The Fool: Revealing the secrets that you always wanted to know
Walking into a new situation with unknown outcomes can be intimidating. We often begin to ask ourselves questions such as: Am I prepared to make a major change in my life? Should I move forward with this new opportunity? Why should I risk changing the status quo? Life presents a number of uncertainties; doors open for us and we often have to close others behind us. Only by taking the time to evaluate our actions are we able to learn how to productively direct ourselves toward our goals.
Recently I have experienced quite a bit of change in my life, which has caused a significant amount of anxiety. I constantly have to remind myself that life throws challenges our way and it is our job to decide whether or not to accept them. The Fool tarot card teaches us not to go into new situations blindly, because we may lose sight of the future.
The Fool is often illustrated as a beggar, wearing tattered clothing and bare feet, which has persisted through the centuries. His first known appearance is in the Visconti Sforza deck, circa 1454, as a young man.
Other depictions of the 15th century contained additional imagery. Still an individual in poverty, he is shown as someone who lives on the fringes of society, followed by a white dog (thought to be a guard dog), while children throw rocks to drive him out. This image originated in the Jean Dodal version of the Tarot de Marseille, which most 19th century decks are based on. The Charles VI deck shows him wearing donkey’s ears to represent foolishness.
Later, the 18th century depictions emphasize lunacy, madness, and folly, but this perspective of this character dramatically shifted by the time the 19th century versions came about. The representation of the 19th century portrays him as a hero of the tarot and the dog as a companion, warning him of the cliff. This image persisted into the 20th century, when the Rider Waite tarot cards were created; most of the contemporary decks are based on this particular version.
The Meaning Behind the Card
The Basic Meaning
Though the history of the card appears to imply an element of madness and general negativity toward the aloof character, the meaning is actually quite positive. He represents our inner child with a pure and open-hearted energy and is fearless, spontaneous, optimistic, and visionary. It is an indicator of newness or the coming of a fresh start.
The Fool tarot card is very powerful because it represents a new door opening and the subsequent closing of another. However, it is also an indicator that you may not be watching where you are going, or approaching change without considering the outcomes. Though this is always a positive card, the position of the card when drawn indicates which aspects may be subject to change.
The Meaning When Standing
If you receive this card in a standing position, you may have a new opportunity coming your way. An alternative meaning is that you may be feeling optimistic and even joyful about your circumstances, or you may be feeling open to new experiences. This may be a very productive time for you where you are achieving a lot of your goals and living life to the fullest, but always remember to watch where you are going.Whether this is a professional or personal opportunity to change something in your life, you may want to consider imagining what the future looks like if you move forward. Be careful to avoid impulsive action, because where one door opens, another closes. Make sure this is the best choice for your future before embarking on an unknown path, because where one door opens, another closes.
The Meaning When Reverse
If it is drawn in reverse from the deck it is important to remember that this is always a positive card, because this is an indicator of newness or opportunity no matter the position. You may have new options opening their doors for you, but something might be holding you back. When in reverse this may indicate that you are feeling apathetic toward the future, or may be attempting to break out of the status quo without planning for the future outcome.
This is likely a delicate time for you where you are moving forward really quickly and maintaining a busy schedule. However, you may be acting particularly reckless and “living in the moment,” so remember to always think about how your actions now can affect your future. If you act without reason there may be a negative outcome that could have otherwise been avoided.
Carefully weighing the pros and cons before jumping into new conditions will likely serve you well. During this time consider avoiding entering into contracts without fully understanding them, committing to anything that is over your head, and that you are well prepared for any future events (interviews, presentations, speeches, etc.).
When paired with other tarot cards, they can describe “warnings” in greater detail. Here are few that I like to look out for during a reading.
When The Fool is combined with The Devil that can indicate that the individual is falling into poor habits from constantly seeking pleasure. If you receive this combination, there may be a door opening that leads to instability. You should carefully assess any opportunities that arise at this time to avoid potentially damaging life changes.
This combination is one of my personal favorites because this indicates an opportunity to break out of the daily grind and successfully recreate your reality. However, if the magician could also represent someone else who you are slowly falling prey to their deceit, so make sure you know if the card represents you or someone else.
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The Fool reminds us to be forward thinking and to pay attention to the future as well as the present. New doors are always opening to allow us to redirect our circumstances, so remain open to opportunities and stay optimistic as options become available. We may never know all the answers, but we can prepare for the potential outcomes.
I recommend stepping back to objectively assess the pros and cons of the situation. If you decide that the change is beneficial, remember that it is your job to choose whether or not to accept the opportunity.
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