Tarot: The Fool

The Fool

Tarot: The Fool

The Fool card brings the energy of new beginnings, spontaneity, and living in the moment. It is a symbol of taking the first step on a journey into the unknown. The starting point of the fool’s journey is embodied in this card. It represents a time of innocence and pure potential, where anything is possible and all possibilities lie ahead. The fool is carefree, lighthearted, and unburdened by the worries of the world, as they embark on their journey with a light heart and a sense of wonder.

This shows us the the power of trust and the ability to let go of control. It is a call to embrace the journey, to trust in the universe and in one’s own intuition, and to approach life with a sense of childlike wonder and playfulness. The Fool is a symbol of the infinite potential that lies within each of us, and a reminder that we are all on a journey of self-discovery. This card invites the seeker to let go of their fears, to trust in the journey, and to embrace the unknown with open arms, knowing that each step will lead them closer to their true purpose and destiny.

The Fool also reminds you of the importance of awareness and the ability to care for your own well-being. While it is vital to embrace life’s journey with enthusiasm, it is equally important to be aware of the dangers and pitfalls that may lie ahead. This card asks you to balance mindfulness with the ability to embrace life and the present moment.

The Fool Reversed

The Fool card reversed in tarot suggests a need for caution and a reluctance to embrace new beginnings or take risks. It may indicate a fear of the unknown or a resistance to change. This card encourages you to consider the consequences of your actions and make more informed choices. Reversed, it’s a reminder that while spontaneity is valuable, reckless behavior should be avoided, and you should strive for a balance between adventure and practicality.


“I embrace the unknown and trust in the journey ahead, boldly stepping into the world with a beginner’s mind and an open heart.”

Major Arcana Symbolism

Tarot Card NameThe Fool
Traditional Card ImageryA walking man
Traditional SymbolismThe spirit, a quest or journey, innocence, chaos, heedlessness
Card Number0
Classical ElementAir
Influencing ElementAether / Akasha
Traditional Upright MeaningBeginnings, freedom, innocence, originality, adventure, idealism, spontaneity, a free spirit
Traditional Reversed MeaningHolding back, reckless, careless, distracted, naïve, taken advantage of, foolish, gullible, stale, dull
Archetype In NatureOblivious to his place in nature, the fool is about to be forcefully reminded of the importance of the ground under his feet
ChakraCrown, Soul Star, Throat, Heart
Astrological CorrespondenceUranus, Aquarius, Gemini, Libra
Yes or NoYes
Crystals and StonesMilky Quartz, Herkimer Diamond, White Jade, Moissanite, Abalone Shell, White Agate, Moonstone, White Marble, Goshenite, Mother of Pearl, Iris Agate, White Sapphire, Howlite, Selenite, White Zircon, Ammolite, White Quartz, Rainbow Moonstone, Pearl, White Onyx, Opal, Magnesite, Clear Quartz, Diamond, Angel Silica, Purpurite, Tanzanite, Purple Aventurine, Iolite, Super 7, Purple Agate, Amethyst, Purple Jade, Charoite, Purple Sapphire, Star Garnet, Sugilite, Lavender Fluorite, Purple Mica, Lavender Ametrine, Zoisite, Purple Zircon, Kunzite, Unakite, Moldavite, Fluorite, Aventurine, Chrysocolla, Aquamarine, Turquoise, Blue Topaz, Amazonite, Emerald, Olivine, Moldavite, Fluorite, Peridot, Aventurine, Morganite, Zoisite, Bloodstone, Rose Quartz, Chrysolite, Pink Calcite, Jade, Prehnite, Pink Spinel, Malachite, Unakite, Rhodonite
Tarot: The Fool

Tarot Through the Ages

Tarot was originally invented as a card game in the mid 15th century. French occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette, also known as “Etteilla”, was the first to assign divinatory meanings to the cards in the late 1700s. Many others have followed in his footsteps, bringing their own unique interpretation of the cards. In our exploration of the Tarot, we weave together contemporary insights with the timeless wisdom of the past. This blending of past and present perspectives offers a more holistic view, allowing us to connect with the evolving narrative and lineage of wisdom that has shaped our understanding of each card over time. Let’s dive into some of these historical interpretations…

Allegory of The Fool

And I saw another man.

Tired and lame he dragged himself along the dusty road, across the deserted plain under the scorching rays of the sun. He glanced sidelong with foolish, staring eyes, a half smile, half leer on his face; he knew not where he went, but was absorbed in his chimerical dreams which ran constantly in the same circle.

His fool’s cap was put on wrong side front, his garments were torn in the back; a wild lynx with glowing eyes sprang upon him from behind a rock and buried her teeth in his flesh. He stumbled, nearly fell, but continued to drag himself along, all the time holding on his shoulder a bag containing useless things, which he, in his stupidity, carried wherever he went.

Before him a crevice crossed the road and a deep precipice awaited the foolish wanderer. Then a huge crocodile with open mouth crawled out of the precipice. And I heard the voice say:

“Look! This is the same man.”

I felt my head whirl.

“What has he in the bag?” I inquired, not knowing why I asked.

And after a long silence the voice replied: “The four magic symbols, the sceptre, the cup, the sword and the pentacle. The fool always carries them, although he has long since forgotten what they mean. Nevertheless they belong to him, even though he does not know their use. The symbols have not lost their power, they retain it in themselves.

-The Symbolism of the Tarot by P.D. Ouspensky (1913)

The Fool (0)

The Fool (0)

The Fool moves forward with a light step, as if earth and its trammels had little power to restrain him. The young man, in gorgeous vestments, pauses at the brink of a precipice among the great heights of the world. He surveys the blue distance before him, gazing at the 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 catch him, should he leaped from the height. His countenance is full of intelligence and expectant dream. He has a rose in one hand and in the other a costly wand, from which depends over his right shoulder a wallet curiously embroidered. He is a prince of the other world, on his travels through this one, amidst the brisk air and the glory of the morning.

The sun, which shines behind him, knows where he has come from, where he is going, and how he will return-by another path-after many days. He is the spirit in search of experience. Many mysterious symbols are summarized in this card.

-Modern Translation of The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A.E. Waite (1910)

The Fool Card Imagery

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. Unaware, he is he is being pushed to his own destruction. Etteilla has given a justifiable variation of this card as taking the form of a court jester, with cap, bells and motley garb.

-Modern Translation of The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A.E. Waite (1910)


The Fool Meaning

A careless-looking man, wearing a fool’s cap, with torn clothes and a bundle upon his shoulder, goes quietly on his way, paying no attention to a dog which bites his leg. He does not look where he is going, so walks towards a precipice, where a crocodile is waiting to devour him.

-Modern Translation of The Tarot of The Bohemians by Papus (1892)

Significations of The Fool

  • More Rapid Return to the Divine World, Personality Asserts Itself = The Motion Of Relative Duration
  • The Intellect Roughly Appears Under the Influence of Evolution = Innervation, Instinct
  • The Matter of the World Attains the Maximum of its Material Progression = The Animal Kingdom

-Tarot of The Bohemians by Papus (1892)

The Fool Card

The Fool Card

The Meaning of The Fool Card Throughout History

The Tarot deck is a beautiful synthesis of esoteric thought and archetypal imagery. The journey of the deck, shaped by the events and values of each era, has continued to evolve and take on new significance as it adapts to a larger cultural story. Often a tarot card will have a variety of names and meanings. Exploring the historical interpretations of each card will create a deeper understanding of this powerful method for divination and self-discovery.

Various Names For The Fool Card

Tarot de Marseille (1650)The Fool
Court de GébelinThe Fool
Etteilla (1783)Folly
Paul Christian (1870)The Crocodile
Golden Dawn (1888)The Spirit of Ether
Papus (1892)The Foolish Man
Rider-Waite (1910)The Fool
Thoth (1943)The Fool
The Spirit of Ether

Card 0: The Foolish Man
(The Fool)

A man with a fool’s cap, dressed like a jester, with a stick and bundle over his shoulder. Before him is the butterfly of pleasure luring him on (while in some packs a tiger, in others a dog, attacks him from behind). It signifies Folly, Expiation.

Upright: Folly, Expiation, Wavering
Reversed: Hesitation, Instability, Trouble arising herefrom

-The Tarot by S.L. MacGregor Mathers (1888)

Support Independent Bookstores With These Tarot Selections

Bring the Wisdom of the Tarot Into Your Life

We have put together a collection of some of our favorite Tarot items. The deep symbolism of the Tarot can be used to access a wellspring of inner wisdom and guidance. This method of divination is also an incredible tool for accessing your own powerful intuition.

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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

The Fool (0) - The Illustrated Key to the Tarot published 1918, public domain
The Fool (0) – The Illustrated Key to the Tarot published 1918, public domain

This guide by Arthur Edward Waite, the designer of the most widely known Tarot deck and distinguished scholar of the Kabbalah, is the essential Tarot reference. The pictorial key contains a detailed description of each card in the celebrated 78-card Rider-Waite Tarot deck, along with regular and reversed meanings. Contents describe symbols and secret tradition, ancient Celtic methods of divination, and wonderful illustrations of each Tarot card. This book is the perfect complement to old-style fortune telling and also serves to make the Tarot entirely accessible to modern-day readers. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot is the classic guide to the Rider-Waite deck and to Tarot symbolism in general.

Pre-Raphaelite Tarot

The Fool (0)– Pre-Raphaelite Tarot by Luigi Costa ©2019 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. All rights reserved, used by permission.
The Fool (0)– Pre-Raphaelite Tarot by Luigi Costa ©2019 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. All rights reserved, used by permission.

The vivid colors and medieval imagery of the Pre-Raphaelite movement makes for a tarot deck that is rich with a sense of mystery and romance. Luigi Costa has created a work of unsurpassed beauty and deep spiritual power. This deck, based on the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith cards, is at once cryptic and insightful, the perfect combination of qualities for readers and collectors alike.

Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights

The Fool (0) - Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights by Lo Scarabeo © 2005 Lo Scarabeo srl. All rights reserved, used by permission.
The Fool (0) – Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights by Lo Scarabeo © 2005 Lo Scarabeo srl. All rights reserved, used by permission.

Adventure, magic, poetry, and love come to life in this Tarot deck based on the classic 1001 Arabian Nights folktales. Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights is bursting with rich imagery relating to the Arabian renaissance, the exotic allure of these fairy tales bestows timeless wisdom to those who seek it.

How will you Harness The Transformative Power of The Tarot?

We invite you to walk into a cosmic narrative in which we are all a unique element in each other’s story. Humanity has long used sacred tools for awakening the soul and illuminating our path toward enlightenment. The Tarot is simply an instrument. These cards amplify your inner wisdom and empower your highest truth.

What aspects of The Tarot can serve you as you walk through your own Mystic Doorway?

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What you have read is only the beginning…

Mystic Doorway is always gaining new insight into the rich symbolism of Tarot. We are looking forward to sharing with you as we continue to expand our knowledge of this divinatory tool. Check back with us soon to see what we’ve added to our Library.