With light step, as if earth and its trammels had little power to restrain him, a young man in gorgeous vestments pauses at the brink of a precipice among the great heights of the world; he surveys the blue distance before him-its expanse of sky rather than the prospect below. His act of eager walking is still indicated, though he is stationary at the given moment; his dog is still bounding. The edge which opens on the depth has no terror; it is as if angels were waiting to uphold him, if it came about that he leaped from the height. His countenance is full of intelligence and expectant dream. He has a rose in one hand and in the other a costly wand, from which depends over his right shoulder a wallet curiously embroidered. He is a prince of the other world on his travels through this one-all amidst the morning-glory, in the keen air. The sun, which shines behind him, knows whence he came, whither he is going, and how he will return by another path after many days. He is the spirit in search of experience. Many symbols of the Instituted Mysteries are summarized in this card, which reverses, under high warrants, all the confusions that have preceded it.
In his Manual of Cartomancy, Grand Orient has a curious suggestion of the office of Mystic Fool, as apart of his process in higher divination; but it might call for more than ordinary gifts to put it into operation. We shall see how the card fares according to the common arts of fortune-telling, and it will be an example, to those who can discern, of the fact, otherwise so evident, that the Trumps Major had no place originally in the arts of psychic gambling, when cards are used as the counters and pretexts. Of the circumstances under which this art arose we know, however, very little. The conventional explanations say that the Fool signifies the flesh, the sensitive life, and by a peculiar satire its subsidiary name was at one time the alchemist, as depicting folly at the most insensate stage.
Symbolism of the RWS Fool
Divinatory meanings of the RWS Fool card
Folly, mania, extravagance, intoxication, delirium, frenzy, bewrayment.
Negligence, absence, distribution, carelessness, apathy, nullity, vanity.
Folly (78 or 0)
Demented, Eccentricity, Insanity, Aberrations, Intoxication, Delirium, Frenzy, Defective, Rage, Carried Away. Enthusiasm. Blindness, Ignorance. Crazy, Insane, Irrational, Innocent, Without Affectation, Simpleton.
Imbecility, Ineptitude, Carelessness, Stupidity, Impudence, Negligence, Absence, Distraction. Apathy, Fainting Fit, Exhaustion, Sleep, Nothingness, Nullity, Empty, Nothing. Vain.
0. (Zero) Our Earth.
The average stage of man in the present stage of Earth-evolution is ‘human,’ but not yet at the stage of wisdom, consequently that of the ‘unwise man.’ To us, creatures living upon the Earth, this globe cannot be observed by us in toto, and the Fool is represented as a man walking without paying attention to himself. There is something of absolute Fate about this figure, which reminds us of the old saying of astrologers: “The wise man rules his stars, the fool obeys them.” On the point of this fatality all authorities agree. For the rest the explanation does not seem very satisfying. To us there appears to be no doubt regarding the nature of this Fool, presented as a final ‘principle,’ if we may call it that, after those of the planets.
Paul Foster Case
0. The Fool
Much depends upon the position of this Key in relation to others in the layout.
In spiritual matters
Originality, audacity, a tendency to iconoclasm, venturesome quest of higher truth. Uranus upsets fixed conceptions. He disturbs habits, breaks up customary modes of expression, forces readjustments. Thus, whenever the Zero card appears in a Tarot layout it signifies sudden readjustment, and often indicates the unexpected onset of chaotic conditions. In spiritual matters this is all to the good.
In material matters
Folly, eccentricity, sudden action without sufficient consideration or forethought, stupidity, or even insanity.
“Man.” An ordinary man. A separate man. The uninitiate Lower consciousness. The end of a ray not knowing its relation to the centre.
He represents crazy wisdom that shocks the listener into new states of consciousness. He is an indescribable state of consciousness that works on impulse. It never allows external influence – everything is from within. When he struggles, there are problems getting out of a rut – nothing new seems possible. In the past, there are regrets over a new start that never materialised.