The Fool Tarot Card Meanings (Upright & Reversed)
Last Updated: December 3, 2022
The Fool is card number 0 in modern cartomantic tarot decks and the first major arcana trump card. Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.
In this article, we will explore the different meanings of this tarot card in various reading contexts as well as the different advice it can offer. To help you understand the deep symbolism within that card, we begin with the below narrative.
Each day you spend time daydreaming about what you would choose to do if you could. Each day you get a little bit older, a little bit closer to the freedom and adventure you have longed for. You cannot wait to buy your own lottery ticket, your first drink in a pub with actual valid I.D; to stay out late and live on your own, the master of your own life. Yet you are baby-new and know little of the world outside of your family’s living room. You are a shiny, hopeful thing; a blank canvas for experience and a heart that longs for success and fortune. What could they know that you can’t figure out yourself?
You’ve reached the age you will claim your freedom. You’ve packed a small rucksack and step outdoors, blinking in the sunlight. It is such a gorgeous day and everything feels alive. You feel as though the whole world is at your feet and anything is possible; the promise of opportunity and potential. You are finally guiding your own ship and the voices that were warning and cynical are but distant whispers.
You are enjoying this walk of your life and you smile because everything is going your way. Your shoes may be dusty and your clothes are needing to be replaced, and yes, you spent all your money getting rounds for everyone at the pub that you didn’t pay your rent and then you lost your footing at the first of life’s hurdles and just before tumbling, the warning and cynical voices float around you louder than before.
But it’s too late to heed them.
4 Quick takeaways about this tarot card
- The Fool can represent a new beginning or a fresh start in your life.
- This card can also indicate that you need to take a leap of faith.
- The Fool can also symbolize innocence or naivete.
- Finally, The Fool can represent a need for spontaneity or adventure in your life.
The Fool tarot card key correspondences
|New beginnings, naivety, journeys|
|Recklessness, fearlessness, risk|
|Yes or No||Yes|
Light aspect: The Poet, The Child, The Pilgrim / Shadow aspect: The Fool, The Orphan
January 20th to February 18th
The Crocodile (Egyptian Tarot) & Le Mat (Tarot de Marseille)
What does the upright Fool (tarot card 0) means?
In Latin, major arcana translates to “big secrets” and each of the 22 cards in this section of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck represents an important life lesson we must all face at some point. The Fool, arcanum 0, is no different.
The Fool is the first card of the major arcana in tarot, often called card number zero (0) to signify the very beginning of a person’s journey. The card imagery tends to show a youth portrayed as a court jester travelling with a knapsack and is just about to lose their footing over a cliff while a small dog barks a warning, but presumably, The Fool takes a tumble.
Some tarotists may interpret this as literal depending on the type of tarot spread used, and many do not like this card out of fear it portrays mistakes happening, or their own foolishness. But The Fool is not intended as a card to mock the querent and tarot readers should exercise diplomacy when reading this card.
To me, The Fool represents the beginning of the situation, a person full of hopes and dreams that they sometimes cannot see the wood for the trees, or in this case the cliff edge for the clouds. It’s a card that advises you to take caution when making your decisions, making changes to your life and really think things through. Every dream needs a solid foundation.
The Fool has an air sign quality written all over it; sometimes playful like Gemini with a sense of youthful exuberance and dreams, other times more like Aquarius with its strong sense of independence. This card doesn’t mean to say never pursue your goals, but to instil some critical thinking into your plans and to listen to the voices of experience because they do have something valuable to offer. It can be easy to mistake these voices as criticism but helpful to remember the advice usually comes from a place of care and concern. Your loved ones don’t want you to make the same mistakes they did. But The Fool is not simply dismissive because they believe they know better, but because they are so hopelessly optimistic and in love with life that they believe nothing can go wrong.
I think it’s important to know the next card in the major arcana is The Magician. Armed with experience from The Fool, The Magician recognises mastery of the self and ego is paramount, as well as a stronger, more grounded commitment to achieving their goals. Lessons learned from The Fool card are never useless or meaningless.
If pulled in the upright position, The Fool is associated with new beginnings, leaps of faith and loyalty.
The Fool tarot card as feelings/emotions
If you are asking the tarot how someone feels about you, pulling The Fool means that there’s a lot of excitement, and curiosity, and that this person wants to explore the next stage with you – whether this means a relationship or just the next chapter of your connection/friendship. You help this person feel like they can truly be their child-likes selves by being full of joy and being able to be carefree, so you keep them feeling very, very refreshed! Whether this is a feeling that lasts, however, only time will tell!
If you get the Fool tarot card in a reading, it may indicate that you are feeling ready for action. You may be feeling excited, and enthusiastic, but not necessarily have a clear plan in place to keep you grounded – and that’s ok. Just ensure that you are safe, and be wary of being led astray by your own emotions or excitement.
The Fool tarot card as a person
As a personality archetype, The Fool represents someone who is young at heart, full of carefree thoughts, someone that is more focused on the moment rather than long term plans. They are typically the person that will see the best in everyone, be rather trusting of the world around them, very much see life through their very own rose-tinted glasses. A true free spirit!
The Fool tarot card as advice
If you are asking the tarot for advice regarding a specific situation in your life, pulling The Fool means that it’s time to let go of the ledge, take that leap of faith into the unknown even if the other side isn’t visible. Sometimes in life we need to take the risks, to take the chances, to sometimes jump out of our comfort zones to find all sorts of possibilities and new doors opening than we even know existed. It’s okay, it’s time to be who you want to be. Go for it.
What is the zodiac or astrological sign associated with The Fool?
The Fool tarot card is associated with the air element, and specifically the astrological sign Aquarius. Aquarius, much like The Fool, is known for their light-hearted nature, going about life with their own cheery energy with the urge to always find something new. Aquarius is also ruled by the planet Uranus, which is the planet for independence, which makes them the perfect match for a card that is all about freedom, and ‘starting again’.
Is the Fool a yes or no tarot card?
The Fools is a very encouraging and positive card, all about moving forward, so is very much seen as a ‘yes’ card.
Below are some of my interpretations, as an experienced tarot practitioner, based on different types of questions:
- Will I get the job? The Fool is all about exciting new beginnings, so this would suggest a yes if you think this is the job you want! The Fool, however, may also be asking you to really think about the job, is it for you? Do you really want this job? Or is it just something that seems great for the time but eventually the excitement will wear off and you’ll realise it isn’t for you?
- Is this new person in my life good for me? Whilst very much a good omen when it comes to new people, as it suggests happy new beginnings, and someone that may bring a light of positivity with them, but be aware of their innocence as sometimes naivety and a ‘carefree’ attitude have downfalls. But overall this is a very positive sign!
- Will I achieve my current goals? The Fool suggests that anything is a possibility, you can achieve it all so long you put your mind to it. So yes, The Fool would suggest that you will achieve your goals, but don’t hesitate if you need to change direction, or head into the unknown, to achieve them.
- Should I make that investment? Take the plunge! Let go of any worry and concern surrounding this investment, things are going to work out in your favour.
- Should I start my own business? Dive at the opportunity and go at it full steam ahead! Starting a new venture will bring along with it this sense of a ‘breath of fresh air’, it may be the change you very much need too! Starting all over again can be hard but take the plunge, it’s worth it. You may not always necessarily end up where you once pictured yourself, but it’s definitely a direction you should be going in!
If pulled in the reversed position, The Fool is associated with recklessness, fearlessness, and risk.
How to use The Fool in your Spellwork
Before using the card in spellwork, be sure to cleanse it of any prior vibrations that may not be in alignment with your goal. I like to use incense and ring a bell over my cards before using them.
Tarot can be used in ritual and spellwork as well as divination. If you are performing a spell for someone else, The Fool can be used as a significator card to represent a child or adolescent, or anyone with an abundance of youthful exuberance and desire for travel and adventure.
You can use The Fool in magic whenever you feel you need a fresh start or need to give yourself a kick up the butt to motivate you to pursue your goals. Place the card on your altar or your bedside table to remind you daily of your hopes and dreams. You can light a candle or incense in conjunction with this – orange for success and motivation, yellow is great if writing is one of your goals, or you just need some inspiration and royal blue candles will help with career-related goals.
You can use The Fool card in partnership with other tarot cards such as The Sun or The Star to emphasize the pursuit of your dreams, with The Sun adding a layer of success to your endeavours.
You may also like to lay the cards out with crystals in a crystal grid format for manifestation.
You can also carry the cards daily in a tarot bag with herbs and crystals that correspond to your spellwork.
After your spell has manifested, be sure to cleanse the cards and consecrate them again before using them again for either a reading or future spellwork.
Using The Fool Tarot card in Dreamwork
If you would prefer a more symbolic way of working with the energies of The Fool and the lessons they can share, then dreamwork is the way to go.
Our minds are more susceptible to lessons and symbolism while we sleep so our subconscious may pick up deeper meanings than the waking self can.
Ten minutes before sleeping, sit in bed holding the card. Look over all the symbolism and detail, the colours, the way the card makes you feel, your overall impressions.
Hold it up to your third eye and close your eyes, and affirm to yourself that you are open to learning what the card can teach you. Alternatively, you can ask the card a specific question at this point I.e. “What can I do to pursue my goals?”
Place the card under your pillow and allow yourself to drift off naturally to sleep.
As soon as you wake up write down everything you can remember from your dreams and examine any patterns and symbols that may have shown up and what they mean to you.
Using The Fool tarot card in Pathworking
If you’d rather be awake but still want to explore The Fool card in more depth then pathworking is a good choice.
Pathworking is a form of guided meditation which as a tool can help us explore ourselves and our nature. It can help us break down symbols to understand them better.
Spend some time either sitting on the floor with crossed legs or sitting in a chair with your feet on the ground. If you are on the floor then place your hands on the ground in front of you.
Visualise that you are grounding your energy, meeting the earth. The earth anchors you, keeping you strong, and sends up energy through your hands or feet to strengthen you.
Open your eyes and pick up the tarot card, looking at it closely. Look at the background, the colours, the patterns, the animals in the card.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, breathing out slowly to relax.
Count down in your mind from ten to one, and visualise what The Fool Card looks like in your mind’s eye.
Now picture it as a real scene, with real people, and you step into the background. What do you see, hear, smell, feel? What does the landscape look like, feel like?
Look for The Fool and follow them, introduce yourself and speak to them. What does The Fool have to tell you? Ask your questions and wait for the answers.
Once you have said all you can, thank The Fool and walk away, back to where you started. Slowly count up from one to ten, and with each number getting closer to coming back to yourself. Once you’ve reached ten, feel yourself in your body, wiggle your toes and fingers, take some calming breaths and open your eyes when ready.
Write down all that you remember. Some of it may not make sense right away but noting it down will be helpful for future reference.
A Poem to remember the upright meanings
Poems can be a good way to remember information because they often use rhyme and rhythm, which can make them easier to memorize.
Additionally, poems often use vivid imagery and figurative language, which can help to make the information more interesting and engaging.
The Fool stands for the unknown
The possibilities that lie ahead
The energy of new beginnings
The courage to take the next step
The Fool invites us to take a leap
Out of the mundane, into the deep
A journey of self-discovery
To listen to the call within me.
The Fool is a reminder of life;
It’s ever-changing and full of strife
The courage to go with the flow
Let go of the things we don’t know.
The Fool speaks of boldness and trust;
To live life in the here and now
To find joy and love as we go
And take risks, even if we don’t know.
The Fool is a call to action;
Where courage becomes the main player
It’s a faithful promise of a bright future
If we take the risk and never waiver.
A Poem to remember the reversal meanings
Reversed the Fool is not so cool,
It’s not a sign of light or bliss.
It marks a path of danger and strife,
No brave leaps forward, no carefree life.
A mistake to be made, a lesson to learn
A journey of challenge, with no bridge to turn
This is a time of caution, not carefree bliss
Don’t be a fool and risk a missed
The outcome uncertain, a choice must be made
A crossroads of risk, a journey of brave
It’s not a sign of joy or hope
But a reminder that caution will help you cope.
In conclusion, The Fool tarot card is a powerful symbol of new beginnings, leaps of faith and loyalty. When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that you are at the start of an important journey in your life.
Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot readers, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.
The 22 major arcana cards each correspond to different aspects of the human experience that are universal. They represent the different stages of the “hero’s journey”: our biggest challenges and life lessons, as well as our highest aspirations and greatest potential.
Have you ever had a reading where The Fool card appeared? What was the outcome? What does The Fool mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below.
If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out our complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.
Written by Pamela Norrie
Pamela Norrie is a writer and blogger based in Scotland. She enjoys writing about folklore, witchcraft and short fiction. Some of her
work can be found on her blog hagothehills.wordpress.com and through Instagram @hearthandhame
Learn more about the major arcana tarot cards
Discover the meanings behind The Magician tarot card: recognising your own power, being prepared, self-reliant, and exercising willpower.
Discover the many different meanings behind the High Priestess tarot card: She is an invitation to go inwards and to trust what you find.