by Michael Maciel
Ever wonder what the little white dog symbolizes in The Fool card of the Tarot?
Think of it this way: if the Tarot were an Eastern system of enlightenment, the little white dog would be a little brown monkey—the “monkey mind.”
Buddha compared our unruly thoughts to hundreds of monkeys screeching and running wild in the trees of our consciousness. But in the West, we don’t have monkeys except in zoos. Instead, we have dogs—lots and lots of dogs.
Is there anything more annoying than an undisciplined dog? The only thing worse is undisciplined thoughts barking at you all night inside your brain.
But you can’t put your thoughts in a cage like you can a dog or a monkey.
Caging a dog isn’t the same as training it. It’s not good for the dog, and it goes against nature—yours and the dog’s. Both of you will be miserable.
This is where the little white dog in the Tarot comes in. It symbolizes our thoughts. Notice how it stays close to its master. But more importantly, notice where it’s looking—it’s looking up at him.
This little bit of symbolism is a lesson in attention. The Fool’s attention is on Super-consciousness; the dog’s attention is on the Fool.The Fool represents our innermost self, the Spirit. Its attention is always on God. So, when we place our attention on our innermost self, our thoughts are naturally directed upwards into realms of peace and harmony.
Instead of running all over the place, our thoughts are constantly looking within. When we are confronted with a problem, we first look there, to the place where everything tends towards balance and reconciliation.
Our attention is master to our thoughts. Where it goes, our thoughts will follow.
If you want to learn how to train your mind, get a book on how to train dogs. It will tell you everything you need to know.
Or, visit Margot Whitney‘s blog on Tarot Symbolism, Gates of Light.
Why is our innermost self called “The Fool”? Because it is non-rational, or supra-rational. Our innermost self is greater than our mind, greater than our intellect. It is our point of connection to the All.
Some more symbolism to ponder… Thank you very much.
Your note is conflicting, non-rational vs supra-rational. Calling the self The Fool, to the mind, is a derogatory statement. The bottom line, for me, is that the Self is a Fool, from the mind’ s perspective.
Hey Michael! That little dog is your earthly friend. Treat it well; feed it wholesome foods; discipline it. It will become a blood hound for mysteries and a guard dog for falsities. Remember in the Papus deck, the dog is chasing the Fool down the road, nipping at his heels. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case for most until they learn to train “man’s best friend.”