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The Fool | Chariot | Death | Judgement | Justice | Strength | Temperance | The Devil | The Emperor | The Empress | The Lover | The Hanged Man | The Hermit | The Hierophant | The High Priestess | The Magician | The Moon | The Sun | The Star | The Tower | Wheel of Fortune | The World

Meaning of the Tarot card The Fool (Zero)

Description

Some frequent keywords are:

Beginning ------ Inconsequence ------ Innocence ------ Freedom

Spontaneity ------ Originality ------ Happiness ------ Non-criticism

No attachment ------ Initiative ------ Adventure ------ Irresponsibility

Inexperience ------ Immaturity ------ Optimism ------ Boldness

With light step, as if earth and its trammels had little power to restrain him, a young man in gorgeous vestments pauses at the brink of a precipice among the great heights of the world; he surveys the blue distance before him-its expanse of sky rather than the prospect below. His act of eager walking is still indicated, though he is stationary at the given moment; his dog is still bounding. The edge which opens on the depth has no terror; it is as if angels were waiting to uphold him, if it came about that he leaped from the height. His countenance is full of intelligence and expectant dream. He has a rose in one hand and in the other a costly wand, from which depends over his right shoulder a wallet curiously embroidered. He is a prince of the other world on his travels through this one-all amidst the morning glory, in the keen air. The sun, which shines behind him, knows whence he came, whither he is going, and how he will return by another path after many days.

Symbolism

He is the spirit in search of experience. Many symbols of the Instituted Mysteries are summarized in this card, which reverses, under high warrants, all the confusions that have preceded it.

History

The "History of the Fool" from The Hermitage tells us that in the decks before Waite-Smith, the Fool is almost always unnumbered. There are a few exceptions: some old decks (including the 15th-century Sola Busca and the Rider Waite) label the card with a "0", and the Belgian Tarot designs label the Fool as "XXII". The Fool is almost always completely apart from the sequence of trumps in the historic decks. Still there is historic precedent for regarding it as the lowest trump and as the highest trump.

In the game of tarot, the Fool has a unique role. Playing the Fool momentarily exempts the player from the rules of the game.

Interpretation

Commonly it´s taught that the Fool is the protagonist of a story and the Major Arcana is the path the Fool takes through the great mysteries of life and the main human archetypes. Traditionaly in Tarot it´s known as the Fool´s Journey and it´s frequently used to introduce the meaning of major arcana cards to beginners. In his Manual of Cartomancy, Grand Orient has a curious suggestion of the office of Mystic Fool, as apart of his process in higher divination; but it might call for more than ordinary gifts to put it into operation. We shall see how the card fares according to the common arts of fortune-telling, and it will be an example, to those who can discern, of the fact, otherwise so evident, that the Trumps Major had no place originally in the arts of psychic gambling, when cards are used as the counters and pretexts. Of the circumstances under which this art arose we know, however, very little. The conventional explanations say that the Fool signifies the flesh, the sensitive life, and by a peculiar satire its subsidiary name was at one time the alchemist, as depicting folly at the most insensate stage. When The Fool appears in a spread, he would be a signal to strip down to the irreducible core, and interrogate whether The Querant's self vision is obscured. It may also be a warning that significant change is coming. Some comparisons can be made in universal literature, the Fool would be considered the youngest son or daughter who accomplishes great feats despite the older siblings apparent better position. Cinderella, Psyche, Cordelia (from King Lear), all the third sons of kings in fairy tales who succeed when their older brothers do not; the Grail Knight who may be destined to locate the Holy Cup, where greater and wiser men have tried and failed; the one teetering at the edge of Nietzsche's abyss, at the cusp of dreadful knowledge that will pull him or her out of the cave or even Hamlet before he decides to embrace his destiny. There is a dog who appears in most versions of the card. The dog, for example, would symbolize the natural world, one path to knowledge and a valuable ally. Although it cannot be seen in all modern cards, The Fool is often walking off a cliff. This raises the question "Is The Fool making a mistake, or is The Fool making a leap of faith?" A quote: Gandhi said once, "If you would swim on the bosom of the ocean of Truth, you must reduce yourself to a zero." The Fool can be seen as that Zero who can swim in the deeper waters up mentioned. Another issue surrounding the fool is "Who is calling him The Fool?"


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