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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: Thu, 22 May 1997 16:14:51 GMT

Hi Peggy!

: >I suspect that the system(s) of ideas which have been related in this genre
: >to tarot-based imagery can stand well enough on their own merits, traditions
: >and textual formulations as to remove any direct necessity for the relation.

: Maybe the major arcana can, but not the minor arcana.

The development and explanation of the minors in the 'occult' decks I
believe perfectly illustrates my point: the suit/number/court structure
of the minors contributes nothing whatsoever to the philosophical import
of the Kabbalistic, astrological or elemental ideas which have been
associated with them. Kabbalah, astrology and the elemental, planetary,
decanate and zodiacal ideas found in those systems exists and has
existed quite independently of any association with playing cards. IOW,
if the cards are taken away, no knowledge/meaning is lost, and the
reference traditions remain intact.

Conversely, alternative systems of meaning can be assigned to the minors
without recourse to anything of an overtly Kabbalistic or astrological
nature. One of the more interesting bits I've come across on the Web was
a brief dissertation on the combinatorics of dice, related specifically
to divination using, and the equivalence of a various numbers and types
of dice to particular numbers of cards. The document was written by a
Greek fellow, and if I can find it again, I'll post a pointer. It may
also be worthwhile to bear in mind that the number of court cards we
have now may actually be less than originally contained in a regular
deck (WPC, DD&D).

Nothing constrains us, once we step beyond the bounds of an existing
formal system, to assign specific philosophical nuance to the cards.

A very un-philosophical system, intended only for divination, say,
might interpret the suit signs purely in terms of reward and punishment,
a naive, almost primitive, view of events which fits well with the
usual goals of divination.

We might take cups and disks on the reward side of the ledger, reasoning
from cups==nourishment in a scale from subsistence to feasting, and
disks==wealth in a similar scale. We might take staves and swords on
the punishment side, in an obvious scale all the way from light corporal
to inescapable capitol punishment. In fact, this scheme has an obvious,
mnemonic quality about it, but so far as I'm aware, no history at all.

We could elaborate the numeration of the suits with Pythagorean or
pop-numerological niceties, but we could as well keep it simple and
consider that bigger means more, number-wise, and we can as simply 
choose to read the court cards in terms of age or family, or both.
Voila, and we don't have to be occultists to make, use or understand
our impromptu system of meaning.

The questions are not, WRT the minors, whether there is inherent
meaning and whether it corresponds to any of the formal systems
of 'occult' tarot, which are unanswerable and unprovable, in
all liklihood. The useful questions are, what are you trying to
accomplish with your meaning assignments, and how well have you
succeeded.

Az0th



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