse or "book" of archetypal images and symbolism relating to the Holy Qabalah (Pike's spelling "Kabalah" is in
general usage, but "Qabalah" is perhaps more correct).
In the Book of Genesis, it is stated that the Universe came into being through the power of God's spoken Word. Therefore, the 22 letters of the
Hebrew Alphabet are taken by Qabalists as mystic oracles, and they correspond to the 22 Major Arcana, or "Keys" "Trump Cards" of the Tarot. For
example, The Fool, numbered Zero, represents the Aleph, the first Letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. The Second Key, called The Magician, corresponds to
the Letter Beth, and so on. The images on these Cards correspond to the mystical meanings of the Letters, which are further related on a diagram
called the Tree of Life. On this diagram, they represent the "22 Paths of Wisdom" which connect 10 circles or spheres called Sephiroth.
Besides the 22 Major Arcana, there is a Minor Arcana, which the modern poker deck is derived from. The Minor Arcana of the Tarot consists of 4 suits,
from Ace to 10, with 4 Court Cards in each suit.
The four suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles, which correspond the Elements, viz., Fire, Water, Air, and Earth respectively. It should be
noted that these are also the Four Elemental Weapons that are found upon the Altar of the Ceremonial Magician, in their proper Cardinal Points (i.e.,
the Pentacle in the North of the Altar, the Wand in the South, etc.). The Enochian Tablet of Union sits in the Center of the Altar to balance the
The numbered Cards from Ace to 10 represent the 10 Sephiroth on the Tree of Life, with Ace symbolizing Kether, the consciousness of Godhead, and 10
corresponding to Malkuth, the world of matter. 2 through 9 represent the stages of manifestation in between.
So, for example, the Ace of Wands represents the spiritual nature as the basis of Fire in its purest sense, while the 10 of Cups represents Water in
its purely material and phenomenal form.
The 4 Court Cards represent what is called the 4 Worlds of the Qabalah; their natures are extremely abstract, and therefore are only studied by
Sorry for all that, but it was necessary to cover the basics in order to answer your question. In the initiation ceremony of the Third Degree of
Masonry, there is a character called the Wayfaring Man. He is a minor character in the Third Degree play, but his title probably helped warrant him a
place on the cover of that book.
But, secondly, The Fool actually represents Divinity in its purity. He is the "Divine folly" that St. Paul spoke of, when he wrote that the
foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men. His number in the Tarot is 0, which is a Mystic Number. The shape of this Number suggests the
Cosmic Egg, which gives birth to everything; further, its shape is suggestive of infinity.
Zero is also philosophical, because it shows that something must represent nothing in order to make mathematical calculations. In the Qabalah, this
"nothing" is better understood by spelling it "No-Thing"; it is technically Ain Soph Aur, one of the Veils of Negative Existence that lie beyond
the Sephira Kether. It is the primal "No-Thing" which sets everything in motion, but is complete in itself. It could be that this was being
represented by taking the first step in Masonry.