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The Fool's Tarot Black & white version ©1980

On July 15th of 2004 dreadwilliam.com went up with The Fool's Tarot© in color being it's only page. Updated 02/24/16.

This deck is finally available for sale! 300 gauge playing card stock, boxed and signed. $45USD plus shipping anywhere. Email executioner@dreadwilliam.com for details.

Table of Contents

 

1. Introduction

 

2. Why the Fool?

3. Intro to Tarot

4. Brief History of Tarot

5. Personal Intro to Tarot

6. How It Works?

7. Here and Now

8. So How Does It Really Work?

9. Introduction to this Deck

10. The Suits

11. Isn't It Supposed to be Scary?

12. Getting It Ready for You

13. Shuffling the Deck

14. Reading the Celtic Cross

15. Learning From the Reading

16. Responsibility

17. Teaching Yourself Further

18. Making of This Deck

19. Rendering the Deck

20. The More You Know, the More You Realize What You Don't Know

21. The Cards

 

INTRODUCTORY BLURTS

Good evening and welcome to The Fool’s Tarot, the least mysterious and easiest to read Tarot deck ever! There are no messy hidden meanings here, just 100% all natural understanding. Now there’s no more need to spend years just trying to figure it out. Why, with our new improved blend of additives, anyone with hands, feet or the ability to wield a stick with any skill may begin reading immediately.

In this deck you will encounter distinction, a bunch of cards, love, change, reward, and above all, humor! Just try that with other decks.

Humor is certainly the most important human quality that was ever left out of the conventional Tarot. What monumental lack of foresight!

Both sadly and tragically, magic and its diverse practitioners have throughout history taken themselves just a wee bit too seriously. They should have enlightened up a bit. Hey, that was clever.

WHY THE FOOL?

Alright, everyone wants to know why I chose to name this deck after the Fool. “You can’t be serious.” “What a dumb name.“ Or, "Why not name it after Death or the Magician or some other COOL card?“ Cool card indeed.

I spent a lot of years seeking out a name that had to meet rather severe criteria, and found it!

Point one: It must be named after one of the more familiar cards, but not one already copyrighted through it’s own deck. Hence, the problem with the cool cards mentioned earlier.

Point two: The name should be chosen with beginners in mind. The Fool is unique among the other characters as both beginning and beginner in all things. No matter what one gets oneself involved in, one must, first, begin. Pretty all inclusive, that.

Point three: It should be funny and, so, disarming to the point of comfort. If the comic messages aren’t too well hidden and the illustrations not too hard to decipher then it should be obvious of the Fool’s qualifications here.

Point four: There should be some level of sophistication. The Fool is the most complex of the cards and a lifetime can be spent studying just him. Of course that means that this deck can keep up with you even as you become more confident in your Tarot experience.

Point five: It must appeal to the individual and independent seeker. The Fool travels alone, fearless and free, as do we all at the beginning of our true journey through life, spirit and soul. As seekers of truth, we are all ultimately destined to experience, and eventually learn to love that exquisite, singular loneliness that is the basis for self-awareness. Who else but a fool would leave the safety and familiarity of established dogma for the fear, truth, and responsibility that comes with the true journey.

Point six: Objectivity. Each card in this deck includes in its descriptions, a direction in which the traveler is progressing. Even the aces are beginnings already aimed toward particular desires.

Only the Fool is bestowed with the privilege of choosing any direction at any time and still receive full warranty coverage. The Fool has no past to run away from or destinies lying in wait. Self-awareness is his only burden and all the protections of the cosmos are provided for him until his pure spirit is, at long last, conquered and corrupted by earthly desire. Hurray!!! Now don’t get me wrong here, flying free of Eros’ shackles is a truly soulful and wonderful experience…for about fifteen minutes every couple of years.

Finally, I hope you will come to value and respect The Fool for the marvel of spirit and reality that he is, and also hope that he will show how important it is to purge our hearts regularly with a good laugh.

“Ask yourself what you seek, for the sake of seeking yourself.”

-another cool saying by someone else-

INTRO TO TAROT

If you were to ask the average uninitiated seeker, a.k.a. normal person, if they have ever heard of the Tarot, most will reply that they have. However, you will be amazed at the range of additional response you will receive. They will include everything from simple denial to darkest fear. Now you may, or may not for that matter, ask yourself why that is so. For the sake of all this work, I certainly hope that you are.

Following, are just three reasons among many.

One, Hollywood with it’s always narrow interpretations of all things spiritual has probably furnished the greatest harm to the modern Tarot since the closing down of the Inquisition.

Two, the theatrics used, and the seriousness taken by most readers and masters regarding “mysterious forces that work beyond your control” have most certainly contributed their fair share to the popular negative misconception.

Three, the very structure of the Tarot is another cause for existing fears. Mysteries much too complex for the average soul are woven into the illustrations, and some of the symbols used can invoke ancient fears in individuals who are, as yet, unaware of their own powers of free will.

Kinda scary, huh?

Well, no more! Now, thanks to our new format you will soon have so much light shining on your little self that you may just have to sit down for a bit.

DANGER! If you are evil by choice, go no further! It could ruin everything! You have been warned! We will not be held liable if you should become a happy, loving person! DANGER!

Imagine all your worst fears fleeing before the light, unleashed at your will, knowing through it all that it was not the cards doing the healing and changing, but you. Yes, you. At last, now you can break that vicious circle of believing in and then not believing in whatever you thought you believed in, or just happened to be believing in at the time. But, enough about that. Let’s talk some more about you.

You WILL become aware of AND accept the fact that YOU are the single most important being in your personal universe. PERIOD! Your mission, here, is to DEAL with it. Once you have surrendered, and finally learn to accept it, you will be faced with the option to love yourself, assuming that you do not already. You MUST choose this option before love for others can become possible. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?

Why all these references to self and love? Simply this. In order for you to deem yourself worthy of any of life’s rewards, you will first need to acquire worth. Worth/worthy, get it? Love of self, whether for good or evil, promotes self worth. We recommend good. This is the key to holding onto life’s treasures. When was the last time you wished for something good to happen to someone you didn’t like? See?

Getting stuff is easy. Being able to identify and appreciate, and therefore keep stuff requires an awareness of worth. Ask any homeowner. Once this step is seen through, you will begin to feel better, look better, smell better, and generally be less work to put up with. (Not a guarantee.) Let’s get back to us now, shall we?

BRIEF HISTORY OF TAROT

The medium itself goes waaaay back. Shamans, or as we call them, shamen, throughout history have thrown various objects and studied their arrangements, thus helping primitive mankind to organize his daily life. As eons passed, certain mystics, and their like, would take to illustrating key formations directly onto stone tablets or bones.

These were no doubt easier to haul around than the previously used sacks filled with their many diverse and sometimes smelly objects.

A stroke of lucky brilliance hit some uncelebrated quasi-Neolithic seeker of truth when he came up with the idea of etching the diagrams onto small, thin wooden slats with a sharpened piece of antler, but...

…in his excitement he accidentally knocked them all into a nearby boiling hot spring.

Getting them out was no simple matter and by then the soggy, saggy blobs of pulp hardly resembled themselves from before and beating them with a rock only seemed to make them worse.

The useless, rattling, huge, and by now, unrecognizable sheets would be abandoned, only to be seized upon and treasured by the village women. A thriving paper industry would result.

Someone else tried red clay as a medium in the manufacture of tarot cards during a later epoch. However these “Tarot Carddas,” as they were known, tended to break easily and so their popularity lasted only for a short while. A thriving pottery industry would result.

Hmmmm, did we check these sources? Well anyway, cards of one type or another have been used in the art of divination for a couple thousand years, at least. The earliest acknowledged evidence of this being in ancient Egypt.

They may go back even further than that.

Little is known of individual decks, or specific methods employed in their use, which pretty much renders this particular paragraph useless.

The modern Tarot began it’s evolution during one of the many plagues, both viral and spiritual, which were, well…plaguing medieval Europe during those most badly illuminated, and yet rarely unexciting of times. It finally became the deck we use today around the fourteenth century. Brief history is now complete.

PERSONAL INTRO TO TAROT

Seeker, meet Tarot, Tarot, meet seeker. Now the introduction is also complete. I am certain that you will be very happy together.

HOW IT WORKS

Let’s get silly and assume, for the moment that there is no such thing as magic and that nobody can prophesize the future, not even Nostradamus. After all, he was wrong about that world-wide unpleasantness in “99”.

Gifted psychics, historians and social scientists can forecast pretty far ahead of the changes that are becoming real as a result of present and direct historical impact. With sensitivity and some skill, even we may speculate. Sometimes it is amazing just how far forward some of those speculations can go, but that is not the same as simply predicting.

Sometimes a self-proclaimed prophet can get lucky. Considering how many of these chosen ones have come and gone, and the many thousands upon thousands of predictions that they have made through the ages, then it stands to chance that one of them will get it right on the mark every now and again.

Occasionally, individuals of great fortune, insight, strength, and/or position appear who can create destiny. Histories and religions have been built upon people who have, but still, creating a future is likewise, not the same as prophesizing one. Sorry.

There is only one time proven way to foresee the future of mankind. Simply depend on good old-fashioned human behavior to repeat the unlearned lessons of the past. Now that’s funny!

“Well, then what you’re saying is that any futures foretold by the cards, are simply events which are coming into being already? Then what’s the big deal? If these things can’t see the future, what good are they? HUH? WELL?”

Calm down and I will explain it all in three little words. Here and now. I guess that was really one sorta little word and two little ones.

HERE AND NOW

Imagine a straight line. If you are of limited imagination, a straight line has been provided. This line represents the straight and narrow pathway that you are on, and have been embarked upon since your last major life change i.e. marriage, birth, a new career, the heartbreak of psoriasis, spiritual upheaval, etc.

Now, anyone with clear knowledge of where they are (B) and where they have been (A) can now simply turn 180 degrees around to see where they are headed, (C)provided, of course, that there are no obstructions, such as uncontrolled desires, or in-laws blocking the view...or big old spiders.

Once the future is glimpsed, it can either be accepted, if you like what you see, or if not, changes in mind can change your present direction, which makes a new and different future all but certain. Change your mind and you change your future. That sounds logical, but don’t let this future stuff distract you.

Anxieties as mentioned above can alter or block the full view of your present destination. Obsessing on issues of time will cause you to become an active participant in the splendid agony of anxiety. Why does it hurt? Here and now is now there and gone, that’s why.

The past was only yours to influence when it was the present, and the future cannot be experienced until it too becomes the present. So the present is really where you want to be, right? Of course.

Easier said than done sometimes, for anxiety can leave you stranded in the future or past by putting itself between you and the here and now, the only place where a real person has any real power over future. It can make you feel out of touch, helpless, and, if left unchecked, can grow from mere doubt into genuine fear, and depression.

Do yourself a favor, and leave the time travel to the experts. Book yourself a flat in the here and now, and begin to appreciate and enjoy life in the only place and time that you really can.

One of the remarkable things which the tarot does, and with alarming regularity, is to aid in the stripping away of distractions that you think are really important, until all that is left is the lone soul, facing the one true issue that needs addressing. Like a spanking for the psyche, your attention suddenly becomes very focused.

Their ability in this capacity will not be disputed. The fact that the deck seems to know which issue has the most import to each person being read is a quality, which still baffles me after all these years. If there is any real magic in them, then it is here.

SO HOW DOES IT REALLY WORK?

Most clerics, witch doctors, cult leaders and analysts, when appropriate pressure is applied, will reluctantly admit that the spirit is the most direct link to the subconscious mind.

Of course the practitioners would like this information to be kept under secrecy, and you could hardly blame them. I mean, if all their followers/patients found out that they each held the keys to their own individual souls, and so their own destinies, the controllers would have to go out and get real jobs.

Lively religious rhetoric, hypnotic suggestion, the arts, spiritual media such as the Tarot and their like speak directly to the spirit rather than tripping over the logic which abounds in the more familiar parts of the conscious mind.

When read, some of the most pragmatic and logic-bound individuals can become quite spiritual, for as higher states of awareness are achieved, the mind learns to open up much faster, allowing blocks to be more easily removed or at least recognized. The seeds of change can then be planted much deeper, thus taking root better.

It’s like combining gardening and hypnosis, but without the chemicals, high costs, weeds and the lifelong reliance of repeat sessions. An added plus is that you won’t ever have to worry about finding out that you are the reincarnation of Catherine the Great, or suddenly turning into a chicken whenever someone says World Mental Health Organization.

INTRODUCTION TO THIS DECK

If you have ever seen a deck of Tarot cards before, then you will notice that the basic format has been left intact, but that some of the names have been changed to suit the author, so there! If, however, you have never seen Tarot cards before, well, you are just gonna have to trust me that the above is true, and read on.

As with most modern decks, you will find 78 cards in this one.

The modern Tarot deck is divided into Major and Minor arcana. (Latin, I believe.) The Major arcana are composed of 22 cards, and represent the most significant levels of passage through this particular discipline. These are the cards you see in the movies.

Joining in is the Minor arcana, which is made up of four 14-card suits, and are illustrative of the more normal experiences we run into everyday, right here in our little town.

Included in these “Minor” arcana are 16 court cards, which represent actual people who will come, or try to influence our paths by their actions or contributions. You will no doubt recognize a few of them already in your life.

Every card in the deck has a different meaning for each way it lands, whether right side up or upside down. This is where the Minor arcana can be the most trouble for beginners, and so here is where one of our improvements comes in.

Each minor card has a different illustration for each attitude. Whichever one is facing right side up, to the reader, is the more relevant. These also go into much more detail than, say, sticking more and more swords into that same body, for example. This immediately gives you 80 fewer things you have to already know before you can give a good reading, and also reduces the amount of graphic violence.

At last! No more wondering whether upside down means less than, greater than, equal to or the opposite of right side up. What could be easier?

THE SUITS

There are four suits of cards in the Minor arcana. Their names and definitions are as follows:

WANDS: Represent personality, movement, distinction or business.

KUPZ: Represent my personal favorite, love.

SWORDS: Represent endings and change.

PENTACLES: Represent reward, either spiritual or physical.

A reading in which a majority of minor arcana are of one suit over the others will give a general clue as to the subject matter of the reading. Any reading in which the majority of minor arcana land right side up is indicative of a smoother transition through the new changes. Or the dreaded opposite. OH NO, which brings me to…

ISN'T IT SUPPOSED TO BE SCARY

Better take a short break now to discuss one of the more important bits concerning the scary cards. There aren’t any. The cards can be no scarier than life itself. C’mon, there is fear enough in this world without the cards wanting to make it worse.

The discipline of the Tarot is progressive, as life should be. Unwarranted fear is counter-productive and therefore not progressive, unless, of course, you believe it is progressive to become more and more scared.

Fear should only be used to avoid actual physical harm and to help lift cars off of little kids, and even then, only after carefully reading, and understanding all safety precautions. After use it should be shut off and stored properly. It can get you into a lot of trouble, otherwise.

Three cards in particular give cause for pause. They include The Towers, The Devil, and, of course Death, or as we call him Mr. D. (I don’t know why there is no Spider card.) Grow up, will ya? These three stages in development are as vital to the soul as tetanus shots are to the body.

They only sting for a moment, and once studied closely you should feel at ease. These three cards should be looked forward to, rather than dreaded. Personally, I feel the Hierophant, (False Gods in this deck) to be the closest thing to a scary card, but most would probably not agree.

GETTING IT READY FOR YOU

Are we ready to play? To begin a reading, the deck must first be charged with the infravisable psychic energies of the person being read. We masters of the Tarot identify this phenomenon with a mystic name. Shuffling.

SHUFFLING

Many masters swear by a particular method of shuffling, each claiming to know the one true method. The truth here is that any method will work as long as it is one which can be repeated each time. This makes for a routine, which, when mastered, will make you appear as you know what you are doing. Cool, huh? There’s nothing wrong with a wee bit of romance and mystery, especially here.

When shuffling, you should remember that since each card has two meanings, there will be a need to break up the deck and turn the two halves, as shown.

After the deck has been properly charged, place it before you, the reader, and break it into three piles to your right. Return them to one pile in any order you wish. If you are reading someone else, have him or her repeat the same process. If you are alone and left handed, do this while sitting in front of a mirror.

Now, spread the deck out into an arc. (An arc is a curved line that…oh just look at the illustration.

Note: a tablecloth, or carpet, if on the floor, makes the spreading out of the arc easier and much more impressive.

Now the person being read will draw one card out of the arc, holding it until the reader picks up the remainder of the deck. Then it is placed in the middle of the reading area, face up for the studio audience to see. This first card is called the querant card. It represents the person being read, but may be someone the querant is concerned about.

If you consistently draw the “perfect” card for this step, get used to it. This is another of the quaint little mysteries about the Tarot which I haven’t figured out, just yet. Most of your readings will begin with just such a card.

Sometimes the querant will not even know that the card drawn illustrates the most important concern until you tell them. Then, in a surge of awe, they will look at you all glassy-eyed and say something like, “How did you know? You must have great powers of intuition.” Or maybe something more colorful.

My only guess, and I am going way out on this one, is that each of the cards is really blank, and whichever one is picked will automatically become the correct card. The only doubt is that since I drew the pictures myself…well, it must be something in the printing process.

We will now complete the lying out of a Celtic cross spread.

READING THE CELTIC CROSS

There are many, many, (add many more manys) ways to spread out the Tarot deck, some of which have been what I call “Hollywooded to death.”

One of the few popular spreads to thus far evade the careless and severely limited visions of most movie producers is the 11 card Celtic cross.

 

LEARNING FROM THE READING

If you like what you see after reading the spread, keep your life on an even keel and allow it to become real. However, if you see storm clouds a’ brewin’ it is as simple as reversing the directional trend of cards #5 and #7.

We sailors of the seas of life call this changing tack. Remember, change your mind and you change your present course, and therefore your future.

An option, and a favorite with my clients at the end of each reading, is for them to ask a series of yes or no type questions to clarify anything which was too vague. Then it is answered by throwing four additional cards across the center of the reading. Four, right side up, mean absolutely yes, while three mean just plain yes. Two mean not good right now and one is worse. None means none. Guess you can still try.

RESPONSIBILITY

If you are a beginner, I recommend that you read only yourself until you get the hang of it. Once you do begin to read others, try to be private and exclusive of outsiders, never forgetting the responsibility that comes with reading others.

A word on reading your close personal aquaintances. You know your friends in a whole new way if you take spiritual journeys with them. You soon will find out why a successful lifetime of memories usually will include very few true friends. You know, nasty little secrets and all that. Besides, change is easier faced when outside influences are safely silenced.

TEACHING YOURSELF FURTHER

There are quite a few very comprehensive manuals available, which go into more detail on all aspects of the Tarot…except humor. Many can be found right in your local book selling establishments. However, if you are unfortunate enough to live in one of the numerous spiritual vacuums where independent thought is frowned upon, you may have to settle for a trip to the web. Shhhh, they may be listening.

In closing this chapter, let me add this blessing; May your spirit become as a light to help others find their way…and who knows, maybe even make some money while you are at it.

THE MAKING OF THIS DECK

This deck was created and raised over an eighteen-year period, and like most 18 year olds fostered by my generation, it was conceived in a drunken stupor, and raised by one parent. “It seemed like a great idea at the time.”

Sure, after a few years it becomes second nature, and even an occasional source of pride, but what about my youth, well?

I actually began the drawings for this project while on a fishing boat, (not fishing though) in Blaine harbor, Washington during the autumn and winter of 1980; about as wet and depressing a place as a person could achieve awareness in, outside of prison, or, maybe Edmonton, Alberta.

‘Twas Soma I sought, however, and, by heck, that is just the kind of place you have to go to find it.

Now, at that time, I was studying the Aleister Crowley© tarot, one of the more scarious of the more scarious decks, although I preferred to see it as being brutally honest rather than scary.

My second master, and, incidentally, the one who passed the aforementioned deck on to me, once said that if I could find my way through that deck, I would either end up a master of light, or else a scientologist. Scary prospects, both.

This was when I realized the need to enlighten up the medium, and determined to do something about it. My destiny was crystal clear, except for the actual idea part.

Firstly, I would have to check the very limited resources available during those days. Alright, so far so good! It seems as though nobody had ever published a funny deck before. There were a couple of really far out ones that looked kind of funny, but they were obviously rendered by madmen, and barely understandable at all. Oh dear God, I wonder if this one is going to be funny to anyone else but me?

"Paranoia, the joke only you get."

ACTUAL MAKING OF THE CARDS

The first drawings were rendered directly onto hand-cut quadrangles, some of which were trapezoidal in nature. (A few may have even been rectangles, but let us not get carried away.) These were fashioned from poster board with the aid of some dull scissors and scotch. The illustrations were made manifest with a set of real old Rapid-o-graph technical drawing pens of different sizes. India ink was chosen as the media for delivery of the visual concept.

Upon completion, I used this original deck for years as an active tool while I worked out the bugs on the second, more advanced set. Alas, this second deck has been lost to history. (I think my mom has it.) The deck you see before you is the third edition.

"THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE MORE YOU REALIZE YOU DON’T KNOW"

That is why I chose to stop here and cash out. Life is short, but the tarot is eternal. I could have kept redrawing this thing forever, and still not include everything, and besides, I hadn’t even started writing this manual.

Several other good arguments for completion were that it would be unfair to the lucky seekers who would come after me if I did not at least leave a few questions for you all to solve. Plus: If you don’t throw your offspring out into the cruel, cold world by the end of their eighteenth year, you are bound to still have them around when they’re forty.

THE CARDS

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