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by author


The Boiardo 15th c Poem
Tarot history in brief

quotations from various people

Functions of Readings
What is Tarot?


Med. on XVIIII

Emily E. Auger

Tarot and Other Meditation Decks

L. Atkinson

Orphalese Software review

S. Arwen

Memory & Instinct

Kathy Berkowitz

Waite's Mystical Tradition (Pt 1)
Waite's Mystical Tradition (Pt 2)
Waite's Mystical Tradition (Pt 3)
Waite's Mystical Tradition (Pt 4)

Nina L. Braden

Tarot in Literature

David Brice

Birth of Tarot

Colin Browne

Square & Compasses Tarot

Lee A. Bursten

Journeys in Tarot Creation
Vachetta review


Review: The Lo Scarabeo Story

Ross G. Caldwell

Tarot History

Bonnie Cehovet

Tarology - Poetics of Tarot
Review: Secret of Tarot
The Mystereum Tarot

N. Chishty-Mujahid

Concerning Ghisi’s Laberinto

Craig Conley

A House of Tarot Cards

A.B. Crowther

Rachel Pollack interview

Jean-Michel David

On Paneurythmy and Tarot
Tarot's expression of the numinous
Yarker, Tarot & Arcane Schools
Waite-Smith Sun card
The Fool as Wandering Jew
Tarot as Christian Art
Education through Tarot
Tarot: the vatical & the sacral
Fortuna, Ass & Monkey
Steiner and Tarot
1701 Dodal restored!
Enc. Tarot vol I-IV: review
Christ, World & Sin
Caveat Emptor:
       Visual Tarot

Tarot & AlefBeit
Review: Jean Payen Tarot
Tarot and Freemasonry
I-Ching and Pip Cards
Whither directing your course?
Tarot & the Tree of Life
Ovid, Egypt and Tarot
When the Devil isn't the Devil
Four elements and the suits
Court Cards & MBTI
Certification & Codes
Jean Dodal Marseille
Conference FAQs
Golden Dawn
Kabalah & Tarot
Golden Tarot review
Annual spread
Iraqi Museum
Two Brief TdM reviews
Meditations on the Tarot

Enrique Enriquez

The Joy of Wordplay
J-C. Flornoy interview
Embodied Tarot
Indirect Suggestions
Whispering to the Eye

Mark Filipas

History of Egyptian Decks
Lexicon Theory

Jean-Claude Flornoy

in memorium
from Oral Tradition

Roxanne Flornoy

Children and Tarot
from Oral Tradition

Mary Greer

Killing the Thoth Deck
On the Tarot of the Four Worlds
Egypt, Tarot and Mystery School Initiations

William Haigwood

The Sixties: Counterculture Tarot

Alissa Hall

Parlour Tricks

Kris Hadar

The Tarot

Claas Hoffmann

Crowley-Harris 'Thoth' deck

Michael J. Hurst

Tarot Symbolism review

K. Frank Jensen

Century with the Waite-Smith

Shane Kendal

A Poetry of Tarot

Ken J. Killeen

The Metaphysical Bible

Barbara Klaser

Language of Tarot

E. Koretaka

Cardinal Virtues

Dovid Krafchow

Kabbalistic Tarot

Lisa Larson

Perceptions of Spirituality

Suzan E. Lemont

Therapeutic Tarot Work

Eric K. Lerner

Diloggun and Tarot

N. Levine

Tarot of Prague review

C. Liknaitzky

Journey in Ceramics

Joep van Loon

Tarot Wheel

Karen Mahony


S.J. Mangan

Fool, Alef & Orion

Robert Mealing

Petrarch’s Triumphs
Jean Noblet Tarot
Hunting the "true" Marseille Tarot
Cary Sheet

Fern Mercier

Playing the Fool

C. de Mellet

Inquiries into Tarot

Sophie Nusslé

Fantastic Menagerie

Robert V. O'Neill

Tarot Symbolism
Tower Iconology

Michael Owen

Xultun Tarot

Dan Pelletier

Magic Manga Tarot
the Blank Spot

Robert M. Place

The Fool's Journey

Debra Rosenthal

Looking at the Jacques Vieville

Mjr Tom Schick

Tarot Lovers Calendar

Inna Semetsky

Counseling Reading for Spouses
Learning the language of images
Re-Symbolization of Self
Tarot (dis)contents

Diana Sobolewska

'Bateleur's tale'

Russell Sturgess

Jesus's New Testament

N. Swift

Sufism & Tarot

Arthur E. Waite

Symbols of Tarot

The Fool as Wandering Jew

by Jean-Michel David

During Mediæval times, the legend of the wandering Jew gained popular recognition. I have previously (around 2003 on Aeclectic’s TarotForum) written some comments that indicates possible connections between the Fool and the Wandering Jew – what we shall be briefly looking at here are not only some of those references, but also weaving thoughts surrounding this legend with aspects of relatively recent political developments in light of Rudolf Steiner’s Christology… some of which will undoubtedly seem a little stretched or far-fetched to some. Still, here goes…

The Wandering Jew

The legend ultimately derives from a passage in Matthew that was expanded in typical mediæval fashion in order to begin to make sense of the words given therein. Mediæval Christian thought provides us with numerous wonderful stories, from infancy ‘gospels’ through to quite sophisticated theological treatises forming a substantive foundation for much that is still current in contemporary Christian understanding (for example, numerous contemporary works that are ultimately derived or in part based on the works of Augustine or of St Thomas Aquinas).

Let’s turn to the biblical source first and then make brief diversions elsewhere. The following is found in Matthew 16:27-28

For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels, and then he shall reward each according to their deeds. Truly I say to you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

From this arose a legend that finger-pointed not only to an ‘identifiable’ individual Jew, but also, through a sequence of thoughts, to the Jewish people as a whole. For example, in the fourth century Prudentius writes:

From place to place the homeless Jew wanders in ever-shifting exile, since the time when he was torn from the abode of his fathers and has been suffering the penalty for murder, and having stained his hands with the blood of Christ whom he denied, paying the price of sin.

Of course, in the above description it is in light of the destruction of the second Temple in the year 70 when Judea was under Roman annexation, effectively describing the increasing diaspora of Jewish life and the appalling view of Jews as ‘Christ-killers’ (seemingly at the same time forgetting that all early Christians, as well as Jesus himself, were of course Jewish). The Jewish folk were, in so many ways, ‘homeless’ or, rather, without a home in their own right in the promised land of their forebearers. The quote from Matthew also lead, in addition, to the specific query as to whom it was that Christ spoke. And here the legend points to a local dweller in Jerusalem at the time of Christ’s crucifixion. According to what is probably to most common tale, as Christ was passing by bearing the cross on his way to Golgotha, a local leather-smith ‘taunted’ Jesus urging him not to dawdle, for which Christ replied that whereas He was indeed stepping to his death, the taunter would now have to ‘wait and continue living until I return’.

There is an interesting twist in the story as it develops through time, as by the 17th century the taunter is named Ahasver – ironically the Persian fool-king mentioned in the Book of Esther and the basis of which forms the Jewish festival of Pushim.

In any case, we have by this stage both an individual as well as a people who are destined to walk the Earth without homeland until the second coming of Christ. Truly, one could say, a possible depiction of an itinerant wanderer that walks and is chased as an unwanted beggar-fool.

Christ’s return: Rudolf Steiner’s approach

Notwithstanding the various Christian views as to when this is to take place, Rudolf Steiner has a specific Christology that incorporates two particular characteristics: the first is that the return is as described in the Gospels, with directly piercing through the veil and seen by those who ‘have eyes to see’; the second is that a time is specified and has already taken place (and continues to so do). Let’s briefly look at these two points.

Again the reference is principally from Matthew, in this case 24:27-30 (though I skip 28-29 in what follows):

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. […]

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

This is very much an image similar to that usually represented by trump XXI in the earlier Marseille type: Christ in the ‘clouds’ (or bursting through a mandorla) also used for representations of the transfiguration and for ‘Christ in Majesty’ (as a side-note for those interested, the first section of the quote references Steiner’s ‘Foundation Stone Meditation’).

As Steiner describes the appearance or return of Christ (in, for example, The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric), he gives a date that effectively sees the ‘piercing through the clouds’ begin in the 1930s and continues from that time on. In light of this, for Anthroposophists (and others who similarly consider that the ‘Second Coming’ occurs in such a realm and began prior to WWII), the legend of the wandering Jew, if taken seriously, would see relief in his liberation through a well deserved and long overdue death. For the ‘wandering Jew’ collectively (in other words, as a people), it probably seems obvious that the establishment of Israel in the 1940s would provide some kind of ‘confirmation’ that Christ’s ‘return’ has taken place: the place of their home has been re-established and now provides rest in the promised land (albeit still all too tumultuous!).

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