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Tarot as Esoteric Heresy in Triumphs

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.divination,alt.tarot,alt.pagan.magick
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Tarot as Esoteric Heresy in Triumphs
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2003 16:15:21 GMT

50030215 VII happy Lunatix! in honour of Luna I give you some occultism


someone challenged me to come up with an argument that Tarot's 
central message as contained in the Trumps as a related group is 
something other than relatively conservative and/or Christian in 
character. I tried that below, for fun. comments?

in the game (which I have played and enjoyed), the cards we 
are usually describing and discussing in this forum are called
the 'Trumps' in whatever language (Triumphs, sometimes). this 
gives us a clear indication of either a reference to certain
historical things called Triumphs (someone once suggested that
the cards were patterend after floats in some historic parade,
though I wonder whether the floats were modelled after cards :>)
or that they are literally descriptive of their purpose and the
contextual mode of their appearance.

from what I can tell based on very minor exposure to historical
decks and a great deal of exposure to modern decks and some of
the speculation about the cards' meanings, but particularly on
account of how the cards are used in the game of Tarocchi as I
have learned it, 


and in particular of a hierarchy valuably-understood in the
societal context in which one was living at the time of the
construction of the decks (perceived through religious 
perspectives in many/most/all-early? cases).

the Trumps may be set out in sequence in a line and there
understood to portray a relative power-sequence approximating
in content the previously-described Neoplatonic sphere-set
culminating in the Primum Mobile/First Cause.

further, the specific rules of the game might imply other
'secrets' about this power-hierarchy, if special rules gave
extra points or counted against one with these cards in one's
trick-pile at the end of play.


same individual challenged us to construct a case in favour 
of Tarot as a deeply esoteric, heretical, secular, (or) 
alchemical document. I tried that below:

...attempting to integrate the historical and structural,
I'd be hard-pressed to offer more than the following (you're
challenging my limitless powers of imagination, J! ;>):

	* esoteric

	the whole picture may have been known to few; and this
	may especially be true if we consider the structure of
	the Small Cards (52, 1 per week of the year, quartered, 
	one for each season, Counting Numbers surmounted by 
	a set of Courts which may further be associated with 
	the conventional world and its 'seasonal' fluxes and 
	power-relations); the first level of knowledge is the
	Trump Sequence #s which afford a perceptive surmise of
	one's relative power in card-playing; beyond this, it
	may imply a general principle of political and cosmic
	placement/orientation to those with insight/education.

	* heretical

	the application of an encyclopedia of knowledge to 
	the content of a game for gambling and entertainment,
	especially as it depicts religious figures of dubious
	spiritual safety (Pope Joan, Devil) and clearly quite
	conservative imagery of which it may be folly to make
	into a game (Pope, Judgement) could easily be (and
	apparently *was*) seen as heretical by reigning
	religious authorities. much would depend on how games
	and gambling were seen in the religious context, 
	and I'm sure this must have varied over time.

	* secular

	you've made a pretty good case that the Trumps include 
	religious imagery, and that its highest numbers 
	indicate at least Biblical motifs. from there we'd 
	need to accept that such imagery was prevalent or 
	suffused through secular culture in the time when 
	the game was constructed. this would allow us to 
	incorporate religious iconography to what I am 
	proposing here is essentially a secular construct (a
	game depicting power-hierarchies and the Wheel of the
	Year with clear and simple instruction on the nature
	of feudal society, its prevalent cosmological ideas,
	and a crude implication of the variability of the
	cosmos within this context).

	* alchemic (oh please! alright but this is extra credit!!)

	the extension of the overall cosmogram not only to the
	external Planetary Spheres (Lunar+), but including also
	the Terrestrial (to Death/Devil) and Societal (to Pope),
	indicates a FIXED system of progress and operation. the
	Wheel of the Year (seasonal) depicted by symbolism of
	the Numbers and Courts is the VARIABILITY of the cosmos,
	and thus, its complex relation to the fixed hierarchy
	(subordinate) allows those with the insight into the
	upper echelon of said power structure (the highest of 
	Trumps) some ability to manipulate the cosmos or one's
	self to one's advantage therein. the importance of the
	Star (Mercury), Moon (Silver), and Sun (Gold), and the
	process by which transmutations might be effected (as 
	is sometimes seen in Temperance) to those alchemists of 
	old is quite clear, whether one takes as one's truths 
	some internal mysticism or a science much in advance of 
	our own manipulating what we know today of the Periodic 
	Table. the import of the Angel/Judgement with respect 
	to this describes the relation of the alchemist with the 
	cosmology as a whole and the final result of their Work 
	therein, whether by their own hand or by that of the 
	Cosmic Monarch/First Cause in is proper relation/timing. 

do I get points for trying? extra points for alchemy too? :>
now maybe you'll answer my question about the GD's Court names. lol


Orig-Subject: Overall/Central Message of Trumps

re the challenge of the hypothesis that the Trumps have a central message:

that they are called "trumps" seems to present its centrality
(in power-relations and what is more potent than what).
I hope my previous post has gone some distance to convincing
you. it would be a testimony to my imagination and creativity. :>
as it starts with potentially internal figures and winds
up with external ones in terms of space (celestial) and time
(eschatological), can you understand the vista constructed
may be an elaborate pre-Copernican cosmic diagram with
Judeochristian contextual parameters (e.g. Judgement)?

copyright (c) 2003 nagasiva yronwode

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