Tarot cards are a unique blend of symbolism from several lines of thought. They contain symbols from everyday life, religion, astrology, and numbers. Along with these, the cards contain images of an evocative nature, such as the Moon, Sun, trees, and so on.
While looking at tarot cards, it is important to study every aspect properly as it tends to form stories by itself. The landscape, people, and other elements present within a card show us the environment. Studying a card, dissecting one element from another gives us a clearer picture.
What are Tarot Cards
As we mentioned earlier, a standard tarot card deck contains 78 cards. Out of this, 22 trump cards (The Fool being one of them) makes up the Major Arcana. The remaining 56 suit cards are called the Minor Arcana. The images over all these cards bear deep symbolism on many levels. Each of these images serve to evoke feelings, emotions, thoughts, and energies in an individual looking for answers.
Does this mean that all the emotions of a human being can be covered in 78 cards? Maybe it's not that simple. But then, tarot cards are also read in their reversed positions. This means, each card assumes another meaning when reversed giving us 156 possible emotions. This again may not be as comprehensive as human emotions go. However, cards are always read in a flow, connecting one with the next. Thus, several emotions can come up in a reading, creating a process of linking the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and energies with one another.
When a tarot card is seen by an individual, the images on it stir certain emotions and thoughts within him/her. This process is quite logical and straightforward. Therefore, one can also say that the knowledge present within the images of the tarot cards is accessible to everyone.
Depending on the deck being used, The Fool is sometimes titled Le Mat, II Matto, or Narr. But for the purposes of this study, we will use the Rider-Waite Deck. First of all, it is essential to observe the card.
Elements in the Card
- The young person is standing at the edge of a cliff, looking up towards the sky.
- On his shoulder, he carries a knapsack decorated with an eagle's head.
- He also carries a white rose in his left hand.
- He wears a black tunic decorated with colorful flowers with tattered sleeves at the edges.
- He has a feather in his cap and there is a dog jumping near his feet.
- The background is dominated by a yellow-colored sky, snow-capped peaks, and a white sun.
- As you look carefully, you will find a cave behind our Fool, making us believe that he has just stepped out of it.
The Interpretation of the Elements
- The young person standing at the edge of a cliff, staring into the sky, portrays a happy-go-lucky attitude. However, if he isn't careful, he may fall off the edge of that very same cliff.
- The knapsack that he carries could contain his talents and skills.
- The eagle's head on the knapsack shows us that he aims to soar high into the sky using his talents and skills; which means he has a desire to succeed.
- The white rose in his hand shows that he has a peaceful purpose and no malice in his heart.
- The colorful and decorated tunic conveys his creativity, while the tattered sleeves convey an almost irreverent disregard for norms of society.
- The feather in his cap tells us that he has a positively jaunty attitude towards his future, which is also conveyed by the fact that he is not looking where he is going.
- The dog at his feet symbolizes the animal instinct that is present within all of us, that drives us forward in life.
- The snow-capped mountains tell us that he has many tall aims and aspirations.
- The yellow sky invokes caution.
- The white sun depicts clarity of purpose.
- The cave symbolizes the darkness of the soul from which he has now emerged.
This young person is starting his journey with a happy-go-lucky attitude and is not thinking about the pitfalls that he might be about to face. This means, that if he is not careful, he just might fall off the cliff. This also conveys beginnings for events such as new projects, journeys, relationships, and/or spiritual journeys. And as with any new beginning, one never really knows how the story is going to end. It is a complete leap of faith.
In a sense, this card shows us exactly how we all begin our journey of life. We can be carefree and careless at times, and we don't always know how our journey will end. Yet, we don't really bother about that and sometimes, jump right in. We are strengthened by the skills and talents, and are inherently peaceful in our purpose. We are only guided by our dreams to reach the sky and our instinct guides us to take the plunge. However, we must be cautious and careful as well because we really do not know if this leap of faith is going to cause us to land on soft ground or pointed rocks. On a practical note, it always makes sense to see in the flow of the reading where the fool is headed off to. This means, you see the card next to it, to understand where his leap of faith is going to take him.
If you pull a reversed Fool, the person in the card looks as if he is going to fall off the cliff here too. However, it also conveys the feeling that he is probably being cautious now. He may have spent time studying and planning every move in the journey, and is therefore moving cautiously.
The card upright or reversed, may convey varied emotions to different people. As we all are unique individuals with our own set of issues, questions, doubts, and concerns about our lives, the interpretations will vary drastically. Plus, the meanings will also evolve over a period of time. The logic for this is very simple. In a professional tarot card reading, the cards pulled by a querent (seeker) are interpreted by the reader. Therefore, each card is subject to the reader's interpretation, depending upon his/her mind-set.
Each of us is a product of his/her circumstances, upbringing, thought processes, and so on. Therefore, the interpretations of each reader will vary. But, it is essential to remain focused on a central theme; which is essentially based on the thoughts, feelings, and emotions the image evokes. Tarot cards contain several symbolism, which, over a period of time, have been linked to several other systems of divination and philosophical thought.
Go With the Flow
The process of studying the images and symbols on the tarot cards will help you understand the meanings behind them. You can also research the meanings on various (reliable) sites, blogs, and/or books. Don't forget to use your instinct as well as it helps to unlock the hidden truths present within the cards.
This process is, by no means, easy. But I promise you, it is definitely exciting. Each card contains a story that links it to the next card, and the entire suit joins together to form another story. The entire deck combines to form a cohesive and all pervasive story; one that encompasses the path of everyone's life on every level.