There are a handful of cards that I offer explanations for as soon as I start the reading. The Fool is one of them. Its very title sounds like an insult but as I try to remind students and querrents, the Fool is not foolish. In general, pulling it in a reading does not mean that you are a fool. When I worked on Tarot of the Boroughs, I threw out the title all together, opting instead for The Seeker.
The Fool is the central character in the Tarot deck. Every other character, from the High Priestess to the Devil, affects the Fool. Every situation, from the Chariot to the World, does the same. The Fool is moving through their journey, starting out perhaps wide-eyed and without general understanding of what’s about to happen to them. In literature, Fools are Frodo, Dorothy, Sethe, Moana, Luke Skywalker. They are minding their business when a thing happens that sets them on an extraordinary journey.
The general theme words for The Fool: New. Open. Unknown. Movement. Adventure.
In our readings, the Fool may represent the following interpretations:
Questions about love:
This is a common card to get at the beginning of a relationship. If asking about whether the person you’re dating has potential, the Fool says yes–but nothing about the situation is predestined. Be open to exploring the situation, taking careful note of red flags and being open to input from others.
If this card comes attached to a question about a recent break-up, either you or the other person(s) are heading out the door. The single-life is the new chapter. Reunion is unlikely as someone has already moved on.
If it’s about having been single for a while, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a new relationship is imminent, but it does mark the potential for several new opportunities coming your way. It’s a sign to be open.
Questions about work:
This card invites change. There’s a potential for new opportunities in this card, be it at your place of business or in a new job. If you’re thinking of changing jobs, this card says to go. It may also urge you to try a new approach to your work or apply for a promotion.
Sometimes, this card may be encouraging you to consider moving to a different location to better impact your work life.
In other situations, this card may be calling you to be a little more aware of what’s happening at your work. Sometimes, the Fool can indicate naïveté.
Other positive interpretations:
A new health or exercise plan.
Less than positive interpretations:
Someone walking away.
Being oblivious to feelings of others, or how your actions are impacting them.
How do we know if The Fool indicates a positive or negative outcome?
Usually an upright positioning of a generally positive card indicates a positive outcome. A reversed card that is generally positive can indicate a negative outcome. It’s also helpful to pull another card to see what the Fool is trying to tell you:
The Fool with the Five of Cups:
The Fool is ignoring some hurt feelings. Those feelings may be about someone else, but given that the 5 of Cups is reversed, I take it to mean these are the Fool’s inner feelings. They are ignoring something that is bothering them.
The Fool with the Queen of Wands:
The court cards of the Wands frequently represent desire. In this pairing, the Fool is likely unaware of someone else’s attraction to them. The fact that it is a Queen means it’s a woman or a femme person who’s interested in the Fool…and they are oblivious!
The Fool with the Five of Pentacles:
The Fool may be ignoring a health or finance issue that could cause serious problems for them in the long run if it is not addressed.
Pay attention to the cards surrounding The Fool.
I’m a huge fan of the three-card spread. When the Fool appears in the middle of a three card spread, I like to look at where they are going or going away from. In this spread, the Fool is walking away from opportunity, potentially tempted by a shinier offer. However, the 4 of Cups would make me want to urge the Fool to slow down on this. The shinier option may not be as fulfilling.
In this spread, the Wheel can also indicate opportunity. The Fool, however, is focused on the Two of Pentacles–minutiae. This spread is a caution not to ignore the big picture while focused on insignificant details.
If you want to talk more Tarot, I’m doing TWO classes at Pathways in St. Louis, MO in June! One class is on Tarot and the other on the Goddess Brigid. Check out my classes and events page for more details!