Genesis of the Fool's Journey
The ideas and discoveries that eventually led to The Fool's Journey as presented on this site began about eight years ago. I was thoroughly disillusioned about the information everyone was getting in the New Age scene, in which I was a player. Where was all this information coming from? Who were these people I and many others were contacting? How did we know we could trust them?
Most of all I wanted to know this: How come none of them were telling us exactly how to become like them? To go where they were, in fact? What was the process, beyond feeling "love and light," to get there? These questions didn't come until much later, actually, because at first it didn't even occur to me to ask them.
Anyway, I left the New Age scene - I became a Used Ager you might say. I decided I would look back in time in hopes of finding traces of authentic spiritual traditions. Earlier in my life, for nearly three decades, I had been a computer programmer, so I knew how to be methodical and thorough.
Condensing many years of research, I discovered Fulcanelli and the alchemists before him. Completely opaque, for reasons I discuss elsewhere on this site. Then came a deeper study of the hermetic tradition and Gurdjieff, both of which I was already familiar with. But writers in past times, even through most of the last century, wrote with concealed meanings for their own protection. Once in a while the Tarot would come up, but only peripherally. I was pretty familiar with the Tarot also, but couldn't fit any of the pieces together yet. (I know. Programming and the Tarot - who'd a thunk?)
At one point, though, things began to get clearer. I discovered Rene Guenon, Julius Evola, Boris Mouravieff, Mircea Eliade and many others. J. G. Bennett was much clearer than Gurdjieff ever was. I journeyed into the pagan Faerie Tradition. I'll skip over my personal experiences during this time, except to say pieces were falling into place. There was Idries Shah dropping hints about the true origins of the Tarot cards, and that they were Sufi teaching materials, except not in their present form.
What other form could they have? Well, they could be split into different groups. Don Miguel Ruiz had an idea about this in his book Beyond Fear, so I started to draw arrangements of the cards on large sheets of paper. This was a big step forward, but it didn't hang together as I thought it should. Some of the card placements he suggested just didn't work. Not having any Toltec training, I went my own way, looking at the relations between the cards. I began with an oval diagram composed of 16 cards around the perimeter and in the center. The World was hanging off the right side, which I knew was out of place. I worked on this diagram for over two years.
But twelve cards around the perimeter. The Zodiac has twelve signs, also in a circle. How about if I tried to match the twelve cards with the twelve signs? Some matches were obvious: The Moon and Cancer, Strength and Leo, Death and Capricorn. The rest didn't make sense so I began moving the cards around so their symbols matched the zodiacal symbols. The Sun had to go with Gemini, which eventually made profound sense. The final clue, at last, was knowing that The Empress was pregnant and that she belonged with Scorpio.
After this the diagram came alive and began giving me insights on its own. The hermetic information fit perfectly, and so did what the Alchemists were saying. What's more, I had discovered the science of Tantra and its methods and goals also fit. Here, methods of pratyahara and pranayama were delineated that matched the beginning stages of traditional initiation. Awakening of ajna or the third eye chakra corresponded with contacting one's inner teacher, which The Hierophant represents; ajna is even called the guru chakra.
The map was done, the required steps for an initiatory journey were laid out, and I had achieved what I had set out to do. I had found the ancient, initiatory tradition known in prior times around the world, from India where it is still most clear, from the Sufi tradition (which is said to have derived from Tantra at least 2500 years ago) which came into Spain via the Moors, and then into Italy, France and the rest of Europe.
Now about the tradition of the Fool. The Way of the Fool comes from the same tradition, and it is used in this sense on this site. He is depicted in Medieval (alchemical) art much as he is on the Tarot Fool card. He is the same as the Sufi idiot, which I discuss on this site. He is related to Lucius in The Golden Ass by Apuleius. Lucius redeems himself by undergoing an initiatory journey, herein called The Fool's Journey.
I don't claim to have completed this journey myself. I am not affiliated with any initiatory organization, at least not on the physical plane. However, the whole point of this Journey is to make contact with valid, inner sources of wisdom that are then able to guide each person individually on their own journey of spiritual development. The practices given in the FJ classes are designed to put you in touch with your own inner gurus or teachers. They can come from any religious or spiritual tradition you resonate with. It is not for any person to say which teacher is right for you - this is your own choice.
This much can be said about teachers, however. Whenever we contact an authentic teacher from the inner realm, or as Ibn Arabi describes it, the "Earth of Light," "an ally of immeasurable benevolence" hurries toward us. There is more help available to us than we can imagine. The goal of the Fool's Journey is to prepare ourselves to receive it.
About the site's content
Only limited types of material can be placed on a site designed for general readers. Footnotes and other minutiae get boring fast. Likewise, the time people are willing to spend on a web site is also limited, which here precludes me from fully developing many of the arguments that are better suited elsewhere. So I have summarized many conclusions, sometimes without spelling out how I arrived at them. I hope this doesn't detract from establishing the veracity of the material. What is most important, though, is the experience of the journey, not it's developmental background.
This being said, there is still a need for carefully developed arguments and, in particular, more detailed descriptions of each card. Also the pages under the menu selection "Long Ago," which had to be edited to be more concise. Therefore, a book is under development, called The Fool's Journey, which is quite a bit more detailed. Much of this site is edited chapters from that book.
Thanks for stopping by.
Fred Cameron and The Freeya Alliance