The beginning of a new year always makes me think about, well, new beginnings. And what says “beginning” more than the Fool? So, what we’re going to do is start this fresh, shiny new year by looking at the Fool. Then we’ll look at the other Majors in order, along with their corresponding Minors. That is, we’ll look at the Magician, then all the Aces; the High Priestess followed by the 2s, etc.

If something else catches our attention along the way, well, we’ll just follow our fancy and trust the Universe. Much like our friend, the Fool.

Currently, we see the Fool as something of a hero. Indeed, we often look at the Major Arcana as a journey that the Fool takes, likening him and his experience to the Hero’s Journey that Joseph Campbell saw in his exploration of myth. To us, he is a pure spirit, carefree and full of faith, trusting his heart and the Universe. He pays no attention to worries and concerns that may stop some of us in our tracks.

The Fool, we say, marks the beginning of a major phase in our lives, often with spiritual significance. When this card shows up, we are urged to trust our gut and follow our heart.

The small animal, usually a dog, that nips at the Fool’s heels causes us some concern. We are not really agreed on whether this dog is an important warning or something that tries to distract the Fool from his journey.

Historically, the Fool has not always been the attractive character he is today. Indeed, he has been shown as a buffoon or crazy person—a fool. We now relegate this interpretation, if we use it all, to the reversed or ill-dignified position. I think that’s really interesting. Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom includes a kind of historic path of the meanings of each card. Noting how the interpretations change over time tells us a lot about us as a society. Analyzing those trends is a way to do a kind of “reading” writ large. What do you make of the shift from the Fool being, well, a fool to the Fool being a Hero?

This Fool is from Ciro Marchetti’s Legacy of the Divine Tarot.

Written by Barbara Moore
The tarot has been a part of Barbara Moore’s personal and professional lives for over a decade. In college, the tarot intrigued her with its marvelous blending of mythology, psychology, art, and history. Later, she served as the tarot specialist for Llewellyn Publications. Over the years, she has ...