The Fool Tarot Card Meaning and Art Vivid Waite Smith Tarot Deck
About the Deck
Vivid Waite Smith Tarot Deck
These cards are featured in my book, "A Concise Guide to the Tarot" by Loren Lundgren. I took the information for the meanings on these tarot cards from "The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, Being Fragments of a Secret Tradition Under the Veil of Divination", by A. E. Waite, 1911, now in the public domain. I edited the tarot card descriptions and meanings for clarity and brevity, modernizing the text. I scanned in the original black and white illustrations of the cards drawn by Pamela Colman Smith, from the 1911 book. I digitally retouched and painted those illustrations in detailed color.
Loren Lundgren, © 2021
DescriptionWith light step, as if earth and its obstacles had little power to restrain him, a young man in gorgeous clothing 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 landscape below. He seems to still be walking, though he is stationary at the given moment; his dog is still bounding. The edge that opens on the depth holds no terror for him, as if angels were waiting to uphold him, should he leap from that height. His face is full of intelligence and expectant wonder. He has a rose in one hand and in the other an expensive cane, which hangs over his right shoulder, dangling a curiously embroidered pouch. He is a prince of the other world, traveling through this one—all in the glory of the crisp morning air. The sun, which shines behind him, knows where he came from, where he is going, and how he will return: by another path, after many days. He is the Spirit in search of experience.
Meaning of The Fool from the Vivid Waite Smith Tarot Deck
Folly, mania, extravagance, intoxication, delirium, frenzy, betrayal.
Negligence, absence, carelessness, apathy, triviality, vanity.
According to Many Schools of Thought
A. E. Waite's Secondary Meanings
The Fool, Mate, or Unwise Man. Court de Gebelin places it at the head of the whole series as the zero or negative which is presupposed by numeration, and as this is a simpler so also it is a better arrangement. It has been abandoned because in later times the cards have been attributed to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and there has been apparently some difficulty about allocating the zero symbol satisfactorily in a sequence of letters all of which signify numbers. In the present reference of the card to the letter Shin, which corresponds to 200, the difficulty or the unreason remains. The truth is that the real arrangement of the cards has never transpired. The Fool carries a wallet; he is looking over his shoulder and does not know that he is on the brink of a precipice; but a dog or other animal--some call it a tiger--is attacking him from behind, and he is hurried to his destruction unawares. Etteilla has given a justifiable variation of this card--as generally understood--in the form of a court jester, with cap, bells and motley garb. The other descriptions say that the wallet contains the bearer's follies and vices, which seems bourgeois and arbitrary.
S. L. MacGregor Mathers's Divinatory Meanings
Folly, Expiation, Wavering
Hesitation, Instability, Trouble arising herefrom.
Papus's Divinatory Meanings
Inconsiderate Actions. Madness.