The Fool Tarot card depicts a young man happily making his way in the world, blithely unaware he is about to step off a cliff. With a bag on a stick holding his belongings and his loyal dog following him, he holds in his free hand a flower. The sun beams from above and behind him are mountains.
The Fool can appear at the start of the Tarot or the end signifying how the circle of life repeats itself. We are all the Fool and we must all learn our own lessons as we journey through life. That journey, the Fool’s journey, is depicted in the remaining cards of the Tarot.
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Like many of the Tarot cards, the simple images hold a greater meaning when studied. Symbols like the sun, animals, cliffs and the central character all need to be studied to reveal the hidden or subtle meaning within the card.
As The Fool, we are aware only of our immediate surroundings. We see neither danger nor ethereal worlds. A newborn baby has no fear of heights nor worries about the spirit or material world – only that its immediate needs are met. In the first card of the Tarot, the Fool symbolises our ignorance of what lies ahead. The Fool is leaving the heights (the heavens / spirit world / higher plane) where he has been and is about to step off and fall to the material world. Like the newborn baby, it is only his immediate thoughts that concern him and he pays no attention to what may come next or where he is going. The flower the Fool holds in his left hand is another symbol of our innocence.
The bag the Fool carries is curious. Like a traveler of old, it holds all his belongings, the items he needs for this journey. We can only speculate what is in the bag but we should be confident that we have at our disposal all the things we need to travel this journey we are about to embark on. That may be our principles, beliefs, past experiences, past lives, sense of wonder or curiosity. It may be our ability to deduce answers from hidden signs. Whatever it is, the Fool saw fit to bring it with him and we need to trust inner selves that we have also brought everything we need into this life with us.
Fortunately, by the time we reach the second card of the Tarot, The Magician, we can see all things we brought with us. All we have to do is figure out how to use them!
In readings, the Fool symbolises a new journey. This can be spiritual, emotional or even a physical journey. We should be aware that there is a purpose to this journey like every journey we make. It may not be immediately obvious at first but as we travel we will learn and understand why we set out.
Just like the Fool walking off the cliff, this card tells us that to get anywhere we have to take the first step. We might not know all the steps, but getting started is half the battle. Along the way, our journey will twist and wind and yes, sometimes we’ll step off a cliff. That too is part of the journey but remember that we are carrying everything we need. There is a lesson to be learned with each step and through learning, we grow and we evolve.
The Fool encourages us to be carefree. At stressful times in our lives it is not uncommon to have the Fool appear in readings. It urges us to let go of our worries and to make our next step without stress or fear, to become almost Fool like and trust that we will be just fine. On a deeper level, this is telling us that if we can align ourselves with our deepest emotions and thoughts, the universe has our back. In this state, it won’t matter what cliff we walk off because everything will unfold for us.
When we are in misalignment, or when we are following paths in our lives that do not match our emotional or spiritual beliefs, that is when we experience pain, stress and sadness.
The dog that accompanies the Fool is curious. It could be barking at him, jumping up to get his attention and warn him of the fall he is about to have. Very often, we are tuned out from what is going on around us. We miss the signs the universe give us – continually. We talk ourselves out of our gut feelings and instincts and then we are surprised when we take a big fall or things don’t turn out the way we thought they would. Listen to the Universe because it is constantly sending signals and signs your way. Even in the form of a little white dog by your side. Everything is alive with energy in the universe, it is all connected and it is all pointing the way for you – if you can bring yourself to tune into it.
When The Fool appears in readings, upright or reversed, we should pay special attention for any special messages. These may appear in dreams, birds, sensations, chance encounters or even in a conversation with somebody else. The earth and the spirit world has a unique way of passing her messages to us and our failure to recognise them stems from our lost ability to listen out for them.
The Fool Reversed
The Fool reversed can imply that we are not yet ready to make a journey. Perhaps it is ourselves that are blocking us from starting out. We may be fearful, intimidated or worried about the outcome. We should examine our reasons for not taking the next step and then let them go.
This is a classic card to get when we have the urge to take a journey but we convince ourselves for whatever reason that we shouldn’t. This journey could be physical in nature, emotional or spiritual. We literally talk ourselves out of starting what we know deeply needs to be done. We listen to our ego’s rather than our instinct, we ignore or repress our emotional state and we become our own biggest energy block.
Reversed, the Fool may also imply that we are undertaking actions without any thought for the consequences. We are literally, acting the fool and if we do not pay heed to our actions, we will step off the cliff. This is the headlong rush or the jumping without looking. Are we being naive about what we are doing? When the Fool appears like so, we should make time to consider our journey or what we have been doing.