Thoth / Marseilles Fool

marseiilesfoolI was actually researching  some iconography of The World when The Fool came up 😉

I was chasing the origin of the donkey that plays the harp (he turns up in Romanesque frames of the Heavens/ City of God)  and ran into this character:

I was struck by how much he seems to be referenced in the Thoth deck- sharply contrasting Waite’s very Apollonian Fool.  I went digging back in Uncle Al. No direct mentions (though asses abound) but I feel sure he’s there. The image does look kind of flayed- no eyelids. Full of wind and wine. A variant of Pan/Bacchus associated with freedom of speech. A very Thelemite hero.

And of course the Marseilles fool in his Phrygian cap is depicted with something tearing off his layers- the ambiguity of clothing and skin persists across the early variants. Of course that could just be the stripping of a sacrificial cereal deity, but maybe that cap has asses ears underneath?

Jungians- note the connection with Wise Old Guide.

Does anyone know if Marsyas has any political significance in modern Italy? I’m also thinking of the Visconti Hanged Man as political rebel/Fool inverted.

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