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Emblems/Symbols, Meditation/Reading and Case-workers

To: alt.tarot,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick
From: azoth@netcom.com (Az0th)
Subject: Re: Emblems/Symbols, Meditation/Reading and Case-workers (was Re: Plotinus, evil, ....)
Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 02:33:08 GMT

I heard R Brzustowicz (brz@u.washington.edu) say:

: The imagery, as far as I can see, neither absolutely rules out nor rules
: in the possibility of "a high degree of esoteric/doctrinal
: sophistication".  Further study of the imagery (and its arrangement
: in a sequence, and its contemporary contexts) might very well establish
: that it does refl;ect a coherent, developed, sophisticated statement.

No, no, no. You're missing my point entirely! The imagery can reflect
anything at all, in and of itself, and still, in the absence of collateral
evidence, not say *anything* about the intentions of its originators. Even
if a thousand years of mystical speculation is embodied in each and every
image, this does not, in and of itself, rule out the possibility that some
quite clever cardmonger picked the images for the sole purpose of taking
monetary advantage of the familiarity of the images to those people to which
he desired to sell cards. Point: this scenario doesn't require the cardmonger
to understand or appreciate the imagery, so long as it appeals to his target
audience. Point: this scenario doesn't require even that his target audience
understand or appreciate the imagery in all its esoteric glory, so long as
they enjoy having them, and are willing to buy them. Point: this scenario
doesn't require that there even be an esoteric meaning understood by anyone,
from the beginning of the existence of tarot cards, and it doesn't rule one
out either.

In a word, no matter how we derive the imagery, whether from classical or
neoclassical sources, whether from art or philosophy, or religion or parades
or wallpaper, we *still* don't have a clue why somebody took the imagery and
placed it on playing cards, or who that somebody was. Even if we understood
the imagery in every esoteric depth and connection, it doesn't necessarily
follow that we've in any way understood the originator(s) of tarot. Assuming
that they are in some way similar to the originators of modern, esoteric
tarot, as much occult literature on tarot does assume, on no other evidence
than the imagery, is misleading.

: I can easily live with indeterminacy on the question.

At this point, we have very little choice, but knowing what we don't know
is important to appreciating what we *do* know, and how we come to know it.

Az0th

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