What is a Harlequin?
One of the origins postulated for the modern Harlequin is Hellequin, a stock character in French passion plays. Hellequin, a black-faced emissary of the devil, is said to have roamed the countryside with a group of demons chasing the damned souls of evil people to Hell. The physical appearance of Hellequin offers an explanation for the traditional colours of Harlequin's mask (red and black).
Hellequin is the leader of la Mesnée d'Hellequin, thought to be related to the Old English Herla, a character often identified with Woden.
Although illustrations of Arlecchino have only been dated as far back as 1572, the character had existed before this date. The origins of the name are uncertain: some say it comes from Dante's Inferno, XXI, XXII and XXIII; one of the devils in Hell having the name Alichino.
Popular theories suggest that he may have come from France, Africa, or Italy.
The Harlequin character may have been based on or influenced by the Zanni archetype who, although a slow thinker, was acrobatic and nimble. Interpreted thus, Harlequin's distinctive motley costume may be a stylized variant of Zanni's plain white garb, designed to reflect the ad-hoc patching necessary to prevent the garment's degradation.
The primary aspect of Arlecchino was his physical agility. While generally depicted as stupid and gluttonous, he was very nimble and performed the sort of acrobatics the audience expected to see. The character would never perform a simple action when the addition of a cartwheel, somersault, or flip would spice up the movement.
Within these restrictions the character was tremendously elastic. Various troupes and actors would alter his behaviour to suit style, personal preferences, or even the particular scenario being performed. Some of the most famous actors were Tomaso Visentini ("Thomassin"), who performed with the Comédie-Italienne in 18th century France, and Tristano Martinelli.
He is typically cast as the servant of an innamorato or vecchio much to the detriment of the plans of his master. Arlecchino often had a love interest in the person of Columbina, or in older plays any of the Soubrette roles, and his lust for her was only superseded by his desire for food and fear of his master. Occasionally, Arlecchino would pursue the inamorata, though rarely with success, as in the Recueil Fossard of the 16th century where he is shown trying to woo Donna Lucia for himself by masquerading as a foreign nobleman. He also is known to try to win any given lady for himself if he chances upon anyone else trying to woo her, by interrupting or ridiculing the new competitor.
He eventually became something more of a romantic hero around the 18th century, when his popularity provoked the Harlequinade.
Duchartre lists the following as variations on the Harlequin role:
Trivelino or Trivelin. Name is said to mean "Tatterdemalion." One of the oldest versions of Harlequin, dating to the 15th century. Costume almost identical to Harlequin's, but had a variation of the 17th century where the triangular patches were replaced with moons, stars, circles and triangles. In 18th century France, Trivelino was a distinct character from Harlequin. They appeared together in a number of comedies by Pierre de Marivaux including L'Île des esclaves.
Truffa, Truffaldin or Truffaldino. Popular characters with Gozzi and Goldoni, but said to be best when used for improvisations. By the 18th century was a Bergamask caricature.
Guazetto. Costume like the old Zanni's but accessorized with a sort of poncho, or otherwise a giant three-tiered collar. Known for his dancing.
Zaccagnino. Character dating to the 15th century.
Bagatino. A juggler.
To dream of a harlequin cheating you, you will find uphill work to identify certain claims that promise profit to you.
If you dream of a harlequin, trouble will beset you.
To be dressed as a harlequin, denotes passionate error and unwise attacks on strength and purse. Designing women will lure you to paths of sin.
It is an omen for difficulties, one of his tricks fall victim: one will have trouble, certain claims which promise to a profit to recognise, stands for passionate mistake, strength squandering and pointless attacks on the purse, - also: calculating women threaten to dissuade to one from the path of the virtue.
Symbols Related to dream Harlequin
Masquerade - To dream of a gay masquerade party or ball predicts a surprise opportunity which could secure your future if you can summon up the courage ...
Costume - You can expect an astonishing turn of events and/or some really astounding news if your dream involved wearing or observing fancy dress. The omen is ...
Comedy - A sudden development of events which will advance your interest can be expected following a dream involving comic humour and/or fun, but the other details will alter the meanings...
Harlequin's clothing - The portent of a dream concerning clothes varies greatly with the details. It is a dream of contrary with respect to quantity, as the more ...
A Harlequin is a clown, so the dream suggests that someone or something is not serious, but is "clowning around."
The Fool Tarot card meaning deals with that youthful exhuberance we feel when starting out on a new adventure or taking a journey of faith. We feel anticipation, butterflies flutter in our stomach, and our skin prickles with excitement...our journey is underway - we're unstoppable!
However, along with this passion comes impetuousness. The Fool makes no plans, or gives no thought to possible complications along the way. Happy to be doing something different, the Fool blindly sets out where all else may fear to tread.
When contemplating the Fool Tarot card meaning, I think of Joseph Campbell's landslide statement: "Follow your bliss." We can see this attitude in this card, which is wonderful. But, we must also note the lack of care about consequences - blind faith is the Fool's only guide.
The Fool is titled Le Mat in the Tarot of Marseilles, and Il Matto in most Italian language tarot decks. These archaic words mean "the madman" or "the beggar", and may be related to the word for 'checkmate' in relation to the original use of tarot cards for gaming purposes.
In the earliest Tarot decks, the Fool is usually depicted as a beggar or a vagabond. In the Visconti-Sforza tarot deck, the Fool wears ragged clothes and stockings without shoes, and carries a stick on his back. He has what appear to be feathers in his hair. His unruly beard and feathers may relate to the tradition of the woodwose or wild man. Another early Italian image that relates to the tradition is the first (and lowest) of the series of the so called "Tarocchi of Mantegna". This series of prints containing images of social roles, allegorical figures, and classical deities begins with "Misero", a depiction of a beggar leaning on a staff. A similar image is contained in the German Hofamterspiel; there the fool (German: Narr) is depicted as a barefoot man in robes, apparently with bells on his hood, playing a bagpipe.
The Tarot of Marseilles and related decks similarly depict a bearded person wearing what may be a jester's hat; he always carries a bundle of his belongings on a stick slung over his back. He appears to be getting chased away by an animal, either a dog or a cat. The animal has torn his pants.
In the Rider-Waite Tarot deck and other esoteric decks made for cartomancy, the Fool is shown as a young man, standing on the brink of a precipice. In the Rider-Waite deck, he is also portrayed as having with him a small dog. The Fool holds a rose in one hand and in the other a small bundle of possessions.
In French suited tarot decks that do not use the traditional emblematic images of Italian suited decks for the suit of trumps, the Fool is typically made up as a jester or bard, reminiscent of the joker in a deck of playing cards.
Basic Tarot Symbols
The fool in colorful motley clothes, pack tied to a staff, a small dog, a cliff.
Basic Tarot Story
With all his worldly possessions in one small pack, the Fool travels he knows not where. So filled with visions, questions, wonder and excitement is he, that he doesn't see the cliff he is likely to fall over. At his heel a small dog harries him (or tries to warn him of a possible mis-step). Will the Fool learn to pay attention to where he's going before it's too late?
Basic Tarot Meaning
At #0 (or, in some decks, #22, the last card as much as the first of the Majors) the Fool is the card of infinite possibilities. The bag on the staff indicates that he has all he needs to do or be anything he wants, he has only to stop and unpack. He is on his way to a brand new beginning.
But the card carries a little bark of warning as well. While it's wonderful to be enthralled with all around you, excited by all life has to offer, you still need to watch your step, lest you fall and end up looking the fool.
As a card, the Fool ultimately stands for a new beginning often involving a literal move to a new home or job. The querent (meaning the sitter, or the one asking the cards for advice) might be starting to date again, or trying out some new activity. There's more than just change here, there is renewal, movement, and the energy of a fresh start.
In the Tarot, cards like The Magician or The Hermit can often stand for the querent or for someone in the querent's life. The Fool, however, usually stands for the querent, himself. They are back at zero, whether that be in romantic affairs, or career, work or intellectual pursuits. Far from being sad or frustrated by having to start over, however, the querent feels remarkably *free*, light hearted and refreshed, as if being given a second chance. They feel young and energized, as excited as a child who has discovered a new toyshop. Who knows what they will find on the shelves?
In addition, they likely have no idea where they're going or what they're going to do. But that doesn't matter. For the Fool, the most important thing is to just go out and enjoy the world. To see what there is to see and delight in all of it.
Unfortunately, this childlike state can make one overly optimistic or naive. A Fool can be a Fool. That business opportunity might not be so surefire or amazing as it seems, and that new lover might not be so flawless.
Like the Fool, you might be so busy sightseeing and imagining the possibilities that you completely miss the fact that you're about to go right off a cliff! The card advises that one listen to that watchful little dog, which might be a concerned friend, a wise tarot reader, someone harassing you from the sidelines, or just your instincts. However exciting new beginnings may be, you still have to watch your step.
In the various tarot card games such as French Tarot, Tarocchini and Tarock, the Fool has a unique role. In these games, the Fool is sometimes called "the Excuse". The tarot games are typically trick taking games; playing the Fool card excuses the player from either following suit or playing a trump card on that trick. Winning a trick containing the Fool card often yields a scoring bonus.
In depth Symbolism:
The Fool is the spirit in search of experience. He represents the mystical cleverness bereft of reason within us, the childlike ability to tune into the inner workings of the world. The sun shining behind him represents the divine nature of the Fool's wisdom and exuberance, holy madness or 'crazy wisdom'. On his back are all the possessions he might need. In his hand there is a flower, showing his appreciation of beauty. He is frequently accompanied by a dog, sometimes seen as his animal desires, sometimes as the call of the "real world", nipping at his heels and distracting him. He is seemingly unconcerned that he is standing on a precipice, apparently about to step off. One of the keys to the card is the paradigm of the precipice, Zero and the sometimes represented oblivious Fool's near-step into the oblivion (The Void) of the jaws of a crocodile, for example, are all mutually informing polysemy within evocations of the iconography of The Fool. The staff is the offset and complement to the void and this in many traditions represents wisdom and renunciation, e.g. 'danda' (Sanskrit) of a Sanyassin, 'danda' (Sanskrit) is also a punctuation mark with the function analogous to a 'full-stop' which is appropriately termed a period in American English. The Fool is both the beginning and the end, neither and otherwise, betwixt and between, liminal.
The number 0 is a perfect significator for the Fool, as it can become anything when he reaches his destination as in the sense of 'joker's wild'. Zero plus anything equals the same thing. Zero times anything equals zero. Zero is nothing, a lack of hard substance, and as such it may reflect a non-issue or lack of cohesiveness for the subject at hand.
In many esoteric systems of interpretation, the Fool is usually interpreted as the protagonist of a story, and the Major Arcana is the path the Fool takes through the great mysteries of life and the main human archetypes. This path is known traditionally in Tarot as the Fool´s Journey, and is frequently used to introduce the meaning of Major Arcana cards to beginners.
In his Manual of Cartomancy, Grand Orient has a curious suggestion of the office of Mystic Fool, as a part of his process in higher divination. The conventional explanations say that The Fool signifies the flesh, the sensitive life, depicting folly at the most insensate stage. When The Fool appears in a spread, he is a signal to strip down to the irreducible core, and interrogate whether the Querant's self-vision is obscured. It may also be a warning that significant change is coming. Another interpretation of the card is that of taking action where the circumstances are unknown, confronting one's fears, taking risks, and so on.
When contemplating the Fool Tarot card meaning, ask yourself the following questions:
Am I following my dreams?
Am I honoring my prime passion?
What would the Fool do in my situation?
What do I value most...my beliefs or my image?
Do I fear adventure or do I fear practicality?
If my life is my message...what kind of message am I sending?