The Fool Artwork Description
“With a light step, as if earth and its trammels had little power to restrain him, a young man in gorgeous clothing pauses at the brink of a precipice among the great heights of the world; he surveys the blue distance before him—its expanse of sky rather than the prospect below. His act of eager walking is still indicated, though he is stationary at the given moment; his dog is still bounding. The edge which opens on the depth has no terror; it is as if angels were waiting to uphold him, if it came about that he leapt from the height. His face is full of intelligence and expectant dreams. He has a rose in one hand and in the other a costly wand, from which a curiously embroidered wallet hands over his right shoulder. He is a prince of the other world on his travels through this one—all amid the morning glory, in the keen air. The sun, which shines behind him, knows whence he came, whither he is going and how he will return by another path after many days. He is the soul in search of experience. Many symbols of the instituted mysteries are summarised in this card, which reverses, under high warrants, all the confusions that have preceded it.” 1
The Fool Associations
- Alternate Names: Mate, Unwise Man.
- Zero: Initial; indivisible, infinite.
- Element: Aether.
- Rune: Mannaz “man”.
- Crystal/Gem: Clear Quartz.
- Kabbalah: Aleph “ox”.
- Astrological: Uranus.
- Astronomical: Andromeda.
The Fool Basic Meaning
The Fool is a card of beginnings. Opportunity lies ahead but you have no experience or knowledge to prepare you for the path you take. The Fool is one of spontaneity, living-in-the-moment, and consequences. The Fool is coined “fool” because of his lack of experience gets him into situations where he ends up in the gutter (falling off the cliff). When this card is pulled advise the Querent to be insightful and observant before making rash decisions. The student with much to learn.
The Fool Controversies and Observations
Some place this card at the end of the major arcana or as card number 21.
The Fool is seen as the Querent 99% of the time—the 1% being when your intuition tells you otherwise.
“In most arrangements this is the cipher card, unnumbered. Court de Gebelin places it at the head of the whole series, as zero, but the real arrangement of the cards has never been proved. The Fool carries a wallet; he is looking over his shoulder and does not know that he is on the brink of a precipice, but a dog or other animal—some call it a tiger—is attacking him from behind, and he is hurried to his destruction unawares.” 1
“Meaning: Folly, mania, extravagance, intoxication, delirium, frenzy, bewrayment.
Reversed: Negligence, absence, distribution, carelessness, apathy, nullity, vanity.” 1
“Potential; starting something new; childlike innocence; learning by experience; taking risks.” 2
“Basic Tarot Symbols: The fool in colorful motley clothes, pack tied to a staff, a small dog, a cliff.
Basic Tarot Meaning: 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 he has all he needs to do or be anything he wants, he has only to stop and unpack. He is on his 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.
Thirteen’s Observations: 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, himself. 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.” 3
Axank’s Dream Recollection
November 16-17, 2011
No dreams remembered.