The Fool is the spirit of unbridled possibility. Within him exists all potentials, all stories, all journeys, all awareness, and all ideas. All of this exists within him because he is nothing, represented by zero, the lack of any number or substance. In this we find one of the greatest secrets of the cosmos – how everything in existence comes out of nothing, and will once again return to at the end of time; he represents that beginning and ending of the journey.
When you draw The Fool, it is a sign that anything can happen. There are so many possibilities and potentials, yet it is in the awareness of the infinite potentials that allows you to focus and draw into yourself in order to decide what first step you want to make. The Fool is alchemically linked to the element of Air, and thus can be observed as the Mind from which all of creation emerges. Whatever action you take, remember that it was through your mind that conjured it first.
The Fool represents infinite possibility, the seed of creation where everything stems from. It is the beginning of a journey for you – and you get to decide what kind of adventure it is. Your intuition will play a large role in identifying what this means, for it can describe anything from a physical trip somewhere externally, to a deep inward journey of reflection and renewal within you; in all likelihood, both! The Fool marks the advent of a new cycle, no matter what is going on, there is a tremendous possibility for something new.
It is time to ask: What do you want to create? Where are you called to in life, and how can you take your dreams further?
In this image, Patchman is walking along a cliff; filled with ideas, questions, and enthusiasm for the journey, unaware of the edge in front of him or that he is about to walk off! He reaches out, creating waves of possibility which ripple out in all directions. He is so enraptured with the experience that he walks a path based on faith alone. A dove flies around him, offering the hope of ascension, and marking the divine presence that encircles all things. Will The Fool learn to pay attention to his path before it’s too late?
In the dove’s mouth it holds a white rose, a symbol of both the goal (the flower) as well as the potential dangers along the way (the thorns on the stem). The butterfly watches over him as a symbol of courage and belief in ourselves, and the mark of the personal transformations of the past, and ones that are to come.
The Fool is all about new experiences and the personal growth that can come from plunging into the unknown on blind faith. What is there to be afraid of in the end? An animal which shares characteristics of both a dog and a cat calls out to him from the side, describing the presence of “another” that often joins us in our life story. In this, we have the creature representing the warning of impending danger; a friend looking out for his pal as he walks towards the cliffs edge. This animal also describes the “asking or seeking attention” from others; together they form the basis of brotherhood.
This card also embodies the energy of innocence, as it is about the start of something new. The Fool doesn’t necessarily imply foolish behavior or naivety, but rather it is the space of starting again, the student of life embracing the universal constant – change. Embrace the flow, and see what life brings you!
In a Qabbalistic and Numerological sense, The Fool represents the zero-point. This means the point of infinity and pure potential – from which anything can emerge. Any number, any form, any flow, any event. And yet – no matter what comes from this symbol, it is a spiritual necessity that the path be walked, for it will ultimately bring you to a higher understanding, and a deeper inner wisdom with which you may use as you walk your path. It’s Hebrew letter is “Aleph” – attributed to the power of creation doing nothing but existing.
Traditionally, The Fool always represented courage and optimistic belief in one’s life and one’s self. This is the indicator to have faith in the universe and the cosmic flow, remembering the inner innocence that you were born with as a child; a state which is pure and open, and allowing of the natural flows to progress. Finally, consider the question: Is the Fool beginning, or returning from a journey? In this, he is both the Alpha, and the Omega.
The Fool reversed describes the multitude of distractions which move through us, that which are without use and help in any way, and potentially even harmful to one’s body of consciousness. This can be observed more clearly by seeing the reverse reading in relationship to its upright description, where The Fool upright is the infinite potential for new journey in one’s life, the reverse would be the infinite potential for absolutely nothing of value to come into being. This reversal could further describe naively taking actions even when you know better, or doing something with reckless abandon. This dark cloud does have a silver lining however, for sometimes you might see unexpected results from such risk-taking. Nevertheless, being innocent is one thing – but acting ridiculous is another thing entirety. The difference is in the knowing; ignorance may be bliss, but once you know better – it’s always better to embody your complete awareness and not turn a blind eye to the truth.
To turn this reversed card upright, be mindful of the actions that you’re taking in any particular area of your life. You might be keenly aware of an action you’re about to take, or have recently taken which you knew inside was foolish or naive, yet want to do it or have done it regardless. If this is the case, simply be aware that every cause has an effect, and every effect a cause. No action is without consequences, and so with mindfulness towards how extreme those consequences are, you can make appropriate decisions moving forward to make sure that your new life cycles are in alignment with your truest inner calling. Also, take note of any new project you have been putting off, and take the initiative to start again. As this card represents the beginning of something new, use the opportunity to take a look at your life and see where a new change is in order!
The Book of Thoth
The Golden Dawn
The Tarot Handbook