(Card Description Based On Original Rider-Waite Imagery – Still Under US Games Inc. Copyright)
The Colman Smith Tarot Cards & Texts
©1998 Samvado Gunnar Kossatz
Deck Available Under GPL (General Public Licence)
Beginnings, Void, Rebirth, Renewal, New Phase, Fresh, Spontaneity, Trust, Faith, Self-Belief, Freedom, Original, Unique, Taking a Risk, Opportunities, Living, Living in the Moment/Present, Surprise, Joie de Vivre, Open to Change, Leap of Faith, Blind Faith, Convictions, Confidence, Acting on Impulse, Spur of the Moment, Taking a Chance, No Expectations, Uninhibited, Finding Yourself, Following Instincts, Pursuing a Dream, Passions, Taking Flight into the Unknown, Unchartered Territory, Expanding your Horizons, Fearless, Sky’s the Limit, Potential, Initiation, Freedom, Enthusiasm, Positivity, Optimism, Idealistic, Travel, Adventure, Journey, Carefree, Excitement, Exuberant, Spirited, Infatuation, Innocence, Purity, Simplicity, Inexperience, Naivety, Youthfulness, Inner Child, Eccentric, Unconventional, Magical, Miracles, Divine Order
Astrological Association – Uranus. Planet of originality, eccentricity and unpredictability. Previously the Air element.
Kabbalistic Tree of Life – Walks the 11th path between Kether and Chokmah
Hebrew Letter – Aleph – God’s revelation and presence in the world. Connects the two realms.
As we enter the opening scenes of this major blockbuster movie, we immediately encounter The Fool. The Fool carries the number 0 and stands alone and apart at the beginning of The Major Arcana . The number 0 represents his pure essence. 0 has not yet begun and is strangely void of any activity. It symbolises a certain emptiness that is waiting to be filled. As 0 it has the potential for great things that have not yet formed but desire to manifest. On the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, The Fool represents the force of Spirit emerging from Kether (Crown/Source) as he walks the 11th path of innocence, simplicity and inexperience into manifestation at Chockmah (The potential to be/Primal Energy). It is from Kether that all creation bursts forth but it is through Chockmah that Spirit must first be channelled to initiate creation. The Fool like 0 is waiting to be filled and breathed into life.
The first Sephira, Kether is the highest and purest. It is closest to God and is the source of all creation. The Four Aces of The Minor Arcana also reside in Kether . It is a fitting and appropriate place for the Aces as we see Spirit, in the form of a hand extending from a cloud, offer the gift of the potential of each element to its corresponding Suit. As in The Fool, nothing yet is tangible in the Aces, but with effort and desire suitably applied, all have the potential to manifest.
Card Description and Spiritual Message
The Fool stands on the precipice of a cliff, his head tilted to the sky and arms outstretched as if to embrace the dawn of his new existence. His over garment is bright and cheerful; the red and yellow flowers suggesting his passion and enthusiasm for the journey and quest ahead while his undergarment reminds us of his total innocence, purity and sweet naivety. He wears a cap trimmed in laurel leaves symbolising that The Fool does not question his potential or ability to achieve success even at this early stage as he is full to the brim with optimism and positivity. The red ‘feather in his cap’ symbolises The Fool’s first success. The success of being so close to manifestation.
The Fool carries a staff over his right shoulder. Tied to the end of the staff is his knapsack. As yet the knapsack is light and inside it are all the tools he requires to succeed on his journey – a Wand, Cup, Sword and Pentacle. These are his birth right and at present are taken for granted by him. The Fool does not realise it yet, but as he travels his pack will grow heavier and heavier. He is bound to fill it with unnecessary and frivolous items which will weigh him down and slow his progress. The Fool is like a new-born baby as he enters the world naked and free but within a short space of time will begin to collect possessions; people and things that may bind and restrict him.
By holding his staff and knapsack in his right hand(conscious/extrovert/masculine) and the fact that he also looks to the right suggests he is eager for action. In his left hand (subconscious, introvert, feminine) he delicately holds a white rose. The white rose symbolises his innocence and the beauty he sees in all. However, he subconsciously holds it by the tip to avoid the prick of the thorns. Again he appears to be oblivious to his actions. Roses symbolise beauty but with also carry a painful reminder in their thorns that sometimes one must dig deep to find the beauty in a person or situation. The thorns also symbolise for The Fool, that life will not always be a bed of roses.
The sky is brilliant yellow and the glorious sun with its dazzling rays shine down on him. Clear skies and sunshine suggest his sunny disposition and outlook on life. The abundance of yellow also hints at his yet uncluttered mentality (nothing negative or nasty has yet touched his young life). However, take note of the snow topped mountains to his right. The Fool‘s head is turned upwards and outwards. He would have to look down and over his shoulder to be aware of them but has no time as he is off to experience all the joys that life can bring. The sun warms his back at present but we wonder what will keep him warm as he encounters the chill of the snow on the far mountains. He has yet to experience coldness in his life. He appears to be dressed for warm weather only and not prepared for the harshness that lies ahead. At this stage of The Fool’s journey he has a lot to learn. As far as he is concerned right now, every day will be just as this, clear skies, sunshine and a bubbling sense of the joie de vivre.
He is free to be who he wants to be and is eager to explore his potential. Freedom is always strongly linked to The Fool and especially the kind of freedom that only innocence, youth and naivety can bring. However, The Fool also represents Freedom on all levels. Freedom from our own limiting beliefs, freedom from the binds that tie us, freedom from other’s attitudes and opinions, freedom from those who wish to control us and freedom from work and the demands of society, tradition and predictability.
The Fool is depicted in mid-stride with one foot on the ground and the other in the air. This suggests that at present he is not very grounded or stable. Even the rocks he stands upon look as if they are in danger of giving way at any moment as they have little earth to support them. We see him poised on the precipice of the cliff as he prepares to take that step forward into the unknown. We all hold our breath in horror.
We must now ask the question as to whether The Fool is aware that he is at the edge or is it that he is not looking where he is going? What sort of Fool would put himself in such a precarious position? Does he realise that he may be heading for a fall? He could get badly hurt or worse still might actually die. Who knows how high the cliff is or what lies below?
Then again, maybe he is completely aware of his position and is prepared to proceed anyway. Is he not scared he may fall to his death or does the fear make him feel more alive? Is he bold and courageous, or like an infant wandering across a busy road, an accident waiting to happen? Is he simply a Fool who shouldn’t be allowed out alone.
In his positive or upright state we get the feeling that The Fool knows exactly what he is doing. That does not mean that he is assured of the outcome. On the contrary, the future has yet to be revealed to him but he is prepared to take a chance on it anyway. Going back is not an option for him. He is ready to face all that might come his way or risk not being allowed to experience the adventure of being alive and the potential of all that might bring. The Source has delivered him here for a reason and everything is in Divine Order. This is his journey; his destiny, his life purpose. The Fool knows that if he were to look down even once then fear of the dizzying height that stares back at him may force him to retreat or change his mind. “Don’t look down” he says as he prepares to leap. “It’s now or never” . If he doesn’t leap now, he may never get the chance to again.
The Fool does not travel alone for we see a little white dog standing on his hind legs barking excitedly. This little dog carries many meanings which one must intuitively understand. The dog appears to bark at The Fool. We must ask ourselves why? Is he as excited and carefree as The Fool, daring him to jump for the fun of it just to see what happens? Maybe he is prepared to take the plunge with him on a count of 1,2,3, ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ ‘might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb’ On the other hand he may very well be the voice of reason or those around him; trying to warn him of the danger, calling him back from the edge hoping to make him see sense before it is too late? Is he The Fool’s conscience nagging at him as he walks away from all responsibility and accountability? Is he being ‘dogged’ by strong impulses, dreams or instincts? Then again, he may be The Fool‘s Spirit Guide or Guardian Angel watching over him; assisting, guiding and supporting him in his endeavours?
The Fool is on the brink of beginning his life journey. In the Rider-Waite deck, The Fool is depicted as a young carefree chap with a childlike manner and attitude. He has an air of innocence and idealism about him. He is too young at this stage to have been touched by life in any sort of harsh manner and to him the future holds the promise of endless wonderful possibilities, excitement, experiences and opportunities. He is positively bursting with potential. He is exuberant and full of anticipation. For The Fool as he embarks on his journey, nothing is impossible and the sky is the limit. The Fool does not merely view his glass as half full but more so overflowing.
The Fool is living in the moment; living in the present. The past cannot be changed and the future cannot be counted on so why worry about it? There is a very good reason why The Fool is happy to face such peril. The Fool is not a Fool at all for he possesses a spirit that is often missing or stifled in most. The key to The Fool is his absolute trust in life and total conviction that he will be supported by the Universe once he takes flight. He is confident in his judgement and unwavering determination to succeed in his quest. The Fool understands that nothing great is ever achieved without risk, and he is not afraid to take that risk. He stands outside the order of rules and regulations as they are for those who blindly follow the beliefs of others. The Fool sets his own rules and will change them as often as he feels is necessary. He takes the leap of faith confident in the knowledge that should he fall to his death or fail to learn the lesson, he knows that life will offer him other opportunities, maybe not the same or maybe not even in this lifetime, but they will for certain come around again. The Fool perceives those who sit around fearful and nervous as Fools. They have no idea what it is to be or feel alive. They constantly worry about danger and death while forgetting to live. He would be a Fool to join them. They do not understand him and often refer to him as ‘eccentric’ or ‘odd’. The Fool is happy to be different and revels in his uniqueness. Like his number 0 he stands out from the crowd and walks his own path in life.
When The Fool appears in a spread one must as always look to the surrounding cards for their influences, but generally it would suggest that the querant is beginning something new or entering into a new phase of life. A new cycle has begun for you or you may be experiencing a rebirth or renewal of some sort. You may be heading into the unknown or striking out on a new path. The Fool suggests that you are or should be, acting spontaneously in a situation. The Fool brings strong positive messages. He urges you to “Feel the fear and do it anyway” “Take a risk” “He who dares wins” Sometimes you need to break the rules in your life in order to succeed. Now is not the time for hesitation or slow thinking processes, for when The Fool appears, it is a time to take quick action, a time to get going and a time to jump on in. You are free to move ahead.
When this card appears, you should step into life fearlessly. You should follow your dreams and trust in your intuitive impulses and instincts no matter how unconventional they may seem. In fact The Fool is a champion for the unconventional approach in all aspects of life. He asks you too to be original and to detach yourself from any old, out-dated and stagnant aspects of your life. He suggests that you seek the magic in life once more and to be open to receiving it.
The Fool suggests that you may be starting something new in your life and are just at the launching point. You may not have thought everything out or even have a complete work plan in place but are prepared to make a run at it anyway. It is today that counts and not the tomorrows. It is a time for letting go of expectations and being open to going with the flow. Blind faith and a positive attitude that everything will work out pushes you forward. Whatever it is has ignited a new sense of purpose in your life and you may find yourself living in the present, acting on a whim and looking at everything in a new light and with new eyes. You are blessed with abundance when The Fool appears. Let go your worries, for you have everything you need. Once you believe in yourself the Universe will respond and provide for you. .
Life has become exciting once more and you are bound to be acting in a carefree and spontaneous manner. Suddenly there are golden opportunities around you and a strong conviction that you would be a fool not to take advantage of them. You may find yourself staring at your reflection in the mirror and questioning where your life has disappeared to and wondering when you last felt a glide in your stride and a pep in your step. The Fool urges you to do something that will make you feel alive again, something that will give you a raison d’etre. The urges The Fool brings are often related to oneself and one’s right to be who one wants to be, to pursue a lifetime dream. It is not a time to take other people’s needs and demands into consideration. The Fool shouts “this is my time and my life. I will do things my way now and deserve to be happy”. He asks you to free your inner spirit and let it take flight. He prompts you to do something you have always wanted to do regardless of what people might think or say.
The Fool is the middle-aged man who walks away from his long-time secure pensionable job; re-mortgages his house and throws in his life savings to start-up his own business. The Fool is the quiet elderly woman who after losing her husband, sets off back-packing around the world.
The dog represents friends and family, all warning them of the insanity of their actions and how they will lose all, and “don’t say we didn’t warn you”. The middle-aged man will pay scant heed to their advice and step off the edge of the cliff anyway, enjoying the sense of free-falling, feeling alive for the first time in years. The elderly woman cares less what family, friends and neighbours think, for she understands that she too is living on borrowed time and has only one chance to live the dream. As both find freedom and new meaning in their life, it is they who feel sorry for all those left behind; stuck in ruts, boring jobs, meaningless relationships and dreary lifestyles. They have seen their windows of opportunity and have jumped through them eagerly and with no time to lose. It may have taken them some time and conditions may not have been favourable until now but they have actively chosen life over death. Renewed, refreshed and reborn they are free to pursue their dreams unhindered by doubts or fears. Their time has come and they are going to relish in every minute of it.
The dog may also represent your inner voice, deep conviction and primal instincts that spur you on to take that leap into the unknown and into personal freedom.
When it comes to matters of the heart, the appearance of The Fool can simply represent a time of joyous love and spontaneity. It could suggest meeting a partner while travelling or you could be acting on the spur of the moment, such as eloping or deciding to get married after only dating for 6 weeks. It is a heady time in love when everything and anything is possible and all is fresh and glowing. The Fool can suggest starting over in love again and taking a chance on happiness once more. Maybe you never believed you could feel love again but now find yourself swept off your feet and powerless to stop the forward momentum of emotions and joy.
The Fool can be unpredictable though. He lives in the moment so is not given to settling down or making long-term plans. His freedom is important to him even though he yearns to learn all about romance, love and relationships. He is only starting out on his journey and is yet unformed in matters of the heart so he can represent a time when love is very innocent and idealistic. However, unless other cards in the spread point to such possibility then The Fool upright should be seen as a very positive sign for potential in a relationship. Remember though that The Fool represents the initiation of the process and not the actual reality of it. It is when The Fool jumps reality follows. As we all know our actions, behaviour and attitudes create our reality, therefore, potential can be ruined unless it is carefully nurtured. You may have been given a chance for happiness when The Fool appears in a relationship spread but it is not guaranteed. Its success is up to you.
The Fool has blind faith in life, and never lets set-backs knock him down for too long. It is The Fool who after hurt, pain, loss or grief will pull himself up off the ground, dust himself down, and start all over again. He believes that life will deliver him to a place that is better than where he is now.
The Fool is often considered the eccentric, because he does not follow the more conventional way of life. His ideas, dress sense, manner of speech and attitudes may turn a few heads. He has faith in who he is and embraces his differences. He asks you to do likewise and not to compromise your true self for fear of what others might think or say about you
The Fool is a wonderful card for travel, holidays and breaks from the norm. He suggests a carefree, laid back time with few pressing needs. He typically travels unknown paths and territory so his presence may suggest you broaden your horizons when travelling or could indicate that you are travelling to an exotic or unusual location. His presence can also suggest a sudden opportunity to travel that takes you by surprise. You may not have long to pack your clothes before your flight takes off. Regardless of how crazy it may seem, go for it as spontaneous trips as such often bring great fun and a sense of adventure.
Anything is possible when The Fool appears and he can breathe fresh intoxicating air into your life when things have become jaded and boring. He asks you to let your inner child out to play and have a bit of light-hearted fun for once. Life can become way too serious. He can also represent that you are working on your inner child or childhood issues.
The Fool can also suggest an over active imagination, day dreaming and flights of fancy. He can be to naïve and gullible becoming infatuated with all that is novel or new. He can suggest that you are acting silly or even behaving like a child in your actions or outlook. There is a fine line between spontaneous and clueless.
The Fool asks you to remember to travel lightly and not take on any unnecessary burdens or baggage along the way that will cramp your style or slow you down. Total Freedom is having nothing left to lose. You came into this life with nothing and so too will you leave this life with nothing.
Now Go To The Fool (0) Reversed
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