0 FOOL - The Courageous Child of The Divine

“With light step, as if earth and its trammels had little power to restrain him, a young man in gorgeous vestments pauses at the brink of a precipice among the great heights of the world,” writes Arthur Edward Waite in The Pictorial Key to the Tarot.


Tarot image - Shadowscapes Deck.



The Fool (in some decks also called The Jester, The Child, The Dreamer) is one of the 78 cards in a Tarot deck. In occult tarot, it is one of the 22 Major Arcana cards, numbered as 0 (the first) or XXII (the last). The Fool brings air energy and intensity of the Uranus energy. Like its connected planet, The Fool is forward-looking and is associated with all that is progressive.

According to Robert Wang The Fool being air energy makes it the most important card in the deck. “All of the other Tarot cards are implicit in this Transitional Air; they all arise from Air,” explains R. Wang.

Tarot master A. E Waite writes:

He surveys the blue distance before him-its expanse of sky rather than the prospect below. His act of eager walking is still indicated, though he is stationary at the given moment; his dog is still bounding. The edge which opens on the depth has no terror; it is as if angels were waiting to uphold him, if it came about that he leaped from the height. His countenance is full of intelligence and expectant dream.

Robert Wang in The Qabalistic Tarot notes that The Fool is both – most complicated card in the deck, but also the one that means the absolute simplicity of thought and action.

The ultimate simplicity is THE FOOL, and the ultimate complexity is THE UNIVERSE. […] THE FOOL demands multi-faceted and fluid interpretation. It is certainly the most difficult and profound card of the entire Tarot deck. […] THE FOOL is the initial potential for that thought which transcends reason.

Qabalistic sources also provides Fool’s esoteric meaning, which is related to consciousness. It’s believed The Fool is the Divine force, who walks his path with special dignity, and he can stand face to face before the Cause of Causes.

Another author Rachel Pollack perceives The Fool as a brave, free spirit. However, author urges to notice other side of this “character”. In the tarot bible Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot she writes:

We have already looked at the Fool in one aspect, the image of a spirit totally free. But we can look at the Fool from another side - the leap into the archetypal world of the trumps. Imagine yourself entering a strange landscape. A world of magicians, of people hanging upside down, and of dancers in the bright air. […] The Fool archetype has even found social expression, as the real court jester. We all know the image from King Lear of ‘the fool’, permitted to tell the king truths no one else would dare to express. Today, our comedians and satirists enjoy something of the same privilege.

In some early Tarot decks the Fool appeared as a giant court jester, towering over the people around him. His title was ‘the Foolof God’. The term has also been used for idiots, harmless madmen, and severe epileptics, all of whom were thought to be in touch with a greater wisdom precisely because they were out of touch with the rest of us.

Pollack also reminds:

Curiously the image of the Fool as self occurs more in fairy tales than myths. We look at myths as representing forces larger than ourselves; the simpler fairy tale allows us to express our own foolishness.

According to the author (as well as many other tarot specialists) symbolism in the card also plays big role, half of the meaning is in surrounding elements.

Waite’s Fool holds a white rose. Roses symbolize passion, while white, the traditional colour of purity, together with the delicate way the flower is held, indicate the passions raised to a higher level.

The Greeks saw Eros, the god of love, as a trickster, making the most proper people act ridiculous. But those who already express their folly will not be thrown by love. The Greeks also spoke of Eros, in other forms, as the animating force of the universe. The bag behind him carries his experiences. He does not abandon them, he is not mindless, they simply do not control him in the way that our memories and traumas so often control our lives.

In the tarot bible Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot author also says:

Like the joker, the Fool really belongs anywhere in the deck, in combination with and between any of the other cards. He is the animating force giving life to the static images. In the Major Arcana he belongs wherever there is a difficult transition. Hence his position at the beginning, where there is the transition from the everyday world of the Minor Arcana to the world of archetypes.

Experienced practitioner of hypnotherapy and a psychic who uses the tarot cards as his main tool for divination, John Field in his book Ultimately Tarot also dwells into the meaning of The Fool.

Field writes:

The Fool seems to have no fear of what is ahead of him, so perhaps he believes he will be saved if he fell. […] On the whole, the Fool card represents that an important new chapter in our lives is about to begin, in which a risk may need to be taken. It is about our choices and receptivity, and our desire for knowledge and new experiences, because without them we will become shallow and boring.

He also analyses his connection with the planets:

The astrological influence of the Fool is the planet Uranus, which is the planet of impulse, sudden changes, independence, decision making, originality, and freedom. Uranus stimulates our originality and ability to act with dynamic individuality, willpower and independence. It also represents novel ideas, education, hopes and wishes. It is about our potential vitality and spirit, and our ability to seize opportunities, our aptitude to innovate and invent, and our interest in science. […] When the Fool appears in a spread it suggests that you are about to embark on a new phase of life. New opportunities are on the horizon perhaps in the form of a new job, career, or business venture. It could also be something great in your relationships, maybe your existing relationship develops into something new, or you enter into a new relationship.

Author gives encouragement, which if needed can be accepted and practiced as affirmation to take on Fool’s energy.

You are capable of original and new ideas and you will make some surprising discoveries. There are many challenges ahead but you will overcome them, just follow your heart.
The Dreamer is the first card of the Major Arcana, and the beginning of what we call The Dreamer’s Journey. When this card appears, we’re encouraged to take a leap of faith. […] This is where our magical journey begins. A choice is made to create something new or to pursue an entirely new phase of life. The story of The Dreamer begins when we choose our path with great optimism and hope. […] In tarot, The Dreamer is number 0. This is a very mystical number that represents God and eternity. It’s a blank slate from which anything can be created—a cycle that begins, ends, and then begins again.
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