0. THE FOOL**  


Primary principle-Entrance

Elemental correspondence—Air


Description---A youth steps precariously towards a precipice. He is looking up to the heavens, seemingly unaware of the danger awaiting him. His only possessions are carried in a small sack over his shoulder. This is a card rich in symbolism, with a depth of meaning going beyond mere "foolishness."  The Fool is coming down from the mountains where he has completed a “vision quest." Mountains in the Tarot often indicate the structure of divine Order. He therefore knows about the Higher Laws of heaven. He requires little in the way of earthly goods, as he has within him all the promise of creativity. This can be seen by the radiant sun that shines down upon him and by his own sleeves, which carry the Cosmic Flame.


The "number" of this card is "0." Does this mean that The Fool has nothing or everything? His inner robe is of pure white, indicating that he is cloaked in inner wisdom. If you look closely at the folds of his garment near his neck, you can see the Hebrew letters YHVH, the sacred name of Divinity (Yahweh). He is protected. His dog is a symbol both of faithfulness (to the Path) and The Fool's domination over the emotional, animal nature. He carries a white rose, symbol of the purity of spiritual love. His staff tells us that he also has achieved a certain degree of authority and understanding of the right use of will power. His belt reveals seven orbs, indicating the seven sacred planets of our solar system, the seven planes of existence (the "Seven Heavens"), and the seven major energy centers in the human body (the chakras). The belt also symbolizes cycles of time and limitation, the understanding of which are vital to a successful life "down below" on Earth. His coat is filled with potent symbols: a crescent moon on his shoulder stands for the presence of the Soul; on the lower right-hand corner of the robe (and hidden within the wheel) is the Hebrew letter "Shin," meaning Holy Spirit (the "Breath of Life"); the wheels themselves indicate the forces of creativity in motion.


So why is he a Fool? Perhaps because even with all of his wisdom and love, he still decides to leave the heavenly realm and venture into the realm of the senses. Is he, then, a Fool or a Savior?


In the reading--The Fool card reflects the presence of joy, love, and wisdom yet to be applied in any practical sense. The querent may be in a place in life in which he or she is rather comfortable and free from worldly concerns. But is this oblivion to one's surrounding circumstances wise? Courage, kindness, love, and beauty are all present, but there is also a certain unknowing about what the future holds and how all of these gifts may be applied and utilized.


Reversed-The querent may be acting very carelessly and underestimating the importance of the current situation. He or she is not taking into consideration the degree of seriousness that the circumstances in life demand.


Exoteric meaning--Moving through life without a care in the world; a search for meaning.


Esoteric meaning--The disciple on the Spiritual Path. A journey into the unknown in order to bring the gifts of the Spirit to others. Readiness to undergo further tests and trials along the way.


** Some tarotists place the Fool at the beginning of the Major Arcana, while some (as I do) place it at the end. Is he just beginning his journey through life, or is he continuing on throughout another cycle of life's great voyage? The "O" has no end; it also has no beginning. It is both alpha and omega, the first and the last. As you work with the cards, you will judge for yourself where The Fool belongs.


From the Pocket Guide to Tarot by Alan Oken