The Fool

Greatest hits, Tue Apr 01, 2008

Quoting from my favorite Tarot site Aeclectic Tarot

The fool in colorful motley clothes, pack tied to a staff, a small dog, a cliff.

The Rider-Waite card.


Basic Tarot Story

With all his worldly possessions in one small pack, the Fool travels he knows not where. So filled with visions and daydreams is he, that he doesn’t see the cliff he is likely to fall over. At his heel, a small dog harries him (or tries to warn him of a possible mis-step).

Basic Tarot Meaning

At #0, the Fool is the card of infinite possibilities. The bag on the staff indicates that he has all he need to do or be anything he wants, he has only to stop and unpack. He is on his way to a brand new beginning. But the card carries a little bark of warning as well. Stop daydreaming and fantasising and watch your step, lest you fall and end up looking the fool.

With thousands of years of practical and spiritual knowledge contained within it, talking in all but the most general terms in a blog post about the Tarot is impossible. But if we zero in on The Fool for a minute, we can try to get a sense for this card…on its day….and through that a general discussion, perhaps, on the Tarot. Here is a nice little history lesson, though of course the origins of Tarot are unknown. And since the origins are unknown, there is very little dogma attached to the Tarot, even the “experts” are just giving their own interpretations. The Tarot is INFINTELY parsable. I have heard at least ten different interpretations of what, for instance, the little dog on the fool card represents. And….all of them are correct!

The Tarot can be seen as the Journey of The Fool through life, and since we are all Fools…on our ow Journey. On of the reasons I like the site linked above is that relates the cards of the deck to the different aspects that The Fool passes through on his Journey through life. Politically speaking, The Fool is very much a Liberal or Progressive, imo. He wanders through life optimistic, open to new ideas, and as he progresses through his cycle uses his knowledge to try to help others.

The Fool can also be seen as the pure “Life Force” come into this world and the Tarot as a parable of how humans choose to use it…or twist it, lol, to their own selfish ends. The Tarot also asks, and points us toward wisdom on, what these ends are and why they exist.

Like the I Ching, which has 64 different aspects of life that we all pass through at certain points on our Journey, the Tarot is fascinating for the fact alone that is has been able to categorize and encapsulate all of the major phases and states of life into a system that is worthwhile to study, even if you don’t believe in or use it for divination or that sort of poppycock! It is very much a collection of ancient learning and a valuable way to look at the world and learn about the strange creatures (us!) that inhabit it!

Becoming wise, while still not losing the optimism, innocence, and wide eyed wonder at the world that The Fool possesses is not a bad way to look at the Journey of life!

The Osho(zen) interpretation:


Moment to moment, and with every step, the Fool leaves the past behind. He carries nothing more than his purity, innocence and trust, symbolized by the white rose in his hand. The pattern on his waistcoat contains the colors of all four elements of the tarot, indicating that he is in harmony with all that surrounds him. His intuition is functioning at its peak. At this moment the Fool has the support of the universe to make this jump into the unknown. Adventures await him in the river of life.

The card indicates that if you trust your intuition right now, your feeling of the ‘rightness’ of things, you cannot go wrong. Your actions may appear ‘foolish’ to others, or even to yoursef, if you try to analyze them with the rational mind. But the ‘zero’ place occipied by the Fool is the numberless number where trust and innocence are the guides, not skepticism and past experience.

A FOOL IS ONE who goes on trusting; a fool is one who goes on trusting against all his experience. You deceive him, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you. Then you will say that he is a fool, he does not learn. His trust is tremendous; his trust is so pure that nobody can corrupt it.

Be a fool in the Taoist sense, in the Zen sense. Don’t try to create a wall of knowledge around you. Whatsoever experience comes to you, let it happen, and then go on dropping it. Go on cleaning your mind continuously; go on dying to the past so you remain in the present, here-now, as if just born, just a babe.

In the beginning it is going to be very difficult. The world will start taking advantage of you…let them. They are poor fellows. Even if you are cheated and deceived and robbed, let it happen, because that which is really yours cannot be robbed from you, that which is really yours nobody can steal from you. And each time you don’t allow situations to corrupt you, that opportunity will become an integration inside. Your soul will become more crystallized.

Another traditional interpretation:

As Card 0, the Fool lies at the beginning of the major arcana, but also somewhat apart from the other cards. In medieval courts, the court jester was someone who was not expected to follow the same rules as others. He could observe and then poke fun. This makes the Fool unpredictable and full of surprises. He reminds us of the unlimited potential and spontaneity inherent in every moment. There is a sense with this card that anything goes – nothing is certain or regular. The Fool adds the new and unfamiliar to a situation.

The Fool also represents the complete faith that life is good and worthy of trust. Some might call the Fool too innocent, but his innocence sustains him and brings him joy. In readings, the Fool can signal a new beginning or change of direction – one that will guide you onto a path of adventure, wonder and personal growth. He also reminds you to keep your faith and trust your natural responses. If you are facing a decision or moment of doubt, the Fool tells you to believe in yourself and follow your heart no matter how crazy or foolish your impulses may seem.

You can get a free one or three card reading here. On that same page are links for longer free readings….or you can e-mail me if you want a more in depth (non-free! :} ) reading. I know there are other folks here who use Tarot…I also know it is not a commonplace subject for ‘reality based’ political blogs! Some might even say I am a Fool for bringing it up!  


Skip to comment form

  1. Photobucket

  2. comme tout les mondes — comment tu va?

    Happy Holidays, buhdy!  I hope, during your “remission,” so to speak, you are enjoying it!

    And, buhdy, I wish you a good New Year (less back pain), as I do ALL of us, and well, I’m a dreamer, too, I wish us ALL more SANITY!!

    Cheers and well wishes!


  3. A Haiku for your New Year Journey.  I do know something about the archetypical Fool.  It’s tough work, but somebody has to do it.

  4. May the new year bring health, & even wealth.

    I hope for a better year, still,

    I always look to the FOOL on the hill.

  5. Although I admire the usual blonde ladyboy image of the Fool, and maybe his cute little dress will make a serviceable parachute when he goes off the cliff, I still prefer the medieval image of a dopey-looking giant in a jock-strap blundering through the world, like Uncle Sam in Afghanistan, with a well-dressed gang of CEO’s apparently measuring him for a new pair of trillion-dollar pants.

    • Robyn on December 31, 2010 at 23:52

    …will appear in my essay in a few minutes.

  6. The housewives tarot


    The mythic tarot


    The guilded tarot


    Strangely enough, right now I can hear the faint sounds of a tarot reading happening in the other room.

    Teri is doing a reading with her aunt who just arrived today.

    • banger on January 1, 2011 at 19:31

    Perfect card for new year’s day. I look at the card in the same way as one of the interpretations above. The Fool is outside the normal boundaries of life. But it also represents the true Self that, in terms of the world, is always foolish because it never calculates nor takes normal reality in consideration. Reality, to the true Fool, is irrelevant–it is a minor hassle whether one lives or dies or follows or violates natural, custom, morality, or logic. The Fool simply is unmediated by anything. It is also self-sufficient.

    In a reading the Fool depends entirely on the cards around him but brings the air of the true Self to any reading because it represents eternity.

Comments have been disabled.