0. The Fool

Keywords for The Fool


It is a brilliant early summer day: the sky is clear, the sun is shining, and the earth seems to buzz with excitement and joy at the start of a new season. A young man bursts on the scene, singing a jolly tune as he goes along, happy as could be. A carefree youth, this wanderer has left the restrictive responsibilities of life in the town and set out by himself, determined to make his own way as he seeks out the adventure and excitement he just knows the world is sure to offer him.

A playful and high-spirited little dog trots alongside the youthful explorer, just as eager and enthusiastic about the joys that seem to await them somewhere just over the horizon.

However, there are dangers in the world that our innocent Fool is clearly unaware of. With his head in the clouds, he doesn’t seem to notice that he is standing at the cliff’s edge. Unfortunately, it seems he may have to learn the hard way (as most of us do) about the difficulties of life.

The Fool Interpretation

When this card comes up in a tarot reading, one interpretation is that we have literally been acting like a fool. We could be approaching our current circumstances with a brash attitude of careless disregard; we may be reckless in our behavior towards others and fail to consider the consequences for all involved.

However, there is another way in which we may behave foolishly, and that is simply through a lack of awareness. When this is the case, it is not due to a lack of care or concern, rooted instead in our innocence, a genuine naïveté that arises from our pure hearts and a sincere guilelessness. 

This is related to yet another interpretation available to us for the Fool, which involves a childlike sense of wonder, awe and joy. This card speaks of boundless optimism, of a zeal for life that expresses itself in a carefree and cheerful sense of enthusiasm. It refers to the ability to maintain a positive attitude and open mind, even in the face of challenging circumstances.

On a more esoteric level, the Fool is associated with the unmanifest, the part of the universe that is characterized by limitless potential, from which all that is in creation is drawn and to which it will ultimately return. 

Thus, this card can also signal the potential for new beginnings in our lives. At times, the Fool makes an appearance in order to encourage us to take a chance and start again. He asks us to throw caution to the wind and let the cards fall where they may. 

It is said that “fortune favors the bold,” and there is no one out there more bold than this daring, dashing Fool of the Major Arcana. In this context, the Fool could be encouraging us to act courageously, for it is true that “as a man thinketh, so is he.” Think positive and act with high hopes, and life may very well respond with the same approving generosity in return.