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History of Cartomancy and Judaism

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.tarot,alt.divination,alt.magick
From: nagasiva 
Subject: History of Cartomancy and Judaism 
Date: Sat, 24 May 2003 09:37:33 GMT

50030523 VI 

sri catyananda:
#> 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. 

the "Jewish use of playing cards disguise Jewish prayer" 
phrase can be misunderstood very easily. I'll presume you
just mean it like the article to which you referred, in
which the cards were nothing more than an excuse/cover.

tarotica@jktarot.com (jk):
# ...that doesn't by any means indicate it is likely that 
# this Jewish use of playing cards contributed to the 
# occultist interpretation of Tarot involving Kabbalah. 

"the occultist interpretation of Tarot involving Kabbalah"
is quite precise, and not something you appear to be
discussing when mentioning Jews in Venice:


@ http://jktarot.com/tarmag16.html

#: the development of alternative applications
#: of playing cards and Tarot in Venice seems to
#: coincide with the arrival in Venice of Jews,
#: and the development of a Jewish community
#: (eventually the Jewish Ghetto). The question,
#: it seems to me, should be asked:
#: did Jews invent or help contribute to the
#: invention of cartomancy? Or, was this a
#: transcultural development, a cartocultural
#: extension of an already existing tradition of
#: magick and divination in various subcultures?

# ---which evidence points to some kind of 
# mystical-magickal use or interpretation of 
# playing cards much earlier than the 18th-century
# origin of occult Tarot.

as possible conjuration usage, by Inquisition 
records. you quote Dummett's "Game of Tarot" on 
the probable entrypoint for cards to Europe 
being Venice:

#: The overwhelming probability, then, is that, in about 1370-75,          
#: playing cards came to Europe, very likely through Venice, from          
#: Mamluk Egypt, where they had been known for some time.                  

and

#: A genuine exception to the rule that fortune-telling with               
#: ordinary playing cards is unknown in Europe before the eighteenth       
#: century is provided by a book by Francesco Marcolino da Forli,          
#: entitled Giardino di pensieri and published in Venice in 1540.          
#: This book is indeed intended solely to provide a means of               
#: foretelling the future by the use of playing cards.                     
#
# ...
#
# The Game of Tarot, from Ferrara to Salt Lake City, 
#  by Michael Dummett, London; Duckworth, 1980.  

criticizing Dummett for his comment that:

#: This light-hearted diversion has nothing to do with the occult,  
#: and it is impossible to imagine anyone taking it seriously as 
#: an oracle.

some have speculated that there's been missing Devils from 
extant decks in collections on account of magical activities 
with them (whether venting hatred or praying for help). 

divination and games are confusingly interwoven. artificial 
distinctions erected between them are too often the tenuous
grasp of poorly-understood data.

nagasiva

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