The Fool from the Ostara Tarot

To get a good understanding of the Tarot, and how to read each card, I think it is most important to start at the beginning. Not the beginning as in the history of the tarot, although I will be devoting a blog post to that as well, but the beginning as in the beginning of the tarot deck. 

The Fool is card zero in the tarot. This numerical connection means that we are not only in a space of starting, we are in a space of cycling. We move into and out of the cycle of the Fool.

In this blog post, I will be breaking down what the Fool means, and how to read the Fool. I will also be bringing in different literature, interpretations, and guidebook narratives to show similarities or differences in the narrative of the Fool in relation to my own interpretations. As always, I invite you to take what resonates with you, and to leave what doesn’t. No harm, no foul. 

** Please note that in this blog post, I will be returning to this, and other images to reference the Fool’s meaning. This notice serves as a reminder, instead of having to put the same images in over again.

Opening to Expansive Energy of the Fool

The Innocent / Fool from the Mystical Dream Tarot
The Fool from the Guardian of the Night Tarot

The Fool marks the beginning of the whole of the Tarot as card zero,. So, how do we read the Fool? That is a little bit of a loaded question, because there are many different answers that you will inevitably come across in tarot resources and literature, but here is how I read the Fool. 

The first way that I read the Fool is as a complete presence of self. The Fool represents the beautiful power we bring when we feel a sense of complete wholeness within, and how we move with that wholeness in and out of the many different phases, situations, moments, and chapters of life. If you look at the very first card of this blog post (from the Ostara Tarot) you see a young girl who is on her broomstick, flying into the light, into the headwinds, up where the birds are found. She holds tightly to the wooden stick. Her cheeks are rosy. Her hair whips behind her. This is the embodiment of that complete presence of self. She holds to the embodiment of this journey. She will find her flight.

The Fool represents that wholeness within us that is in pure connection to the energies of life at large. The Fool represents bringing a full presence to the moment you are in, and all the potentials that await you. Look at again at the first image, but look at her knees and her shoes. Her knees are red, red like she has skinned them a bunch of times. Maybe she has skinned her knees from trying to learn how to fly on her broomstick. Maybe her knees are red because her shoes are untied. Who knows? I will let you decide for yourself on that one.

The reason I mention this is because the skinned knees and untied shoes speak back to this complete presence and wholeness of self in the situation. This girl is so intertwined in her presence of learning to fly that tying her shoes doesn’t even register, even if she trips on them and skins her knees. On repeat, she sees the potential of herself in the clouds and with the birds, and that is enough for her to keep trying for that beautiful potential. That image of herself in the sky is enough to bring all her presence to that potential, negating the small need to tie her shoes. 

The next way that I read the Fool is that the Fool represents the unlimited prospect or apex of manifestation. At any point, the Fool could make a decision or something could happen to adjust the path down a more focused or singular line, but at this moment (when the Fool comes forward) there is a beautiful invitation that you can come home to yourself, and chart a new course. At any given moment, you can manifest something different. 

Looking at the image of the Wolf and the Rabbit (pictured above right), it is not clear who the Fool is, again that is up to you to decide. On one hand you could say that the Rabbit is the Fool because the Rabbit crossed paths with the Wolf and ran, knowing the Wolf would keep chase. You could say that the Wolf is the Fool because that chase drew the Wolf on to the ice of a frozen lake, where the lightness of the Rabbit is better suited to this situation. 

I think this card shows that the Fool shows itself in a variety of ways. At any point, something new will manifest in the situation. The rabbit will run a different direction. The Wolf will turn back, leaving the Rabbit to carry through another day. The Fool says that at any point, the tides may change and when they do can you willingly move with that change, arriving at the apex of a different manifestation? The Fool trusts that the situation will unfold and manifest as needed. The Fool does not overly control the journey to the apex, or the unfolding petals of manifestation. The Fool knows that because the potentials for change and new directions can occur in any moment, it is better to find a home in yourself, and come back to it, always. 

Another invitation that builds on the last one is the need to trust the Universe, to trust yourself, and to trust that when you believe in both, those great manifestations mentioned before can happen. In the picture of the Snake (pictured above left), the Snake slithers up a pillar with a globe, crystal, ball, or orb of magic. The name of the Innocent denotes that the Fool has a pure energy, an untainted nature that allows him or her to truly connect at the heart to the nature of all things because the heart, the spirit, the self has not been altered by tragedy, hardship, loss, bitterness, or any other darkened nature.

The Innocent Snake spits out his venom which could kill, but at the same time it creates the needed remedy for anti-dote. The poison is also the cure for itself, showing how the world gives and it takes. When looking at a situation from this perspective, you come into a more whole and honest perspective. You seen things in ways that doesn’t distort into either light or shadows. The Innocent sees the cycle of life and death, and see the potentials to move through those cycles, pure and willing.

When you can trust in the Universe, you can trust that you can home to yourself at any time because you have the support to do so. When you trust yourself, you know that you can meet the many chance encounters, cycles, and experiences of life with a grounded foundation and an open heart. The Snake is known as a symbol of transformation because of its ability to shed its skin. The Fool invites you to see where the potential to manifest comes from this trust. The Fool invites you to consider how you are constantly manifesting yourself in new ways, shedding the skins that are too tight to hold you.

The Fool in Literature and Resources

The Fool from the Tarot of Dragons
The Fool from the Shadowscapes Tarot

The Fool in many resources, guidebooks, or pieces of literature speaks to a new adventure, to something exciting that awaits the querent, and they need to be ready when that exciting door is opened to them. While I will never tell someone how to read the tarot, or that their interpretations are nonsense, I think this understanding needs unpacking. The first reason why I think this is because I don’t read the tarot as a predictive measure or voice. I don’t think that the Fool is predicting an adventure or some kind of journey that awaits beyond this moment. An adventure can be anything or nothing (very Fool like) depending on the person, so to try and create a blanket narrative like that seems a little far-fetched to me. 

I have had the Fool come forward for me in readings where nothing was changing, had changed, or was going to change for the foreseeable future, and that was by design. I was actively working to create a sense of stability, routine, and ritual for myself and my needs in my life at that time. Yet, the Fool still gave me tons of beautiful invitations and things to work with going forward. How?

Because the Fool spoke to me to trust in myself and the Universe. It told me to bring the presence of myself into this situation, and to not be swayed by what other people thought, wanted for me, or advised me on. I was an Innocent to myself. I was the Wolf and the Rabbit, making my life what I needed it to be, trusting that in time the cycles would turn and the manifestation would cradle me in all I had endeavored to do.

The Fool does not speak to some grand adventure of travel or journeys to far-off places. It can be if that is what is in alignment within you, but when you really break it down, each day is an adventure. Each day is a journey. Each cell in your body is a divine manifestation, and you do not have to do anything to make that even more so. I want to share with you some resources that I think give a helpful narrative on the Fool, but still may be different or challenge my own interpretations. 

The first is by Tarot Giant Rachel Pollack, who sadly just recently passed away. Her mark on the tarot and this community is indelible. Her presence was indomitable. I am forever grateful for the teachings she gave throughout her life. 

The following images are taken from her book Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings 

Rachel Pollack shows how the narratives from different teachers often paints the Fool as a simpleton, a lunatic, a person who has lost themselves in their identity because they weren’t strong enough to hold onto who they were in life. Others show how the Fool is fluid, altered, and changed as it moves through each of the other Major Arcana cards. She goes on to discuss the Holy Fool and the Court Jester. Both of these figures had a powerful place, even if that place was outside of the norms of society.

The Holy Fool was thought to be in a better connection and even give the word of God because of their role as different, outside the norm, beyond the reasonable. No one could really say otherwise because they could not say unequivocally what the word of God would, or should, sound like. The court jester was the one who could make “light” fun of the King or monarch. The Fool was the only one to really have this ability, which is kind of crazy considering that Kings had the power to kill you because it was a Tuesday and they felt like it. 

This means that the Fool has some freedom that lies within the autonomy of self. This freedom often goes against standard norms, and may be antithetic to certain understandings or teachings from society, structural organizations, and people in power. Each one of us has that freedom of authenticity with the self. There is a part of each of us that is outside the status quo. The Fool invites you to consider how to trust what you are doing is aligned for you, even if it looks mad to others. 

Another resource that I have found helpful and return to often is the book Tarot Awareness: Exploring the Spiritual Path by Stephen Walter Sterling. From the section on the Fool:

Here, the focus is on the idea of innocence again, something that Rachel Pollack also referenced in her literature on the Holy Fool and the Court Jester. The Fool is the Innocent (just as it is named in the Mystical Dream Tarot) because the Fool is innocent of corruption, greed, cynicism, and as it says here in this book: experience. The Fool has yet to experience many things. Once experienced, the Fool is more aware and wise, but also perhaps more jaded, wounded, or guarded,

Just like people who move from children to adults, we lose the power to dream and imagine as limitless as we used to because the social conditioning does not allow for such things. However, we would not have the society we have if people did not dream, create, trust, and believe. Innocent the Fool is, and the invitation with this card is often asking you to create and imagine and be in the expansive space of possibility without overly controlling, defining, rejecting, or diminishing it. Can your imagination and your very self manifest into the totality of the expansive life force, and create from that sacred place in authentic freedom?

Another thing that this book points out beautifully is the numerical association of Zero. The book states this is the idea before the manifestation. This is the breath before the word is spoken. This is the powerful force of creation, and the journey without end. This brings me back to why I believe that the Fool speaks to a sense of coming back to the self, a homecoming of sorts. This teaching and understanding was further placed into my awareness by Lindsay Mack and her amazing Tarot for the Wild Soul’s podcast episode on the Fool. The Fool represents how when we come home to the breath, we come home to ourselves in the center of everything that makes up our own life. When we come back to the breath, we can choose from any sound or word next, and that choice can harm or help us going forward.

And the cycle repeats itself…

A Tarot Card Representation of the Fool

The Fool The Wild Unknown

There might be no better card to showcase the card image and guidebook than the deck that started it all for me. Here, we see the Fool depicted as a sweet gosling or newborn baby bird. I have to say I love this image so much. I may still be a little partial to the image at the beginning with the young girl riding her broomstick (for obvious reasons), but this image is absolutely darling. 

This little baby bird will have to master the ability of flight. He will have to leave behind these beautiful blossoms and dazzling light and find his own way in this world. He will have to brave the storms and move into unknown places, but that is part of his journey because that is part of who he is and what he is here to do. There is no questioning; there is only the time and place to begin.

This leads me to one of my final teachings and tips for reading the Fool in a reading. The Fool is about continuously beginning again. The Fool does not question, whine, or scream. The Fool simply starts and chooses his or her starting line. When the Fool comes forward in a reading, it is not about some out-there adventure awaiting you. It is about you finding the majesty and adventure within every part of you to begin where you are, move into the present, and expand past that space, which allows you to come home to yourself and all that you are meant to be. The baby bird is meant to fly, and it may seem counterintuitive but that baby bird will find itself more at home in some foreign place but authentically doing what it is meant to do than some physical known home. 

As the guidebook says, the journey is yours, and it has already begun, but it is you….

Thank you for reading

If you have liked what you have read, I first want to say thank you so much! I love the tarot, and I love sharing and talking about it whenever, and wherever I can. If you enjoy the way I read tarot, I have just uploaded my entire Tarot Key to the Store. This key is a comprehensive guide (just like a guidebook) of each tarot card, with some further discussion and tips on things like the elements, numbers, how to read the different sections, etc. 

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