Updated: Feb 23, 2019
New beginnings. Risk Taking. Inspiration. Naivety. Passion. Day dreaming. Potential. Quick-moving. Confidence. Look at the cards surrounding this one to gain understanding into this new start.
Reversed: New beginning is delayed, not going as planned, or not desired. Reluctance, hesitation, indecision. A need to open up to possibilities, OR blind/unwarranted action.
Astrology: Ruler of Uranus; mental energy, momentous events, change, inspiration, letting go of anything holding you back.
Tarot begins not at one, but at zero, with The Fool. The Fool is the stepping-out card of quick action which defines the spark of the journey from ground zero, the place of birth of desire, of passion, and of the "why not" with an attitude of nothing to lose. This is a card of stepping into your power. I'll start by going into The Fool's historical implications, with this card from the incomplete Visconti-Sforza tarot deck, which consists of around 15 incomplete decks originating in the mid 1400's.
I included this card because before the largely used Rider-Waite tarot deck was created just over 100 years ago, The Fool was often a numberless card, representing both the highest and lowest value of all the cards, (unlike in the Rider-Waite deck which considers it to be a zero) and when Tarot was a card game like any other, this card was usually considered trump above all others, meaning that it's appearance was in your highest favor - somewhat like the Ace in its flexible value. Many of the older decks depict The Fool as a beggar, a nomad, a vagabond, perhaps downtrodden, but responsibility-less and completely free nonetheless, and in that freedom lies the greatest power: the power to be and become anybody and anything. Nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
So let's talk about the well-known Rider-Waite Fool.
A highly sunny and optimistic card, The Fool in this picture seems to literally be driven by the sun shining down upon him, holding a symbolic white rose of freedom, a bag of "untapped potential" slung over their shoulder and standing precariously close to a cliff, with a small companion at their side, which I interpret as that nagging voice in your head or that sudden thought that urges action. Many see this companion as a warning of caution, for the dog knows that the action taken may result in a fall. He is often guilty of romanticizing his ideals, but still contains the potential to reach those ideals. Even though the outcome is uncertain, it is certain that SOMETHING will happen. AND even though this Fool is surrounded by difficult terrain, his passion, positive mentality, and inspiration drive him into an unforseen journey of the self. The sacred fool - the self-starter in search of something greater.
The last representation of The Fool I'll mention today is from Thoth tarot, just to look at a broader understanding of all the meaning this card may have, because Thoth has a way of getting into that beginning-of-time, deeper-than-it-may-seem symbolism -and because I have a personal weakness for the Thoth Tarot. This card is also called "The Spirit of Ether" or the spirit of air, the cosmos. Literally, the spirit out of thin air, the big bang, life itself! There are many possibilities of this card because the possibilities are infinite. This is the trump of trumps, as all other major arcana live inside this one. The Fool is transformation in the butterfly, riches, fruits of labor, strength, destruction, healing, the message of action around us, and ALL of this is created in a single thought. The Fool represents that first thought. This Fool is the all-knowing and all-innocent because he is creation itself - and who knows what that will be. He is not the experience of what is created. He just is. His feet are not on the ground but he stands in all that may be, held in the infinite spiral of life, giving life as a seed into the womb of the earth. There are many Egyptian meanings and Greek meanings in this one, but today I'll leave those be as I feel the symbolic meaning garnered from this card is plenty to ponder for the moment. Stay tuned for more articles on the tarot and its meaning!
If you'd like to dive into more symbolism of Thoth Tarot, below is a link to Lon Milo DuQuette's book that I use to understand Thoth Tarot, focusing on the symbolism and creation of each card, and The Ultimate Guide to Tarot, by Liz Dean, which is a super helpful and thorough handbook for beginners and experienced Tarot readers alike.