The Fool refers to an unconditioned soul, someone who is pure and innocent. She is ready to start learning her lessons in this big wide world. She is ready to take that first step and get things started. The Fool always stands for new experiences and new beginnings. These are neither positive nor negative to begin with. Only time will tell whether the new path turns into a positive experience or negative one. She lives in the present and trusts herself and her skills and abilities. You may fail, but there will always be the change. Take your chances and jump into the unknown. This is the message of the Fool.
Skip to Reversed Meaning
UPRIGHT: Beginnings, innocence, spontaneity, a free spirit REVERSED: Holding back, recklessness, risk-taking
UPRIGHT: Beginnings, innocence, spontaneity, a free spirit
REVERSED: Holding back, recklessness, risk-taking
Beginning a journey, open to learning.
In the Tudor courts, a fool served a wonderful purpose. They were often the only court member allowed to speak the truth to the King or the Queen and not lose their head. Disguising wise words in jokes, or the ramblings of a fool, they were often the only source of truth for Queen Elizabeth on gossip about her, how her actions played with her subjects, or unpleasant realities. Is there some truth you need see?
The Fool is a card of new beginnings, opportunity and potential. Just like the young fool, you are at the outset of your journey, standing at the cliff‘s edge, and about to take your first step into the unknown. Even though you don’t know exactly where you are going, you are being called to commit yourself and follow your heart, no matter how crazy this leap of faith might seem to you. Now is a time when you need to trust where the Universe is taking you.
As you undertake this new journey, the Fool encourages you to have an open, curious mind and a sense of excitement. Throw caution to the wind and be ready to embrace the unknown, leaving behind any fear, worry or anxiety about what may or may not happen. This is about new experiences, personal growth, development, and adventure.
The time is NOW! Take that leap of faith, even if you do not feel 100% ready or equipped for what is coming (who knows what it could be?!). Seriously, what are you waiting for? Do you think you need to have everything mapped out before you can begin? No way! Not with the Fool. She ventures out on his journey with just his essential belongings – and now she invites you to do the same. You don’t need to wait for someone to give you the green light or hold off until you have all the skills, tools and resources you think you might need. You are ready! If you’ve been watching for a sign, this is it!
This is a time of great potential and opportunity for you right now. The world is your oyster, and anything can happen. Use your creative mind with a dash of spontaneity to make the most of this magical time and bring forth your new ideas in powerful ways.
The Fool is your invitation to relax, play, and have fun. Treat life like one big experiment and feel yourself in the flow of whatever comes your way. This card asks you to embrace your beautiful, carefree spirit, allowing yourself to connect to the energy that surrounds you and flows through you. Tap into your fullest potential by stepping into a place of wonderment, curiosity and intrigue. Live life as though you were a child once again. Laugh more, dance, and let your heart go free.
This is an excellent card to meditate on if you are struggling with dread, worry or self-doubt in your life. The Fool is your guide, as someone who is daring and carefree. She is the embodiment of who you really are – your free spirit, your inner child, and your playful soul. Any time you experience fear, remember the essence of the Fool as she encourages you to acknowledge that fear and do it anyway! You never know what the future holds, but like the Fool, you must step into the unknown, trusting that the Universe will catch you and escort you along the way. Take a chance and see what happens.
Clad in colorful motley as in medieval times, the fool dances as her small dog watches at her feet. Her arms are wide open. The fool represents the potential of new energy entering our lives, a time when anything is possible. She also reminds us that at times we must take a leap of faith. She can enter or depart at any phase of the cycle of life.
This card can be a call to adventure, an admonition to look before you leap, or the harbinger of new opportunities. It may be a sign that you need more spontaneity or child-like enthusiasm in your life. When the fool appears in a reading we are reminded that life is often unpredictable and our best course is to open up to the new energy.
With all her worldly possessions in one small pack, the Fool travels she knows not where. So filled with visions, questions, wonder and excitement is she, that she doesn’t see the stick she is likely to trip over. At her feet a small dog watches (or tries to warn her of a possible mis-step). Will the Fool learn to pay attention to where she’s going before it’s too late?
At #0 (or, in some decks, #22, the last card as much as the first of the Majors) the Fool is the card of infinite possibilities. The bag on the staff indicates that she has all she needs to do or be anything she wants, she has only to stop and unpack. She is on her way to a brand new beginning.
But the card carries a little bark of warning as well. While it’s wonderful to be enthralled with all around you, excited by all life has to offer, you still need to watch your step, lest you fall and end up looking the fool.
Other Observations on the Fool
As a card, the Fool ultimately stands for a new beginning often involving a literal move to a new home or job. The querent (meaning the sitter, or the one asking the cards for advice) might be starting to date again, or trying out some new activity. There’s more than just change here, there is renewal, movement, and the energy of a fresh start.
In the Tarot, cards like The Magician or The Hermit can often stand for the querent or for someone in the querent’s life. The Fool, however, usually stands for the querent, herself. They are back at zero, whether that be in romantic affairs, or career, work or intellectual pursuits. Far from being sad or frustrated by having to start over, however, the querent feels remarkably *free*, light hearted and refreshed, as if being given a second chance. They feel young and energized, as excited as a child who has discovered a new toyshop. Who knows what they will find on the shelves?
In addition, they likely have no idea where they’re going or what they’re going to do. But that doesn’t matter. For the Fool, the most important thing is to just go out and enjoy the world. To see what there is to see and delight in all of it.
Unfortunately, this childlike state can make one overly optimistic or naive. A Fool can be a Fool. That business opportunity might not be so surefire or amazing as it seems, and that new lover might not be so flawless.
Like the Fool, you might be so busy sightseeing and imagining the possibilities that you completely miss the fact that you’re about to go right off a cliff! The card advises that one listen to that watchful little dog, which might be a concerned friend, a wise tarot reader, someone harassing you from the sidelines, or just your instincts. However exciting new beginnings may be, you still have to watch your step.
The Fool Reversed
The positive potential meaning: a completed journey
The Fool reversed suggests that you have conceived of a new project but aren’t ready to ‘birth’ it into the world just yet. You may worry that you are not fit or that you don’t have all the tools, skills and resources you need to make this project a success. Or perhaps you have a sense that the timing isn’t right. Something is holding you back, and you are preventing yourself from moving forward. You may choose to keep this new opportunity to yourself for now, or you might be ‘parking’ it until a better time.
You may fear the unknown, wondering, ‘What am I getting myself into?’ As a result, you have come to a standstill, worried about taking any action where you don’t know the outcome. This often boils down to the need to control everything. Balance this out with knowing that the Universe has your back and you can take this step forward, even if you are unsure of exactly what will happen next.
On the flipside, the reversed Fool can show that you are taking too many risks and acting recklessly. In your attempt to live ‘in the moment’ and be spontaneous and adventurous, you may do so in total disregard of the consequences of your actions and engaging in activities that put both yourself and others at risk. Look at the bigger picture and consider how you can keep the free spirit of the Fool without harming others.
In light of the playful and fun energy of the upright Fool, the reversal suggests you are exploring this spirit on a more personal and quiet level. For example, instead of letting down your hair and dancing up on stage, you are dancing in your bedroom like no-one is watching. Look at how you can bring more play into your daily life, even if you start out by doing it in private.