The Major Arcana of the tarot is based on archetypes and cycles. It’s believed that everyone goes through the circumstances described by these cards at least once in their lives, so the cards serve as metaphors.
When placed in order, they depict the journey of The Fool. To follow this story and understand how to apply it, we must start at the very beginning, with the very first card: The Fool.
About The Fool
- Keywords: New beginnings, optimism, adventure, idealism, foolishness
- Keywords (Reversed): Carelessness, negligence, irresponsibility
- Yes or No: Yes
- Yes or No (Reversed): Maybe
- Element: Air
- Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
The Fool is the first card of the Major Arcana, number 0. In Rider-Waite-Smith-inspired decks, he’s typically portrayed as a young man with a pack over his shoulder and a small dog at his feet.
He looks up at the sky, where the sun is shining brightly. He seems relaxed, optimistic, and eager to be on his way. Unfortunately, he’s so focused on gazing up at the sky, he hasn’t noticed that he’s about to walk off of a cliff.
It’s said that The Fool’s pack holds all of the same tools that The Magician has — if only The Fool knew to open it and use them.
The Fool Meaning – General (Upright)
As the number 0, The Fool is the Cosmic Egg, the point of infinite potential where absolutely anything is possible. He’s just starting out on his journey, so he’s full of an adventurous spirit.
Upright, he can signify the beginning of a new cycle, or a call to embrace one’s inner adventurer. The Fool doesn’t worry about what dangers his path may hold, he’s too entranced by the allure of a new tomorrow.
While few people would advocate his “leap before you look” approach to life, it’s possible to over-plan, too. When we overthink things, we become bogged down in “what ifs.”
This can paralyze us and keep us from reaching our full potential. The Fool calls on us to approach life as an adventure, and stop focusing on circumstances we can’t control.
The Fool Meaning – General (Reversed)
Reversed, The Fool’s meaning doesn’t change much. He’s still an adventurer, optimistically starting out on his path.
Unfortunately, a reversal is where this card’s more negative aspects come into play. Where he may be adventurous and joyful when upright, he’s naïve and foolish when reversed.
This card may symbolize a failure to take responsibility for your actions, or consider their ramifications. It calls to you to plan for your future, rather than living like the grasshopper in Aesop’s tale.
The Fool has a dog at his feet, trying to alert him to the danger ahead. That’s the role this card is trying to play for you — look out!
The Fool Meaning – As Advice (Upright)
When The Fool shows up as advice in its upright position, it’s calling on you to embody its spirit of fearlessness, openness, and infinite possibility. This is a signal to trust in the journey ahead, even if you cannot see exactly where you are heading.
The Fool encourages you to step into the unknown, to take that leap of faith that is often necessary when embarking on a new phase of life.
It may be scary and uncertainty may linger, but The Fool reassures you that sometimes, we have to leave the comfort zone to truly grow and discover what we are capable of.
This card advises you to embrace change and the exciting adventures that come with it. It’s a call to action: take that risk, pursue that dream, begin that project.
It’s about believing in your own potential and not letting fear of failure prevent you from taking your first steps.
The Fool’s message is clear: to experience life fully, you must dare to play the fool.
The Fool Meaning – As Advice (Reversed)
When The Fool appears reversed as advice, it cautions you to not rush into things without considering the consequences. This card suggests that your excitement or enthusiasm might be leading you towards impulsive decisions, which could have unintended results.
The Fool reversed encourages a more measured approach. This isn’t to say you should stifle your adventurous spirit, but rather that there’s a need for some degree of caution.
You’re advised to ensure you have a solid understanding of the situation at hand before taking any significant steps.
The Fool reversed also suggests that you might be holding yourself back due to fear or uncertainty. In this case, the card advises you to address these feelings, but to not let them completely rule your actions.
Remember, The Fool’s journey is about balance, understanding when to leap and when to step carefully. It’s about daring to dream while keeping your feet firmly grounded in reality.
The Fool Meaning – Health (Upright)
The Fool Meaning – Health (Upright)
When The Fool shows up in a health context, it symbolizes a new beginning and could indicate a fresh start in your physical well-being.
This card may suggest a favorable time to embark on a healthier lifestyle, introduce new habits, or even explore a new health regimen. It signifies openness to new strategies for wellness, underlining the adventure inherent in the quest for improved health.
The Fool’s essence of optimism and youthful vigor also infers a boost of energy and vitality. This could point to an imminent improvement in health or an upcoming phase of increased physical activity.
However, The Fool’s heedless nature is also worth noting in this context. It advises against ignoring medical advice or engaging in reckless behaviors that could endanger health.
So, while it’s wonderful to embrace the card’s spirit of new beginnings, be sure to also heed its caution against unnecessary risks.
The Fool Meaning – Health (Reversed)
When The Fool appears reversed in a health context, it sends a message about caution and reflection. This card warns that you might be taking your health lightly, neglecting necessary precautions, or failing to heed important health advice.
It calls attention to a possible lack of self-care, or indicates a situation where you may be making hasty or poorly informed health decisions.
In relation to physical health, The Fool reversed could imply that you’re ignoring significant symptoms or neglecting to seek professional advice when it’s necessary. It’s a call to stop, reassess, and take necessary action.
Mentally, it can indicate a tendency to rush into decisions without proper consideration, leading to stress and anxiety. The card encourages seeking balance, practicing mindfulness, and avoiding impulsive actions.
Finally, in its reversed position, The Fool can also symbolize a fear of change or resistance to adopting new, healthier habits, signifying stagnation in your health journey. It’s a reminder to overcome these fears and prioritize your well-being.
The Fool Meaning – As a Person (Upright)
When The Fool emerges in a reading representing a person, it usually indicates an individual who embodies the spirit of adventure, new beginnings, and an almost childlike curiosity.
This person is likely open-minded, optimistic, and has a zest for life that is contagious. They may often be in pursuit of new experiences, undeterred by potential risks or challenges.
Such a person is characteristically spontaneous, preferring to “go with the flow” rather than sticking strictly to plans or routines.
They value freedom and independence and are not afraid to step into the unknown. They’re comfortable being themselves and they live their lives according to their own rules, often exhibiting a unique and unconventional perspective on life.
Yet, it’s also important to note that such individuals, while inspiring and fascinating, can sometimes appear naive or careless. Their tendency to leap before they look could lead them into precarious situations.
Despite this, they often approach life with a sense of joy and exuberance that can be very refreshing. They embody the spirit of The Fool – a journey just beginning, full of untapped potential.
The Fool Meaning – As a Person (Reversed)
In a reversed position, The Fool can represent a person who is overly impulsive, reckless, or irresponsible. This individual often jumps into situations without forethought and can be prone to making hasty decisions that may lead to potential pitfalls or complications.
Their zest for life, while attractive, can sometimes transform into thoughtlessness, causing them to neglect the possible consequences of their actions.
A person represented by The Fool reversed may also be one who is stuck in a cycle of immaturity or naivety.
They may struggle to learn from past mistakes and might frequently repeat negative patterns. Their outlook, though initially appearing free-spirited, can actually reveal a resistance to grow or face reality.
However, at the heart of their character, they are still adventurous and open to new experiences. Their challenge lies in learning how to balance their love for the new and unfamiliar with a more cautious and responsible approach to life.
In other words, they need to learn how to look before they leap. This self-awareness and growth could be the crucial turning point in their journey, turning their Fool’s leap into a wiser and more considered step forward.
The Fool Meaning – Love & Relationships (Upright)
When it comes to romance, The Fool is the first blush of new puppy love. He’s a crush, or a fun, lighthearted flirtation.
This isn’t a card of deep commitment or soul mates, though relationships that begin with The Fool can certainly evolve into something more. This is love as a new adventure. It might not last forever, but it’ll be fun while it lasts.
It may also indicate the presence of fears. If you’ve had relationship-based trauma in the past, then a new relationship can feel like a chasm yawning up at you, waiting for you to fall in and get hurt again.
The Fool upright tells you to let those feelings go. Don’t let fear hold you back from something that might be an enjoyable, healing experience for you.
The Fool Meaning – Love & Relationships (Reversed)
When The Fool is reversed in a love reading, it’s a sign that your infatuation might be blinding you to something important.
If you’ve ever ignored a red flag or thought your partner might change for the better, this card is a warning.
You’re likely approaching a new relationship while you’re blinded by infatuation, and it can end up causing you to miss important warning signs.
Look at the cards surrounding The Fool for clarification, or draw an extra card or two to see what those warnings might be about.
As Feelings (Upright)
In its upright position, The Fool is the embodiment of the exhilarating rush of new emotions. Picture the feeling of butterflies fluttering in your stomach as you embark on a new adventure or meet someone who sparks your interest.
This card encapsulates that rush of energy, the hopeful anticipation and open-hearted enthusiasm that accompanies new relationships or endeavours.
Embodying the spirit of exploration, The Fool signifies a readiness to leap headfirst into the unknown, driven by curiosity and an insatiable desire for novelty.
It may suggest that you’re feeling an urge to break free from routine and embrace spontaneity. This could be a desire to venture into uncharted emotional territories, whether in the context of a new relationship, a new passion, or a newfound perspective on life.
However, there’s also a note of caution to heed. The emotions associated with The Fool are fresh and thrilling, but they are also untested and unpredictable.
They can lead to impulsive decisions and unforeseen consequences if not tempered with a dash of caution and foresight. It’s the high-risk, high-reward gamble of diving into emotions without restraint, the joy of living in the moment.
As Feelings (Reversed)
When reversed, The Fool can represent a deep emotional blockage, a hesitation borne out of past hurts and disappointments.
Even though the feelings of attraction, curiosity, and desire to embark on a new journey might be simmering beneath the surface, they are stifled by apprehension.
There might be a yearning to plunge into the exciting waters of a new relationship or venture, but the fear of repeating past mistakes or getting hurt again holds one back.
The Fool reversed may also indicate a feeling of immaturity or unreadiness to commit, which could manifest as an inability to fully engage with or nurture a budding relationship.
This could stem from self-doubt or perceived lack of emotional capacity to handle the complexities that come with deep emotional connections.
On another note, The Fool reversed may hint at feelings of carelessness or recklessness, which could lead to impulsive actions without considering the potential fallout.
While there may be a sense of excitement or thrill in acting on whims, it’s crucial to remember that every action has a consequence.
It’s a call to introspection, to evaluate your feelings carefully before making decisions, ensuring they are not merely the result of fleeting emotions or a desire to escape reality.
As Reconciliation (Upright)
When The Fool appears upright in the context of reconciliation, it represents a willingness to start anew, to venture back into a relationship with a spirit of open-mindedness and optimism.
This card signifies a readiness to set aside past differences, let go of grudges, and step back into the relationship with an adventurous spirit.
It’s about taking a leap of faith and giving the relationship another chance, with the belief that this time things could be different.
This journey of reconciliation, symbolized by The Fool, is not one of naive hope but rather of conscious optimism. There’s a recognition of the past issues and a decision to face them head-on, armed with the lessons learned.
It’s a step towards forgiveness and acceptance, embracing the potential for growth and transformation in the relationship.
However, The Fool also counsels caution in this new journey. While there is potential for renewed happiness and harmony, it is essential to approach the reconciliation with maturity and wisdom.
It’s a chance to apply the lessons of the past, making sure not to repeat previous mistakes, and taking care to nurture the relationship responsibly this time around.
As Reconciliation (Reversed)
When The Fool appears reversed in the context of reconciliation, it points to a hesitance or fear of repeating past mistakes.
The individual may be desiring reconciliation, but there’s a level of apprehension and concern. The fear of stepping off the cliff again, of being hurt or causing hurt, acts as a barrier to embracing the opportunity for a fresh start.
The Fool reversed here can signal unresolved issues, unhealed wounds, or lingering resentments that could make the path to reconciliation challenging.
It suggests the need for more introspection, understanding, and perhaps even personal growth before rushing back into the relationship.
It’s an invitation to look within and ask hard questions: Has enough time passed for healing? Have the root causes of previous conflicts been addressed? Is there genuine willingness to change and improve?
At the same time, The Fool reversed also warns against staying stuck in the past or being overly fearful about the future.
The key to successful reconciliation may be finding a balance: acknowledging past mistakes, but also being open to new possibilities and allowing for growth and transformation.
The Fool Meaning – Pregnancy (Upright)
In relation to pregnancy, The Fool in the upright position signifies a journey filled with optimism, excitement, and anticipation of the new life that is about to be introduced.
It can suggest the beginning of a new chapter in one’s life, filled with joy and hope. The sense of adventure The Fool encapsulates can also apply to the journey of becoming a parent, an adventure filled with unknowns, discovery, and uncharted territory.
Drawing The Fool in a pregnancy reading could indicate a pregnancy that is just beginning or a desire to embark on the journey of parenthood. It can symbolize a fresh start, brimming with the potential of what’s to come.
This card encourages embracing the new phase of life with open arms and a light heart. However, it also implies that, much like The Fool’s journey, parenthood is a journey that can be full of unexpected twists and turns.
It calls on soon-to-be parents to adopt an adventurous spirit and a willingness to learn, grow, and adapt along the way. Despite any uncertainties or fears, the overall message is one of positivity, potential, and the promise of rewarding experiences ahead.
The Fool Meaning – Pregnancy (Reversed)
When drawn reversed in a pregnancy context, The Fool can indicate a fear or apprehension towards the notion of becoming a parent, possibly due to past experiences or uncertainties about the future.
It suggests an inner struggle or hesitation, perhaps due to feeling unprepared or fearing the responsibilities and changes that come with parenthood.
In a reading about future pregnancy, The Fool reversed might imply that the querent is not yet ready for such a transformative life experience, or they may be allowing anxieties or worries to overshadow their decision-making.
It can also be a signal of potential unforeseen complications or obstacles that might need addressing.
However, it’s crucial to remember that the journey of parenthood, much like The Fool’s journey, is seldom without bumps in the road.
The fool reversed prompts introspection and encourages potential parents to tackle their fears, seek guidance, and approach this life-changing decision with due diligence and careful consideration, rather than impulsive leaps.
The Fool Meaning – Careers, Business & Money (Upright)
If you’re having money trouble, The Fool upright can be a very welcome sign. He signifies new beginnings, and that means new jobs, opportunities, and perspectives, too.
You might be starting on something that’s completely new to you, or taking up an old project with a new sense of optimism.
Either way, The Fool is here to symbolize that it’s time to approach these things with joy and bravery. Avoid second-guessing yourself too much, or you might end up sabotaging your own success.
The Fool Meaning – Careers, Business & Money (Reversed)
The Fool can have two distinct meanings here, depending on where you are in life. If you’re currently working a stable job, he’s here to point out that you might be suffering from stagnation.
Instead of approaching your journey with optimism and a sense of adventure, you may be feeling like you’re in a rut, or you’re at the mercy of a career that keeps you from securing your future.
In this case, it’s time to consider a new path. Be sure to do so carefully, however — The Fool might advise starting a new adventure, but that cliff is still there.
On the other side of things, The Fool might show that something isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Has anyone recently contacted you about joining their suspiciously lucrative work-from-home business?
The Fool reversed is here to tell you that if something sounds too good to be true, it is. You might have starry-eyed aspirations about a new career path or financial opportunity now, but there’s something off about it.
Do your research before investing any of your time or money, and know that the people urging you to take this opportunity may not be a source of unbiased information.
The Fool: Yes or No?
The Fool is a funny card. While he can represent carelessness while upright, his positive associations outnumber his negative ones. For “Yes or No” readings, he usually represents a “Yes.” This is especially so if your question revolves around taking a big step or starting a new venture.
Some readers see him as a “Maybe” — it’s possible that your situation is too fresh to provide a firm answer just yet.
When reversed, The Fool is unclear. Some interpret him as a “No,” others interpret him as a “Yes” with caveats.
Some readers see The Fool as a “Maybe,” regardless of whether he’s upright or reversed. It may be best to ask at a different time, when you have more information and a stronger perspective.
The Fool is often read as a personification of naïveté, blithely stepping into the abyss because he doesn’t look where he’s going. There’s more to this card than that, however.
He is the beginning of the journey, and the fresh burst of energy that comes with embarking on a new adventure. When he comes into a tarot reading, he’s here to show us the joys and pitfalls of daring to step into the unknown.
See also: For more Tarot Card meanings, check out our full list of Tarot Cards and their meanings.