Learn to Read Tarot

Explore the Major Arcana

Learn About:

The Fool

The Main Character as the story begins, unaware of complications to come.

Meditative Affirmation:

“I jump at the opportunity to pursue my heart's desire.”

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Upright Meaning

Key themes: Freedom, faith, inexperience, innocence

Tap into your joy and the energy of your inner child. Harness these personal forces to free yourself from limitations, both extrinsic and self-imposed. Arm yourself with only your instincts, then use this empowerment to take a leap of faith. When you embrace change, your potential will exceed everything you thought possible.

Reversed Meaning

Key themes: Limitation, doubt, knowledge, scrutiny

Focus and gravity are required, but you are aloof and distracted. You lack the experience and knowledge necessary for the situation. Your naivete leaves you gullible and thus exposed to unnecessary risks.

Mythical/Spiritual Associations

  • Adam before the fall.
  • Christ as a wandering holy madman.
  • Deity wrapped in human flesh.
  • The Holy Spirit.

Symbolic Insights

These notes share stories you can use to enhance your appreciation for Tarot’s depth and beauty. They also suggest additional ways a card might apply to your situation.

  • The Jester. In the royal court, the jester’s wit bought indulgence for his sharp-tongued commentary. As a result, he could say what the king (and others) could not. How might his strategy work for you?
  • The Beggar. While later Fools are fresh-faced characters cavorting on cliffs, earlier incarnations were beggars—the lowest of the low, according to the Renaissance worldview. How capable are you of embracing everyone, regardless of their social status?
  • The Animal Familiar. In different decks, different animals accompany the Fool. In the RWS, we see a dog, the symbol of loyalty and instinct. In the Thoth deck, we see an entire menagerie, including a crocodile (the reptilian brain) and a tiger (violent instinct). Which quality suits you best today?
  • The Cliff. The Fool is often shown just one footfall short of a tumble; in other decks, he is suspended in space. In your situation, what works best: your feet on the ground or head in the clouds?
  • Possessions. The RWS Fool carries a bag or wallet, presumably filled with lessons from a previous life. He may carry a white rose (innocence) or a red rose (will). How might your experience, or lack thereof, be the key to your situation?

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