What Is the Fool’s Journey in Tarot?
If you’re not familiar with Tarot, let me explain… “The Fool” in the “Fool’s Journey” literally refers to The Fool in the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck. And the reason we’re talking about a “journey” here is because the 22-card Major Arcana actually symbolizes a grander narrative of self-development.
We asked Maisy Bristol, Tarot reader and founder of Tarot By Maisy, to answer a few questions on this topic.
The Fool Card Personality
The Fool is the very first card in the Major Arcana. As such, it represents new beginnings, opportunities, or fresh starts.
According to Bristol, The Fool card isn’t something to be messed with. “Whenever you see The Fool appear in a Tarot reading, it means that a brand-new chapter in your life is about to begin,” she says. “It’s a very exciting time!”
The Fool’s Journey in Tarot
So, what exactly is the Fool’s journey?
Bristol says that the journey takes the entire Major Arcana as a plotline—detailing the journey of the main character (the querent) of any life moment they take on. “If you pull The Empress for your love life, since it’s the third card in the Major Arcana and represents self-love,” explains Bristol, “this might indicate that you’re not dating quite yet— but instead, looking to work more on self-love before throwing yourself back into the dating world.”
The easiest way to understand this metaphor is by thinking about it like a movie. In a movie, the main character embarks on a storyline or “new beginning” similar to how we might view The Fool. For example, in Twilight, Bella learns that vampires exist in the world. Bam! New beginning, a whole new view of the world. That’s The Fool, right there.
After The Fool, though, there are a whole plethora of exciting, terrifying, and life-changing moments that occur in the Major Arcana. The Lovers represents fun and exciting romantic attachments, The Wheel of Fortune throws in a plot twist, Justice asks the character to consider what is “right” in their own mind, The Tower brings everything down and asks the character to rebuild, Judgment asks them to be true to themselves, and finally, The World brings the life lesson the character was inevitably seeking in the first place.
But it’s important to note that this is a consistent cycle. “We may experience many ‘Fool moments’ in our lifetime in various different ways,” says Bristol. “And that’s because once we get to the end of the cycle, at The World, we’re taken all the way back to The Fool.”
Bristol also notes that it’s possible for multiple “journey cycles” to be happening at once in your life—since you may not be in the same place as it relates to career vs. love vs. family, etc. For example, you might be at The Empress in love but at The World in career.
“The idea is that we’re constantly learning,” Bristol says. “We never stop. And that’s why the Fool’s journey is so important to recognize—as it gives you a quantifiable representation of where you’re at in any cycle, in any topic, at any point in time.”
Major Arcana Journey Keywords
Bristol gave us a couple keywords to identify with when we’re using the Major Arcana and The Fool’s journey for personal readings:
- The Fool: new beginnings, fresh starts, brand-new opportunities or pathways
- The Magician: preparedness, communication, plans
- The High Priestess: consciousness, finding soul or “within”
- The Empress: body, value, self-worth
- The Emperor: materialism, leadership, power
- The Hierophant: stability, structure, spirituality, religion
- The Lovers: partnership, love, connection, siblings
- The Chariot: choices, desire, passion
- Strength: willpower, determination, confidence
- The Hermit: solitude, self-progression
- The Wheel of Fortune: karma, cycles, luck, abundance
- Justice: fairness, logic, law, equality
- The Hanged Man: shadow work, authentic truth
- Death: change, evolution, old vs. new chapters
- Temperance: emotional balance, head-vs-heart
- The Devil: materialism, feeling trapped, toxicity
- The Tower: destruction, rebuilding, chaos
- The Star: excitement, dreams, faith
- The Moon: escapism, reclusiveness, uncertainty
- The Sun: optimism, family, hope
- Judgment: penance, truth, reconciliation
- The World: endings, success, fulfillment
Is The Fool a “yes” or “no” card?
Depending on its position, The Fool can indicate both a “yes” or a “no.” This is a card of new beginnings and fresh starts. When it’s upright, it encourages us to take leaps forward with our endeavors. It’s basically a “green light” to do whatever we are having impulses to go through with.
When it’s reversed, it suggests that our plan may need more thought or preparation before we actually embark on it.
What Tarot card is most feared?
There are a number of “fearful” Tarot cards. The Devil, The Tower, and Judgment all come to mind. The important thing to remember is that no cards are considered “bad” in the Tarot deck. Each card holds both positive and negative weight. You just have to know how to read all the cards with a positive light.
What is the most powerful Tarot card?
Tarot cards with major fire power include: Judgment, The World, The Fool, The Hanged Man, The Star, and The Wheel of Fortune. But truthfully, any card in the Tarot deck is powerful!