Playing the Fool: Understanding the Fool Card in the Tarot
The first card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot is the Fool.
There is a great deal of potential and innovation with this card. It almost stands in its own league with its implications of otherworldliness and the manifestation of what could be, as opposed to what is. The Fool comes just before the Magician and the Aces, which are all about a seed that has the potential to sprout.
Who is The Fool?
The Fool is all about the birth of a newly planted seed, hence its ethereal connotation. In the Tarot deck, the Fool is about to step off the edge of a cliff, a blissful expression on his face. A little white dog is yapping behind him, undoubtedly warning him of the dangers of stepping off the cliff. But the Fool doesn’t care; he has no idea of the perils that lurk below! Hence his name is the Fool! But what if there are no dangers? What if it’s simply a short fall and he can brush himself off and be on his merry way again?
The Fool represents all of us when we are about to embark on a new journey, often one which requires risk, passion and daring. Something we have never experienced before, offering a future that we could not even begin to imagine. The little white dog represents those around us who shout, “Are you mad? What are you doing?” when we decide to drop everything and go off into the wild unknown. The Fool defies all convention, all rules and everything we have ever known before. Our journey requires us to be bold and, above all, have faith that everything will turn out OK.
No matter what the Fool may be thinking or how ‘foolish’ they appear to others, the Fool has one thing that few are fortunate enough to possess: complete and total freedom of oneself, one’s environment and one’s future. This is why the Fool represents the birth card of the Tarot – babies come to Earth with no presumptions, no restrictions, no understanding of the challenges, perils or glory that may await. Like the Fool, they are completely innocent in their understanding of the world. It is a purity that, as adults, many of us smile and shake our heads at, which some even scoff at; but which many secretly yearn to return to.
Like all cards in the Tarot, the Fool’s meaning in a reading is dependent on the topic and, often, surrounding cards, though like all cards the essence meaning remains the same. Below are some possibilities that the Fool could refer to in various readings:
The Fool & Love/Relationships
In a love/relationship Tarot reading, if you are currently single, the Fool could mean embarking on a new romance with someone. The person may be nothing like anyone you’ve ever been with before and it is both exciting and passionate with plenty of potential; or you may have been deeply wounded by a past relationship and a new romance may be on the horizon. It would require courage and an element of risk-taking, because past wounds may still be deeply ingrained within you. It can also literally mean “Only fools rush in!” and may be erring on the side of caution.
If in a relationship, the relationship may be entering a new phase (such as moving in together, getting engaged or married); or it could mean that one person wishes to ‘break free’ and the relationship may be drawing to a close. Someone may not be ready for commitment. Look to surrounding cards for greater clarification.
The Fool & Health
In health Tarot readings, the Fool can mean that one’s health may be suffering due to careless or frivolous behavior. On the other end of the spectrum, it could mean that your health is getting better and this may be due to positive thinking, which can have a phenomenal effect on health in general.
The Fool can also be a warning against being accident-prone!
The Fool & Work
In a career/work Tarot reading, the Fool can mean that it is time to embark on what you feel is the right job or career for you, rather than doing something that everyone else wants you to do or that you feel you have been pushed into in some way. The Fool is a card of greater spiritual understanding and a sudden or dramatic shift in a new direction can simply be a case of someone deciding – often on a subconscious level – to follow their soul path. Such a move requires courage as there are usually people who express objection; but the Fool must be brave if he is to venture into the unknown.
It can also mean that you have some new and fantastic ideas to share with others in your workplace and should not be afraid to reveal them. Some may raise their eyebrows or scoff - but have faith that your idea is original and has its place in the world.
The Fool is a special card for writers and artists of all kinds. If it appears in a reading pertaining to creativity, it often marks the birth of a new and original piece of art. J.K. Rowling sitting on a train to London and having that first flash of inspiration for Harry Potter is a great example of a personification of the Fool card.
The Fool & Money
The Fool is often a lucky omen in terms of money. It often represents a gift from the Universe which could include a promotion, inheritance or better job. One way or another, there is likely to be an increase in finances.
The Fool in a money reading requests the sitter to have faith that, no matter what, everything will be alright financially in the end.