The Fool Card Meaning

The Fool is one of my favorite Tarot cards. He’s not scared of being different – The Fool is afraid of being the same. A fave alias of the Trickster, this is the only Major Arcana card to transition into the modern playing cards, as the Joker.

You get the Fool in a reading when it’s time to take a massive leap of faith, trust your instincts and move on even if everyone around you is doing w.t.f style disapproval or your path seems counter to the obvious.

In fact, perhaps it is more a case of especially if…You know the sorts of people whose disdain is actually an affirmation? You can successfully navigate by doing their ‘don’ts?

Most recently I saw it in the spread of a guy who was wondering whether he could cop the crap from breaking up with his ‘perfect partner’ – so revered and intermeshed with their community were this couple that my friend knew for sure he’d lose a whole pile of friends, community and biz contacts if he left.

I think he was actually hoping the cards would throw up one of those “stay put for now” answers but no, there it was: The Fool. Leap or congeal. But it’s weirder than that…

In most decks The Fool is depicted as wandering cheerily along a path, a few possessions in a little rucksack, cute dog yapping away and about to step off a cliff.  Idiocy or magic? It’s the ultimate start-over card and the cliff doesn’t represent doom or even a crash – it’s the unknown. Card Zero is a start-over cue and ‘the game’ is never over.

Idiocy or Magic?

It also reflects those times in your life when you organically shed things and perhaps people – you don’t want to be encumbered or be socially performative. The non-conformity is innate and no effort at all –  it’s more of an effort for the people tut-tutting about you.

You may or may not like him but Elon Musk is a classic Fool archetype. Time and time again he’s deemed a flake in the media – foolish for starting this, crazy for having done that…bound to fail any moment now etc.

The Fool is a psychic minimalist, not needing to signal status or crimp their soul to fit into a hierarchy. The little dog symbolizes intuition – you could get real fancy about this and invoke Anubis/Wolves etc – but this familiar could just as easily be a cat, eagle, owl, snake…

The Fool Is A Psychic Minimalist

When the Fool shows up in your Tarot spread, think animal spirits and raw life force without all the layers of saturnine mundane convention. Yes, we all need to pay heed to worldly demands to a certain extent and the Fool archetype is free – not forever in court for refusing to pay parking fines  – but why emotionally invest?

You can pay the toll fees or do whatever you need to do for resource-acquisition without buying into magic-damaging, mind-numbing banality or surrendering your intuition.

The man who got the Fool card as ‘the answer’ in his reading endured all the social fracas that usually comes with ending an officially admired relationship. But as I said, disapproval from mediocre vibe vampires is one of the best indicators that you’re heading in the right direction.

Their approval would be a worry. Now this ‘fool’ is super-chill and content, replete with the quiet ebullience of someone following their path. You could see the Fool as the youthful version of the Hermit, a more mature self-navigator.

But you see, the Hermit gets rad respect. They’ve got gravitas and people accept that they’re self-governed. When you’re in the Fool stage of something, you only get to the good bits if you’re willing to have people write you off as a complete raving flake.

If you stop to explain yourself or divert energies to the purchase of status-quo signals, you’ve lost the quest.


Image: Leonora Carrington

52 thoughts on “The Fool Card Meaning”

  1. “you only get to the good bits if you’re willing to have peeps think you’re a complete raving flake.” I have never heard this said more aptly than this. Absolutely my experience of taking The fool’s ‘leap of faith’. Thanks for sharing this today, bringing us back to connection with thw true vibe of the day.

    1. “The Fool is not scared of being different – The Fool is afraid of being the same.”
      …from Mystic’s 12 card Tarot

  2. I’ve discovered that if i’m not a happy fool, i’m a sad fool…or a serious fool, or just a plain everyday fool, or a try-too-hard fool, i can’t escape it, and wish i was more composed and refined and poised and intelligent etc.

    Well i just have to live with it and try to direct it more carefully/mindfully…It’s hard, but it’s there staring at me like a big dunce cross on my chart and there’s no denying it. My idea despite it all, is to just be myself, and intend the best, and try to be considerate.

    The fool, when i get out my tarot and this card comes up, it strikes a chord, a truth, that every yesterday is like a past life for me, and every new day a potentially new life, my hard past has turned me into an eternal optimist and i guess there’s a +/- to all things under the sun. I aim to be a fool in a good way.

  3. just had a reading and EFT with a guy….and yes the fool came up a few times – but not as much as the devil (which appeared no less than 5 times in a few spreads he did on different issues) His take on the devil was it represents the mind. In terms of the fool – kind of fits. Funny you mention the intuitive animals….I have had a few dreams of snakes, a cat/cheetah spotted critter and eagles.
    Then I saw a red bellied black snake yesterday while sitting by my dam. It just slid on by me as I tried to stay calm and not freak out.

    Hmmmm…….transformation is ME at the mo

  4. The fool reminds me alot of the concept of tabula rasa, being a blank slate. Sometimes it seems like the ideal way when you want to shed crap baggage…..I think its a good card to see in a reading.

    Sort of on the subject: I hate that when I bring up tarot at work with someone who is interested, somebody else has to put in their two cents about how its the “devil’s” work, black magic, evil, weird, etc. Its like: did I ask you for your opinion? And this has only happened to me on dayshift. When I used worked nights, everyone there was opened minded and actually probably dabbling or reading occult related stuff. (I miss them 🙁 ) Maybe it has something to do with that old astro rule that all nightshift workers have an emphasized 12th house? Sorry for the minirant, but its happened again as recently as last week….explaining why I prefer to keep this stuff to myself and people who are interested.

    1. Definitely same, SourPatch! I still hesitate to type my responses here, since I’m so used to keeping these things to myself. I R L few know my occult interests, none know my thoughts & practices. Interesting about nightshift 12th house connection.

      1. Sorry for late reply, but yeah….its some known thing amongst astrologers I guess. I myself have 3 planets in the 12th and I loved nightshift, but I also like keeping my occult interests in the dark too…except to those I can trust with them.

    2. Hey SP, perhaps it is not about what’s obvious.. eg peeps getting all preachy about their views on it all. We draw to us all sorts of experiences and it could possibly be about where you’re at. I know.. give me a mo to explain. I have encountered many nay-sayers for many things along the way and the only time it began to abate was when I realised things about myself. It could be anything and I’m not about to suggest but we all have a hand in creating our own lives and connections do we not?

      I still encounter similar folk, it hasn’t diminished entirely but the way I handle their views is different and those that are genuine are more abundant.

      Not saying anything specific.. just suggesting a possible opportune moment for reflection and insight.

      1. Like maybe its a test or a lesson? I’ll definitely ponder that. The only problem is that the first time, I didn’t ask for it. hehe

    3. hey sourpatch…. i feel for you …. people we work with are not necessarily our friends or peeps of like minds, have differing levels of consciousness, and different interests, and beliefs… sure you may not have asked for their comments, but i find most people, particularly these types, are so down on the scale of communication that they wouldnt even wonder if you were interested in what they think, they probably just like the sound of their own voice, or some power trip they are on, to fit in to the mainstream and see everything else as deviance. WE know its sick and limiting, and it is one of the main things that makes work hard in my opinion, is other people and their bullshit…. though i must admit im super cautious NOT to mention any occulty stuff to work peeps, as they say ‘dont put pearls before swine’… Occult stuff is totally misunderstood and disregarded in most mainstream workplaces and relegated to the category of delusional. beware I reckon, and keep your cards close to your chest.

      1. IKR? Its weird how people are allowed to talk freely about how they love the bible and Jesus and stuff, but one mention of “Tarot” and people look at you funny. To me, there isn’t much difference but oh well. The thing that pisses me off most is that in the first incident, I didn’t even reveal myself considering I’m sort of “new” to the dayshift staff: someone else OUTED me to the rest of the group (someone I shared my interests with in CONFIDENCE) and that’s how it started. I’m still very miffed about that, though that could be my plutonic moon talking. I know 99.9% of the reason I hate being exposed in anyway is because of it.

  5. TO me the fool simply represents the energy of what we would call a fool, we perceive fools as carefree, unaware of potential harms careless folly can create…. people think others are fools when they arent being grounded enough or responsible enough- being in safe zone and structure follow the crowd might be the safe barely luke warm zone, but breaking free, being the flake in your own current social circle might make you a fool in that space, but ultimately — that foolish zone subsides, you learn a lesson or two and your further down your own path…

  6. The Fool is a truly open mind and the famed Piscean self doubt is to us (other piscean folk?) a way of keeping the mind open to possibility… that even you are not you as you think it.

    This card also seems very 9th house/Sag adventurer and 12th house/lose yourself.

    When the Joker jumps out of a card deck i laugh and feel lucky. I keep some random Jokers and dice around the place so they’ll turn up unexpectedly and remind me of the lucky turns and shiny blessings i receive.

  7. I looked up the Joker in the old Order of the Magi system, which designates a card for each day, your “birth card.” The Joker is December 31. People born on New Year’s Eve are Jokers, they get to be any card they want, at any time, so they cannot be properly interpreted within the OOM cartomancy system.

    1. Hmm, a relly born then is not capable of having the courage nor the openmindedness to be like The Fool. Just mean (small) minded and fairly ignorant.

  8. I don’t do Tarot, but maybe I should! I totally related to this description of the Fool though. I have Mercury in Gemini(lol) in the 10th house. so of course my Fool movements have been many and all been incredibly public. I have been treading down that path with just a knapsack literally a few times. You know what, I am in the process of making it happen again. LOL. crazy.

  9. “where do you think the word Hermaphrodite is from? Hermes”

    And Aphrodite. I mean, her whole name’s in the word!

    the fool was acually one of the easiest cards for me to figure since I started doing tarot (like, not even 2 weeks ago…). I actually indentify with the reversed aspect of it, being “too smart for my own good/to take a risk.” I only get it upright when I’m doing relationship potential spreads.

    thank you again for these tarot tips! Could not have come at a better time!

  10. “But you see, with The Fool, you only get to the good bits if you’re willing to have peeps think you’re a complete raving flake.”


  11. Think being brave and listening to one’s gut is a lot like stepping off a cliff. You just have to believe that there is an invisible bridge there like in one of the Indie films. So many big life changes one has to decide to make are incredibly scary but I know once I have done them with a small amount of time under my belt I usually laugh at myself for having taken so long to make the wonderful change.

  12. THANK YOU. I’ve had one tarot reading in the past ten years. It was three months ago and I only remember three cards from it. One of them was the fool – that was the one that represented me (I can’t remember whether it was me as a whole or me in my current situ – I don’t know enough about tarot). I was so (SOOO) upset when I got that as I actually ‘felt’ a bit foolish at the time and like I had possibly made a massive error in moving continent (again) a month earlier. So fab fab fab that it possibly wasn’t indicating that. It was a huge leap of faith. It wasn’t easy. But looking back it was the very best choice I could have made.

  13. I got The Fool on Monday. I was wondering all week on how The fool relates to me and now realize that I have been cleaning and organizing for weeks getting ready to finally move in to my own house, shedding my Facebook addiction(and yes, it was 3 hours a day easily wasted)…getting rid or old shoes and coats in the closet, finding some treasure..

    thanks for this Mystic<3

  14. I used to get the Fool all the time when I was a teenager/young adult which made sense to me. Very rarely these days, although once this month and it was very appropriate.

    1. I always get the Fool card, and feel like i’m way too old and tempered in flame and ice to still get this!

      If i were to choose a significator, without the old school gender/colouring/age parameters nor the astrological sign/planet significators, i’d probably go with this one cos it always rocks into my readings.

      I see it and think, “Ah there i am again! Am i growing up yet?”

      1. Ah Mille… it’s inspirational.. and (rather like the Sun card) it signifies innocence and then also trust in self… and that means letting go of assumptions and stepping into the new care free and inspired, possibly even whistling whilst you walk off the cliff?

        C’mon, tell me whether being grown up in a true sense means not doing that.. I think you’ll agree a true grown up knows that that is part of life and adapts/adopts accordingly eh =)

      2. Ah thank you, Scorched Earth. If i’m honest i do believe that i must always be like an innocent in order to always be growing. But the voice of questioning sometimes asks, “Does this card signify what you think it does?”

        And pride be damned, even if it really means a passing foolery, i still think of it as my significator.

        Thanks for the reinforcement xx

  15. Curious Cancerian

    Loving your tarot posts, MM. Makes me more excited for this tarot app you’ve been mentioning! I’ve been addicted to doing readings for myself recently, and two cards continuously appear: the Fool and the World. Seems that I should trust my intuition about moving overseas next year. xx

    1. The World isn’t about going out to see the world around you. That card is a symbol of your presence in the World. You are the center of the universe, all the four elements combine around you to give you the experiences you have here and now, and to create your body as an interface between heavenly forces and the physical plane.

      Or to put it more facetiously, some zen-inspired comedian said, “wherever you go, there you are.”

      1. Curious Cancerian

        Hi Charles, thanks for the interp, and I’m aware of that aspect as well, and that it indicates completion, but most tarot readers would also read its appearance in a spread as being about travel too (a more ‘mundane’ analysis).

  16. I just did a quick tarot and what a surprise ‘the fool’ it is leap time and dont give up. don’t let the gfc get me down.

  17. I don’t see the fool as the trickster ? The fool to me is the totally surrendered (to a higher source) being. The 0, empty, the ultimate potential is availablewhen one is empty.

  18. The Virgo librarian

    Okay my humble thoughts:
    Aha, I never knew the fool was mercury ruled, as such…. only thought the hermit from Major Arcana was Virgo / Mercury related for some reason??

    Loving The Foooool.

    Another thing that’s great about the fool – when you play the fool you learn truth (is that from the Oracle??! .. or a song??!). I recently did this and then FINALLY cut contact from a sketchy person. Me may play the fool but definitely no fool.

    Speaking of fools, have you guys seen Kanye West has launched fashion line?! This guy’s ambition is sooo interesting! And the fashion line is great, actually. Kayne no fool either (another Mercury type person). vl

  19. I used to get the fool a LOT back when I was 20 and in a bit of an emotional / psychological hole. I could never work out how it applied though..I figured the cards were telling me I was being an idiot for some reason. oh well. live and learn

  20. Ha mystic, love your Twitter re the gargoyle! that is stupid and annoying! So much is annoying me right now!

  21. I’ve recently converted from neurotic flake to breezy flake, but maybe a breezy one that carries seeds too launch new growth in some random place as peeps seem pretty happy with my work. Pretty stoked. Can’t wait for MMs Tarot app.

  22. I would prefer the fool energy right now, maybe, I’ve got Saturn doing something to my natal chiron, and I’m sick, and I’m feeling whingey, but Saturn transiting my 12th isn’t really letting me talk about it. Chop wood carry water is harder when ya heart is hurting and ya head cold. Oh!

    1. I undestand that Plutonic Gem, me too i’m having saturn opposing my natal chiron…i’ve been very sich by a harsh bronchitis, finally recovered, but it left me so weak for a few days, i was also kinda depressed, gloomy mood.
      now i’m fine, but i still feel i have to watch over myself. the positive thing was i’d been having a break from work so i had time to wonder and do what in the everyday life routine i don’t do. in a completely ‘foolish’ 🙂 way i one day listened to Beethoven n. 3 Eroica…and i’ve literally been blown away by the music…i just was to weak for questioning about, and the result was sheer beauty came out from the notes and invaded me! it was an amazing experience! perhaps, the fool is there to represent a state of ‘innocence’, liberation of ego debates, a time to get in touch with the bare flow of existence, without ifs, without buts, without any sense of guilt. my best wishes to you for your recovery, love&light to you!

      1. Oh thanks Molly… yes its the opposition for me too! I like your experience with music and opening to the fool/innocence. love it xxx

  23. Each day I pull out a daily Tarot card to offer me insights into my energies and the day as whole. Today I pulled The Fool. I love this card – new beginnings, leap into the unknown. And I realised as I looked around my home that I’ve been simplifying my life and getting focused. Got my blogs going regularly, started a Facebook page, writing my book. Decided I’m going to start teaching courses when I’ve got settled in Cyprus, offering them at low cost because people are in tough times, and getting people to make their own accommodation arrangements. I had a clear dream last night too – that a friend appeared and asked how my university course was going. I showed her my notebooks and they were all filled with colour and art. I looked at her and said: “I really am an artist, aren’t I?” and she nodded. As she’s a complete, arty-farty flake, I know I’ve joined the Arty-Farty Flake Club, fully paid up member. So I’ll be getting into art in Cyprus too. Great day all round!

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