Element: Air – Active, tempered, balanced, detached, intellectual, analytical. Complementary to Fire, clashes with Earth.
Numerology: 0 – infinity, all potential, secret, sacred, whole, nothingness, all inclusive,
Timing: Fall, Full Moon,
Hebrew Letter: Aleph
Crystals: Clear Quartz, Tourmaline, Agate, Adventurine, Blue Lace Agate, Herkimer diamond, Lepidolite, Turquoise (Various sources list different stones. This is a great place of personal exploration to see what intuitively makes more sense to the card once you have spent time working with the energetics of it.)
Herbs: Cedar, Rose Geranium
Keywords: Beginnings, Innocence, Clear Conscience, Limitless Potential, Major Change – (R) Vanity, Foolishness, Indiscretion, Unfettered by the unknown, Youth, Risk, Trusting The Universe
The Fool Card
The Fool sits at both the beginning of the Major Arcana series of cards and at the end, though in most decks/books, it is the first card.
This card is about returning to the beginner’s mind. Everything is new, there is no past, and all potential outcomes are a possibility. There is both an innocence and a frivolity to this card an it can either be a signifier of where a person is at or where they need to be in order to understand a situation. It can also signify that you are a new person now. A new phase, a change, a pivot from what you were before or at least that this potential is here.
It is also important to note that this beginning can be the actual beginning of a life, or various phases throughout a persons life. It is not uncommon to revisit the role of The Fool throughout ones life in order to continue along the spiral of personal development.
There is a call here to being open, receptive. The warning comes in however, to not be naive. Being new doesn’t imply the lack of discernment, but The Fool (R) can point to exactly this; a lack of discernment when it comes to walking the beginners paths before you.
I find that there is also a call for audacity in the Fool card – a call to go boldly forth, adopt confidence as a practice of faith and take each step ahead of you. It’s a fine line between intelligent trust and foolish risk taking. The Fool is about the dance we do right on that edge of both, which requires giving up expectation and living right in the present moment.
There is a recklessness and willful naïveté associated with the reversed card. There is no conscious trusting so much as there is a lack of discernment, attention and presence in the actions of the Fool. There is no ownership of the limitless potential here, and there is a disregard for the value and sacredness to this phase in ones life or a situation. This is squandered opportunity and disrespectful carelessness. This card in the reverse calls attention to that which you are ignoring and taking for granted.
In Jungian Tarot
The Fool is the Self at the very beginning of entry into this world, fragmented of all the other archetypes, or the Hero about to embark on the journey of his own personal development. It is us, as the Fool that must go through the journey and lessons of each of the other Major Arcana cards in order to reach the end, which is the The World. Here we are fully integrated, containing consciously the lessons and aspects of all the other archetypes represented in the Major Arcana and that make up the human experience.
History Of The Fool
It is interesting and perhaps important to note that in the earlier history of the tarot, the Fool not only didn’t have a number, but he was depicted as being poor, tattered clothing, a goiter as he was sickly. He was a man afflicted by his own folly
As time passed he evolved into a court jester. A performer there to entertain with his foolishness. Later towards the 18th century he is more of a gaily attired vagabond who approaches the precipice with confidence instead of fear.
It can be said that there are lessons to be gleaned from this cultural evolution as well. The way the Fool changes over time can be said to be a reflection of our own societal relationship with the unknown, with how we engage it and what our level of confidence, discernment and experience is when confronting the unknown secrets of our personal workings..
- What part of your life can benefit from engaging it with a beginners mind? That is, with no expectation, intentional discernment and audacious confidence?
- What part of your life are you just at the beginning stages of development? What types of support do you need for yourself when you are at the beginning of a new phase of development? How can you make sure to have those things in your world in order to be supported?
Deck used in image: The Wild Unknown