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To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.divination,alt.tarot,alt.occult,talk.religion.newage,alt.games.dice,rec.games.playingcards From: tyagi@houseofkaos.abyss.com (nagasiva) Subject: Tarot History: Dice and Cards Date: 12 Jan 1998 22:35:40 0800 49980110 aa2 Hail Satan! re inquiry of interest in discussing the data at the following URL: http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/PT/Mintro.html#dice I am. it isn't very long, I append it to this email. after seeing the URL referenced above I was so intrigued by the construction of Mr. Opsopaus that I printed off the whole site for reference in the library here. needless to say I have been a fan of pythagorean ideas and structures for a while, and the form of the tetractys speaks volumes to me (I have constructed a new Tree of Life based on it and may well flesh out an entire symbolic association system combining my 1(0)/25/75 tarot and a number of other divinatory and magical systems using some of the text which I found at this site, with proper attribution). is there some other explanation for the way that card decks were constructed than as a replacement for dice games? I notice that one of the things the construction of 21/56 cards achieves is the equal distribution of chance (since the probability of having one card is the same as that of having any others, as compared to dice throws, which are distributed unevenly) and the expansion of the equivalent of multiple throws within a single mechanism. draw a card and you have thrown a pair (Major) or trio (Minor) set of dice, or, play something more complex with the entirety. the addition of the Fool (Excuse, Idiote, etc.) makes for the possibility of combination with any 22element system, even while retaining (since 0 is not a natural number, with which the illiterate were probably most familiar) the capacity to replicate dice throws (0 could be 'cocked dice' for example). re triangular and pyramidal #s with respect to 21 and 56: I can explain these terms fairly easily and provide a very important emphasis to the value of his work. here is how 21 is a 'triangular number' * 1 (0 + 1) * * 2 (1 + 1) * * * 3 (2 + 1) * * * * 4 (3 + 1) * * * * * 5 (4 + 1) * * * * * * + 6 (5 + 1) ____________________________________________________ 21 this is also the case for any cumulative sum: 3, 6, 10, 15, 21, 28, etc. on this flat plane it is more difficult to graphically illustrate the 'pyramidal' formula, but it is constructed on an identical principle using a 3dimensional form, summing elements in a like manner. if nothing else the mathematical progression can be seen. * 1 (0 + 1) # # # 3 (1 + 2) @ @ @ @ @ @ 6 (3 + 3) & & & & & & & & & & 10 (6 + 4) $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 15 (10 + 5) % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % + 21 (15 + 6) _____________________________________________________ 56 this is also the case for any compounded sum: 4, 10, 20, 35, 56, 84, etc. that these mathematical numbers (21, 56) are identical to the number of unique dice throws (for 2 6sided and 3 6sided dice, respectively), that the history of tarot appears to directly imply it developed from games, and that these numbers constitute the number of cards in the TAROT (excluding the Fool, 0) is no mere coincidence, from what I can see, and I'd love to hear alternative suggestions regarding the development of gaming and divination which would explain this as anything other than progressive and family lineage: DICE (divination/gaming) CARDS (at least gaming) TAROCCI (at least gaming) TAROT (divination) one important question is: was the Fool/Excuse included in all card decks which otherwise contained the historic structure of tarocci? is it not significant that, in historic tarocci, the 0 card is the least potent, never being able to win a trick, as if it were a 'bummed' or 'cocked' roll of the dice? discussion/correction welcome. please cc me if you want to be sure that I see your response. thanks. tyagi@houseofkaos.abyss.com nagasiva ========================================= appended find the dice info [from http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/PT/Ddice.html ] Dice and the Tarot After playing cards were introduced into Europe in the 14th century, they almost completely replaced dice (Moakley 41), which had been in use since at least the First Dynasty of Egypt (David 2). This is reflected in terms such as "ace" and "deuce," which are now used for cards, but were originally used for dice. (This is the reason there are technical terms for 1 to 6  viz., ace, deuce, trey, cater, sink and sice  but not beyond.) Two kinds of dice were used in classical antiquity: dice proper (kuboi, tessarae), which are virtually identical to sixsided modern dice, and knucklebones (astragali, tali), which have four sides (Halliday 20515, esp. 21315; David 17; Ore 193). For divination, five astragali were rolled, and the resulting combination was looked up on a foursided pillar, many examples of which survive in more or less fragmentary form (e.g., Sterrett "Epig.", "Wolfe"; Kaibel). It so happens that the number of possible fiveastragali throws is 56, exactly the number of Minor Arcana, and that the throws were listed on the tablets in four "suits" (two of 15 throws, two of 13; see Halliday 213n3). When dice are thrown for divination, the number of possible throws of three dice is also 56 (Minor Arcana), and the number of throws of two dice is 21, the number of Major Arcana (excluding the Fool). This correspondence would be a remarkable if it were coincidental, and it therefore suggests that the Major Arcana derive from divination with pairs of dice, and the Minor Arcana from triples of dice (or quintuples of astragali). Additional evidence can be found in a system of meditation developed around 960 CE by Bishop Wibold of Cambray, in which 56 virtues were associated with the throws of three dice (Kendall 24). Also, in the fifteenth century, when the Tarot first appears, we find a number of poems setting out the meanings of the 56 throws (Kendall 11; see, e.g., Kraemer). In truly Cabalistic fashion, San Bernadino's sermon of 1243 draws an analogy between the 21 rolls of two dice and the 21 letters of the (medieval) Roman alphabet (Kendall 4)  that is, ours without J, V, W, Y, Z. Unfortunately I cannot take credit for this important insight; Gertrude Moakley (p.42, n.9) attributes it to the statistician Maurice G. Kendall (1956). This is particularly annoying since I have been piecing together and translating astragalomancy tablets, and the significance of the number 56 should have been obvious to me! In mathematical terms 21 is the sixth Pythagorean triangular number, the Hexaktys, and 56 is the sixth Pythagorean pyramidal number (the base of which is the Hexaktys). The total number of Tarot cards, 78, is the twelfth triangular number. The Pythagorean Tetraktys is, of course, the fourth triangular number. There is, so far as I know, any record of the correspondence between dice throws and Tarot cards. Nevertheless, I've listed a throw of two dice for each Major Arcanum. This is based on the observation that in ancient dice games numerically higher rolls (usually) beat numerically lower ones, and on the assumption that the higher numbered die corresponds to the row of the triangular number. There are two obvious way the 21 Major Arcana (Magician to World) correspond to the rolls, both of which reflect the structure of the Major Arcana (as will be explained later): 11 11 12 13 14 15 16 12 22 22 23 24 25 26 13 23 33 33 34 35 36 14 24 34 44 44 45 46 15 25 35 45 55 55 56 16 26 36 46 56 66 66 Due to their shape (when arranged symmetrically), I'll call the left the Fire Hexactys and the right the Water Hexactys. It is unclear at this time which is more useful. In any case, the dice attributions are conjectural and are provided only as an impetus to further exploration. A correspondence between the Major Arcana and throws of three astragali is discussed later. There are also correspondences between the Minor Arcana and throws of three dice or five astragali. The charts are presented in an Appendix (Tarot Divination Without Tarot Cards*), where practical techniques of dice divination are discussed. [* http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/PT/Ddice.html ] EOF  (emailed replies may be posted); http://www.hollyfeld.org/~tyagi; 408/2666SLUG join the esoteric syncretism in alt.magick.tyagi; http://www.abyss.com/tokus
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