The Fool is the first card of the Major Arcana in Tarot.
- Number: 0/XXI/XXII
- Folk Names: The Jester, The Pilgrim, Le Mat (The Madman), l Matto (The Beggar)
All tarot cards appears differs between decks, the uniqueness of the deck reflecting on the cards.
The Fool is commonly seen as a jovial man. Young, strapping and new to experiences. He carries very little but the clothes on his back and a bag tied to a stick over his shoulder, filled with his possessions. Loyal to its title, the Fool often wears the clothes of an entertainer like a minstrel, jester or clown.
Typically, the Fool is unumbered or is inscribed with a 0. Some readers believe this card represents the querant (or the person who is recieving the reading), as we, in a broad sense, are all fools and need to understand the children we all are at heart. We can be tricked, misguided or misled at anytime.
Generally, it reflects the chaos of the mind, personality or emotions. If it is used as the answer to the querants questions, there maybe some upheaval that will be faced. The Fool can also signifies someone (or something) who is light-hearted, pleasurable and warm, sometimes with discipline or restraint.
If the card is inverted, it may indicate the lack of ability to make a sound decision, wrong choice or excessive chaos. If inverted in the spread, it may signal the querant that they need to be more serious in order to grow.
The Fool is the spirit in search of experience. He is the mystical cleverness open to reason within us, the childlike ability to tune into the inner workings of the world.
The sun shining behind him represents the divine nature of the Fool's wisdom and exuberance, holy madness or 'crazy wisdom'. On his back are all the possessions he might need.
In his hand there is a flower, showing his appreciation of beauty. He is frequently accompanied by a dog, sometimes seen as his animal desires, sometimes as the call of the "real world", nipping at his heels and distracting him. He is seemingly oblivious that he is walking toward a precipice, apparently about to step off.
One of the keys to the card is the paradigm of the precipice, Zero and the sometimes represented oblivious Fool's near-step into the oblivion, usually represented as the jaws of a crocodile. The staff is the offset and complement to the void and this in many traditions represents wisdom and renunciation. The Fool is both the beginning and the end, neither and otherwise, betwixt and between, liminal.