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Qabalah and Tarot History

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick
From: (James W. Revak)
Subject: Re: Qabalah and Tarot History (was Hermetic QBL ...)
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 04:52:12 GMT

On Thu, 20 Dec 2001 07:15:54 GMT, Joseph  wrote:

>> >This assumes that there is one "true" or "perfect" set of
>> >attributions, which is baloney in my opinion. 
>so, ok, i hope im agreeing with you in this only in so far as i seem to
>understand you seem to be supporting a non-sectarian approach to mysticism in
>general and the cabbala in particular. 
>if the jewish people or any one else really does posses some perfect system
>ive yet to see evidence of it. considering how similar the basics are world
>wide the idea that every one does it seems way more important than precisely
>how they do it.
>or what they call it for that matter, there's probably evan a necessary place
>and purpose for charlatans and rip off artists of any type, as we cant
>perceive right with out wrong so we probably would never grapple with the
>concepts of honesty with out exposure to its opposite.
What I was specifically saying or trying to say is that I believe that
no popular system of Tarot-Hebrew correspondences is objectively
"true" or "perfect".  Therefore, for example, I see no reason to
conclude that any single popular system is objectively
"correct"--whether it is LÚvi's system, Zain's variation on LÚvi's
system, the GD's system, or Crowley's variation on the GD system, etc.
That's all.

And I think there are at least two significant reasons why this is so:

1.  Ultimately, one can't argue for the objective "truth" or "falsity"
of a metaphysical (including magical) system or worldview from a
strictly rational perspective. I think that, to some extent, it always
comes down to a subjective judgment, lived experience, and what
authority (if any) one grants to specific magi, prophets, scriptures,

2.  More specifically related to Tarot, is the reality that originally
Tarot was *not* constructed with the Hebrew alphabet in mind.  To make
things more complicated, the Fool originally typically was not
considered part of the series of Trumps.  To make things more
complicated many old Tarot decks did *not* have 22 Majors.  To make
things more complicated, the Fool originally typically had neither a
number nor zero attached to him.  To make things more complicated,
occultists, including GD members, often later assigned zero to the
Fool, but there's no zero in the Hebrew number system.  For all these
reasons, developing an objectively "correct" or "perfect" system of
Tarot-Hebrew correspondences is probably impossible.

Note:  As I've said elsewhere in this forum recently, none of this
means that Tarot-Hebrew correspondences are completely "stupid" or

You also noted above, "so, ok, i hope im agreeing with you in this
only in so far as i seem to understand you seem to be supporting a
non-sectarian approach to mysticism in general and the cabbala in

Permit me to widen the discussion.  I'm not sure that it's fair to say
that I support a non-sectarian approach to mysticism and Cabala.  Some
people, for example, may closely follow a specific school of Jewish
Cabala; others, Reuchlin's Cabala; still others, Crowley's Cabala.
These are sectarian approaches of sorts and I have, all things being
equal, no problem with those individuals who choose any or all of
these approaches.  

On the other hand, I'm unsure how valuable it would be to construct a
genuinely nonsectarian Cabala (assuming it is possible).  The
advantage might be that one may arrive at certain spiritual values
which transcend sundry specific schools.  The disadvantage, and it's a
serious one I think, is that many valuable specifics embraced by
sundry specific schools, would be lost.

To use a metaphor.  We can look at the spectrum created by a prism
held up to sunlight.  It is beautiful.  Each and every color from the
deepest red to the darkest violet is a delight to the eye.  Now, we
know that we can combine all those colors and arrive at pure white.
This color too has a unique beauty and enables us to note that under
all the other colors of the spectrum, lies this one beautiful white.
However, sadly, all the wonderful separate colors of the spectrum,
green, blue, orange, yellow, etc., are gone when we view the color
white.  Similar stuff occurs when one tries to reduce sundry
metaphysical, magical, or spiritual systems to one universal or
nonsectarian system.  There are both advantages and disadvantages to
doing so.
JAMES W. REVAK - San Diego, CA, USA -
Villa Revak / A Tarot Web Site:

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