The Fool

To be a fool takes talent, courage, application and good fortune. A great fool is anything but stupid.

“So by sitting and meditating we acknowledge that we are fools, which is an extraordinarily powerful and necessary measure. We begin as fools.”
Chogyam Trungpa The Myth of Freedom

In the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, the zero card, The Fool, is depicted as stepping off the edge of a precipice. One interpretation is: ‘The abyss at his feet holds no terror for him. The wand over his shoulder is a symbol of self-will and the wallet contains the stored up knowledge of universal memory. The Fool is about to enter the Supreme Adventure. The divinatory meaning is: The subject faces a choice in life. He must pass through the gates of experience to reach self-actualisation.’ As the only ‘non-number’ in the deck, the designation of the fool as zero signifies both the start and the end of the journey.

The concept of ‘Zero’ is a development out of the Hindu-Arabic number system. In English, the word Zero is a contraction of the italian zefiro, from the Arabic sfir, meaning empty. The early Greek philosophers, questioning how nothing could be something, argued about the existence of a zero. In Kabbalah, the sfirot are the creative emanations or energy-attributes through which Infinite Being (Ein Sof) is revealed into finite manifestation.