Schattenspiel Tarot

Fool/ Schattenspiel Tarot
©Linda Dawn Hammond 1996/2005

fool/ Schattenspiel Tarot Series

0 THE FOOL/ Schattenspiel Tarot
Meanings and Details


The Fool is an unnumbered card, but it is assigned the symbolic mathematical equation 0, or, "Zero is one plus minus one." This releases him to travel all over the deck, and The Fool has been known to occupy both the first and last place in the order of the cards. In playing cards, The Fool is also known as the "Wild Card".

Fool/ detail a

Another name for the Fool is the Innocent. He may represent naïveté and the spirit of the pure unconscious, but this should not be mistaken for ignorance. I chose to photograph the Fool as a young child to convey ideas of innocence and beginnings, for he is embarking upon the journey of life. He is carrying a sack which contains his few belongings; it is often assumed that these are the Tarot's four symbols-- the cup, the sword, the pentacle, and the wand. The stick supporting the sack could however symbolize the wand. The Fool is using another stick as a support. Later, the magician will hold it aloft as a sceptre and the Hermit once again return it to its initial usage as a support. The sword, coins and cup appear muted in the border as he is still in the land of the unconscious. They reappear fully visible for the Magician.

Fool/ detail b

I created a sack out of a cloth covered in skeletons, as endings are inherent in beginnings, and it is wiser to embrace the notion of Death than to live in denial of it. Although the Fool appears as yet oblivious to it, the anticipation of Death is nonetheless part of the burden we carry through life and it often remains an unresolved issue. We also carry within us the seeds of our innocence which as we travel through subsequent roles in life can help sustain us. Through the more difficult dilemmas, it may be important to recall the wonder of this initial engagement with life. Otherwise, Death may take on the appearance of a solution rather than a conclusion.

Fool/ detail c

Engaged in an exploration of the world he is newly encountering, the Fool is oblivious to the dangers around him. The steep cliff is a representation of this. The dog who accompanies him is trying to warn him that danger is immanent, for in his raptures he is oblivious to his mortality. The dog, his animal guide, helps protect him. A budding tree reveals that it is springtime to further emphasize the notion of beginnings and reminding us of the cyclical nature of life. The roots reveal the interwoven foundation which provides us with support. As this is a Celtic influenced deck, it is also a reference to Celtic Knot Design and the pre-Christian worship of trees ,in particular, the Oak, in the British Isles.


On a personal note, this card represents my youth, which was spent travelling with a backpack through an endless stream of adventures and dangers. Somehow I managed to blunder my way through them all without literally falling off the cliff. I chose my son to portray the Fool, as it is now his turn to embark upon the wheel.

The dog's name is Ogre. He once consumed my favourite leather face mask. We had to fill my son's moccasin with cat food in order to to attract Ogre's interest!

Text and photography: Linda Dawn Hammond

NOTE: All images and text on this site are protected under International copyright laws.
Linda Dawn Hammond, 2003. The images posted on this site are of lower resolution than the originals.

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