Oh, yes, I do have an entire thing about this concept. Stay tuned while I write another epic at Divine: The Series‘ forums.
The Fool, who on first sight appears to be taking that one long, last step off a cliff, is one I’ve taken as my representative the rare times I’m moved to “read the cards.” I’ve done some readings for other people in the past without putting much credence in what they the meanings added up to, story-wise. I enjoy them as a summation of archetypes in the sense that Carl Jung meant, not as predictors of some unknowable future. They are an archaic predecessor of psychoanalytical means, similar to the relationship that alchemy has to chemistry.
Don’t misunderstand me. I adore archaic concepts in their use as an anthropological study of how we as humans tried to make sense of whatever goes on in the world/universe around us. I don’t subscribe to the beliefs attached, whether ancient Egyptian deities are involved or Christian. Like The Fool, I’m on a journey to find what I find and happiest when I am actively on the hunt. I also forget to look down as I’m going which explains several twisted ankles and other, non-physical accidents.
I have two sets of Tarot decks. The main links both come from Aeclectic Tarot: one the beautiful Rider Waite, the other a Spanish version created by Italian artist Domenico Balbi in 1976. (At The Tarot Garden, too. Must scroll down a bit.) One of the most interesting readings I’ve done was with an ordinary deck of playing cards with only the Joker to represent the Major Arcana.
I don’t want to rewrite the wheel so to end here’s a nice summary of The Fool’s meanings from Biddy Tarot:
“The Fool is numbered 0, the number of unlimited potential, and doesn’t actually have a place in the sequence of the Tarot cards. The Fool can come either at the beginning of the Major Arcana, or at the end. In fact, the Major Arcana could be considered the Fool’s journey through life, and as such, he is ever present, therefore needs no number.
When the Fool is seen as the beginning of the Majors, he is depicted as just beginning his journey, with unlimited potential. Like a newborn baby, the Fool is facing a world of choices and opportunities, and only he can decide the fate of his life. The rising sun behind him represents the beginning of his adventures. He is facing the North West, the direction of the unknown. He is looking upwards, toward the sky, or Spirit. He’s a newborn soul about to step off a cliff into the material world. Is he prepared? Well, he has all the tools he needs in the bag on the staff, but he hasn’t opened the bag yet. The staff itself represents his will. The white rose represents purity and innocence. Like any newborn, he is about to enter the world as a pure and innocent soul. He has unlimited potential, but at this point, it is all unrealized. He does have a guardian in the little white dog. The dog will protect him throughout his journey, but he will also push him to learn the lessons the Fool came here to learn. Notice the dog nipping at his heels, urging him forward. Life is wasted if no lessons are learned. While the dog will protect him, he will also push him into experiences whereby the Fool can grow and learn. The mountains behind the Fool represent the realms of Spirit that he has just left, and will spend his life trying to attain again. The valley he is about to step into represents our own physical, material world.”