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Elegance, Tarot and Qabalah

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.divination,alt.tarot
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Re: Elegance, Tarot and Qabalah (was Qabalah and Tarot History ...)
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 08:56:03 GMT

50020121 VI! om (Gnome d Plume):
>>>> People who understand that there [are] 32 Paths of Wisdom represented 
>>>> on the Tree of Life, including the Sephi[r]oth and the Paths....
mine has 10 (2*5) Number-Spheres and 26 (2*13) Letter-Paths in a Tetraktys, 
totalling 36 (2*2*3*3) in all. my constructed Tarot will have a nonnumbered 
Fool plus 25 (5*5) Trumps in a 100+1 (10*10+1) card deck with 5 suits. 
from what I can see there is no required standardization for any of these 
features except for the relative role of tradition (communication, education, 
etc.). more on this below.

"Tom" :
> If the original Tarot designs were not intended to express qabalistic
> correspondences, I wouldn't be surprised to find that there aren't exact
> and clear correspondences between paths on the Tree of Life, the Hebrew
> alphabet, and the numbering of the Tarot trumps.

they were not, as part of a game called Tarocci whose Trumps were of
variable depth, symbolism, and sequence.

> If what Jess Karlin says about the origins of the Tarot is credible, 

he seems well-studied in the subject. his latest Tarot FAQ is lovely!

> those qabalistic relationships may well have been forged later and a 
> certain amount of force-fitting would be expected.

that's right! thus the criticism of whether it is elegant is relevant
(how much force was truly required?). relevant questions also include:

	how closely must one stick to the original Trump structure 
	of the game in order to remain 'tarot'?

	do emblematic Small Cards compromise too much the deck's relation
	to the game such that we ought consider this a signifier of occultism?

	how many of the Trumps could be changed before we should call the
	result 'non-Tarotic'? 

for example, if I contend that my deck has the following cards as Trumps:

	no number
		   Mage, Dakini, Mom, Pop, Wizard, 
		   Love, Carriage, Power, Virtue, Fortune, 
		   Balance, Martyr, Change, Alchemy, War
		   Foe, Attention, Dance, Rest, Tree,
		   Cloud, Moon, Sun, Star, Universe

and the following Small Card structure:

	A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Student, Warrior, Scholar, Sage, Mystic

in the suits:


	(copyright 2002 nagasiva :>)

would you say that it was or was not a "Tarot deck"? what are the parameters
of tarotic creation? surely they are not specific and agreed-upon across the
board. even modern scholars of tarot capture a range of decks which more or
less conform to whatever standards they assert are primary (perhaps with
very good reason).

if my deck comes with a book or incorporates as part of its pictorial symbol
the associations of the nearest star (Sol), nearest satellite (Luna), the 8 
known planets (even Pluto! maybe the blank card to show its non-planetness!)
in sequence from Sol, the 12 zodiacal signs in sequence from Spring Equinox, 
and, using the card for the planet Earth as a double for the element Earth, 
the 4 Artistotlean Elements, thus comprising 26 sequential and inclusive
composites which mapped perfectly onto the 26-letter English alphabet, would
this be an 'elegant tarot' or an 'elegant new construction based on tarot' 
or something else entirely? what if I based some of its symbolism on 
Smith-Waite and/or Crowley-Harris? how close would I have to be in 
approximations to qualify? 

I submit that there are no absolutes where tarotification is concerned, though
certain sets of parameters are sensible to presuppose. the concepts of suits,
number cards, trump cards, and possibly of a fool, appear to be reasonable.

if one wishes to transcend strict formal parameters one might settle on usage
and popularity qualifiers. whether the originators had occult backgrounds,
whether the cards were used for meditation, instruction, communication of 
esoteric ideas and information, etc., etc.  even here there is room for 

blessed beast!


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