The Fool is a Major Arcana card, one of those life lessons. It’s the first Major Arcana, actually; the beginning of the journey, the beginning of the adventure, and yet it is not number 1. It is given the number 0, even though 0 isn’t really a number. Zero is a place holder, an in between space, and thus quite magical. There is a lot of possibility in zero, a lot of potential. Just like there is a lot of possibility and potential with The Fool. Of course, depending on how you utilize that potential, there could be a whole lot of nothing there, too!
The tarot is often called The Fool’s Journey. We can tell a story of personal growth, development and evolution through the progression of the Major Arcana. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, though! Suffice it to say that we are at the beginning of a journey.
The Fool depicts a happy character, out for a walk with his dog. He’s chasing butterflies, and not giving too much attention to where he’s going. In fact, he’s about to step off the cliff! We’ll come back to the cliff in a moment.
Have we mentioned this card is all about beginnings? We’re going to see that a lot in the symbolism on the card.
It is morning. The sun is rising. Enlightenment is there for the finding, if only the Fool would look around. There are spring flowers in the grass, a blooming promise of growth.
The constellation in the sky is Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. Aries is all about youthful exuberance – act first and think later! Aries is also focused on the self, what *I* want, and doesn’t always consider the consequences or other people’s feelings. What’s in it for me? And actually, that’s a really good question for the Fool (or the querant – the person who is having the reading done) to ask!
The Fool’s trusty and loyal companion is his little white dog. White is the color of purity, innocence, and also secret knowledge. That’s why the rose is white as well. We chose a Jack Russell terrier because to me, they are full of energy, vitality and the same exuberance that Aries and the Fool have.
Is the dog encouraging the Fool, a little “yes” dog? Or is it jumping up and trying to get the Fool’s attention, to warn him to look where he is going? That question is a good one to ask when The Fool comes up in a reading. Let your intuition guide you. Part of the lesson of the Fool is to know when to take the leap of faith, to jump off the cliff and trust that the Universe will catch you, and when to take a step back and do a little more research and preparation – to pack your parachute, so to speak.
You’ll notice that The Fool does have a bag, and it’s pretty empty looking. He’s set out on this adventure, and didn’t bring a lot of stuff with him. That could be because he doesn’t have any baggage or cares weighing him down. Or, it could mean that he’s really not prepared for what’s to come.
The Fool is carrying a walking stick, to help him keep his footing, but he’s waving it around in the air instead of using it for it’s intended purpose. This could be his creativity, using something in a new way. Or it could just be his foolishness, that excited energy letting itself be known.
On the end of the walking stick is a Shrivatsa, an endless knot. This is the beginning of something new, and yet the Fool has been around this journey before. Is it the beginning of a new cycle, or just coming around to a similar spot on a new level of the spiral? Maybe it is a repeating lesson from this life, or a past life or lives. The Shrivatsa is also considered to be an auspicious symbol, so it could mean that this new adventure is a good choice. What comes up when you are reading the card? Remember, it may vary from reading to reading.
The Fool is focused on the butterflies, which is why he’s not watching where he is walking. The butterflies indicate the presence of Spirit – perhaps he is being Divinely led. They are also a symbol of transformation. The Fool will definitely not be the same after this journey!
The symbols on the Fool’s tunic are based on an ancient design. This may be a new beginning, and again, it’s not the first time we’ve been here.
The Fool’s hat is an artist hat for creativity, and it is red to symbolize the courage it takes to be creative and not conform, to take the leap that others may say is crazy. His red shoes are reminiscent of Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the magic shoes that take you home. Or are they the red shoes from Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale that will keep you dancing until you drop from exhaustion, a warning against vanity and thinking too highly of oneself?
What else do you see in the Fool?
Mary and Katana