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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: Mon, 26 May 1997 03:43:13 GMT

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

Please note that I am also not talking about any hypothetical, generic,
imparticular 'tarot' thing. I'm talking about a very restricted subset
of available tarot pack/text pairs, and my comments should be understood
to apply within this context and not some other. What Crowley had to say
about Thoth has no deterministic bearing on how I or anyone interprets
Marseilles, 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.

: 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.

: > and from
: > our position as post facto interpreters of Thoth, we have little practical
: > choice but to deal with image and text as a coherent whole.

: 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, you will most probably fail to do so if you
disregard Crowley's text. This is, in your terms, 'choosing to remain

: 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, and as
they are together used by their creator to communicate a consistent
message, they bear a structural similarity to earlier image/text pairs,
and the problem of interpretation is similar.

I have before me _The Rosicrucian Emblems of Daniel Cramer_. I open it
at random to Emblem 7. There is an image of a burning heart-shape on a
pedestal, being blown by four cloudlike faces. Meaning?

There are parts of text: a title, 'Sum Constans', 'I am constant'; a
Biblical quote from Psalms 39:3, 'My heart was hot within me, while I
was musing the fire burned'; a caption, 'Blow winds, I meditate, by
contemplation am I fired on the altar. The more I am stirred, the
hotter I become.' Meaning?

The image and text are being used together to convey a message, and the
relationship between the text and the image is obvious, and necessary.

I pick up a Thoth image, a Tower I've been contemplating; you know how 
it looks. Meaning? If you know something about other versions of the
Tower, you'll ignore the deviations of Crowley's design and think you
know what this one means, too.

I pick up the book Thoth and turning to page 108 (K@shmarin Press, 1969)
I read 'The dominating feature of this card is the Eye of Horus. This
is also the Eye of Shiva, on the opening of which, according to the
legend of this cult, the universe is destroyed.' Is this meaning contained
in the Thoth Tower image? For modern interpreters, once they've read the
text, it is. Without the text, in all probability, it is not, especially
as Hindu mythology has historically played little part in tarot orthography.

The image and text are being used together to convey a message, and the
relationship between the text and the image is obvious, and necessary.


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