The Fool


Into the Unknown

"The cosmic Life Breath is forever young, forever in the morning of its power, forever on the verge of the abyss of manifestation.  It always faces unknown possibilities of self-expression transcending any height it may have reached at a given time.  He is the primary aspect of universal consciousness, which we term Super consciousness.  Because he symbolizes the state of the Life power just prior to beginning a cycle of self-expression, he also represents inexperience.  It is because of this inexperience that the subtle wise men who invented the Tarot called this trump 'The Fool' ... Finally, the title of the Zero card refers to that 'foolishness of God, which is wiser than men."
-Paul Foster Case, Learning Tarot Essentials, 1932

Pierre Madenie, Tarot de Marsielles (Type II), France, 1709
Marsielles was created in France throughout the late 1600s-1700s.  The style is credited to Dijon-based printer Pierre Madenie and is archived at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich.

The Fool is the preliminary key to the Tarot.  The Element of the Fool is Air and the Planet is Uranus

Qualities of the Fool are Freedom, Lust for Life, Beginnings, and Adventure.  Alternate names for the Fool are The Foolish Man, and The Vagabond.  Symbols are The Wand, The Altar, Tools and the Infinity Sign. 

In German the Fool is called Der Narr.  In French, Le Mat, Le Fou, and Le Fol.  And in Italian, Il Matto, Il Folle, Il Pazzo.


The Fool marks the beginning of the journey through the Major Arcana.  Often depicted as a young person, he is usually shown walking precariously close to a cliff or deep ravine, sometimes with one foot poised, as if he is about to step directly into the void.  Yet he remains blissfully unaware of his imminent danger.  His clothes and cap are vividly colored, usually blues, reds and yellows, and at times emblazoned with symbols.  With one hand, he carries his belongings, wrapped up in a kerchief tied to the end of a staff, casually slung over his shoulder.  In the other hand, he holds a walking stick or a white rose, symbolizing his purity and innocence.  At his feet, a small dog or other small animal is often shown, a protector and loyal companion on the Fool's adventure.  Beyond are the sun and snow-capped mountains, signifying his ultimate destination ahead, a mystic path toward enlightenment.  


The Fool is a nascent spirit embarking on a search for experience.  He emerges from the void and sets out on his journey with the innocence of a newborn.  His story has yet to be told, he is infinite potential -- all things and no thing, at once.  He is not yet rational, but rather intuitive, acting entirely on instinct.  Naive, spontaneous, a blank page awaiting the first touch of ink, he has no expectations, no past.  He is rash, obsessed, and unrestrained.  He is energized and continually renewed by his own inception, propelled forward by impulse and cathartic creation.  

Olivia M. Healy, The Fool, England, 2017
In this representation, we see the figure full-leap, ready to begin the journey through the Major Arcana.  This interpretation was created for personal exploration of oracle traditions.