The fool is the zeroth card of the Major Arcana. As it is without any number, it can be considered as either at the beginning or the end of the Major Arcana. However; as the Major Arcana represents a circular journey which never ends but ever deepens, this does not really matter.
In this card, a young man and his companion dog are depicted on the brink of a cliff. The young man wears a corroded but showy shirt as if he was a nobleman who had been distant from his land for some time. He has a knapsack over his shoulder and has a white rose in his hand, and he is looking up – not ahead. His companion dog seems to be excited, hopping as if he wants to convey a message to the young man. In the background, there is a chain of mountains. On the top-left corner, the Sun is illustrated, and it shines upon all the card. The card does not show what is there down the cliff.
The young man is heading towards the unknown, and being aware of this, he looks upwards to the Sky, which represents the Spirit. Per the Fool’s Journey narrative and following up from the symbolic associations from the up and down directions; it is possible to suggest that the Fool is coming down to the material world from the heavens (realms of the Spirit) and will start to learn the lessons that he came to learn. The white rose in his hand symbolizes purity and innocence, also representing the hope for the future and new starts. The knapsack over the shoulder symbolizes that the young man has the tools that he needs for his journey, giving him freedom and the ability to wander. Mountains in the background represent the challenges on his journey: Fool might face the challenges as high and rocky as that mountains, but the reward will also be as great. Sun is at a position which indicates that it has just risen, which symbolizes the beginning of a new but high hope. The companion dog represents both guarding and motivation in the Fool’s Journey.
It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.
-J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
The Fool is a card of new beginnings and potential. It represents setting foot on a new journey into the unknown, in which the adventure and personal experiences and growth is more important than the destination: Fool is not looking ahead when he is taking a step forward. The Fool is interested in the journey itself rather than what lays ahead. Interestingly, although he is embarking on a journey of new experiences; the Fool is already complete, he is healthy, serene and fearless: This card represents the Spirit commencing to experience the awareness of himself. Henceforth, the pertinent emotions of the Fool card would be the astonishment, curiosity, and epiphany. What the Fool card underscores is that we do not know what awaits in the future, but we are put here to discover.
Hereunder, in a reading; a person represented by the Fool would be passionate, courageous and hungry for new experiences, expanding the horizons of both himself and those around him. The main feature of his character would be adventurousness and freedom: He would prefer to take life as it comes rather than calculating the consequence of every move; as such he might be naive and childish. In a relationship context, the Fool might imply a new relationship or early stages of one; the discovery of the significant other and letting go of nervousness. For a seasoned relationship, the Fool might represent that it has been played out and it is time to explore new ones. Career-wise, this card points out the beginning of new employment, business or a new career path; especially of a one that the professional competency will be gained on the way. Following the fearlessness of the Fool, it might suggest a risk-taking in enterprises as well. The card might call for research and cautiousness before investing the time and money in new enterprises.
Summing up, the Fool card annotates the new beginnings, adventure, and the convocation to expand horizons.