The Fool is pictured as a young man setting off on a journey. He strides confidently into the unknown, which is usually represented as a path or road. Different decks use different symbols to represent the Fool’s inability to understand the dangers present in the basic life forces around him. Some decks show the Fool actually stepping onto thin air, some have a fierce beast clawing at his trousers and in others he is pictured with his house built on the edge of a cliff.
The Fool’s concerns are otherworldly; he is not governed by earthly pursuits. He is on a spiritual quest that will take him from birth to death; from innocence to enlightenment. He represents the spirit being born into a physical body. He has so much to learn, yet he is totally optimistic as he sets off on his quest. He senses that his journey is one of good, not evil, although he is unaware of the sorrows and difficult choices that await him.
The Fool is sometimes portrayed as a negative card; as one who behaves with foolishness, naivety and downright stupidity. These are certainly some of the pessimistic influences but it would be wrong to view the Fool as a negative card. We should view this card as we would the birth of a tiny baby who has all opportunities of the world ahead of him. We may fear for the child and hope that life is good to him, but we know he must travel his own road and make his own choices.
The Fool takes various ideas and dreams with him on his journey but he has not yet formulated a plan, or developed the perspective to put these ideas into solid, purposeful action. His expectations are high and he is ready for the challenges ahead; even though he has no clear idea of what these may be.
By the end of his quest he will have attained enlightenment in all areas of life. He will realize that his search for knowledge has been achieved and he will be ready to allow his spirit to be freed from his body.
Aspects to consider when the Fool is drawn:
• The possibility of fresh beginnings or changing to a different direction.
• The need for a person to accept that a time of major change and challenge lies ahead.
• The need to go back to basics and to let destiny reshape their life.
• The realization that it is a time of opportunity, when hope and excitement can lead them towards a new future.
• The presence of optimism which can transcend past difficulties and problems.
• The need to take a fresh look at surroundings, people or career and to lose the jaded feelings associated with age and familiarity. Try to see old problems in a fresh, enlightened way.
Negative influences of the Fool:
• Impulsiveness and naivety.
• Childish behavior.
• Bad decision making which hinders progress.
• Pig-headedness that rejects life forces outwith their experience.
When reading the Fool take great care not to frighten the inquirer or make them nervous about the challenges they will meet. Try to instill an excitement for a life about to change, and a hope for a brighter future.
The Fool can forecast changes in emotional life, work or lifestyle. The inquirer may partly be reacting to changes that are out with their control, yet it is important to emphasize the positive aspects of a new stage of their lives.
The Fool is happy, trusting and open. Enjoy the Fool. Enjoy the excitement of stepping off a precipice into the unknown. Enjoy the vigor of youth.
Colette Brown writes a weekly column for the Lanarkshire Extra and has featured in many prestige publications. She has appeared on TV and radio and has a busy tarot consultancy. She lives in Strathaven, Scotland.
Tarot: From Novice to Pro in One Book is published by Dodona Books, ISBN: 978-1-84694-965-4 (Paperback) £9.99 $14.95.
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