The Fool Tarot Card Meanings & Stories

The Fool Tarot Card Meanings & Stories

Posted by Cindy Hurn

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What is the Core Meaning of the Fool Card?

Depicted on the Fool Card (I prefer using the Rider-Waite deck) is a young lad - with upward gaze, satchel on his shoulder, white rose in his left hand and a white dog barking at his feet. Ignoring the dog’s warning he appears content, without a care in the world. He is ready to take that next step - right off the cliff, trusting all will be okay.

The Fool comes into our lives when we are ready for transition and to make some kind of shift in ourselves or our lives. We have all been there. Somehow we know we have to take a leap and trust whatever happens all will work out.

The energy of this Major Arcana card (as in all Major Arcana cards) teaches about life transitions. The Fool encourages us to make big changes by starting afresh. Habitual in nature it is very common to get stuck in our everyday patterns. When the Fool comes whispering in your ear, he beckons us to follow and take that leap into the unknown. As often it is by letting go of where we are, what we think we know, we discover that we know so much more.

For example, when the Fool shows up in a spread regarding a work situation it may be encouraging us to go for promotion. Perhaps feeling we don’t have experience or fearful of more responsibility the Fool tells us to trust in the process. With his upwards gaze he reminds us of spiritual perspective, one that allows us to see the bigger picture, broadening our horizons. His satchel assures us that we don’t step into the unknown empty handed as indeed, carried in the bag is all the knowledge and wisdom we have accumulated thus far. The white rose symbolic of purity or the innocence of trust while the white dog at his heel our fears. Barking the dog tries to warn us, stop us going forward. The Fool says there is something bigger at work here. Don’t limit yourself or let your fears hold you back.

The Fool Tarot card is all about beginning a new cycle in your life. A cycle which may challenge, as well as encourage, you to leap further than you have before. It holds within it positive energy which reminds that although The Fool will walk off the cliff he will not fall.

What Does It Mean When I Get It In a Spread?

When looking at the cards in a Tarot spread it is important to check out how many Major Arcana cards and how many Minor. While the Major ones depict important life transitional energy the Minor are more about how the personality filters that through. So when we see the Fool it heralds a new beginning. We will have a major choice to make. In order to make that decision the Fool asks us to be aware of any fears we have about taking the next step into the unknown.

Do we support our fear, push away opportunity just because it means major change or do we trust that the path of life is full of forked paths and always we are making choices whether aware or not? When it comes in a reading it reminds us to trust and have faith. It gives a spiritual perspective which reassures us of a positive outcome. Even if incredibly challenging. The Fool energy is present in all things new and reflects the spiritual consciousness rather than mere concern for material conditions. The Fool trusts in the Universe and asks us to be prepared to abandon the old ways and take that leap.

How Do You Feel About the Fool Tarot Card Personally?

I love this card. It gives me hope and reminds me of innocence and trust. A youthful energy off to seek his fortune believes there is a bigger plan without knowing what it is. Whenever I work with this card I really feel its Spiritual Presence. I also know that whenever it comes up for me there is change on the horizon and having walked the Path of Personal/Spiritual Development for many years I trust it is a change which will enhance my life and aid growth and develop awareness; all good stuff. It also reminds me to be aware, as well to address any negating fear I may have about going forward.

Do You Have Any Personal Stories of the Fool Energy That You've Had in Your Own Life?

Thirty-two years ago I heard a voice in my head that simply said “Move to London.” At that time I was quite settled in my home town near Boston, Massachusetts in the USA, had never before traveled, never had to make new friends and felt very content in the path that I was then walking. Call it intuition, your gut, inner-directive but the voice was that of the FOOL. I remember visiting my mother that day.

“What’s new?”she asked.

“I am moving to London.” I replied.

“Why?” she said.

“I don’t know why. I just know I am.”

Playing the role of the white dog - my fears - she said, “You can’t! What if you get ill again?” (I had just recovered from a few years of very challenging health.)

Trusting in the Fool energy calmly I answered. “I can and I will. I cannot live my life in fear. If I get ill again, I will just have to deal with it.”

It took me another two years to let go of my old life and when I did make that move I did so in complete trust and innocence. I did not travel alone as I carried with me the knowledge from all my life experiences and the belief that my life would never be the same. I only had one contact in London who was to become my teacher.

What would have happened if I listened to my/her fears? I have no way of knowing but what I do know is I would not be sitting here now answering these questions. There would have been so much of me that would not have developed because I chose a smaller life experience. I never looked back. The energy of the Fool enthused, prompted, and encouraged me to take the absolute right leap. I had no knowledge of where I was going only trusted that all would be well. I did not fall, in fact, I learned to fly.

Another example in 2011 I was given the opportunity to have a weekly internet radio show. Although I loved being on the radio this would be a huge commitment - 50 minutes - every Monday I had to come up with and deliver an interesting informative program. Well, that dog had a field day. Barking loudly and tugging at my trousers my fears swamped me. What would I say? How could I make it interesting? What format? How could I commit to every Monday (it went out live)? At the time I found technology totally confusing - how could I ever come to terms with all I needed to know to go live on the internet? What if no one listened?

My friends around me saw the unreality of my fears and kept telling me I would be fine. I could do it. I would be great at it. They supported me, believed in my ability, told me it was just about change - taking that leap. So I stepped forward. And you know what? I learned, my life and expertise expanded because I said yes and no I didn’t crash but instead blossomed. 3 years on with lots of radio experience under my belt and still ongoing I am so glad I pushed through my fears. When we do we gain so much more of who we truly are.

Are There Any Aspects of the Fool to be Wary Of?

There is always a polarity in life and therefore a positive and a negative in all things. My mind coming from such a strong positive perspective first thought that even a ‘negative’ leap, something not working out as you had hoped, in the long run it would be positive as with all experience we learn. But I suppose in a reading if the Fool was surrounded by Swords (usually the tougher of the four suits) I would read it more cautionary. Maybe there is an opportunity but you need to take it for the right reason. Or don’t act too impulsively be more aware of what your gut is telling you to do rather than what you desire. We can often get our inner directives mixed up with our hopes and desires. It maybe we want to go and do something but for all the wrong reasons. The surrounding cards would help clarify what the motivation really is. The Fool heralds the start of something new. Making a leap with a feeling of trust is a good indication that change will move us forward.

What Other Cards in the Tarot is the Fool Related To / Friends With?

The Fool is connected to all 77 cards. The reason for this is the Fool is Spirit incarnate. The rest of the cards represent his path through life. He is here to learn and evolve. Life experience provides the cut of the diamond while how we perceive those on a personal level, the polishing stone. The Spirit is the beauty which shines through the diamond.

Which is Your Favorite Fool and Why? (i.e. From which Tarot Deck?)

I guess I am a purest at heart. I only use the Rider Waite deck. it is said to be the first commercial pack designed in 1910 but A. E. Waite and drawn by Pamela Coleman-Smith (Rider was the publisher). A. E. Waite was a member of the Golden Dawn an occult, metaphysical group. His symbolic depictions to me hold a more assessable connection to in the inner depths and therefore easier to feel the knowledge locked in the pictorial images.

Through time other decks were designed and especially in these last 15 years there are now an abundance of Tarot decks available. My concern is that many designed by talented artists may not fully understand the importance of symbolic language and the Ancient Wisdom depicted. You can end up with amazingly beautiful decks but far removed from the original symbols which dilute the promptings of the inner Tarot teacher, but each to their own. I only use this one deck and when I teach we all learn from Waite’s depiction of this Ancient Book of Wisdom.

In the end no matter how the Fool is drawn - its energy draws us on.