Universal Tarot

by Massimiliano Filadora & Roberto De Angelis

published by Lo Scarabeo

paperback, 159 pages


Published by the company that makes the Universal Tarot deck (and others), this book uses images from those cards, but can be used as a guide to accompany any Rider Waite based deck.


Descriptions and interpretations of the Major aracana are given two pages each, minor aracana cards a single page.  Every card is described under the categories:


  • The image
  • Symbolism
  • The Arcanum
  • Meaning
  • Light
  • Shadow
  • Zodiac


There are no upright and reversed interpretations but, depending on how you read the cards, you could choose to refer to the light and shadow sections as such.


The book also contains:


  • Introduction
  • Introduction to the Major Arcana
  • Introduction to the Minor Arcana
  • Instructions for Divinatory Readings (with card layouts)


Here's what the book has to say about The Fool (illustrated above):


"0 - The Fool


The Image

A carefree youngster, looking amimlessly up at the sky, is walking over the edge of a precipice without worrying about falling into the abyss below.  The youngster is wearing eccentric and multi-coloured clothes, and his only luggage is a modest bundle hanging from a stick.  He is holding a small red flower tightly in his left hand, and he looks as though he's lost in his own daydreams.

A radiant sun shines high in the sky.  At his feet, a small white dog is barking at him, perhaps trying to issue a warning.



Tied to the stick over the Fool's shoulder is a bundle holding his possessions: the combined experiences of all humanity, referred to, in psychological terms, as the collective unconscious.  The bundle is not touching the ground - a sign that the Fool is slowly abandoning a material point of view in order to embrace a different type of logic.

the dog is a well-known symbol of faithfulness, but read a different way, it can also be seen as an incarnation of instinctive energies.  In any case, it accompanies the Fool on his journey, warning him of any possible dangers.  This character's eccentric clothes indicate his various contradictory thoughts and his general diversity compared to the norm.  The small red flower the Fool is holding tightly in his left hand (on his non-rational side) represents his secret heart: a small token of hope or an awareness of his immortal soul that cannot be taken away.


The Arcanum

It is said that the Tarot's initiatory journey, the hero's journey, finishes with the spiritual completion of Arcanum XXI, the World. But here is a new card, and its number - zero - emphases its eccentricity.  In his own way the Fool is part of the cycle of the other 21 Arcana, at the same time, he represents both its beginning as well as its end.  Imagine the Arcana laid out in numeric order in a circle.  The Fool is the one who provides the first creative impulse necessary to start the Magician's journey, but the Fool is also a representative of unknown beyond the World - the unknowable.

The Arcanum has two quite distinct (yet undeniably connected) faces.  The Fool personifies the highest possible level of evolution; yet at the same time, because he does not belong to anyone (not even himself), he lacks responsibility, is ignorant of the rational ways of the world, and is prone to becoming a victim of influence.

Maybe this Arcanum conceals the great secret of the Tarot journey.  In its itinerary, consciousness must break away from a childlike, carefree view of the cosmos in order to determine and understand reality.  Then, as adults, we finally go back to the innocence of our own infancy, regaining what we had in the beginning.  The card shows us a new phase of life in which it is better to forget every preconceived idea and expectation.  We must simply, with the expectation of a child, let go.



This card can indicate carelessness and lightness, and, in general, a certain immaturity and dispersion of energy.  More often, though, the Fool gives us the chance to start from stratch, in one or more parts of our life.  This mustn't be seen as a withdrawal.  Life offers us a change:  the rules that used to have value are now empty and deprived of sense.  To ask oneself how such things could happen or to trust in rationality is, at this point, a waste of time.

The Fool makes us laugh at ourselves, regaining a childlike, innocent curiosity and sense of wonder.  He travels towards the unknown, with an inner feeling of complete trust and openness towards life.  In this moment, anything can happen.



Freshness.  Search for Utopia.  Optimism.  Instinct.  Curiosity.  Rebellion.  Freedom from preconceptions.



Naivety.  Childish feelings.  Inconclusive action.  Confusion.  Day dreaming.  Irresponsibility.  Chaos.



Pisces/Ariel.  Mercury"




Filadora, M. & De Angelis, R. "Universal Tarot"