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The Fool Card and Its Various Meanings in Tarot

Andrea has a background in astrology, Myers Briggs, and pop culture with expertise in relationships and dating.

The Fool in Tarot represents the Self. Tarot is seen as the Fool's journey. The cards are the encounters the Fool comes across along his or her quest.

The Fool in Tarot represents the Self. Tarot is seen as the Fool's journey. The cards are the encounters the Fool comes across along his or her quest.

The Fool in Tarot

The Fool is an unnumbered card in the Tarot deck and can be used as a zero or the number 22. The Fool is the protagonist of the deck, and this card often represents the person who has asked for a reading. Tarot is considered the Fool's journey (it could also be called the Hero's journey) because the Fool represents the Self.

The deck is made up of 78 cards that represent different scenarios most people go through in their lifetime. The deck is made up of the Minor Arcana and the Major Arcana. The Minor Arcana follows the four suits: wands, pentacles, swords, and cups. Each suit has an Ace, the numbers two through ten, a page, a knight, a queen, and a king.

The Major Arcana is made up of circumstances, events, items, and people that don't fit in the Minor Arcana. The Fool might run into the Devil, the High Priestess, or the Sun.

The Fool is someone who is called to go on a journey to gain wisdom, to go on an adventure, or to accomplish a large task. The Fool is usually initiated into this quest by the Magician. The Magician has more years on the Fool, and the Magician card is the number one card.

Both the Fool and the Magician are cards with the air element's influence on it. The air encourages the Fool to find clarity, to gain wisdom, to develop his or her intuition, and to taste the fruit of knowledge. Without air's influence, the Fool wouldn't be inspired to take on a new journey, to explore a new career, to find a romantic partner, or to leave their parents' home.

There are four elements in the Tarot. Those elements are based off Western Astrology. Those four elements are: fire, earth, air, and water.

  • Fire = Wands
  • Earth = Pentacles (Coins, Diamonds)
  • Air = Swords
  • Water = Cups

The Fool is often described as a bumbling youth. They haven't experienced too much hardship yet. They haven't experienced a great deal outside of their hometown. They have a great amount of potential because they're only at the beginning of their quest.

New beginnings and potential are at the root of the Fool card. This card doesn't have to relate to someone young but to someone who has started a new career, moved to a new city, recently fallen in love, or got a new pet. The key here is there is a newness or freshness to the air. The Fool is someone who hasn't garnered a great deal of experience yet, instead they're overflowing with possibilities.

The Fool will appear different in different decks. Certain characteristics tend to be the same: a youth standing at an edge, a dog with them, mountains or buildings in the background, bright colors, and a stylish outfit.

The Fool will appear different in different decks. Certain characteristics tend to be the same: a youth standing at an edge, a dog with them, mountains or buildings in the background, bright colors, and a stylish outfit.

Upright: beginnings, youth, innocence, free spirit, potential, new, excitement, naive, possibilities, quest, hero, branching out, reaching out, explore and discover, budding, foraging.

Reversed: reckless, immature, risk taker, unkempt, wild, unreserved, gambler, frenetic, unyielding, menace, off track, winnowing potential, holding onto childhood or adolescence.

  • Since the Fool card can be used as a zero or trump, the card doesn't have a specific spot in the sequence of Tarot cards.
  • Tarot, in a sense, lays out a plot. The cards were first created for entertainment purposes and later were used for divination purposes.
  • The Fool can be placed at the beginning or the end of the Major Arcana.
  • Since the Fool represents the Self, he is ever present. He doesn't need a number or a point of reference to bring attention to him. The other cards are in relation to him.

Card Description

The Fool is usually depicted as a young man or woman standing on the edge of a cliff. The person doesn't seem to have any worries. They're excited about the world and have set out on a new quest.

The young adult looks toward the sky. The person seems to be unaware that they could slip off the edge. Over the shoulder, they carry a bag with all the essentials: a couple of clothes, some food, and maybe a wooden dagger. Basically, the Fool isn't carrying very much. They haven't gained many possessions yet. (They're like a level one character in a video game.)

The Fools holds a white rose in their left hand. The flower represents purity and innocence. A white dog rests at their feet symbolizing loyalty and protection. The flower reminds the Fool of their core nature. The dog gives the Fool security. The Fool recognizes it is time to go forward to learn the lessons fate has put before them.

The mountains in the background symbolize the challenges the Fool will encounter at a later point, like not having enough food, running into a battle, unrequited love, or the death of a dear friend.

The Fool at the beginning of their journey isn't worried about challenges. They're more concerned about starting the new adventure. Worries can wait.

The Fool has a great deal of potential. This is someone who is willing to take on a quest, to leave their hometown, and to learn from the world rather than hide from it.

The Fool has a great deal of potential. This is someone who is willing to take on a quest, to leave their hometown, and to learn from the world rather than hide from it.

The Fool Card's Symbols

Card ElementMeaning

Person standing on the edge of a cliff

Standing on the edge of a new adventure, having little to no worries, little to any fear of death.

White rose in left hand

Purity, innocence, youth, clarity.

White dog at feet

Companion, loyalty, protection, encouragement for an adventure.

Sunshine

A new day, a new dawn, the Sun has only just begun to rise, unlocked potential

Knapsack

Limited materials, prepared for a journey, limited amount of experience

Yellow

Relates to the air element

Looking to the sky

Excited about dreams, excited about the unknown, trusting fate

Mountains in the background

Challenges in the future

Yellow boots

Travel, speed with air. One foot isn't planted on the ground. Things are not necessarily steady nor stable. The youth is overly excited and naive.

The green cloak of yellow and orange flowers, and the white tunic.

The Fool's clothes are mostly yellow, green, and orange. The Fool is in tune with air, earth, and fire but not necessarily water. The Fool will take longer to learn about and master emotions.

Upright Fool

When the Fool is revealed in the upright position, it signifies new beginnings. The Fool represents those first steps into the unknown. Even though the Fool doesn't know where it's going, they're definitely being called into a particular direction.

The Fool needs to take a leap of faith. You can't have everything spelled out for you. Some of the best journeys start with a simple yes. You can plan things more once you have accepted the call.

The Fool card is about accepting the Universe's path for you. Fate and free will are mixed together in one journey. Think of it this way: you guide your footsteps, but physics is the fate that brings each footstep to the ground.

The Fool card encourages you to open your mind. Be curious. Try a different walk. Talk to new people. Try something you have never tried. Let go of worries and anxieties, don't let those hold you back. Now is the time for personal growth.

Things to Try If There Is an Upright Fool in Your Reading

  • Learn languages even though you're not sure who you'll meet.
  • Learn to play instruments, and you'll one day find people who want to play with you.
  • Go on trips even if you don't know everything about the place.
  • Date someone if it feels right. You don't know where the journey will take you, but it should be a lovely one.

The Fool is about the present. There is an immediacy and urgency to the now. Don't wait until you're fully equipped. Start applying to things, send out your writings to publishers, don't be afraid of rejection. The journey will come with rejection. Accept it.

Don't wait for someone to tell you yes. Just go. Don't procrastinate on building your skills. Keep learning even if you don't know if you're making progress.

The Fool is about creativity, boldly putting yourself forward, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. You want experiences, not to just sit idly back and observe. You want to allow your individuality to shine through.

The Fool is an invitation to play. The Fool is considered a playful card, not a worker bee. Get in touch with your carefree side, do what makes you happy, treat yourself. Be wild for a few hours.

Getting the Fool card could mean you need to get in touch with your inner child. Remember what made you happy as a child. What makes you feel young and free? Don't let the adult world burden you so much that you can't get out of bed anymore. Find what springs joy.

The Fool card is perfect for meditation. It reminds you of your soul, what you want to do, and your hopes and dreams. You're allowed to put your fears on mute.

The Fool reversed may mean you need to reign it in a little bit. Maybe you need to get more in touch with your spirit. Put on the brakes, so you don't come off reckless.

The Fool reversed may mean you need to reign it in a little bit. Maybe you need to get more in touch with your spirit. Put on the brakes, so you don't come off reckless.

Reversed Fool

If the Fool comes out of the deck reversed, it means you have a new project on the horizon but you're not ready for it at this time. You could be in a relationship but don't quite have the resources yet for marriage. You could be working on your master's but you're not close enough to start your thesis.

You might also have worries that you're not a good enough fit, that you're an impostor, or you'll never be successful. Something, one way or the other, feels off. Maybe you moved to a city, and it's a bad fit. The timing is wrong.

You might feel you need to put your new opportunity on pause. Maybe you're in the middle of publishing a book, but you and the company are having to go slower due to the number of staff, the density of the work, or personal issues.

Whereas the Fool upright is about diving into the world without fear, the Fool reversed is about fear of the unknown and taking a step back. You may have restless thoughts, apathetic actions, or the like. You want to control things around you. You want the Universe to open up your path already, so you try to take matters into your own hands but fail. Your trust with the Universe, your community, and yourself are all over the place. Your life is out of whack and preventing you from going forward with your personal journey.

In reverse, the Fool encourages you to think about how your actions have consequences. The risks you take can have negative outcomes for you and others. Look at the bigger picture. Think about larger goals. Continue to have a free spirit but not at the expense of others.

The reversed Fool encourages you to examine your spirit. You're encouraged to study yourself and the joy you have on a quiet level. Instead of ambling out into the big round world, go to a closet and discover more of your imagination, your memories, and what you treasure in your heart.

Learn to find your playful spirit when you are alone. Learn to consider adventures from the comfort of your room and without materialistic stimuli. Close your eyes, turn off the playlists, and focus on your inner world. Learn to have better sleep hygiene to have better dreams. When your dream world is full of joy, it will overflow into your conscious world.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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