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Emblems/Symbols, Meditation/Reading and Case-workers

To: alt.tarot,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick
From: "J. Karlin" 
Subject: Re: Emblems/Symbols, Meditation/Reading and Case-workers (was Re: Plotinus, evil, ....)
Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 09:32:31 +0000

Az0th wrote:
> I heard J. Karlin ( say:
> : A computer manual 'complements' the computer.
> : That does not make the relationship 'emblematic'.
> Agreed. However, there are computers which you will not be able to operate
> successfully without the complementary manual. This isn't a very telling
> argument.

Sure it is, since it illustrates that the 'complementary'
relationship between object (image) and text is NOT what
defines it as 'emblematic'.

> Please note that I am also not talking about any hypothetical, generic,
> imparticular 'tarot' thing. 

It does not matter what tarot you are talking about, your
use of 'emblem' to describe the relationship between
tarot decks and the text used to describe them is incorrect.

> What Crowley had to say
> about Thoth has no deterministic bearing on how I or anyone interprets
> Marseilles, 

First, that's not how some people see it. Second, what relevance
does this comment have to whether Thoth tarot cards are 'emblems'?

> IOW, and whatever arguments I adduce to indicate a pertinent
> relation between specific pack/text pairs and emblem-book morphology can
> not be taken as bearing on tarot generally.

Your 'arguments' on any of this can not be taken, period, since
the relationship between image and text in emblem books
is NOT that which we see between Thoth and the book written
by Crowley as a basic guide to to the understanding
of its symbolism.

> : So? That exclusive (or 'privileged') position does not make the
> : relationship 'emblematic', any more than it does if a
> : the computer designer (instead of a tech-writer) writes the
> : usage manual in the example I mentioned above.
> It makes the text _necessary_, in the same sense. See below.

'Necessary' for what? 'Necessity' has nothing to do with
establishing a text-graphic relationship as 'emblematic',
at least not in the way you are suggesting here.

> : Nonsense, there are MANY choices available to us; we can,
> : as many people do, ignore Crowley's text for 'Book of Thoth'
> : entirely, and instead write another text that will,
> : in our opinion, 'describe and elaborate' what it means.
> NO. You can of course do whatever you please. However, if your intent
> is to extract from the imagery of Thoth the meaning *placed there* by
> Crowley for us to find, 

Then you would be well put to START at 'Book of Thoth'.
But you will not be able to understand Thoth if that's
ALL you read. Therefore, the relationship between Thoth
images and the text in 'Book of Thoth' is NOT exclusive
or 'necessary' in the manner you are suggesting, nor does 
any of this explain why it would make the Thoth deck 
a set of 'emblems', in the sense of those used in 
emblem books.

> : You seem to be confusing 'emblem' with the notion of
> : 'authority', in the sense that authoritative commentary
> : melds with image in a sense, 'emblematic', which
> : can not be achieved by alternative texts. None of
> : this has anything to do with the meaning of 'emblems'.
> NO. I am simply remarking that the imagery and the text are, in the
> specific instances cited, parts of the same creative effort, 

Wrong, they are two distinct efforts applied toward similar, but
not identical, purposes. The cards were meant to create a
New-Aeonic symbol set, which would serve to replace the Old
Aeon tarot; the text was meant to explicate those images,
BUT ALSO to introduce people to both tarot, in a general
overview of the subject, AND Thelemic thought, again in 
the sense of an introduction AND an invitation (made 
throughout the book) to further reading, while also
providing 'practical' instruction in divination.

Only a small portion of the book (such as the 'Mnemonics'
section and the 'General Characters' comments on the
trumps) MIGHT be considered as 'emblematic' in nature,
but even there the relationship is not offered by
way of a 'necessary' aesthetic relationship to the image, 
but mostly as a means of condensing the 'practical'
(in other words, 'divinatory') meanings of the symbols 
to, as the book asserts, 'mnemonics'. One can argue
that 'emblems' were intended as mnemonic devices,
but that purpose was considered as secondary to the
main point, which was to instruct the viewer on
whatever area of knowledge or beliefs the designer
intended, while also, at the same time, providing an 
aesthetic experience of those ideas.

It certainly does not make much sense to suggest that
the 'aesthetic' experience of Thoth tarot images
required that one, at the moment of viewing, ALSO
be reading the text of the guide-book, 'Book of Thoth'.

The images of Thoth tarot and the text of 'Book of Thoth' 
are NOT 'necessarily' linked in the way of those in an 
emblem book.


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