The Fool Tarot Card Meaning
Keywords: New Beginnings – Innocence – Adventure
The Fool is often considered the first card of the tarot -although technically, it resides outside of the numerical sequence of the other 21 Major Arcana cards. It’s the beginning of a new cycle and a new journey. It can also follow the end of a chapter.
The Fool card is typically depicted as a young man in colorful, flowing clothes. The Fool is standing on the precipice of what appears to be the sharp edge of a cliff. Is the small white dog barking at his feet celebrating with him or trying to warn him to watch his step? Is it just a steep step beyond the cliff’s ledge or is there a deep chasm below? The latter could be an early end to the adventure. Regardless, The Fool looks up to the sky. He is ready to take a leap of faith. Behind him are tall, icy mountains that symbolize a long journey.
Upright Meaning For The Fool Card:
This is the quintessential card of new beginnings. The Fool shows up in your life when you’re ready to embark on a new journey. A door has opened for you. Now the universe is yelling: “go through”!
The Fool challenges you to embrace the journey ahead.
There will be naysayers, as represented by the Fool’s companion, a small white dog barking at his feet. You’ll need to use discernment to filter these criticisms as constructive, or as the fearful projections of others. Even if some feedback is valid, you might feel like tossing that to the wind too!
Often, the Fool shows up to push you to wholeheartedly seize a new opportunity. Chances to start fresh don’t come that often. Believe in your ability to handle this new chapter and dive in!
If you are doing any inner child or spiritual work, the Fool is a call to search for things that bring back your inner joy and light. Recall times in your past where you felt in flow and care-free. Was it taking a long walk in the woods, playing in the dirt, drawing, or painting? Look back on those simple activities you loved as a child for inspiration. Incorporate them back into your current life. This is incredibly important if you’re recovering from burn out. The Fool encourages you to cultivate that child-like wonder at the world again.
With any new adventure, we often don’t know what lies ahead for us. The new sense of lightness and freedom that comes with the Fool card may feel exciting and exhilarating —but scary at the same time! If you’re desiring a big change, but are feeling very apprehensive, the Fool card is a reminder that you shouldn’t discount your resourcefulness. Yes, the journey ahead will be long and at times challenging. You may not know what’s just around the corner, but you can handle it! Don’t let yourself catastrophize. The Fool reminds us that sometimes a playful, carefree approach is needed. Take a deep breath and go for it!
Love and Relationships:
The Fool card represents a relationship that feels new, free, and exhilarating. Relationships that are represented by the Fool card can be of the “no strings attached” type. They’re light and not so heavy on the commitments. It’s a message to not be so serious right now and enjoy yourselves. When it appears for yourself, don’t be too quick to commit. Give yourself time to explore and keep things light. When the Fool appears for a partner, it’s not a sign of a strong commitment. On the other hand, it does represent someone who is incredibly fun and engaging. These individuals can push you to grow. In love, the Fool is often a sign to just have fun for now, and not get too tied down.
Career and work:
The Fool card often represents starting a new career path or position. If the Fool card follows a time when you’re trying to find new work, consider something unconventional. This is an indicator card to reassess where you are. You can approach a new situation with a lighter spirit.
This is a great card for entrepreneurs and freelancers. The Fool is a confirmation of the power of your creative abilities. It’s a sign to embrace your desire to set out on your own unique path. Don’t be afraid to go with the path less traveled! The Fool isn’t the 9-5 type. If this card shows up in a career reading, look at an unconventional approach to finding fulfilling work. This card can also indicate that a position with fewer responsibilities would work better for you right now. This is especially true if you’ve been reevaluating your work-life balance or deciding to start a side-hustle. If you’ve had a dream project simmering on the back-burner, see if you can make a go of it.
People and Personalities:
The Fool card represents care-free, bohemian spirits. Individuals with this personality can be very creative, love to travel, and child-like in their willingness to trust the world. The latter can get them into trouble. Their ability to see the good in everyone and everything can set them up to be taken advantage of.
It can be an indicator that you, or the person in question, is not as concerned with the material world as the rest of society. Their creative abilities and divergent thinking serve them well. The Fool card personality is very spontaneous and resourceful at a moment’s notice. They’re down for a surprise weekend trip. At the extreme end, they’re people who decide to sell all their possessions to live the portable, tiny house lifestyle. They are the proverbial #vanlife folks. With its metaphysical association with the element of Air and the planetary rulership of Uranus, this card could represent a very free-spirited Aquarius.
The Fool Reversed Tarot Card Meaning
Reversed keywords: Recklessness – Naivety – Procrastination
There’s potential for a new journey to start, but something is blocking it. You may want to jump into new opportunities, but the timing doesn’t feel right. When the Fool card is reversed, you may feel too burdened with responsibilities to be able to embrace a new path.
At worst, areas of your life may feel too out of control. Take a more structured approach right now. Don’t engage in reckless behavior or be too impulsive. Take a step back and get help with reigning in the chaos. Sometimes it’s just that you’re being a little unorganized. Take some time to gather your resources and make an action plan. Start simple and outline the next steps you need to take.
When the Fool shows up reversed, ask yourself whether you are engaging in behaviors that are creating a tendency to procrastinate. Do you want to change careers, but you don’t have a basic resume created so you can jump on new opportunities that come your way?
Do you want to go back to college, but you overslept and missed your advisor meeting? You want to settle down and start a family, but you keep picking partners who aren’t available? When the Fool card is reversed, examine the subtle ways that you’re allowing chaos and disorganization to sabotage your chances of embracing a new journey.
Sometimes, the Fool card reversed represents a kind of analysis paralysis that prevents you from taking action. If you’re feeling stuck, but you’ve already done plenty of research, you’re organized and ready… then take the leap already! Organizing, list-making, and study must be coupled with action to move forward. Have more faith in yourself that you have everything you need to get started. Trust your resourcefulness.
Reversed Love and Relationships:
When the Fool card shows up reversed in a love reading, it can represent two very opposite ends of the spectrum: either you are feeling tied down or your partner’s lack of commitment is causing undue stress.
With the Fool card reversed, representing you, don’t be pushed into committing too fast. If someone is pressuring you to move in, share a bank account, and get married a month after you just met: it’s a red flag. Don’t allow the excitement that accompanies new relationships to cloud your better judgment. Keep your eyes open. Make sure you’re not being taken advantage of. Your partner’s motives may not be malicious, but still, put the brakes on and take it slower.
There are times where you are the one who is skirting your responsibilities. If you’ve made a promise to someone, be sure you are following through to the best of your ability. A person who appears as the Fool reversed may not be able to currently support you in the ways you need it.
If you are someone wanting a commitment from their partner and The Fool card turns up reversed: this might not be the best fit for what you want. Partners who are represented by the Fool in a tarot spread are resisting settling down fulfilling responsibilities. This might not be a big deal-breaker for you. But if you’re hoping for stability, now might not be the time to partner up with this individual.
Reversed career and work:
When the Fool card is reversed in your work-life, your job can feel like a heavy burden. It’s often a card that represents chaotic and unorganized workplaces. You may feel like you’re floundering due to the workplace’s lack of clear expectations and goals. If you’re already self-employed or are working on a project, the Fool reversed card is a sign to get clear on your goals and tasks that need to be completed. If there are no tangible milestones to hit, you may find yourself losing control of the reins on this endeavor. If you have trouble prioritizing, don’t be afraid to ask for outside help.
Reversed People and Personalities:
The Fool reversed can be someone in a reckless stage of their lives. Many of the traits that make The Fool personality types refreshing and endearing can become dysfunctional when taken to excess. Particularly, when reversed, you may be avoiding important responsibilities. It can be a person whose life is currently too chaotic or unorganized to sustain a healthy relationship.
Another dark side of this card reversed is the tendency to be taken advantage of. Not everyone has pure motives, and it’s important to be discerning about who or where you’re getting your information from. The Fool reversed can be a red-flag urging you to not be naïve.
I am ready for my next adventure.
A Few of My Favorite Examples
The Fool figure in the Mesquite Tarot looks back toward the sun. I love this card’s emphasis on optimism, faith, and hope. The artwork of this card doesn’t indicate if the journeyer is approaching a cliffside. It might only be a hill. This card speaks to the Fool as the beginning of a journey —one that requires bravery and trust. To others, it might be foolish to not watch your step. But sometimes you need faith that you’re being led in the right direction.
The Nomad Tarot depicts a nude figure sleeping in a fetal position among flowers. This imagery highlights the Fool card’s association with innocence and child-like personalities. It also hints at being in gestation. Something or someone is ready to be born into a new form. The Fool card is often depicted as being very action-oriented —as in jump in! But the slumbering figure speaks to the liminality of The Fool card. It can appear when that big step hasn’t been taken yet. You may still be on the fence, so to speak. But the figure in the card isn’t a newborn, it’s a fully formed adult. It’s ready to step off into adventure.
The Ostara Tarot’s Fool card is a young woman flying on a broom towards the sun. It captures the exhilaration of flying towards the sky, but on a precarious device! Her bruised elbows and knees reassure us that this isn’t her first rodeo. Here’s a secret… if you have a misstep, it’s not the end of the world. You can always stand back up and try again. Success and achievement are never linear. There are ups-and-downs. You’ll face challenges on your new adventure. But don’t be discouraged by the falls or you’ll never know what it’s like to fly.
The Wooden Tarot features a whimsical mouse ready to set off on a trip. What appears to be earth below him is, in fact, one of his natural predators: a snake. Still, this seems to be an unusual snake. Will he assist the mouse or lead him to an early end? The Wooden Tarot hints at a more cautious suggestion: watch where you step.
The Morgan Greer Tarot uses traditional imagery for its Fool card. This depiction is a little ambiguous. We can see mountains in the background along with a valley below. But we don’t see where the Fool’s next step will land. He looks ahead with confidence. He may know exactly where he’s going.