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Hermetic Fantasies and Crypto Jews

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.tarot,alt.magick,alt.divination
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Hermetic Fantasies and Crypto Jews (was Tarot Card Games ...)
Date: Sat, 24 May 2003 08:59:36 GMT

50030523 VII

sri catyananda  about the Crypto-Jew playing card text:
# The article was not written with specific respect to Tarot (tarocchi,
# tarock) sets, but the TIMING is interesting. The Inquisition -- and
# thus the Jewish use of playing cards to disguise Jewish prayer --
# occurred BEFORE the Egyptomania craze. 

granted that the Inquisition story is accurate.

# The expulsions and forced
# conversions of Jews in Spanish-held lands dates to 1492, when tarocchi
# was certainly in vogue. Also, note that the article in question
# documents the practice of card-playing on both the Sabbath and the
# Jewish High Holy Days as STILL occurring among Ladino Spanish Crypto
# Jews at the present time, both in Madrid, Spain, and in New Mexico, 
# USA.

I'd rather say that it reports it as occurring at the present time.
unless we have some reason to think its practice extends backwards
in time to the Inquisition in an unbroken manner, why should we?
that continuity seems important in a consideration of whether it
is "STILL occurring" rather than, for example "also occurring now",
or "has begun again".

# Now consider your choices:
# A) From 1492 down to the present day Ladino Crypto Jews have used
# tarocchi (tarock) cards to hide their prayer and their Torah teachings
# from Christians -- but the Hermetics, Freemasons, and/or Egyptophiles
# did not [...] know this at all, and just fantasized or MADE UP the idea
# that Jews used playing cards to disguise hidden spiritual lessons -- a
# complete coincidence! 

ok, let's call this the 

	Cosmic Esoteric Coincidence Theory 
		of Tarot-Kabbalah Connection

it seems somewhat unlikely as stated. ignorance on the part 
of Hermetics/Freemasons/Egyptophile for what was being 
used to avoid Christian condemnation seems odd somehow. 
maybe there is a huge overlap of membership such 
that Jews would be sure to also exclude the rest? :>

# or 
# B) Some Hermetics, Freemasons, and/or Egyptophiles either 
# knew Crypto Jews or WERE Crypto Jews, and thus they told the 
# truth when they said that the Jews used tarocchi cards as 
# guides to spiritual mysteries. 

this would of course be the 

	Crypto Jew Influence Theory
		of Tarot-Kabbalah Connection

the main problem with this is that it contends the use of
tarocchi cards "as guides to spiritual mysteries" when it
seems the evidence only points to card playing as a cover 
for religious identity at least, observance at most. there
isn't anything in the material I've seen so far indicating
that anyone is saying the cards were being manipulated in
design, for example. does being a guide to a spiritual
mystery include becoming an excuse to oppressive authorities
who are checking up on whether religious activities are
taking place in the home? or does what was *on* the 
cards make any difference, granted some unbroken usage?

# Choice (B) seems more logical to me than choice (A), 

are those the only ones available from which to choose?
how about

(C) Lots of people have played cards. Sometimes cards have
been used as an excuse to do something else which was
forbidden. By sheer coincidence, Hermetics like Eliphas Levi 
found the resonance between the 22 trumps of cards (esp. 
reflecting on the combined writings of Court de Gebelin 
and comte de Mellet in Monde primitif!) and 22 letters of 
Hebrew alphabet in card decks in their (same?) region to be 
too attractive to pass up as a device for communicating 
their Hermetic philosophy. They took advantage of a well-
prepared sociological predisposition (that the Tarot 
had been dubbed 'The Book of Thoth') and ran with it.

let's call this the

	Egypto-Resonance Coincidence Theory 
		of Tarot-Kabbalah Connection
	 
it seems to be what Dummett/Decker and jk are advancing.
I hope to be corrected if in error. :>

sri catyananda continues, describing the merits of (B):
# simply because it merely requires direct knowledge of 
# something that would at that time have been known to 
# hundreds of thousands of Ladino Crypto Jews, 

Levi had knowledge of Court de Gebelin and de Mellet.
did de Gebelin and de Mellet know Crypto Jews or were
they themselves such? any reason to think so?

# while choice (A [you had B here]) requires a very 
# far-out yet highly accurate fantasy to have been 
# coincidentally true. 

I'd agree that (B) seems more realistically possible
than (A) above. and what do you think of (C)? is the
coincidence sufficiently conservative that it starts 
to sound a more plausible/possible coincidence than (A),
a more sociologically-supportable contention than (B)?

thanks!

nagasiva

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