Lesson 3: The Fool’s Robe

The Fool’s robe is black which symbolizes the material realm, with the red lining of passion and vitality. The inner garment is white representing purity of spirit. Before we can be free from the restrictions of the material world, we must shed the cloak by unfastening the girdle, which has 12 golden baubles symbolizing time and the zodiac. The girdle cannot be removed until we release ourselves from the illusionary, limiting concepts of time. In other words, we must be present in the NOW, if we are to be empowered. This takes constant attention, and no sooner do we free ourselves, but the cloak slips back on and we are bound again by the illusion and tyranny of time. 

In many decks the Fool wears a motley dress, often ragged, or mismatched. This is the Fool’s disguise, which enables him to appear to be of no consequence. The fool has given up his need to ‘look good’ and does not appear to fit with the norm. He knows that by living as he does, he will stand out and be seen as foolish to some, yet he wears this image freely and consciously, knowing that the opinions and prejudices of others mean nothing, and that it is his pure soul that defines his worth. 

Often this Tarot Archetype is misunderstood and judged. People who embody this Archetype often don’t conform or can seem irresponsible, and may be seen as a burden in our culture, or we fear their unpredictability and free self expression. Perhaps we secretly wish we were so free to live in the moment. 

The wheels on the robe symbolize the revolving wheel of the year, which has no beginning and no end. His existence is limited by time and space therefore he cannot fully escape its constructs and the fact that he is part of the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth.

Even so, he is free to operate outside of linear time and its accompanying fear for the future, or regrets from the past. The green trefoils are symbols of organic life, and the triple goddess. Each is a triangle and there are 7 around each wheel, which may refer to life’s cycles of 7.