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D'n'D Do Occult Tarot History

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.divination,alt.tarot,alt.pagan.magick,alt.magick
From: nagasiva 
Subject: D'n'D Do Occult Tarot History (Re: History of Early Tarot (Esoteric?))
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 00:40:19 GMT

50031111 00:11am
summary of (occult) Tarot's origins (in the Foreword).


   * "only indicated use was for playing a card game." (ix);

   * spread out geographically but remained a family
     of trick-taking games (x);
   * originated in northern Italy with ordinary features:
       ** suits: Swords, Batons, Cups, Coins (ix);
       ** ranks: Swords/Batons => Courts...10...A
                 Cups/Coins    => Courts...A...10
          (EXCEPT in France and Sicily where Cups/Coins
          duplicated others (see French in 1700s below) (x));

   * and some novelties:
       ** cards:

            *** Fool: non-numbered non-suited unique card (ix)

and         *** Trumps: (I=>XXI) using "stock figures" for
                playing cards, "originally everywhere the
                same but their order differed markedly in
                different regions of Italy;
            *** Court: QUEENS added! (see Chess History!) (ix).



   * adopted French suits to Spades/Clubs/Hearts/Diamonds (x);
   * varied Trump imagery and distinguished by Roman Numerals (x);
   * by the end of 18th century these "had, for the purposes
     of play, replaced the Italian-suited ones everywhere
     save in France, Switzerland and Italy. French players
     went over to using them around the beginning of the
     [20th] century. (x)


French (Etteilla)

   * "the familiar variety" of cartomancy in which "packs of
     cards were shuffled, dealt and spread in prescribed
     formats for telling the future" that survives today
     "descends from French fortune-tellers. First, they
     assigned divinatory meanings to the cards of the common
     Piquet pack, which had French suit-signs. Jean-Baptiste
     Alliette (1738-91), a Parisian diviner better known as
     Etteilla, transferred his Piquet cartomancy to the Tarot.
     By this time the game of Tarot had ceased to be played
     in France outside its eastern region so, to Parsian
     seers, the Tarot seemed mysterious and exotic. Etteilla
     and others infused the Tarot with occult sciences. This
     resulted in the production of new Tarots, to be used for
     common fortune-telling, yet designed to express some
     cosmic theme. Here were the beginnings of the trend
     nowadays called Tarotism [(i.e. '(occult) Tarot')]" (x);

   * the French constructed a romantic history of *the* Tarot
     around what was known as the Tarot de Marseille, "derived
     from a Milanese prototype" (x); these French Tarotists
     were "unaware of the other orders" of the trumps, ancient
     and current; they were "equally unaware of the different
     rankings in the different suits observed almost everywhere
     but in France" (see above); "these oversights were
     inherited by Tarotists in other lands"; 

and interestingly

French (Levi)

   * "Some Tarotists belonged to secret societies, claimants
     to ancient wisdom; but when they published about the Tarot,
     they did not necessarily claim to derive their knowledge
     from arcane instruction. More often, each was proud to
     advertise his insight as highly intuitive. However, their
     theories of the Tarot's genesis placed it among secretive
     types, such as Egyptian priests, magicians, alchemists,
     Cabalists and Templars. In the most prevalent interpre-
     tation of the Tarot trumps, they were forced into align-
     ment with the Hebrew alphabet, so that the Tarot could be
     interpreted in terms of 'Christian Cabalism'. The Cabala
     was likewise said to be interpretable only in the light
     of the Tarot. By this means, a pace of playing cards was
     integrated into a whole system of Western magical theory.
     The originator of this idea was Eliphas Levi, the first
     modern synthesiser of Western occultism" (x-xi).
"A History of Occult Tarot: 1870-1970", Ronald Decker and
  Michael Dummett, Duckworth, 2002; pp. x-xi (Foreword).

heavily-weighted on French innovation mystifying a game in
pursuit of ostensibly magicomystical objectives, capitalizing
on and at times distinguishing between mere cartomancy and
some masquerade for the Secret Mysteries.

            ... the history of Tarot cards is
            largely of a negative kind, and that,
            when the issues are cleared by the
            dissipation of reveries and gratuitous
            speculations expressed in the terms of
            certitude, there is in fact no history
            prior to the fourteenth century. The
            deception regarding their origin in
            Egypt, India or China put a lying
            spirit into the mouths of the first
            expositors, and the later occult writers
            have done little more than reproduce
            the first false testimony in the good
            faith of an intelligence unawakened to
            the issues of research."
            "The Pictorial Key to the Tarot",
             by Arthur Edward Waite, U.S. Games
             Systems, Inc., 1971; pp. 7-8.

these sources seem rather in harmony. Waite develops
a whole romantic Albigensian theory of origin as a
contribution to the oral tradition.

             "The possibilities are so numerous
              and persuasive that they almost
              deceive in their expression one
              of the elect who has invented them."
              Ibid., p. 9.

LOL!! what a card!


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