a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


Emblems/Symbols, Meditation/Reading and Case-workers

To: alt.tarot,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick
From: (Az0th)
Subject: Re: Emblems/Symbols, Meditation/Reading and Case-workers (was Re: Plotinus, evil, ....)
Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 22:06:49 GMT

I heard J. Karlin ( say:

: > 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'.

R Brzustowicz and I agreed that the technical use of 'emblem' and
'emblem book' was inappropriate several posts back. Complementarity
of a sort does, however, underlie those emblems consisting of both
text and image, and it is this which I've found suggestive. 

: 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.

I'm not using 'emblem' in any way at all. I'm discussing a problem in
interpretation, from the point of view of other such problems which
have a similar structural basis.

: > 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'?

How 'some people see it' isn't my problem. 'Emblems' aren't my problem,
either. My problem is how to regard an interesting pattern of tarot
book/pack production within the last 100 years. That pattern, which
I've come to see is rooted in the Golden Dawn, consists of a number
of original tarot packs with accompanying commentary material from
the same sources. These packs are different in a number of ways from
all earlier packs, and the commentary text is also different in that
it explains the differences displayed in the packs, systematically
and in unprecedented detail.

The creator(s) of Marseilles are unavailable for comment.

My position is that this distinction is important, possibly more important
than most things which may seem relevant to how we interpret the cards.

: 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.

I gather that this is your opinion, however your opinion, as others
have frequently pointed out, is no argument at all. I should think
that you would want to do better. I gave you a concrete, specific
and pertinent example of the precise relationship between text and
imagery that I want to emphasize, both from an emblem book and from
Thoth. If the relationship is not as I've tried to express, please
explain the difference, in detail, in the face of that example. I
won't mind being proven wrong, but I expect a real argument.

: > 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.

It has everything to do with interpreting an image accurately, when
corresponding reference text is available by which such accuracy may
be judged. Occult tarot embodies doctrine. Either that doctrine can
be accurately extracted from the occult tarot, or it cannot. Without
recourse to the reference text, it cannot. This is a very simple fact.

If you're looking for some other meaning in a given deck than that which
was documented as having been put there, all this is obviously moot.

: > 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.

R Brzustowicz and I discussed, briefly, this point as well, in
particular the advisability of including other of the creator's
work to compensate for inadequacies in the primary reference text,
Waite's grail text, for example, or the G.'.D.'. initiation lectures.

You may be confusing the process of attaching doctrinal significance
to elements of imagery, with the process of relating that assigned
significance to a broader class of meaning. 

The difference, in terms of my previous example, is this: we attach
a doctrinal significance to the image of the 'eye' on the Tower card
by reading in Thoth that it was meant to signify the 'Eye of Shiva'.
This is a process of the first sort. I would also note that this
process is iterative both over elements of the imagery and explanations
in the text (IOW, we are unrestricted as to relationship, as one-to-many,
many-to-many, many-to-one, and one-to-one may be exemplified), so that
additional assignments, such as 'Eye of Horus', must also be accomodated.

Relating that doctrinal assignment, 'Eye of Shiva', to a broader class
of meaning, Shaivite cosmology for example, is a process of the second
sort, and has no bearing on my position or past remarks, although it would
certainly bear on a more complete understanding of the imagery. 

Again, your comments, while they may represent your opinion, aren't any
kind of argument for or against the points I raise.

: > 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
: whatever area of knowledge or beliefs the designer
: intended, while also, at the same time, providing an 
: aesthetic experience of those ideas.

I made no representations regarding Crowley's purpose or intentions,
and your opinions on same fail to address my point. Long before the
cards were available, as cards, the book, containing both text and
imagery was published. In the simplest possible terms, they are parts
of a single creative effort. Is there a _reason_ for considering them
independently, and if so, does such reason preclude considering them
together, as I have suggested is the more natural and productive view?

: 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'.

No one to my knowledge is suggesting any such thing. Having read
Thoth, whenever I did so, I can now enjoy the aesthetic of Shiva's
eye slamming shut on the Tower, and a fine aesthetic it is, not
available on any other Tower in my collection.

: 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.

You have failed to so demonstrate. That's OK, too. };-]


The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races