The Fool in Spring: Le Fou of the Tarot

The Fool

From the Rider-Waite tarot deck

In honor of tomorrow being April Fool’s Day, I decided it would be fun to take a look at “The Fool” of the tarot deck. You might think it would be a bad card to receive in a divinatory reading, but it represents opportunity, new beginnings, spontaneity, risk-taking, and innocence. The Fool’s Journey is a metaphor for the journey through life. This specific card represents the start of that journey. As such, it has the potential to be good or bad.

The Oswald Wirth tarot deck

The Fool is one of the tarot’s 22 Major Arcana cards and is the most contradictory card in the deck. Some people claim it is an inherently negative card, while others say not. The Major Arcana are numbered, but depending on the deck, The Fool may be unnumbered, or it may be numbered 0, 21, or 22. It can be the lowest trump or the highest trump. When it is numbered zero (which is most often), it is the only card in the deck that uses an Arabic numeral instead of a Roman one.

According to Wikipedia “The Fool is titled Le Mat in the Tarot of Marseilles, and Il Matto in most Italian language tarot decks. These archaic words mean ‘the madman’ or ‘the beggar’, and may be related to the word for ‘checkmate’ in relation to the original use of tarot cards for gaming purposes.”

The Fool 1

Charles VI tarot deck

The fool does not always represent the person whose fortune is being read. It can also be a person who is prominent in the subject’s life. And like all tarot cards, it’s meaning is altered enormously depending on the position in which it comes up in the spread, as well as on the cards that appear around it.

For instance, The Fool in the past position may mean time previously wasted on distractions. In the present position it may reveal an enormous potential if commitments are thrown aside in order to seize an immediate opportunity.

If The Devil appears near The Fool in a reading it may mean that the subject’s careless ways will soon lead to disaster. When paired with The Sun, The Star, or the Moon, it can signify the approach of a time of deep personal insights. It is The Fool reversed (upside down) that is considered the true warning of bad things to come.

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