The Fool Tarot Card (O)

Key Meanings

Foolishness. Spontaneity. New beginnings. Carefree. 

The Fool tarot cardThe Fool—The Original RWS Tarot

Meanings of the Fool Tarot Card

The Fool tarot card represents the spontaneity and naivety common to new beginnings. The Fool starts the journey with little knowledge of the world, carrying all his possessions over his shoulder.

The Fool tarot card can advise you to follow your intuition, and possibly the need to make a leap into the unknown—emphasizing spontaneity not planning, and taking a more carefree approach to life.

Yet, as with every tarot card, the Fool can have both positive and negative meanings. It can literally mean foolish, and can be warning you against taking a particular decision or taking a risk.

If the Fool appears as one of two or more options, it might be telling you that the choice is foolish, that you will be starting again from the beginning, or to avoid carelessness.

Allow your intuition—and the other cards in the reading—to guide you as to which meaning is being indicated.

The dog warning him against making a rash decision or taking an unwise step.

The Fool also suggests innocence—see the white flower. The Wild Unknown tarot stresses this meaning, and the Fool is depicted as a tiny chick on a branch.

The Fool tarot often indicates that you should let go of your cares and worries (and it can be a good card to meditate on when feeling anxious or afraid) and move ahead more freely, with a lighter step. 

The Fool—Marseille TarotThe Fool—Marseille Tarot (Jean Dodal)

Images, Symbols, and More

The Fool tarot card is numbered zero, and is usually placed at the beginning of the tarot deck. This card represents the beginning of a journey, both in life and the Fool’s Journey through the tarot deck. The Fool is usually depicted walking along with all his possessions slung over his shoulder—representing the knowledge he needs for his journey, which he’s not yet made use of. Usually, he’s accompanied by a dog, representing the unconscious part of his mind, that warns him of danger.

In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, he looks in the air while he appears to be about to step off a mountain. His dog warns him of his danger.

He carries a white rose in his hand, symbolizing innocence and purity. 

The Fool’s Journey is often discussed in tarot books, and is a way to help beginners to tarot to remember the meanings of the Major Arcana, as he travels through the most important experiences of human life—as represented by the tarot.

Many tarot decks follow the Marseille and RWS tarot decks in design. As noted above, the Wild Unknown has an image of a chick on a branch, emphasizing new beginnings and innocence.

In modern playing cards, the Fool has become the Joker.

In the Marseille tarot decks, the Fool is usually shown as a beggar, with his clothes falling apart, as in the image above. 

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