The Fool tarot card sits at 0. He is the ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail, self-sustaining. He is life and death and the perpetuation of the soul from one cycle to the next. He is undifferentiated and unmanifest. He is the beginning and he is the end.
The body dies and falls to disintegration, but the soul continues on its journey to perfection and fulfilment. With each new incarnation the soul yearns to be free from the boundaries and invisible shackles it has brought with it from previous incarnations in the form of karma.
Unwittingly we obey the call of the oughts and shoulds which bite at our tail, until eventually we break free and run towards the truth which only our own soul can know and fully understand.
It is then that others cry *Fool* as we leave behind all that we have built, earnt, craved or desired; for the truth is stronger than money, a job or apparent security. Freedom comes from within and not from without, and often the Fool depicts not the running away from established physical burdens but the inner peace we find deep inside during difficult times. To be true to our self against the odds is freedom. To be independent. To follow the dictates of our heart and soul rather than allow the crowd to sway us, or family to influence us, or early environmental conditioning to deter us; that is when we step into the power of the Fool.
Practical examples I have seen in readings :-
For one woman it showed that she was willingly walking away from a career that she felt her parents had pushed her into. She gave up this very lucrative career in order to pursue what she felt was her true calling of training to be a nurse.
For one young man it showed his decision to travel extensively before embarking on his studies at university. “I need to ensure that I study the correct subjects,” he admitted. “I’ve signed up for history and politics and right now I’m not sure if that is my true path or simply something I am doing because everyone thinks I ought to as I gained such good grades.”
For one woman The Fool showed her decision to leave her marriage. “Everyone says that I ought to stay for the sake of the children,” she said. “But quite frankly the arguing and stress is making them miserable. We will probably be much poorer, but far happier if we don’t live with him any more.”
The Fool symbolises our ability to let go and be non-attached.
When reversed the Fool indicates clinging on to inhibiting and limiting patterns of action and reaction. In some respects it symbolises fear of the future and a lack of trust in life. People who have the Fool reversed are loathe to take risks and abide by the rules of life as dictated by early conditioning of oughts and shoulds.
For one man it represented an inability to drop commitments and have some fun, even though he was due holiday leave from work. “I can’t just leave my responsibilities,” he griped, and then stared wistfully out of the window as if freedom evaded him.
For one woman the Fool reversed quite literally showed her shackled to the drudgery of looking after her elderly mother. “I can’t just walk out of the door on my own anymore,” she moaned. “My mother can’t be left alone even for a minute these days.” When I asked if she had considered respite care the woman was horrified. “Never!” she said adamantly, “It has been offered but one really should take responsibility for ones own kin, I can’t leave her with a stranger!” Thus it transpired that it was not so much her mother who shut her in but her own limiting ideas about how one should or should not deal with the situation. Help was at hand yet she refused to even consider investigating various possibilities.