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The Fool’s Journey

SmithWaiteFoolWebSafeThe Fool. The “0” of the Major Arcana. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for The Fool. Perhaps it’s the sunny nature of the card and the funny little dog nipping at his heels. Maybe it’s simply because The Fool’s image graced the cover of my first Tarot book. Whatever the reason, I am always pleased to see The Fool make an appearance in a spread.

Early on in my Tarot training the authorities I encountered emphasized the warning aspects of this card. They droned on about a “foolish nature” and the dangers of “not looking where you’re going.” Some even insisted that the dog was a terrible nuisance driving our hero “over the edge.” While all of these aspects might be accurate in particular readings, I hardly think they apply as absolutes for every time our wanderer appears. And limiting our interpretation of The Fool to a cautionary tale is leaving out too much of the picture and cutting out the incredibly empowering side of this iconic card.

The Fool at “0” is what Buddhist philosophy refers to as Beginner’s Mind. The Fool is open to possibility, to learning, to expansion. No, The Fool doesn’t know it all… and that’s a really good thing. Our hero is stepping into the void, he doesn’t know what waits for him, and truth be told, neither do we. We cannot see what lies just one step below the edge of the card; will he truly fall into a cavern or is there another ledge just a foot away? He is groundless, which is the space filled with the most opportunity.

The Fool has been making an appearance in many of my personal readings lately. I’m in a period of profound transformation and many new endeavors are taking off. While I remember that The Fool can carry a warning to pay attention to where I’m headed, I smile to see this traveler setting out on his journey… so much potential before him. Yes, it’s scary and unknown, but you will never reach your goal if you don’t take the first steps.