Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

The World β€” Tarot of the Absurd


Fool World Tarot


How the Fool had a Grand Misunderstanding, Became Unblinded, and Learned to See the World


Initially, I wanted to illustrate the World through lack of illustration, the point being that the world is endless, its boundaries are indefinable, its existence is inescapable. Ultimately I decided not only would it be a very boring picture, it would be doomed to misinterpretation by people who take it to mean that I believe the world does not exist.


Nonetheless, the card remained illustrated through lack of illustration due to a lazy muse for many years. Then, many years after reading some general directions on playing the game of tarot, my muse struck (ouch!) via poor memory and misunderstanding the rules of the game.


A brief explanation of tarot gaming, via Ronald Decker, Thierry Depaulis, & Michael Dumett. A Wicked Pack of Cards: The origins of the occult tarot.β€”


β€œAll Tarot games are trick-taking games, in which the cards we have been calling β€˜trumps’ indeed play the role of permanent trumps. A player who has the lead to the first trick… may play any card of his choice to the table. Subsequent players… must follow suit if they can, that is, play a card of the same suit as that led, or, if they cannot follow suit, must play a trump; they must play a trump if a trump was led. Only one who cannot follow suit and has no more trumps in his hand is free to play any card he likes. If a trick contains no trump card, it is won by the highest-ranking card of the suit led; otherwise, it is won by the highest trump played to it. The Fool or Matto does not count as a trump; it cannot win a trick, but by playing it the player is released from the obligation to follow suit or to play a trump. It is not normally captured with the trick to which it was played; the player from whose hand it was played takes it back and adds it to the cards he has won in tricks… The object of the game is not merely to win tricks, but to win points on the cards taken in tricks: different cards have different point-values, although all have some value. (The Fool has a high value.) These are only the basic principles…”


My misunderstanding was multi-fold:


Jessica Shanahan


Thus, via my Grand Misunderstanding, the Fool, when played, takes the World, but adds no value to it. β€œBrilliant,” I thought, β€œthe Fool takes the World!”


Blinded, nothing makes sense. Unblinded, things fall into place and the Fool becomes one with the World and its situation. When the Fool gains vision, he sees that he is not the center of the World. Indeed, the World (as opposed to the Earth) has no center: it is an infinite unity that extends in all directions and encompasses all there is.


The World signifies completion, achievement and fulfillment. The Fool, unblinded, is able to see the system for what it is and understand his place within that system. Knowledge of the World implies a deeper understanding of one’s effect upon one’s environs and the environment, and the effect of one’s environs on one’s self. The World indicates a feeling of unity and wholeness. As things fall into place, and the Fool becomes β€˜one’ with his situation. The Fool, no longer fooled, becomes an embodiment of the World.


Thus, the Fool takes the World.


Despite the fact that I misunderstood the rules, they are perfectly viable rules provided all players play by rule #1: players must agree upon the rules before commencement of the game.


The dog gains his bone and the Fool, unblinded, gains the World.




2 Responses

  1. cassandra022 says:

    I love this so much. It gives the deck such a sense of completion!

  2. Jessica says:

    Yes! You love the world!

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