The Fool Meaning
The Fool is about leaping into the unknown without knowing what will happen.
The Major Arcana is supposed to represent the human consciousness, or the "hero's journey." And that's made true simply by the fact that this card is represented by the number 0—which is the number of infinite possibilities. It's not quantified, or real for that matter. Thus, it represents a time "before consciousness."
Much of this is relatable to The Fool. Being the very first card of the "hero journey," we might assume that the person we're talking about has little experience in the manner it was drawn. They may be acting naive—or even petulant like a newborn child. With that in mind, it can symbolize a time when we have as much experience in this realm as a newborn baby on Earth. But even while we have no experience, we feel compelled to follow through. The Fool then is about leaping into the unknown without knowing what will happen.
The Fool Upright
Whenever The Fool is present in a reading, it describes a time of "newness"—something we've never done before... it is completely fresh. And because it's fresh, how are we ever expected to "know" what to do? So, an upright Fool encourages you to move forward and embrace that "not knowing." In fact, his whole M.O. is to be brash and bold! But that also means he doesn't think about consequences (see "reversed").
When it appears in an upright position, the card speaks positively about the "newness." It says, "Yes, go for it! Take the leap!" It ushers you forward, even though the way forward looks scary. It's a great time to start new projects, learn something new, or put yourself in an unfamiliar situation.
This position may happen during times when a "reset" button might be needed. For example, perhaps a couple has decided to get back together and "try again." The upright Fool would represent the 2.0 version—or fresh start.
One interesting thing about The Fool is that he doesn't take into account anyone else's opinion but his own. And this isn't out of stubbornness; it's simply because he has overwhelming confidence in himself (mind you, this is before he has more life experiences such as The Tower and Death). While his assuredness is out of naivety, he does have a certain unbeatable power in that respect.
The Fool Reversed
The Fool's bombastic and naively optimistic attitude is enchanting. So, sometimes his risk-taking works in his favor. He gets people on his side, he's met with serendipitous opportunities. But in every case, his success is not due to a wonderfully laid-out plan.
In a reversed position then, The Fool indicates a time when we are leaping without thinking. We don't plan ahead. We don't consider consequences. Like children, we want what we want and we act on impulse. Unfortunately, that impulse can get us into trouble if we aren't careful.
A reversed Fool tells you to rethink "the plan" or slow down if you're already in it. It says that there's more to consider—and that, perhaps, you're acting insolent (like a child). If you don't heed The Fool reversed warning, you could be heading into a tough situation.
On the flip side, this position could indicate debilitating fear. We are so cautious that we are overthinking to the point of stagnancy. In this case, The Fool tells you that the only person who can change your life is you. And it's time to do something about it. Fear of failure shouldn't be a consideration.