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The Fool Tarot Card Meaning



Key Words for the Fool Tarot Card Meaning

  • Innocence
  • Beginning
  • Simplicity
  • Fresh Start
  • Blind Faith


The Fool Tarot card meaning deals with that youthful exhuberance we feel when starting out on a new adventure or taking a journey of faith. We feel anticipation, butterflies flutter in our stomach, and our skin prickles with excitement...our journey is underway - we're unstoppable!

However, along with this passion comes impetuousness. The Fool makes no plans, or gives no thought to possible complications along the way. Happy to be doing something different, the Fool blindly sets out where all else may fear to tread.

When contemplating the Fool Tarot card meaning, I think of Joseph Campbell's landslide statement: "Follow your bliss." We can see this attitude in this card, which is wonderful. But, we must also note the lack of care about consequences - blind faith is the Fool's only guide.

Key Symbols:
This section focuses in on a few select symbols that can help us further define the Fool Tarot card meaning.

The Dog: Dogs typically represent loyalty and faithfulness. In this case, the dog symbolizes our reward when we express true faith on our path. As we continue to step out in faith, and blindly follow our bliss we shall gain the loyalty and recognition from people, places and events in our lives. Other Tarot decks depict the dog loyaly tugging at the Fools robes, preventing his fall into the chasm below. Yet another confirmation that when the Fool continues on his mission of passion, protection is available, and the details miraculously fall into place.



Knap Sack: How long do you think the contents of the little knap are going to sustain our hearty fool? Exactly, here again, the Fool is taking little time to consider the practical matters of his journey. However, what if the knap sack contains something far greater than consumables. Look closely at the image. Some say it resembles testicles, and these represent the seed of the Fool's philosophical offspring. In short, as the Fool sows, so too shall he reap. This depiction is a reminder of personal responsibility. We all carry the seed of consequence upon our own journey.


The Rose: Again, hitting home that balance of the two messages this card represents: Blind, beautiful faith is equal to the beauty of the rose and a caution to heed the voice of reason/ practicality are evidenced in its thorns. The rose is the driving force - the desired goal for which the Fool strives. The color indicates it is a worthy goal for which to strive - white, the color of purity assures us the adventure is worth every step.


0 -  ZERO as a symbol

The zero is everywhere and it is nowhere. It is the omnipresent force that makes numbers rise or fall. But then again, it doesn't really exist. For me, now it is the ego number.  Everywhere but then again, an illusion.

The fact that the Fool is number 0 indicates this omnipresence. On its journey to become the World, the Fool does not go anywhere but within. I am the Fool, we are all the Fool. And then again... None is the Fool. For the Real Being is not an archetype, it merely IS, without symbols or interpretaions, opposites or journey, past or future.


Zero plus anything equals anything.  Zero times anything equals zero.  Zero then has a split personality.  If zero is added to something, that something remains completely unchanged.  In that respect, zero is the least obtrusive of all numbers.  It is completely invisible and has no effect whatsoever in the domain of addition.  If, however, you are going to multiply a number by zero, then the result is zero. 

Addition and multiplication, you see, also symbolize things.  If we put it into human terms, I think you could say that addition is friendship.  You and I can stand shoulder to shoulder, become added together and thus form a bond.  Neither of us loses our identity.  But, if we become married, at least in theory, we are no longer two people, but only one person.  Our individual lives have become merged into the greater union.  When we simply add the Fool to our lives, our lives remain exactly as they were.  If we attempt to retain any part of ourselves, then we will remain completely unaffected by the Fool, whatever it turns out to be.  If we marry ourselves to the Fool, then we will discover that we no longer exist, and the only reality is the Fool.  This gives you a very great clue as to what the Fool is.

And then again, the name is interesting...

fool  (fl)

1. One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.
2. One who acts unwisely on a given occasion: I was a fool to have quit my job.
3. One who has been tricked or made to appear ridiculous; a dupe: They made a fool of me by pretending I had won.
4. Informal A person with a talent or enthusiasm for a certain activity: a dancing fool; a fool for skiing.
5. A member of a royal or noble household who provided entertainment, as with jokes or antics; a jester.
6. One who subverts convention or orthodoxy or varies from social conformity in order to reveal spiritual or moral truth: a holy fool.
7. A dessert made of stewed or puréed fruit mixed with cream or custard and served cold.
8. Archaic A mentally deficient person; an idiot.
LOCO (Spanish)

  1. (demente) mad, crazy
  2. figurative (imprudente) crazy, reckless
  3. (extraordinario) extraordinary, unbelievable

Matto (Italian)

mad, crazy

madman (madwoman), lunatic  

I find it interesting to see that the Fool in Spanish as in Italian and Portuguese (Couldn't find it in French) is the crazy man, the mad man, the lunatic. And there is a slight difference from a Fool.
Now, let's not find the differences but the coinciding points:  
From one to the other is the one that lacks understanding of the World, is innocent, acts unwisely. And specially it is seen as someone who can be fooled, or taken advantage of.
This is our first step to our Inner Journey.
It is the complete naiveté, The Trust, the letting go of preconceived ideas. The open mind. The empty bucket.
In any language.


Zero in Four Dimensions:
Historical, Psychological, Cultural,
and Logical Perspectives


Hossein Arsham
University of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, 21201, USA




1.    Introduction

2.    Historical Perspective

3.    Psychological Perspective

4.    Cultural Perspective

5.    Logical Perspective

6.    Concluding Remarks

7.    Notes, Further Readings, and References



The introduction of zero into the decimal system in 13th century was the most significant achievement in the development of a number system, in which calculation with large numbers became feasible. Without the notion of zero, the descriptive and prescriptive modeling processes in commerce, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and industry would have been unthinkable. The lack of such a symbol is one of the serious drawbacks in the Roman numeral system. In addition, the Roman numeral system is difficult to use in any arithmetic operations, such as multiplication. The purpose of this article is to raise students, teachers and the public awareness of issues in working with zero by providing the foundation of zero form four different perspectives. Imprecise mathematical thinking is by no means unknown; however, we need to think more clearly if we are to keep out of confusions.

Our discomfort with the concepts of zero (and infinite) is reflected in such humor as 2 plus 0 still equals 2, even for large values, and popular retorts of similar tone. A like uneasiness occurs in confronting infinity, whose proper use first rests on a careful definition of what is finite. Are we mortals hesitant to admit to our finite nature? Such lighthearted commentary reflects an underlying awkwardness in the manipulation of mathematical expressions where the notions of zero and infinity present themselves. A common fallacy is that, any number divided by zero is infinity. It is not simply a problem of ignorance by young novices who have often been mangled. The same errors are commonly committed by seasoned practitioners, yea, and even educators! These errors frequently can be found as well in prestigious texts published by mainstream publishers.


Historical Perspective

Counting is as old as prehistoric man is, after he learned to count, man invented words for numbers and later still, symbolic numerals. The numeral system we use today originated with the Hindus. They were devised to go with the 10-based, or "decimal," method of counting, so named after the Latin word decima, meaning tenth, or tithe. The first popularizer of this notation was a Muslim mathematician, Al-Khwarizmi in the 9th century, however it took the new numbers about two centuries to reach Spain and then to England in a book called Craft of Nombrynge.

The Two Notions of Zero: The notion of zero was introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages by Leonardo Fibonacci who translated from Arabic the work of the Persian (from Usbekestan province) scholar Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn (al)-Khwarizmi. The word "algorithm," Medieval Latin 'algorismus', is a contamination of his name and the Greek word arithmos, meaning "number, has come to represent any iterative, step-by-step procedure. Khwarizmi in turn documented (in Arabic, in the 7th century) the original work of the Hindu mathematician Ma-hávíral as a superior mathematical construction compared with the then prevalent Roman numerals which do not contain the concept of zero. When these scholarly treatises were being translated by European accountants, they translated 1, 2, 3,.. upon reaching zero, they pronounced, "empty", Nothing! The scribe asked what to write and was instructed to draw an empty hole, thus introducing the present notation for zero.

Hindu and early Muslim mathematicians were using a heavy dot to mark zero's place in calculations. Perhaps we would not be tempted to divide by zero if we also express the zero as a dot rather that the 0 character.

Babylonians also used a zero, approximately at the same time as Egyptians, before 1500 BC. Certainly, zero's application in our base 10 decimal system was a step forward, as logarithms of Napier and others brought into use.

While zero is a concept and a number, Infinity is not a number; it is the name for a concept. Infinity cannot be considered as a number since it does not follow numbers' properties. For example, (infinity + 2) is not more than infinity. Since infinite is the opposite of finite, therefore whoever uses "infinite" must first give an indication for what is finite. For example, in the use of statistical tables, such as t-table, almost all textbooks denote symbol of infinity (  ) for the parameter of any t-distribution with values greater than 120. I share Cantor's view that " principle only finite numbers ought to be admitted as actual."

Aristotle considered the infinite, as something for which there is no exit in an attempt to pass through it. In his Physics: Book III, he wrote "It is plain, too, that the infinite cannot be an actual thing and a substance and principle."

Many writers have given much attention to clarifying the nature of the "infinite": what is it, how can we know anything about it, etc. Many constructively minded mathematicians such as David Hilbert choose to emphasize that we can restrict ourselves to the finite and thereby avoid many of these problems: this is the so-called "finitary standpoint".


I find that zero is the mathematics equivalent to silence in the Spiritual Life.

Zero is valued as nothing. As silence is valued as the absence of noise.

The have no opposites, or degrees, the are both reference points.

They have no opposites, they are not negative or positive, odd or even, much or less.

Zero is the potential of numbers as silence is the potential of the mind.

They are both content, while noise and numbers are form.

They are Omnipresent. And yet none of them exist alone.

Zero to numbers.  Black to colors. Silence to noise.

They shape, they are indispensable… And yet, they are just an absence.

Zero is a lonely concept, lonelier than one. It requires some sort of companionship to give meaning to its life.

Silence is a lonely concept, lonelier than any noise. It requires some sort of noise to give meaning to its life.

(What do we look for when we meditate?... They say prayer is talking to God, and meditation is listening to It)

They are actually both concepts. Not practical realities.

There is no value attached to any of them. As much as you don’t have a value to zero in any additions or subtractions. There is no value in silence to music… for instance. As valuable as both are for music and/or calculating.

The Typical Symbols of The Fool: 

The 8 Spoked Wheel -  is a symbol of Spirit, thought of as a fifth element. 

Blowing Hair and Tunic - This card is assigned to the element Air in the Golden Dawn system. 

Dog - evolution of the lower to the higher nature, the dog evolved from the wolf. Can also indicate that nature is happy to follow in the footsteps of man.

Facing Left - feminine, yin, the direction of the unconscious or unknown.

Feather - wind, air and freedom.

Laurel Wreath - a symbol of Victory. The Fool’s journey is circular, the Fool begins again after completing a previous cycle.

Mountains - Attainment, realization, path leading to the heights, abstract thought, the long mystical journey is through the stark mountains. When snow capped: the cold abstract principles of math which govern all earthly phenomena. 

Precipice - Stepping down from spiritual heights to physical manifestation.

Wand - Slung over the youth's shoulder, it is a symbol of will.

Wallet - Tied to the wand, this carries universal instinct and memory, or the four magical symbols the Fool must learn to use.

The symbol often found on the Fool’s wallet is not clear, some opinions include:

A Shell - representing the 'good luck' scallops that were carried on pilgrimages. 

A Bird -  referring to the Golden Dawn attribution of the Fool to the element of air. 

An Eagle - Virile strength. “To dream of an eagle in a high place good for those who are starting on some great undertaking.” (The Book of Destiny, p 249) 

White Rose - The Fool is still free from animal desires.




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