"Every man must journey forward and choose between good and evil. If he has no philosophy, he is the fool."
The Tarot Revealed, Eden Gray, pg. 150, Publisher: Signet, 1969.
Like Icarus of Greek mythology The Fool embodies childlike innocence and blissful dreams without regard for consequences.
The fool is not only a starting place within the tarot, but also an ending. We begin our adventure into life smiling and blissful, with divine optimism and trust. We end our cycle in the same way.
This card represents a quest into the unknown. In most versions of "The Fool" the character portrayed is that of a youth stepping from firm ground into a chasm or deep water. A warning figure (can be a dog, however in the Light and Shadow tarot it is a monkey!) tries to hold the youth back while he steps forward with a smiling face.
Despite negative representation in some of the older decks The Fool truly illustrates the first and last lesson we all face in life. The Fool connotates one who is free from base forms of desire, about to embark on a supreme adventure with joy.
Without petty distractions the fool is blissfully innocent and unaware of the dangers he may face on his journey. This is a strength: if he stops to consider the troubles he will face it may stop him from carrying out his plan, and prevent or delay his journey. He is capable of pushing forward.
In his innocence he believes he is truly capable of anything, having not yet placed limitations on himself.
The Fool speaks of a profound choice. When this card appears in a Tarot reading, the questioner is being faced with two roads he may travel. Petty fears and worries are warning against the great adventure while the spirit desires the abandonment and freedom of a child.
Discretion is advised, and the querant should use all the powers at his disposal to make a choice. If upright, the individual will rise above the obstacles at hand. Reversed, the suggestion is that taking the "other path" is likely to lead to failure. In either case consider all the options at hand before committing to action.