Welcome to Tarot Tuesdays, a blog series in which I’ll examine the meanings and life lessons inherent in each card of the tarot. If you’re interested in seeking life wisdom through the tarot, look for new posts in the series the second Tuesday of every month.
Tarot Card Meanings: The Fool
We begin our journey with the first card in the major arcana—though it’s not numbered 1, as you might expect. It’s important to note that The Fool is labeled 0. But this doesn’t mean it’s meaningless, a throwaway card in the beloved tarot deck.
Not in the slightest.
As a child, I remember being in awe of the phrase “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It seemed to me simple yet profound, a way of taking a seemingly impossible undertaking and breaking it down into manageable steps.
Think about all of the things human beings have undertaken over the years. The moon landing was a big dream brought to reality by a number of people taking small, highly quantifiable steps toward that goal, all culminating in those historic words, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
This is the meaning of zero. It’s the starting point. The very beginning, before we set out on the journey, before a single step is taken.
The Fool might have a dream. He may even have a very, very vague plan—but certainly not a detailed itinerary. His journey isn’t one with a roadmap or GPS to guide him. He doesn’t have any guarantee that he will end up in the place he thinks he will.
Life Lessons from The Fool
As we step into a new year, none of us knows what we’ll face on the journey, moments strange and wondrous, moments heartbreaking and painful, moments joyous and celebratory. In what ways, are you—or have you been—The Fool?
The Fool may not know many things: where the journey will lead, what obstacles he’ll face along the way, whether he will triumph or falter. But he believes in the dream that calls him to the path before him, in the purpose and vision that lead him toward the road he will walk.
It is, in fact, his willingness to embrace this uncertainty that is his greatest strength. He believes in the power of dreams. He believes he can face the perils along the path. He knows, through stubborn, spirited optimism, that he can take the journey—and that the journey is worth undertaking.
The Fool reminds us that pursuing our dreams isn’t without risk. The Fool reminds us that nothing in this life is certain. There is no surefire path to success. The Fool knows this. He ventures forth anyway.
After all, a dream we never pursue never comes true. Visions are not made reality by accident.
The Fool, then, isn’t so foolish after all. He is simply about to take the first step on a long and uncertain journey, filled with belief in himself, faith in his abilities to meet obstacles, and a fierce desire to pursue his dreams.
What dreams are you pursuing? Have you ever set aside a dream because you were too afraid of failure—or even of success? What lessons do you take from The Fool’s willingness to risk it all in pursuit of a new beginning?