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Le Mat (The Fool) in the Tarot de Marseille

Trump Card Number: (0) – Le Mat (The Fool)
Archetype: The Self (Unrealized)
Mythological: Dionysos, Bacchus
Element: Air
Hebrew Letter: א Aleph (Ox, Bull)
Tree of Life Path: Chesed to Geburah

Innocence, foolishness, eccentricity, adventure, journey, purity of action, potential, passion, spontaneity, choices, a free spirit, fearlessness, innocence, new beginnings, possibilities, trust in life, spontaneity, a leap of faith, seeking freedom.

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Imagery of Le Mat (The Fool):

A wandering traveler dressed in brightly patterned clothing is carrying his possessions wrapped in a small sack tied to a stick over his shoulder with his left hand. The stick also appears to be a long spoon. In his right hand he hold a walking stick to guide his way. The Fool is looking blissfully forward and above, existing in his own reality as he walks along. His only companion, a small dog, is trying to alert him of something and has started to pull The Fool back from his careless veering off the path. The Fool is wearing several bells on his clothing. His bull horn shaped hat has bells as does his belt and shoulder mantle. The Fool is shown as walking towards our right suggesting he is walking to the active conscious awareness.
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General Meaning of Le Mat (The Fool) in the Tarot de Marseille:

Le Mat embodies the figure of the pilgrim. He represents a young man dressed simply, holding in his right hand a stick, and in his left hand a wallet as luggage. Like the vagabond, Le Mat goes to unknown lands.
Placed at the beginning of the cycle in the Tarot de Marseille, he begins with determination a journey fraught with pitfalls in which he will have to face each of the lessons carried by the Tarot de Marseille. On his way to the World, Le Mat represents the hope of a new world; a world in which he would master each of the elements that surround him, be it materially or spiritually.
In his quest for knowledge, he perfectly embodies youth. Character little built but who wants to move forward, he does not pay attention to the obstacles that stand before him. This form of carelessness is represented by the dog trying to slow him down by clinging to him with his mouth. Le Mat resolutely advances towards a path whose outcome he does not know.
Preceding Le Bateleur (The Magician), Le Mat (The Fool) refers to a long journey, a quest towards the World motivated by the need to build and flourish in society.
 
Characteristics of the card: Moving forward, traveling or relocating, sexual vigor, going to meet, fidelity, freedom. He invites you to follow your ideal or signifies that you are on the right path. Le Mat (The Fool) forms a perfect couple with the star. Le Mat (The Fool) tells you that you are on the right path, you are facing freedom, and anything is possible. This Tarot Trump card is very favorable for travel and removals. He invites you to seek your ideal. In love Le Mat (The Fool) represents freedom and fidelity. He invites you to action, to move forward toward your goal.
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Le Mat (The Fool) Reversed Meaning:

The Reversed indicates that we are not on the right track. There is an unstable and delirious side. You refuse to move towards a better ideal and this can be a regression. It can also symbolize a problem with a move or a trip. In love, Le Mat (The Fool) can evoke infidelity if other cards also speak about it in the same draw. Hesitation, foolishness, indecisiveness, poor decision, taking risks, folly, stupidity, poor judgement, chaos, lack of direction, being gullible, naivety, blocks, restrictions, lacking adventure.
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The Esoteric Symbols of Le Mat (The Fool) in the Tarot de Marseille:

Sun – The sun is a symbol of hope, life and illumination. The sun is a source of light and warmth and sustains life on earth. one of the most important symbols in all of our world cultures. It was often a symbol of royalty. Egyptians and Romans used sun talismans for protection and success. It is often associated with active consciousness, power and creative energy. The sun is a symbol of expansion, growth, energy, and creativity. It symbolizes the awakening of our spiritual awareness, and represents our use of intellect. In contrast to the moon, it is the male principle representing passion, courage and vitality. The cult of Dionysus celebrated the sun’s birthday on December 25th and was later absorbed into the Christian calendar.
Fool – The card is called Le Mat which translates as something like, Madman or fool. This is perhaps indicative of the type of carefree lifestyle that the character in this card represents.
Beard – The beard is an ancient symbol of wisdom and endurance, the qualities of a great leader. The beard is a symbol of manhood, virility, and sovereignty. It is wisdom, a mark of the knowledge of the elders, and is often the mark of male dignity. The beard is the object of an oath, and that on which blessing or shame is spoken of as resting. The custom was and is to shave or pluck it and the hair out in mourning.
Dog – In Celtic and Christian belief a dog is loyal, protective and vigilant. In the ancient world dogs were associated with the underworld, where they acted like a guide and guardian. The dog is the first domesticated animal, and is symbolically associated with loyalty and vigilance, often acting as guardian and protector. 
Staff/Wand – The staff used from ancient times was used by shepherds to guide their flock and can is a symbol of protection and guidance. The staff can signify pilgrimage, magic (as in a wand) and support and stability we need to help us through life. This motif is echoed in the Hermit. In esoteric symbolism the staff represents the conduit or connector between heaven and earth. Magicians holding a rod or staff are a direct link to information of the spirit realms and earth realms. A wand is tool commonly used in ceremonial magic. As a symbol of one of the four suits of the tarot it represents the rulership and male phallus. Wands are associated with the event of fire.
Bag – A bag can  contain our essential items, or it can symbolize our past experiences. Large bags are associated with negative connotations (ie ‘too much baggage’). Bags that carry only personal essential items are lighter and not limiting.
Belt – A belt set with twelve bells that encircles the Fool’s waist. The bells are the twelve signs of the zodiac which represents a full year. A year is a complete unit of time. Twelve is also the number of the twelve tribes of Israel who who lost in the desert for 40 years.
Zero – The zero is a paradoxical number that has ‘no value’ yet it has a value. Its the only card that has an Arabic numeral on it. All the other cards have Roman numerals.

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