Unfortunately, in this childlike state the person is likely to be overly optimistic or naive. A Fool can be a Fool. This is the card likely to turn up when a Querent is thinking of investing his money in a new, "sure fire" business. Or when the Querent is sure that it's "love this time!" Like the Fool, they're so busy daydreaming of what might be that they're ignoring what is. They're about to fall right off a cliff. Time for them to listen to that watchful little dog, which might be a concerned friend, a wise tarot reader, or just their instincts.
The Fool also represents the need to be watchful and analytical. Significant change is on the horizon, and the subject should do some soul-searching and discover what their true goal is. On many versions of the Tarot, the Fool is accompanied by a little dog, who represents the more pragmatic voice – an ally who reminds us when we’re not paying close enough attention to the road ahead.
In some spreads, the card can be interpreted as an action that has been taken where the outcome is still unresolved – the subject may need to confront their fears and assess the risks in the choices they’re making. In some version of the cards, the Fool is seen to be walking off a cliff, which can be taken one of two ways; either he’s about to plunge off the edge because he’s not paying attention, or he’s deliberately taking a risk, a “leap of faith,” as it were.
Early versions of the Tarot portrayed the Fool less as an innocent soul as one who was out of touch with his spiritual side, a person driven by his own hunger and needs, and has lost all worldly connections because of it. In other Tarots, the Fool is shown to be a traveling entertainer, or a decrepit old man who’s been ground down by his repeated mistakes and follies. It’s only the more modern versions, most notably the Rider-Waite deck, that show the Fool that we now know, a cheerful innocent tripping along the road to who knows where.
As most modern takes take their cue fro Rider-Waite, the imagery usually pays tribute to that deck, and the Fool is seen outdoors, looking upwards – not watching his step – with his worldly goods slung over his shoulder and a little dog trying to get his attention. But when interpreting the card, it’s valuable to remember the original Fool, who had fallen to his lowest point and, as a result, forsaken material desires, and was now beginning a new journey with just the pack on his back and an open heart.
At its essence, the Fool represents our need to fulfill our own destinies, and the unknowable journey that we undertake whenever we begin a new venture.
Inverted, the Fool may be a signal that a decision may be unwise, or that the subject is about to start a venture that will fail. It’s a warning that the subject should weigh the risks carefully, for it’s possible that the decision they’re making may be undertaken too lightly, and that they need to give it more serious consideration. That cliff that the Fool is about to step off of is a steep one – it’s best to look before you leap, the inverted card says, because you may not be ready for the sudden fall.
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