I want to say this up front, these are general descriptions and
are more based on the cards themselves. Combinations and formats can give very different
meanings in a reading. If in doubt, find someone with some experience to give you a proper
interpretation of the cards. Hope this helps some people, enjoy!
Story from Aeclectic Tarot - With all his worldly possessions in one small pack, the Fool travels he knows not where. So filled with visions and daydreams is he, that he doesn't see the cliff he is likely to fall over. At his heel, a small dog harries him (or tries to warn him of a possible mis-step).
History - Interestingly enough, we must understand some of the game of Triumphs to
understand some of the origins of the this card. The Fool, as a trump card, was worth nothing. He can not win any
hand that was played. That is not to say that he was worth nothing, only as a trump card. He is one of three (The
Magician and The World were the others) that has point value in the game. There is a tricky deal with the Fool
however. Whoever has him, no matter who takes the hand, get to keep him. That is to say, if you play the Fool, you
get him back. This adds a whole new dynamic to the game, in that if you are out of trump or a suit, you can hide
it by playing the Fool. He is in the game and outside of the game, it is fitting that he is card number 0.
This leads us into the Fool as a whole. He runs with kings, but has no real worldly possessions. He travels to what he sees is the truth of his world, free of the boundaries that hold us all to our lives and for that he is called the fool. He has freedom and independence in a world of rules and expectations. He is a wandering soul, no idea where he is going or what he will do to get there. Preparing to make his way, wherever the wind takes him, leaving all behind without a care. The bag on his back is all that he needs or wants.
What comes with not a care in the world, is an almost flirt with danger. This is what the cliff in many of the depictions means. The dog is either harassing or trying to warn the fool who ignores the warning and continues to go its own way. A fool by any other name is still a Fool. The main importance is to enjoy the moment and not to worry about the rest, whatever that is. Ignorance can be bliss, and the Fool takes the bliss to another level making him a very powerful card.
Meaning - a new start(maybe job, home, life, marriage, etc), beginning of a journey, happiness, optimism, high energy, naive, innocence, ignorance, spotaneous, a major change in a pattern, following an inner truth.
Reversed - stuck in a pattern, fear of progress or change, concerned with rules and
right and wrong, clingy, lack of trust, misery in life, blind to critisism
Story from Aeclectic Tarot - Traveling on his way, the Fool first encounters a Magician. Skillful, self-confident, a powerful magus with the infinite as a halo floating above his head, the Magician mesmerizes the Fool. When asked, the Fool gives over his bundled pack and stick to the Magician. Raising his wand to heaven, pointing his finger to Earth, the Magician calls on all powers; magically, the cloth of the pack unfolds upon the table, revealing its contents. And to the Fool's eyes it is as if the Magician has created the future with a word. There are all the possibilities laid out, all the directions he can take. The cool, airy Sword of intellect and communication, the fiery Wand of spirituality and ambition, the overflowing Chalice of Love and emotions, the solid Pentacle of work, possessions and body. With these tools, the Fool can create anything, make anything of his life. But here's the question, did the Magician create the tools, or were they already in the pack? Only the Magician knows - and on this mystery, our eloquent mage refuses to say a word.
History - I find this to be one of the more interesting cards in the deck. This is a
Trump with some character. First let tackle the duality of the card. In modern times the Magician is looked upon
as a magus, or magnus. A powerful mage that has untold powers and uses his power to push and pod everyone else to
the end that he desires. In the story above he sounds like Gandalf or Merlin, always in the know, always one step
ahead, and power and confidence just oozes from his pores. He knows what needs to be done and no task is
insurmountable. He is a powerhouse, heck he is practically a force of nature.
This is pretty impressive, as it should be, and makes him a damn fine card. You will notice however, that I said in modern times above. Prior, such as in the Marseilles-type tarot, this card meant something different. The art still had all of the suits in it, the only card to do so in all of Tarot, but with a different feel. The wand was a prop, the cup more of a tumbler instead of a fine goblet, the sword may have been a knife and the coin may have been a few balls. This magician was an entertainer, an illusionist, like David Copperfield or Seigfred and Roy.
The older cards were shown with tools of the trade on the table, giving credit to the dedication that it would take for this vocation. In some ways he was considered a craftsman or an artisan. A magician would have to buy or make all his own props, sometimes inventing some as he went. This was an art form to many and still is to many today. He was also known as a juggler in the old times, either literally as an entertainer, or figuratively in that he would be juggling events, people and information. The art also showed another side of the magician, with a ball under several cups. This an age old game that is still used today in some form and is portraying him as more of a con artist.
This give a totally different view of the card. The magician was still in the know and moved people and events where he wanted them to go, but not with raw magical power, but with guile and cunning. As one of the three Trump cards that count for as many points as a King (the Fool and the World are the others) the Magician was interesting to play as well. Unlike the Fool and the World, for when you play them you will get them back at the end of the round, the Magician can be taken. It is outranked by all other Trumps, which means that there are only a few scenarios that can happen and still have you keep the points of the Magician. Either everyone else has a suit that you do not, or everyone else is out of trump completely. Not an easy thing. As a matter of fact one of the better ways to pull this off is to wait until the end of the hand to see if people will run out of trump and you can sweep the last hand, many times pulling kings, which are worth a lot of points as well. Not only is the good strategy, you can actually get more points for this tactic!
Not everyone is interested in the game, but this adds some insight to me on the kind of charater the Magician really is. Either he is an all powerful mage or he is just a man, not royalty or anything else, surviving and playing the game of life by his wits and guile. And hanging with the big dogs I might add. In either case, it is impressive display, if ever there was a great Player the Magician is it. There is a reason he is the number one card.
Meaning - initiative, in charge, on the ball, alert, ready for any challenge, willing to take risks, wit, master of material world, sees own potential, creativity, charismatic, The "reveal"
Reversed - inabilty to act, indecision, sense of feeling lost, confusion, improper
time managment, hesitation, low self-esteem, low energy, no inspiration, giving up, klutz
Story from Aeclectic Tarot - Continuing his journey, the Fool comes upon a beautiful and mysterious veiled lady enthroned between two pillars and illuminated by the moon. She is the opposite of the Magician, quiet where he was loquacious, still where he was in motion, sitting while he stood, shrouded in the night where he was out in the bright of day. She is the High Priestess and she astonishes the Fool by knowing everything about him. "Since you know me so well, perhaps you can help me," says the Fool, laying out his sword, chalice, staff and pentacle. "The Magician showed me these tools, but now I'm in a quandry. There's so many things I could do with them. I can't decide." In answer, the High Priestess hands over to him a pair of ancient scrolls. "These will teach you how to decide." Seating himself at her feet, the Fool reads by the light of her c