Understanding Tarot: The Fool’s Journey

tarot the fool
This article is written by Tarot Reader, Claire Chilvers. You can find out more about her insights and readings at @ClaireChilversTarot

The Tarot is made up of seventy-eight very different cards. I call them my Tarot friends, because, very much like my human friends each one is unique and fantastic, with their own incredible personality and is there to give me honest advice when I need them the most.

I was first introduced to the Tarot when I was a teenager. From my very first reading the Tarot fascinated me, and I was amazed at how they could mirror my own thoughts and feelings. I would often refer to them throughout my life, although sometimes feeling there was so much in their messages which I didn’t understand.

As I reached my forties, and was feeling a little disillusioned with life, I had an unexplained urge to understand the cards more, and began studying them in depth. This led me to learn about The Fool’s Journey, a teaching that quite simply transformed my life.

Like all my Tarot friends, The Fool is not good or bad, but passes on his messages with impartiality. When The Fool appears in a reading, or jumps out of the pack to say hello (as the cards often do when they are being shuffled), he can bring out positive or negative emotions within us depending on our own experiences, thoughts, and feelings.

So, have a look at his picture and put yourself in his shoes for a moment. Imagine yourself as this character, blissfully unaware of your surroundings, happily moving forward, oblivious to danger. How does it make you feel? Excited? Scared? Adventurous? Apprehensive?

There is no right or wrong answer, but it may be insightful to ask the question and feel the emotions that stir inside you.

Some people do not like to resonate with this card – they would hate the idea of being a Fool. The enthusiasm to look foolish seems to diminish with age. Think back to lunchtimes when you were in the early years of school and compare them to your lunch hour today.

How many of you plan to spend your lunchtime roaring at your colleagues pretending to be a dinosaur or clip-clopping as a unicorn around the car park? Not many I guess, (but, please let me know if you do – or perhaps suggest it as a team-building exercise?)

The point is looking foolish is often a fear for us grown-ups but, when The Fool turns up in a reading we should be reminded that there are positives to be embraced too that we may have overlooked.

The Fool is about to embark on his very own journey, his life cycle on Earth. He signifies the untapped, unblemished soul that lies within all of us. He is new to the human world and is not bogged down by the worries, self-doubt, and hang-ups that seem to cling on to us as we move through this world.

He has been born again, with a new lesson to learn as part of his soul’s purpose. He doesn’t remember the lessons he gained from his past lives, (which are symbolized by his tied bundle of possessions), nor does he realize his own potential, (symbolized by the wand he is unconsciously carrying). Yet, he knows that he has been put on Earth for a reason and happily begins the first steps on his journey.

The Fool may well be teetering on the edge of a cliff, (but let’s not worry about that for a moment). He is also striding confidentially ahead and full of adventure. He doesn’t know where he is going to end up, but he is going anyway. With his head in the air embracing the journey ahead, who are we to warn him that it may be dangerous?


We can’t see the future and neither can he, he has trusted in the Universe that all will be fine and that is the essence of his foolish nature. We may think this is naïve, but, you have to admire his spirit.

So, could you do it?

As I mentioned above, the idea of The Fool’s Journey transformed my life. Once upon a time (about six years ago), I read a book called The Transformational Truth of Tarot by Tiffany Crosara. One of the main themes in this book was the premise that we are all living our own version of The Fool’s Journey.

The Fool may not know his plan, but the Universe does, he is destined to meet each of the other Major Arcana cards in the Tarot deck, from card one, The Magician, to card twenty-one, The World.

These cards represent the complete life-cycle of the journey we are all experiencing and therefore give The Fool his life-lessons, experiences, and trials and tribulations necessary to successfully complete his human life and soul’s purpose.

Tiffany’s book suggested anyone could embark on a similar Fool’s Journey of self-discovery and transform their lives in the most magical ways. What an exciting adventure, I thought! And, just like the Fool, I jumped at the chance and was full of anticipation for what might happen.

The instruction was to carry the card with you at all times and the energy of The Fool would be with you and present itself throughout the day. It was important to observe and journal the fool-like synchronicities that appeared.

No two people’s experiences would be the same, but here were some of mine:

  • I had no pockets in my clothes that day, so I tucked the card into my bra, this action alone was a pretty foolish one and I spent the day laughing to myself, thinking how silly it was to keep him there!
  • I began to feel a new kind of energy as my feelings were becoming in tune with the card too. I was giddy with excitement at the adventure I was starting – smiling inanely like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, leaving people wondering what the joke was.
  • It was a cold January day, (as most days are in the UK), yet the sun was shining warmly and I noticed in my bleak winter garden a white rose in bloom, standing strong and upright with no other flowers for company – just like the rose The Fool holds to his nose. This was a remarkable feat of nature. I had a strange feeling it was a message to me from the universe that anything is possible, and, to expect the unexpected – two key themes of this card.

Those first very small steps that I took with The Fool by my side led me to one life-changing situation after another. But, I often wonder – would I have been brave enough to start if I had known everything that was going to happen? Possibly not! Another reminder of why it’s good to have the Fool’s naivety and optimism within us.

I have just completed my first novel, which is a story based on these events and called My Fool’s Journey. I will shortly be sending my novel to agents with the intention of getting it published, and, as I daydream about seeing The Fool on my very own front cover, I feel another exciting adventure is imminent with my Tarot friends. Wish me luck!

But, my message to you is to listen to your intuition when it is telling you to embrace your foolish side.

That feeling when your whole body tingles with excitement because a change or opportunity has presented itself to you – that is The Fool reminding you to trust the universe and take a chance.

And you may not feel it today, (unless you have been excited by my suggestions for an alternative lunchtime routine?) But, one day The Fool will enter your life, and offer you the chance for adventure. The question is will you take it?

About the author

Claire Chilvers

Claire Chilvers is a writer and tarot reader and lives in Essex, UK. She offers tarot readings to clients in the UK and around the world via video calls (Skype usually), if you would like a reading please contact her at clairechilverstarot@yahoo.com.