Tarot Card Meanings for the Fool
new beginnings ~ spontaneity ~ a leap of faith
- Keywords for the Fool Card
- New beginnings, spontaneity, adventure, innocence, potential, faith, fearlessness, a leap of faith, originality, freedom from constraints, purity of action, acting without malice, being in the present, acting without thinking, eccentricity, silliness, seeking freedom.
- The Fool Reversed
- Folly, stupidity, not thinking through plans properly, chaos, lack of direction, poor judgement, being gullible, naivety, playing it safe, blocks, restrictions, lacking adventure.
- The Fool as People
- Performing artists, comedians, travelers, wanderers, extreme sport lovers, bungee jumpers, parachutists, daredevils and pleasure seekers, unconventional & unorthodox types.
Tarot Card Meanings for Specific Decks
The Lo Scarabeo Tarot attempts to fuse the three main tarot decks of the West, namely, the Rider Waite-Smith, the Crowley-Harris Thoth and the Tarot de Marseille. It depicts the main elements from each deck making it an excellent tool for widening your tarot vocabulary. Exploring this deck helps to see the differences between these three, clarifying the origins of the different meanings being applied to the same card.
(He is) the spirit in search of experience. Folly, mania, extravagance. Negligence, carelessness, vanity
Original, sudden impulse. Thought, idea, spirituality. Folly, eccentricity, mania
Freedom, curiosity, enthusiasm.
Wandering, origin, madness. Inconsistency, unawareness, thoughtlessness
What Does the Fool Mean in Tarot?
The Esoteric Fool
In esoteric thought, the Fool is prima materia – first matter. The material required to begin creating The Philosopher’s Stone. In Qabalah, this originates in the first sephira on the Tree of Life, Kether. The Fool travels the path from Kether to the second sephira, Chokmah – the first movement from highest sephira. The sun depicted in Rider Waite Smith tarot represents Kether; in the Lo Scarabeo Tarot, the Fool exits Kether through a stone arch, and so the journey of the Seeker begins.
The Everyday Fool
As can be seen in the keywords above, the Fool in our everyday life takes on a myriad of meanings from the beginning of something new to innocence and frolicking. There is a lovely lightness to this card imbued by the carefree movement of the Fool himself. This card can also indicate a need to lighten up if you or your life has taken a serious or heavy turn. A little time out is sometimes all the impetus we need to continue through difficulties.
In much older decks, the Visconti Sforza being one, the Fool is depicted as a vagabond and it is interesting to think of the Fool as either a beggar, or someone who has lost everything and is (once again) at the beginning of their life. In this case it would be a rebuilding. To have lost everything perhaps includes relationships as well as status, wealth, income and occupation. I often think of A Christmas Carol and the transformation of Scrooge after his spiritual experiences. He becomes fool-like and to those who knew him before his epiphany, he appears quite mad.
The Fool for God
Madness is something long associated with the Fool, in line with the vagabond of the very early decks, but also with the spiritual seeker – the Fool for God. The Fool’s Journey is represented here, renamed the Hero’s Journey because all is a quest for enlightenment. Once achieved, can someone in a blissed out state, conversing with the divine appear anything other than insane? The path of the Seeker is precarious then, solitary and with the potential to alienate.
Correspondences for the Fool
|Timing is spontaneous|
|Contains all numbers therefore all the Major Arcana|
Posts Featuring the Fool
See Theresa Reed, aka the Tarot Lady at work using her long-time favourite tarot spread, the Tarot Lady’s Horseshoe Spread, where she layouts out the spread positions and does a personal reading and throws in some card pairing as a bonus! It’s not to be missed.
Psychosynthesis is a system of psychological wholeness as well as a therapy. Based on solid principles by its founder, Roberto Assagioli, it translates really well into a tarot spread. This personal reading was done for me by the very talented Zorian Cross over Skype. The Psychosynthesis Tarot Spread is the layout of Assagioli’s principles, along with a transcript of the reading so it reads in a very relaxed, personal and chatty manner which makes the system very easy to understand.
Journey Through the Major Arcana is a guest post series by Bonnie Cehovet. Exploring the Fool’s/Hero Journey through 3 x 7 Theory, see how the Magician fits into this narrative, mirroring your own personal development.
Hebrew Letters for Tarot Readers by Mick Frankel is a guest post series that shows the connection between the Major Arcana and the Hebrew Letters. There are 22 major cards and 22 letters, see how Mick skillfully explores these through the Tarot de Marseille.
Bibliography & Further Reading
- Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Arthur Waite
- The Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley
- Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot by Lon Milo DuQuette
- CBD Tarot de Marseille by Yoav Ben-Dov
- Grimaud Tarot de Marseille
- 78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack
- The Qabalistic Tarot by Robert Wang
Tarot Deck Credits
Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie ** published by Llewellyn Inc
Lo Scarabeo Tarot by Mark McElroy and Anna Lazzarini published by Lo Scarabeo