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.
See also: Check out Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot decks here.
The Fool Meaning (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 (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!
See also: Check out alternate Tarot decks here.
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.
See also: Check out the current top 100 Best-Selling Tarot books in the USA here.
The Fool Meaning – As Feelings (Upright)
Upright, The Fool indicates feelings of newness, optimism, and excitement. Think of the fluttery, “butterflies in your stomach” feeling you get with a someone you’re interested in.
The Fool is all about curiosity, the attraction of novel people and things, and the desire to throw caution to the wind and jump into a relationship feet-first.
The Fool Meaning – As Feelings (Reversed)
When reversed, those feelings are still there — they’re just blocked. It’s highly likely that this person has been hurt in the past.
Though their natural inclination might be to fall deeply in love with you, there’s something there keeping them from following those feelings.
The Fool reversed can also indicate that they don’t feel mature and able to build a future with you.
The Fool Meaning – As Reconciliation (Upright)
Upright, The Fool is generally a good sign when it comes to reconciliation. You both might have a complicated past, but this person is willing to look beyond that and put their trust in you again.
Make sure that you’re both approaching this situation with a realistic, mature outlook so history doesn’t repeat itself.
The Fool Meaning – As Reconciliation (Reversed)
The Fool reversed means that this person may want a reconciliation with you but recognize that this isn’t possible right now.
It’s likely that they worry about surrendering control and giving you the power to hurt them.
You or your former partner may need to do some learning and maturing before you’re able to make things work.
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.
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