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It's not the Fool's Journey.....

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 28 Apr 2003, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Diana  28 Apr 2003 
I could write a book on the above title. Maybe I will one day. But I'll just make a short post here instead.

I have never subscribed to the Fool's Journey. I didn't when I started studying Tarot, and I still don't. To say I won't ever, would be foolish. And I am not a Fool. If I were a Fool, I wouldn't be here on Aeclectic. I'd be lying on a beach somewhere, with my feet in the water and my head in the stars and I wouldn't worry about questions such as this.

You see, when one goes on a journey, one has a place to start out from and normally one has a destination that one lands up in (sometimes one even knows one's destination before heading out, sometimes not). This is not the Fool's role. This is the Bateleur's (Magician's) role. He starts his journey at position number 1 and lands up at number 21 (The World). Then he becomes a Fool if he wants to. He finds his divinity and realises that actually, he never went anywhere.

The Fool has nothing to learn, nothing to accomplish. He has long ago abandoned all sense of logic and rationality. He doesn't even have a number! Try and give him a number (even a number zero), try and put him in a mathematical structure, and he will just walk away without a backward glance. Not interested in the least.

The Fool is what the Bateleur seeks to be. With all his heart, with an irresitable longing, the Bateleur inexorably goes through all the initiatory stages. And then he too can at last throw away all rationality and logic to the wind. Then he can go and meet his Fool. But only when he has completed the journey through the Major Arcana. The Bateleur's Journey. You may call him the Magician if you want to, I don't think he'll mind.

In the Chat forum, we were fooling around, and I posted the following on the Bateleur for a joke. But it's not really a joke. I will repost it here:

Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests:

Let us never forget what Edmond Delcamp taught us about the Bateleur when he said:

Man is an incarnated being. He is placed in a materialised world which serves as his structure. His thought becomes active through exteriorisation. It is by the intermediary of his actions in the world that this thought can become manifest. But his goal is not to enclose himself within this world. His goal is to reveal himself as independent from the surroundings within which he is situated. He uses these surroundings not to adapt himself to them, but to transform them by making them conform to his thought. That is how he becomes active, in his way and within his means, in a similar manner to the Architect and the Organiser of the Worlds. 

skytwig  28 Apr 2003 
Ah, yes, you knew I had to jump into this one!!!

Yes, yes! Zero mind. No mind as they wax poetic in olde practices.

I divine to be the Fool. That is why dogs are my heroes and children are my Teachers.

Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

He knew that the precious gift we hold as children is badgered out of us by the Learned. Then, when we realize that we've lost something, we spend our years reclaiming that Innocence.

I wanted to post in the thread about who we are as Tarot Cards that you, Diana, are the Fool. I knew you would take that as a compliment, but, ah here it is, I was afraid to look the Fool in so stating!!! My thinking (ack! misuse of swords, again!) foiled me again!

I love the way children just speak! They say No so easily. Oh, the bliss of simplicity! 

Major Tom  28 Apr 2003 
I've always thought in terms of the Fool's journey - it is the way I learned.

As one of those who were Fooling around I feel responsible and thus wish to support Diana in her efforts. I repeat my post from chat:

Originally posted by Diana
He uses these surroundings not to adapt himself to them, but to transform them by making them conform to his thought.

This is certainly how I have come to perceive the world to work. I now understand why you would prefer to call it the Bateleur's Journey. It is certainly more applicable to those of us incarnated in human form. })

To call it the Fool's Journey presumes it starts at the Source, but in fact there are very few in the world who can (or even would) claim certain knowledge of their own divinity and thus would err by assuming some outside force shaped their destiny and world, placing responsibility elsewhere.

Thus I can see how it is actually beneficial to refer to the Bateleur's Journey rather than the Fool's Journey because it is that much easier for people to see their role in the universe and what the journey entails.

I do believe I'm converted. Is it ok to call it the Magician's Journey?

Perhaps some will now understand why I insist God is Everything. :laugh: 

skytwig  28 Apr 2003 
Originally posted by Major Tom

I now understand why you would prefer to call it the Bateleur's Journey. It is certainly more applicable to those of us incarnated in human form. })

To call it the Fool's Journey presumes it starts at the Source , but in fact there are very few in the world who can (or even would) claim certain knowledge of their own divinity and thus would err by assuming some outside force shaped their destiny and world, placing responsibility elsewhere.

And that is a key element - human form and all the wranglings and odd formations of thought, behavior and ethics that we find here on this planet.

I am mindful to of the Prilgrim's journey, including CS Lewis's version...... we journey here, blind to where we have been before (at least for a while), learning this form of manifestation and what it can teach us, about ourselves and whatever else we came here to learn.

And isn't that somewhat the goal, the bliss of the Fool? To see everything with New eyes, with that blindness actualized? Or should I say 'blindness of choice'. We choose to see afresh, rather than with the rampant opinions and theories of Earth Mind.

The Bateleur's Journey is very much an Earth journey, almost demanded by the manifestation here. To live here without seeking a 'way' to be here is to know disappointment and frustration; certainly a far cry from the splendor each Being harbors.

I would wonder whether such journies are necessary in 'other places'. Maybe Earth in other languages mean Tarot! }) ...... :joke: 

HOLMES  28 Apr 2003 
ah so if you working for earth wisdom the magican is your journey
but if you going for source wisdom the fool is your journey ?
like the fool travels backwards and the magican travels frontwards ? yes,,one can see that 

Diana  28 Apr 2003 
Originally posted by HOLMES
ah so if you working for earth wisdom the magican is your journey
but if you going for source wisdom the fool is your journey ?
like the fool travels backwards and the magican travels frontwards ? yes,,one can see that

Ah Holmes. Trust you to come up with another level here. ;)

The Fool can be the journey, indeed. But this does not imply that the Fool is doing the Journey.
The Bateleur can be the journey. But that does not imply that he is doing the Journey.

We can do a Devil's journey too (ahah!!)
And a Tower journey.
And a Hermit journey.

But they don't actually go anywhere. They are the landmarks, the monuments, the stages in our journey. We visit them. Or rather, the Bateleur visits them. But now I'm starting to repeat myself. :D

skytwig: you say "Maybe Earth in other languages means Tarot". And what if the Fool was the Tarot? 

HudsonGray  28 Apr 2003 
"But his goal is not to enclose himself within this world. His goal is to reveal himself as independent from the surroundings within which he is situated. He uses these surroundings not to adapt himself to them, but to transform them by making them conform to his thought."

I feel sorry for him, on that type of journey he's missing all the earth connections by refusing to acknowledge that they are integral to the functioning of themselves & that he's a small part. By setting himself up independently from his surroundings he's just blinded himself to most of nature's works.

In the long run, he's on a limited journey because he's an 'army of one' making up his own world. Think how rich he would have been if he'd embraced all of nature on it's own terms & worked to find a way that smoothly integrated himself in it? 

Kaz  28 Apr 2003 
the journey is a paradox.
reality is that you are where you should be, so there has never been a journey to start with. the only place to go to is now and thats were you are anyway.
the journey consists of staying in the everlasting moment, the now.


(did i kill the thread?) 

Umbrae  28 Apr 2003 
I have to jump in here with both feet and attempt to not repeat myself over again in the spirit of redundancy one more time.


I liken the Majors to sideshows, lined up on either side of a midway.

Sure, they can be divided into three lovely sections, Magician to Chariot and blah blah blah…

But the numbers…take away the numbers. Do the concepts lose anything?

Shuffle them up and lay them out in random order…do they cease to work?

Sure if your mind forces them back into numerical order they won’t.

Like folks who get bent out of shape with the Justice – Strength bit.

Journey implies a beginning and an end. With waypoints in between. It is viewed this way because that is how we tend to travel.

Folks hate to travel with me. No itinerary…just some ideas…drives the folks nuts.

“Where are you going to be tomorrow?”

“I dunno.”

On a midway, you can play the Ring-Toss, then wander over to the guy with the Knives that never need sharpening, then wander over to the Svengali Deck pitchman, then have the guy guess your age and weight…no journey – no destination…just laid out for your enjoyment.

The Visconti-Sforza majors are not numbered. Do they lack meaning?

Think on that. 

HOLMES  28 Apr 2003 
reality is that you are where you should be, so there has never been a journey to start with. the only place to go to is now and thats were you are anyway.
the journey consists of staying in the everlasting moment, the now

i agree with the everlasting moment the now,, and so that is the fool,,

but the now is constantly changing, evolving, constricting, being.
(i adhere to the big bang, the expanding and the constricting ideas of the universe all in one, )

that is why the fool is on a journey , but it never ends,, and since the universe is changing, the order of the major arcana doesn't come in the established order but
completely random to some but in order of the planned changes according to the source,

the magican on the other hand having his own journey can be focus on the extension of the universe as opposed to the now of the fool in the universe.

for they would not see the same things, the magican would see how each block builds on each other, and these can be manipulate according to his moral of intentions ( in other white or dark magican )
and so the magican would see a big plan and would work to achieve the plan hence the journey

while the fool would be in the now going hey the devil hey dude how goes it feel the light, see a next card come to him hey louise, temperance,, oh now the wheel fo fortune hey you feel the light . 

skytwig  28 Apr 2003 
Ah, but the Journey just Is. And the Archetypes, the momuments, the landmarks, as Diana states, the cottages and palaces along the way, occur when they occur. That is OUR individual journey.

We create our own labyrinths, if you will, our own maze work of BECOMING Tarot (Yes, Diana, that is it - the Fool IS tarot and tarot the Fool!) :laugh:

It is all one and the same, in the long run, but we are driven to define IT, especially here, at this marvelous nook of dialogue.

That is how the cards can appear in a plethora of possible arrangements, whispering of this, screaming of that. It, we, are living holograms of ourselves and of Tarot. We are holographic labyrinths of Journey.

Where are we going? Wherever we go, and that could be "just here". But THAT is the essence of the Fool. No mind. Here now. I AM.

The Journey makes it splendidly intriguing and even delightful. We learn to laugh with joy when the Tower graces the table. We celebrate our confusion about Moon hovering over us like an owl. We celebrate the pure adventure of just being.

And that is the Fool, with his little sack flung over his shoulder going no where in particular.

(And, Kaz, interesting concept "killing a thread". I wondered what that was. Saying something and no one else responds. I hate when that happens.............:) ) 

Lee  28 Apr 2003 
I agree with Umbrae. I think the Majors have more meaning when we accept them for who they are as individuals, rather than trying to shoehorn them into a pattern or story, especially when that pattern or story may have more to do with the way our consciousness is constructed than with the Majors themselves. I think a pattern or story is helpful for those just learning the cards, but in the final analysis, forcing them into a particular pattern is like forcing the Tarot into a specific ideology or religion. I think the cards transcend these things.

When we shuffle the deck and lay out the cards, they tell us their own stories. Why do we need to impose our own?

-- Lee :) 

skytwig  28 Apr 2003 
From columbia Encyclopedia:

or court jester, a person who entertains with buffoonery and an often caustic wit. In all countries from ancient times and extending into the 18th cent., mental and physical deformity provided amusement. Attached to noble and royal courts were dwarfs, cripples, idiots, albinos, and freaks.

The medieval court fool was seldom mentally deficient. For the freedom to indulge in satire, tricks, and repartee, many men of keen insight and caustic wit obtained powerful patronage by assuming the role of fool. This role was played in the courts of the East, in ancient Greece and Rome, and in the court of Montezuma. The clown or jester was common in Elizabethan drama (e.g., the Fool in King Lear), and by donning the fool’s garb the actor gained the freedom of the fool.

His costume, which was hung with bells, usually consisted of a varicolored coat, tight breeches with legs of different colors—occasionally a long petticoat was worn—and a bauble (mock scepter) and a cap which fitted close to the head or fell over the shoulders in the form of asses’ ears. Till Eulenspiegel and Robin Goodfellow are mythical fools.

See B. Swain, Fools and Folly (1932); E. Welsford, The Fool (1936, repr. 1961); S. Billington, A Social History of the Fool (1984).

what i find interesting about this description is the reference to FREEDOM.

The Freedom of the Fool. The Zero Place. :) 

Umbrae  29 Apr 2003 
Plagiarized from the notebooks of some Tarot Reader, and postings about the forum:

The Fool/Le Mat: He is pictured as being ‘on the road’. This was homage to the trickster deity and not the innocent or idiot as viewed today – an innocent or an idiot would be in a village or a castle.

Every non or pre Christian culture, has its trickster deity. Loki, Raven, Coyote, Eshu, Legba, Hermes, Manannan Mac Lir, Krishna, Crow, Hare, Spider…

Trickster is about moving upon the roads, he exists in the doorway leading out, the crossroads at the edge of town, he is of strangers and thieves. He lives on the spirit road between the living and the dead, a messenger of the gods, and a guide for the dead; he is the boundary crosser and the boundary creator, clown, keeper of the gates, ferryman, lord of apples, lord of the other-world, voracious, cunning, sly, wise, and lord of those in-between-gray-places; he does not live near the hearth.

If he was the innocent or the idiot as modern interpretive theory tells us, he would not have been pictured on the road. He is the boundary crosser and mover; he alters internal social distinctions.

Le Mat as the spot between heaven and earth, the moment the sun reverses itself; he creates a distance only he can span, setting others at odds, or moving boundary markers to new and unusual places…what will happen when the fool in other decks, gets to the cliff?

The destroyer and the creator; neither good nor evil - yet both…He is Chaos, he is not human – he is deity.

As he is not mortal, and not of this world – he needs not travel in a linear or sequential path – in fact may exist in all places simultaneously, or none at all.

To force him into a box or our making…neatly constructed – neatly packaged for consumption – to make safe does the Fool a disservice – and we will know him not when meeting him face to face.

Nope, not his journey…he’s the booking agent. He places crossroads in our path… 

allibee  29 Apr 2003 
Who remembers this song?

"Trailer for sale or rent
Rooms to let 50 cents
I'm a,
man of means by no means,
King of the Road"

I do tend to think of the Fool as an adventurer myself. Fickle, untethered. Archetype, trait or situation, whatever way he appears, I just see him as another Major.

In the good ol' days stories were told around the hearth in place of the TV and entertainment we have now.
To relate the tarot as a journey of a particular card was imho a gimmick, to help memorise or agrandise *sp*.
No doubt I'm bucking the trend of convention, but imho the only journey the cards relate to is the querant ... be they a sitter or a student.


Ravenswing  30 Apr 2003 

I see it that the fool is telling the tale. Whoever's tale it is; I'm not sure about that one.

Like Umbrae, I question the numbers... in fact, in the deck I'm designing, none of the major are numbered. Or titled for that matter.

Somehow I don't see that right after you meet the High Priestess, you MUST encounter the Empress. Life ain't set in stone... You shuffle for a reading. Let's shuffle for the tale-- first card gets to do the trip.

Anyone want to hear the STAR'S SAGA?

Once upon a time, long long ago in a galaxy far, far away...

fly well

Umbrae  30 Apr 2003 
You know sometimes when I dream...there is continuity.

Sometimes…it’s as though someone shuffled the deck.

Makes me wonder – when I shuffle… 

Khatruman  30 Apr 2003 
Well, the Fool's Journey, or whoever's journey, is interesting and useful in that it gets people to look at connection between the cards, whereas I often see many tarot enthusiasts looking at individual significations rather than connections with the cards around them.

I am finding myself becoming better at understanding the cards as contextual units within a reading, just as I see words. I am really bad at word definitions. Ask me what a word means and I more than likely will ask you back, "What sentence is it in?" Then, rather than give you a definition, I might tell how it relates to the sentence, what feelings are involved in the word, what implications there are to its being used in that piece, where its roots come from, etc. I see the Majors as individuals, but also as pieces of a puzzle. As pieces of what is being read. I agree with the problem that Umbrae has with the Fool's Journey, in people's too strict adherence to it. After all, this is not the book of tarot, they are cards that we shuffle, so with each reading the syntax changes. Man, Dog, and bites all are individuals, but there is a difference between Man bites dog and Dog bites man. 

skytwig  30 Apr 2003 
And that's the wonder of Tarot, isn't it? Stories, tales, fables and galaxies far, far away..... (why'd you stop, Ravenswing? I was all ready for a story.....:()

The simplicity and delight of the fool is his propensity for LIVING story. The Bateleur (sp?)/Magician/Wizard/Child-playing-with-a-chemistry-set is the one creating/concocting/blowing up a story ... all depends on her/his use of the Tools! :laugh:

But the Awesome peace and acceptance that resides in the Fool is what we are all looking for..... the ability to live WITHOUT any preconceptions, without any outlines, without any hopes & dreams. The Fool is living Hopes & Dreams; he is Living IT; he is living story, not making one!

We don't need lots of money, we don't need a big career with cole slaw on the side, we don't need resolution to all of our problems ....... we just need that little sack on a stick and one foot stepping in front of the other. Then, when we get to that cliff....... I would guess we would step off and


jamesriouxctm  01 May 2003 
Hello all,

Has anyone here read Rachel Pollack's latest, "The Forest of Souls"? I think it's an excellent book, filled with irreverent play about things that we generally consider too serious to play with at all, like the nature of the soul and God's purpose in creating the universe. (I suspect that Umbrae in particular would be very partial to this approach, in case he's listening.)

One of the concepts that Pollack plays around with near the end is that the of Fool's Journey. Specifically, she presents a spread that is used to create a kind of "Journey" for each of the Major Arcana. The example she gives is that of the Chariot, but this can be extended to any of the Majors. It's an interesting process and one that I intend to play around with myself when I get a chance.

Any comments on this? If nobody else has read this book I would be glad to post a more detailed description of the spread itself and the specific example of the "Charioteer's Journey". 

Umbrae  01 May 2003 
Hey JamesRioux…I am listening. At the end of the book Ms Pollack makes a very good case for the Fool’s Journey. And at the same time, makes an excellent case against it (Last two chapters).

The strength and power of myth – is not to be ignored.

I suppose my view, in my world (and if you’ve read anything I’ve ever written and were perplexed…here goes)…I embrace chaos. I am – a chaos creator.

We find a nice piece of land, “What a lovely place!” Cut down the trees, pave it over, remove all signs of nature, remove the chaos – and place structure over it.

Give man enough time and he’ll put structure into weather patterns.

We intellectualize until we are blue in the face.

Me? As a child, I liked going to the desert and watching ‘dust devils’ whirl across the open space. Perfect structure – based upon chaos.

I like The Fool. No number – yet all numbers.

But hold him down to a structure…”OH MY it’s HIS journey!” and I must (because of my nature) create chaos. It’s not his journey.

By the way…anybody wanna buy a map? 

The It's not the Fool's Journey..... thread was originally posted on 28 Apr 2003 in the Talking Tarot board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the active threads in Talking Tarot, or read more archived threads.


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