THE FOOL: First card of the Major Arcana (sometimes last!)



COLOR: Yellow - the color of our Navel Chakra. “I Do” Ego, discipline, drive, action.

KEYWORD: Freedom

NUMEROLOGY: 0 - the beginning and the end

DESCRIPTION AND MEANING: A young man has set out upon a journey. He is richly dressed, in finely decorated clothes, which suggests he comes from wealth. He brings with him a bindle tied to a stick (symbolic of the suit of wands). The bindle holds all of his worldly possessions, and yet the mysterious embroidery upon the leather sack suggests it holds not just mundane objects but arcane wisdom as well. If only he would stop and open it! The young man is carefree upon his journey, his face turned up toward the sun and sky, he seems not to notice the edge of the cliff he is approaching. Nor does he notice the dog at his feet, who may be excited to accompany him on this journey, or perhaps barking a warning about the dangers ahead. He wears a laurel wreath, a symbol of victory. It is a keepsake perhaps, a reminder of past achievements, but can also be a caution to “not rest on one’s laurels”, that life is about the journey, not the destination, and that one must always strive. He holds a white rose, a symbolic of the purity of his soul at the start of this journey. The eagle embroidered on his bag and the red feather both represent the element of Air, to which this card corresponds, but also bird energy, which is associated with keen insight and wisdom.

The Fool represents choice, limitless possibilities, opportunity, “sky’s the limit”, leap of faith, infinite potential, the seeker in search of enlightenment, the hero at the beginning of the journey.

The Fool is sometimes placed at the beginning of the Major Arcana, sometimes it is placed last. Truly it does not hold a solid position in the order of the Majors because as both the beginning and the end, he stands apart. Alfred Douglas said in his book The Tarot: The Fool “represents the chaos before reason, the pure impulse that is neither good nor evil.”

The Fool is a “moment”, that defining moment of choice between inaction and action. It exists in stasis of a sort. It is the spark right before combustion, the unknown reaction to a catalyst that drives us to action…or does it? The choice is ours. 

REVERSED MEANING: Obstacles, ruin, complications arising from irresponsible, reckless and impulsive behavior. Foolish, naive.

IN A READING: The Fool card may suggest a new journey or opportunity. It invites you to examine your choices and the thought processes behind them. Are you being too cautious? Overthinking? Allowing fear to stall your progress? Are you blinded by worldly desires and base motivations and therefore acting out of self-interest?