Native American


The Fool As Archetype

Jacquelin Small

The Alpha and Omega of our Journey Home

This archetype is ruled by Uranus and the element Air. Uranus is the planet that rules this Aquarian Age, and the element Air functions as your mental life. This is the most powerful of all the Major Arcana, as The Fool is the wandering Immortal who is not bound even by a number and can move in and out of space and time. There is a part of every Card in the Fool. He is a symbol of the synthesis of the God Immanent and the God Transcendent. The word Fool comes from the Latin word follis, which means a pair of bellows, which provide the oxygen needed for a combustion. The Fool "fires us up" with the impetus for action when something is finished or goes stale.

The Fool represents an inner attitude of Divine Innocence, willing to have total faith in the process of living. He casts himself totally -- and with gay abandon -- into all with which he comes into contact, and redeems whatever he meets. This quality of Divine Innocence is a form of continual humility in all our relations, which prevents any adversity from causing imbalance. Anything adverse The Fool encounters is brought to the heart of its positive quality with a sense of awe; it is transformed.

The Fool is the 0; it neither adds nor subtracts, but increases its power: the 1 becomes a 10; 100 becomes 1,000, etc. Without accepting our dark or "unlived" side with this child-like quality, we take on a false spirituality, one where "niceness" replaces the raw beauty of real-ness. This Divine Person has so much faith in this process and in God; a symbol of our core Self. "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." This is the one who always takes us to the next level, not afraid of stepping off the bluff into the chasm of the Unknown. The Fool combines wisdom, madness, and the folly of the spiritual adventurer, but never stays attached when it's time to move on.

Confounding the establishment by playing Trickster is one of The Fool's most loved tricks. When this archetype is present and active in your psyche, you can be completely unpredictable and amoral -- a divinely sanctioned lawlessness that is hard to rationalize -- guided wholly by an experimental attitude toward life. In this willingness to be so un-programmed by culture, tribe, or society, we carry the makings of the Hero/Savior archetype. This provides us the archetypal impulsive curiosity that continually moves us toward the fulfillment of our ideal, though we're often surprised at how this comes about.

This archetypal representative of the Self can see the wisdom of the future through the innocent eyes of a divine childhood. "Except ye come to me as a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom" applies to this archetypal Force.

When The Fool archetype erupts in you, or in a Tarot reading, it's time to pick up one's knapsack and move on. "Keep on a truckin'," this Being says. "There's a greater life awaiting you on the other side of the hill." The Fool's message is always related to beginning another adventure in cavalier faith. You can almost hear him or whistling as s/he steps once more onto the path. One embraces the future with optimism through The Fool, and is not deterred by anticipated pitfalls. Anytime this archetype shows up, there's a rare opportunity at hand as two dimensions of consciousness have intersected. Wm. Blake said:

"If a man would persist in his folly he would become wise."


The symbolism of the Fool is best explained by first considering the meaning of the Hebrew letter Aleph attributed this Key. Aleph means Ox. Oxen symbolize the motive power in agriculture, because they were used to pull plows, etc. Agriculture is the basic form of civilization. Thus the letter Aleph symbolizes Cultural Power, Creative Energy, Life-Power, the vital principle of plants, animals, and Men which comes to us in physical form as the energy of the Sun. This principle is also called Life-Breath. It is the Greek Pneuma, the Sanskrit Prana, the Hebrew Ruach, the Latin Spiritus. Literally these words mean "breath." Secondarily, they refer to the Spirit, or allpervading Life-energy.

This meaning is substantiated by the title, for Fool is derived from the Latin follis meaning a "bag of wind." Thus the Fool symbolizes that which contains air, or Breath. The number 0 carries this idea a step farther. It is a symbol of the limitless, unconditioned Life-Power. The 0 is shaped like an egg, hence it symbolizes that which contains all of the potencies of growth and development. Occultists will understand that we refer to the Cosmic Egg, and to the Ring-Pass-Not.

In the picture the Sun refers to the ONE FORCE. It is white to indicate that it is the Universal Radiant Energy which is concentrated by and radiated from all of the suns in the universe.

The mountains represent the abstract mathematical conceptions which are behind all knowledge of Nature. As such, they are cold and uninteresting to many. But the melting of the snow upon the peaks feeds the streams that make fertile the valleys below. So will the principles of Ageless Wisdom feed your consciousness and make fertile your mental imagery, thus transforming your life.

The Fool is Eternal Youth. He shows that the ONE FORCE never ages, is always at the height of its power. His attitude expresses confidence and joyful aspiration.

The wreath around the Fool's head symbolizes the vegetable kingdom; also Victory. The wand is Will, the wallet Memory. The white rose represents purified desire. The Fool's garments consist of a white undergarment and a black outer one which is lined with red. White is purity, truth and wisdom. It is covered with the black of ignorance and delusion, which is lined with passion, action and desire. It is held with a girdle having twelve ornaments, seven of which are showing. This girdle represents time, and astrologers will find the contemplation of this symbology of much interest. The wheels which ornament the outer garment are eight-spoked. They symbolize the whirling motion by which the ONE FORCE manifests itself. The little dog symbolizes the intellect, the merely reasoning mind. He is a faithful companion, but must have a master.


NameThe Fool
Key Number0
Hebrew LetterAleph


Note E


Article From:


Osho Zen Tarot

Card Number Zero (first card of the Major Arcana)


Moment to moment, and with every step, the Fool leaves the past behind. He carries nothing more than his purity, innocence and trust, symbolized by the white rose in his hand. The pattern on his waistcoat contains the colors of all four elements of the tarot, indicating that he is in harmony with all that surrounds him. His intuition is functioning at its peak. At this moment the Fool has the support of the universe to make this jump into the unknown. Adventures await him in the river of life.

The card indicates that if you trust your intuition right now, your feeling of the 'rightness' of things, you cannot go wrong. Your actions may appear 'foolish' to others, or even to yoursef, if you try to analyze them with the rational mind. But the 'zero' place occipied by the Fool is the numberless number where trust and innocence are the guides, not skepticism and past experience.

A FOOL IS ONE who goes on trusting; a fool is one who goes on trusting against all his experience. You deceive him, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you; and you deceive him again, and he trusts you. Then you will say that he is a fool, he does not learn. His trust is tremendous; his trust is so pure that nobody can corrupt it.

Be a fool in the Taoist sense, in the Zen sense. Don't try to create a wall of knowledge around you. Whatsoever experience comes to you, let it happen, and then go on dropping it. Go on cleaning your mind continuously; go on dying to the past so you remain in the present, here-now, as if just born, just a babe.

In the beginning it is going to be very difficult. The world will start taking advantage of you...let them. They are poor fellows. Even if you are cheated and deceived and robbed, let it happen, because that which is really yours cannot be robbed from you, that which is really yours nobody can steal from you. And each time you don't allow situations to corrupt you, that opportunity will become an integration inside. Your soul will become more crystallized.


0 - The Fool

The Fool is the ultimate expression of freedom. He is unbound by conventions and unscarred by the opinions and cliches of the world. He is delighted by simplicity and capable of great and private depths. When entranced by an object, being, emotion or idea he will remain in rapt attention through storms and tempests (and mauling tigers) such is his simple fascination with the world. As a card the fool represents the freedom of the heart and mind, an idea, person or situation that stands alone, unique and free from the boundaries of the social world. However, in this freedom there is a disconnection from others thath can lead to isolation from the world, being set apart and labled 'different'. There is also the possibility that such unshakeable focus can become madness, and all clarity can be lost to the whorls of life. In this the fool is un-numbered because he is everything and he is nothing. He is the human self before birth when it is unlearned and unaffected by the world.
Madeleine Parsons

The fool is a wonderful representation of Adam/Eve before biting the apple and becoming self aware. All and nothing existing for the joy and beauty of it. Not a care, worry, no modesty or shame. An unconscious trot down the path, regardless of the circumstances, trials, etc. Following an unknown because it feels right, exciting, and good too. Letting the unknown higher power take control, make corrections, take care of business, and not realizing that you're doing it. Relying on the 'gut' to lead.
mrs gilreath

The Fool yes, he begins the journey, but is present at every step. He is a Paradox. He appears as the Fool, but the Fool is wise. As he has no number, he is part of the infinite journey and reminds us in his folly of the hope of lessons learned, the needed wisdom to carry on. He is the Court Jester; the One who entertained Kings and Queens at court in the great Middle Ages. His Comedy could be fun and lighthearted, but just as often confounded and confused, because Comedy is the sweet and sour mask of intelligence and wisdom. Many playwrights have used him from the great Greek Comedics to Shakespeare and even modern times. The Emcee in the play and movie "Caberet" is a modern example of the archetype of the Fool. The ultimate Storyteller, the Comedian, wearing the mask of ignorance and folly, (for that is how we begin a journey) helps us to think well before we act, and reveals to us the hidden wisdom of a situation... if we keep our own eyes open and stay awake and aware in all the life that is around us.
C. March


This is a part of the Tarot Inspiration site.


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