The first card of the tarot deck is known as the Fool. The number attached to the concept of the Fool is zero, as he stands for the potential from which everything else in the universe and the human condition has developed. The Fool can also be likened on a philosophical level to such things as the first steps of a new journey, a seed being planted, or a birth.
At the core of its meaning, the Fool card represents new developments and new beginnings. It can also stand for such intangibles as unpredictability, unfettered potential, and irrationality. This card deals with the world of infinite possibilities – the realm of the future in its primal, spontaneous state. Rational logic does not apply here and there is no guarantee that the possibilities foretold will be either good or bad. All the Fool can promise is that they will be utterly new and most likely unconnected to all that has gone before.
Although the image can vary from deck to deck, the Fool is traditionally portrayed as a traveler carrying a small knapsack or pack, happily ambling along on his way to the new beginning that awaits him in his future. He has no clear idea of where exactly he is headed or why, and he is blissfully unaware of the fact that there is a cliff directly ahead of him. He is also accompanied by a small dog that follows along at his heels and often appears to be barking or trying to get the traveler’s attention. Many believe that the dog is attempting to warn the traveler of the impending danger ahead.
The image as a whole not only portrays the walk into one’s own future and all the possibilities it may hold as a potentially carefree and enjoyable one, but also reminds the viewer that caution and awareness are essential in such endeavors if danger is to be avoided.
When the Fool card shows up in a tarot reading, it almost always stands for the querent himself as opposed to some other primary figure. Its appearance usually means that said querent is currently at a point in his life when new beginnings are desired, imminent, or being considered as possibilities. It can apply to a wide variety of situations – everything from a new romance, thoughts of a new career, a move, or anything else that would require a fresh start. However, no matter what the specifics, it’s likely that the querent feels that he’s at a point where the “reset button” has been pressed in regards to his life and he is now all the way back at the starting gate as a result.
It is also important to note that these are unlikely to be unwelcome situations in the eyes of the querent. In fact, he is very likely to be in the same mindset as the traveler in the Fool tarot card image. He may have little idea where he’s going, how he will get there, or what will happen next as a result, but he’s nevertheless optimistic and idealistic in regards to the idea of embarking upon this new adventure unfolding before him – perhaps too optimistic and idealistic.
Also like the traveler in the card, the querent would be wise to call upon some measure of rationality in his new endeavor — whatever it may be – as a cliff could very well be yawning before him. It’s all well and good to have a chipper, welcoming attitude about big changes or to daydream about the infinite world of possibilities opening up at long last – desirable even — but caution and care are important as well if disappointment and trouble are ultimately to be avoided.
Lisa Ray is the creator of the Ultimate Tarot Trainer, an easy-to-use software program that helps beginners learn to read tarot cards.