The fool tarot card is one that varies widely from one tarot deck to the next. Some give it the number 0, some place it at the end, at number 22. In his Pictorial Key to the Tarot, A.E. Waite even chose to place it between the 20th and 21st arcana. What are the meanings of the fool in tarot, and what can you understand when you encounter it in a tarot reading?
Description of the Fool
While there are many different tarot decks, the common element found in most of them for the fool in tarot is a young, careless person, seemingly happy and unaware of a rather dangerous situation (often standing near a cliff, or next to wild animals, etc.).
There is often a dog behind him, which often seems friendly and just as carefree as The Fool, but can also be pictured as a growling menace in some tarot decks.
Traditional keywords associated with the fool card
Upright: Folly, extravagance, carefree attitude, delirium, frenzy, spontaneity.
Reversed: Negligence, absence, carelessness, apathy, vanity.
Upright fool card meaning
The meaning of the fool tarot card in most readings can be easily guessed from the usual behavior of the main character depicted on the card.
In commonly accepted major arcana meanings, the fool represents folly, extravagance, even carelessness, but with a certain innocence that brings bliss and exaltation of someone living in the moment. As such, you often need to put the fool tarot card in context of the reading, and the other arcana that were drawn beside it will often make the fool tarot meaning clearer. In a sense, this major arcanum can be seen as an amplifier of the general trend of the reading.
Reversed fool card meaning
When the fool tarot card is reversed, the negative aspect of this Arcanum should be favored. The playful carelessness of the base meaning turns into negligence or apathy. It is a warning against neglecting your duties and hiding from the world. Where the main meaning is an amplifier, the fool tarot card meaning is always negative and bad news when it is reversed, and should not be taken lightly.
While there is almost no positive reading of this reversed Arcanum, it should not be a source of grief but rather seen as a warning to put your head back in the game and focus on whatever you are doing. It is never too late to realize what is at stake and do what needs to be done.
The Fool’s Journey
In the most common tarot tradition, the major arcana tarot cards are seen as a story that unfolds when taken in order. This is called “The Fool’s Journey”, and starts with the fool tarot card, whose main character becomes the protagonist of this initiatory journey. The Fool represents us as we stand at the very beginning of a path (or even your life), with the kind of candor and innocence that can only be found when someone is unaware of the upcoming obstacles one will have to face.
It can represent someone just being born, someone starting a spiritual journey, or simply the start of a new project that takes one out of their comfort zone. Innocence and spontaneity are the main emotions found in their heart.
The Fool love tarot
When the fool tarot card appears in a reading that focuses on the romantic aspect of your life, it can often underline the blissful happiness of a new relationship, when you are still standing on cloud number nine without a care in the world. But as mentioned before, this major arcana should always be interpreted in context, and the other cards drawn next to it might paint a different picture about what it means.
Still, as long as it is not reversed, this card is more often than not quite positive when it is drawn in a reading focusing on love. The only thing that should be kept in mind is that in love like in any other important part of your life, you should never dive in without keeping your eyes open. Candor and bliss are both positive aspects, but it does not mean you should deliberately be naïve and forget to protect yourself and your heart.
The fool tarot relationship outcome, when drawn as the last card in a love-related reading, is often full of potential and new beginnings. Just keep in mind that being candid does not mean being gullible and everything should be fine.
The Fool as a focus for meditation
If you want to meditate using the fool tarot card as a focus, or if you have drawn the fool as your daily card, try to find some new and exciting opportunities in your life. Follow your heart and take a leap of faith, even if you are standing next to a cliff because if you don’t you will never know whether you were bound to fall… or to fly!
This is usually step one in a beautiful journey, so listen to what the Universe is telling you and don’t hesitate to be bold! In the right context, this card can be a great source of motivation for you. Trust in your tarot cards and prepare to be well rewarded.
The Fool’s Journey among the major arcana starts here, and the protagonist is still candid and innocent, unaware of what lies ahead. That innocence can be a strength or a weakness, and the key to decipher this particular enigma lies within the other cards drawn next to it during a reading.