“The so-called 'Left-Hand Path' - that of Kaulas, Siddhas and Viras - combines the... Tantric worldview with a doctrine of the Übermensch which would put Nietzsche to shame... The Vira - which is to say: the 'heroic' man of Tantrism - seeks to sever all bonds, to overcome all duality between good and evil, honor and shame, virtue and guilt. Tantrism is the supreme path of the absolute absence of law - of shvecchacarī, a word meaning 'he whose law is his own will'." ― Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar.

“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Historical Numerology for the Tarot Pips

I have a backlog of interesting questions received via email regarding the Tarot going back to a blog I posted a few months ago, and a few more pertaining to the photos of my favorite decks in the previous blog entry, that I intend to reply to here eventually, along with some questions on the blog regarding Traditionalism and Western Esotericism/Occultism that I will also reply to in the near future.

In the meantime one reader writes, regarding my focus on the Marseille Tarots, that they have difficulty with the Pip Cards (called "Minor Arcana" by the 19th-20th century occult writers) of the Marseille decks because they lack the explicitly leading visual symbolism of the post-Golden Dawn decks. The Rider-Waite-Smith deck is especially over the top in providing allegorical illustrations for every card in the deck, and Crowley is almost nearly as explicit in his designs of the "Lesser Arcana" - the four suit cards numbered 1-10. Paul Foster Case, in his B.O.T.A. deck returns to the minimalist representations of the Marseille-style decks, even though all of the above decks basically follow the Golden Dawn schema of attributions to the four elements (aces) and 36 decanants of the Roman Zodiac in addition to the 10 Sephiroth of Athanasius Kircher's Cabalistic Tree of Life diagram as used by the Golden Dawn. This is one area where the Golden Dawn architects were not too far "out to lunch". Overall, with only a few exceptions, the Golden Dawn attributions for the "Minor Arcana" are not too far out of line in terms of historical (and Traditional) attributions and qualitive numerological associations. But in general it is best to question and second-guess the Golden Dawn (and most 19th-20th century "occultists") on just about every point.

For reading into the symbolism and qualitive numerical structure of the Marseille decks, we might ask ourselves what materials a contemporary might be working from in the period in which they were created (lets say from the Tarot of Jean Noblet to that of Nicholas Conver, 1650-1780). I would suggest familiarity with Platonism, Neo-Platonism, the surviving elements of Pythagoras, numerical symbolism (explicit and latent) in The Bible, and the works of late medieval and early renaissance thinkers such as Agrippa, Pico, Paracelsus, etc.

Of course there is too much material to post in one simple blog entry, but as an introductory example here we can pull passages from Agrippa's foundational Three Books of Occult Philosophy and Manly P. Hall's excellent paraphrase of the writings of Nicomachus, Theon of Smyrna, Proclus, Porphyry, Plutarch, Clement of Alexandria, Aristotle, and other early authorities in chapter 16 of his monumental Secret Teachings of All Ages. W.W. Westcott's monograph on Numbers is also a useful compendium of historical symbolism.

First, the Golden Dawn attribution of the four elements to the four suits of the Tarot are commonsense. I have laid out the four aces to complete novices who instinctively worked out the same attribution of elemental fire to the wands/batons, water to cups, air to swords, and earth to disks/coins.

The Tarot contrasts to the interesting Minchate decks that include trump cards for the four elements proper (albeit in a different order - Fire, Water, Earth, and Air):

Perhaps the best historical (and Traditional) outline and summary of the symbolism of the four elements and their nature can be found in Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book I,  Chap. iii. "Of the four Elements, their qualities, and mutuall mixtions."

There are four Elements, and originall grounds of all corporeall things, Fire, Earth, Water, Aire, of which all elementated inferiour bodies are compounded; not by way of heaping them up together, but by transmutation, and union; and when they are destroyed, they are resolved into Elements. For there is none of the sensible Elements that is pure, but they are more or less mixed, and apt to be changed one into the other: Even as Earth becoming dirty, and being dissolved, becomes Water, and the same being made thick and hard, becometh Earth again; but being evaporated through heat, passeth into Aire, and that being kindled, passeth into Fire, and this being extinguished, returns back again into Aire, but being cooled again after its burning, becometh Earth, or Stone, or Sulphur, and this is manifested by Lightening [lightning]: Plato also was of that opinion, that Earth was wholly changeable, and that the rest of the Elements are changed, as into this, so into one another successively. But it is the opinion of the subtiller sort of Philosophers, that Earth is not changed, but relented and mixed with other Elements, which do dissolve it, and that it returns back into it self again. Now, every one of the Elements hath two specificall qualities, the former whereof it retains as proper to it self, in the other, as a mean, it agrees with that which comes next after it. For Fire is hot and dry, the Earth dry and cold, the Water cold and moist, the Aire moist and ot. And so after this manner the Elements, according to two contrary qualities, are contrary one to the other, as Fire to Water, and Earth to Aire. Moreover, the Elements are upon another account opposite one to the other: For some are heavy, as Earth and Water, and others are light, as Aire and Fire. Wherefore the Stoicks called the former passives, but the latter actives. And yet once again Plato distinguished them after another manner, and assigns to every one of them three qualities, viz. to the Fire brightness, thinness and motion, but to the Earth darkness, thickness and quietness. And according to these qualities the Elements of Fire and Earth are contrary. But the other Elements borrow their qualities from these, so that the Aire receives two qualities of the Fire, thinness and motion; and one of the Earth, viz. darkness. In like manner Water receives two qualities of the Earth, darkness and thickness, and one of Fire, viz. motion. But Fire is twice more thin then Aire, thrice more movable, and four times more bright: and the Aire is twice more bright, thrice more thin, and four times more moveable then Water. Wherefore Water is twice more bright then Earth, thrice more thin, and four times more movable. As therefore the Fire is to the Aire, so Aire is to the Water, and Water to the Earth; and again, as the Earth is to the Water, so is the Water to the Aire, and the Aire to the Fire. And this is the root and foundation of all bodies, natures, vertues, and wonderfull works; and he which shall know these qualities of the Elements, and their mixtions, shall easily bring to pass such things that are wonderfull, and astonishing, and shall be perfect in Magick.

Also See:
Chap. 4. Of a Three-fold Consideration of the Elements.
Chap. 5. Of the Wonderful Natures of Fire and Earth.
Chap. 6. Of the Wonderful Natures of Water, Air and Winds.

For the historical Tarot suits we must fall back on Traditional practice of correspondence rather than direct obvious representation such as found in the Minchiate trumps. Here we have the Tarot suits: Batons (Fire); Cups (Water); Swords/Daggers (Air); and Discs/Coins (Earth):

Above we have picture the four aces, attributed to the monad, unitary concept, the numeral 1. In Manly P. Hall's summary of classical sources we read:

Monad--1--is so called because it remains always in the same condition--that is, separate from multitude. Its attributes are as follows: It is called mind, because the mind is stable and has preeminence; hermaphrodism, because it is both male and female; odd and even, for being added to the even it makes odd, and to the odd, even; God, because it is the beginning and end of all, but itself has neither beginning nor end; good, for such is the nature of God; the receptacle of matter, because it produces the duad, which is essentially material.

By the Pythagoreans monad was called chaos, obscurity, chasm, Tartarus, Styx, abyss, Lethe, Atlas, Axis, Morpho (a name for Venus), and Tower or Throne of Jupiter, because of the great power which abides in the center of the universe and controls the circular motion of the planers about itself. Monad is also called germinal reason, because it is the origin of all the thoughts in the universe. Other names given to it were: Apollo, because of its relation to the sun; Prometheus, because he brought man light; Pyralios, one who exists in fire; geniture, because without it no number can exist; substance, because substance is primary; cause of truth; and constitution of symphony: all these because it is the primordial one.

Between greater and lesser the monad is equal; between intention and remission it is middle; in multitude it is mean; and in time it is now, because eternity knows neither past nor future. It is called Jupiter, because he is Father and head of the gods; Vesta, the fire of the home, because it is located in the midst of the universe and remains there inclining to no side as a dot in a circle; form, because it circumscribes, comprehends, and terminates; love, concord, and piety, because it is indivisible. Other symbolic names for the monad are ship, chariot, Proteus (a god capable of changing his form), Mnemosyne, and Polyonymous (having many names).

See also:
Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book II, Chap. iv.  Of Unity, and the Scale thereof 
W.W. Westcott's Numbers, Their Occult Power and Mystic Virtues, The Monad. 1.

Above are pictured the four deuces, reflecting duality and the number 2. Again, from Hall:

The following symbolic names were given to the duad--2--because it has been divided, and is two rather than one; and when there are two, each is opposed to the other: genius, evil, darkness, inequality, instability, movability, boldness, fortitude, contention, matter, dissimilarity, partition between multitude and monad, defect, shapelessness, indefiniteness, indeterminate ness, harmony, tolerance, root, feet of fountain-abounding idea, top, Phanes, opinion, fallacy, alterity, diffidence, impulse, death, motion, generation, mutation, division, longitude, augmentation, composition, communion, misfortune, sustentation, imposition, marriage, soul, and science.

In his book, Numbers, W. Wynn Westcott says of the duad: "it was called 'Audacity,' from its being the earliest number to separate itself from the Divine One; from the 'Adytum of God-nourished Silence,' as the Chaldean oracles say."
As the monad is the father, so the duad is the mother; therefore, the duad has certain points in common with the goddesses Isis, Rhea (Jove's mother), Phrygia, Lydia, Dindymene (Cybele), and Ceres; Erato (one of the Muses); Diana, because the moon is forked; Dictynna, Venus, Dione, Cytherea; Juno, because she is both wife and sister of Jupiter; and Maia, the mother of Mercury.

While the monad is the symbol of wisdom, the duad is the symbol of ignorance, for in it exists the sense of separateness--which sense is the beginning of ignorance. The duad, however, is also the mother of wisdom, for ignorance--out of the nature of itself--invariably gives birth to wisdom.

The Pythagoreans revered the monad but despised the duad, because it was the symbol of polarity. By the power of the duad the deep was created in contradistinction to the heavens. The deep mirrored the heavens and became the symbol of illusion, for the below was merely a reflection of the above. The below was called maya, the illusion, the sea, the Great Void, and to symbolize it the Magi of Persia carried mirrors. From the duad arose disputes and contentions, until by bringing the monad between the duad, equilibrium was reestablished by the Savior-God, who took upon Himself the form of a number and was crucified between two thieves for the sins of men.

See also:
Agrippa, Book II, Chap. v.  Of the Number of Two, and the Scale thereof.
Westcott, The Dyad. 2. http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/nop/nop08.htm

M.P. Hall's summary:

The triad--3--is the first number actually odd (monad not always being considered a number). It is the first equilibrium of unities; therefore, Pythagoras said that Apollo gave oracles from a tripod, and advised offer of libation three times. The keywords to the qualities of the triad are friendship, peace, justice, prudence, piety, temperance, and virtue. The following deities partake of the principles of the triad: Saturn (ruler of time), Latona, Cornucopiæ, Ophion (the great serpent), Thetis, Hecate, Polyhymnia (a Muse), Pluto, Triton, President of the Sea, Tritogenia, Achelous, and the Faces, Furies, and Graces. This number is called wisdom, because men organize the present, foresee the future, and benefit by the experiences of the fast. It is cause of wisdom and understanding. The triad is the number of knowledge--music, geometry, and astronomy, and the science of the celestials and terrestrials. Pythagoras taught that the cube of this number had the power of the lunar circle.

The sacredness of the triad and its symbol--the triangle--is derived from the fact that it is made up of the monad and the duad. The monad is the symbol of the Divine Father and the duad of the Great Mother. The triad being made of these two is therefore androgynous and is symbolic of the fact that God gave birth to His worlds out of Himself, who in His creative aspect is always symbolized by the triangle. The monad passing into the duad was thus capable of becoming the parent of progeny, for the duad was the womb of Meru, within which the world was incubated and within which it still exists in embryo.

See also:
Agrippa: http://www.esotericarchives.com/agrippa/agrippa2.htm#chap6
Westcott:   http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/nop/nop09.htm

Manly P. Hall's summary:

The tetrad--4--was esteemed by the Pythagoreans as the primogenial number, the root of all things, the fountain of Nature and the most perfect number. All tetrads are intellectual; they have an emergent order and encircle the world as the Empyreum passes through it. Why the Pythagoreans expressed God as a tetrad is explained in a sacred discourse ascribed to Pythagoras, wherein God is called the Number of Numbers. This is because the decad, or 10, is composed of 1, 2, 3, and 4. The number 4 is symbolic of God because it is symbolic of the first four numbers. Moreover, the tetrad is the center of the week, being halfway between 1 and 7. The tetrad is also the first geometric solid.

Pythagoras maintained that the soul of man consists of a tetrad, the four powers of the soul being mind, science, opinion, and sense. The tetrad connects all beings, elements, numbers, and seasons; nor can anything be named which does not depend upon the tetractys. It is the Cause and Maker of all things, the intelligible God, Author of celestial and sensible good, Plutarch interprets this tetractys, which he said was also called the world, to be 36, consisting of the first four odd numbers added to the first four even numbers, thus:

1 + 3 +5 +7 = 16
2 + 4 + 6 + 8= 20
16+20 =  36

Keywords given to the tetrad are impetuosity, strength, virility, two-mothered, and the key keeper of Nature, because the universal constitution cannot be without it. It is also called harmony and the first profundity. The following deities partook of the nature of the tetrad: Hercules, Mercury, Vulcan, Bacchus, and Urania (one of the Muses).

The triad represents the primary colors and the major planets, while the tetrad represents the secondary colors and the minor planets. From the first triangle come forth the seven spirits, symbolized by a triangle and a square. These together form the Masonic apron.

See also:
Agrippa: http://www.esotericarchives.com/agrippa/agrippa2.htm#chap7
Westcott: http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/nop/nop11.htm

From M.P. Hall:

The pentad--5--is the union of an odd and an even number (3 and 2). Among the Greeks, the pentagram was a sacred symbol of light, health, and vitality. It also symbolized the fifth element--ether--because it is free from the disturbances of the four lower elements. It is called equilibrium, because it divides the perfect number 10 into two equal parts.

The pentad is symbolic of Nature, for, when multiplied by itself it returns into itself, just as grains of wheat, starting in the form of seed, pass through Nature's processes and reproduce the seed of the wheat as the ultimate form of their own growth. Other numbers multiplied by themselves produce other numbers, but only 5 and 6 multiplied by themselves represent and retain their original number as the last figure in their products.

The pentad represents all the superior and inferior beings. It is sometimes referred to as the hierophant, or the priest of the Mysteries, because of its connection with the spiritual ethers, by means of which mystic development is attained. Keywords of the pentad are reconciliation, alternation, marriage, immortality, cordiality, Providence, and sound. Among the deities who partook of the nature of the pentad were Pallas, Nemesis, Bubastia (Bast), Venus, Androgynia, Cytherea, and the messengers of Jupiter.

The tetrad (the elements) plus the monad equals the pentad. The Pythagoreans taught that the elements of earth, fire, air, and water were permeated by a substance called ether--the basis of vitality and life. Therefore, they chose the five-pointed star, or pentagram, as the symbol of vitality, health, and interpenetration.

It was customary for the philosophers to conceal the element of earth under the symbol of a dragon, and many of the heroes of antiquity were told to go forth and slay the dragon. Hence, they drove their sword (the monad) into the body of the dragon (the tetrad). This resulted in the formation of the pentad, a symbol of the victory of the spiritual nature over the material nature. The four elements are symbolized in the early Biblical writings as the four rivers that poured out of Garden of Eden. The elements themselves are under the control of the composite Cherubim of Ezekiel.

From M.P. Hall:

The Pythagoreans held the hexad--6--to represent, as Clement of Alexandria conceived, the creation of the world according to both the prophets and the ancient Mysteries. It was called by the Pythagoreans the perfection of all the parts. This number was particularly sacred to Orpheus, and also to the Fate, Lachesis, and the Muse, Thalia. It was called the form of forms, the articulation of the universe, and the maker of the soul.

Among the Greeks, harmony and the soul were considered to be similar in nature, because all souls are harmonic. The hexad is also the symbol of marriage, because it is formed by the union of two triangles, one masculine and the other feminine. Among the keywords given to the hexad are: time, for it is the measure of duration; panacea, because health is equilibrium, and the hexad is a balance number; the world, because the world, like the hexad, is often seen to consist of contraries by harmony; omnisufficient, because its parts are sufficient for totality (3 +2 + 1 = 6); unwearied, because it contains the elements of immortality.

Manly P. Hall:

By the Pythagoreans the heptad--7--was called "worthy of veneration." It was held to be the number of religion, because man is controlled by seven celestial spirits to whom it is proper for him to make offerings. It was called the number of life, because it was believed that human creatures born in the seventh month of embryonic life usually lived, but those born in the eighth month often died. One author called it the Motherless Virgin, Minerva, because it was nor born of a mother but out of the crown, or the head of the Father, the monad. Keywords of the heptad are fortune, occasion, custody, control, government, judgment, dreams, voices, sounds, and that which leads all things to their end. Deities whose attributes were expressed by the heptad were Ægis, Osiris, Mars, and Cleo (one of the Muses).

Among many ancient nations the heptad is a sacred number. The Elohim of the Jews were supposedly seven in number. They were the Spirits of the Dawn, more commonly known as the Archangels controlling the planets. The seven Archangels, with the three spirits controlling the sun in its threefold aspect, constitute the 10, the sacred Pythagorean decad. The mysterious Pythagorean tetractys, or four rows of dots, increasing from 1 to 4, was symbolic of the stages of creation. The great Pythagorean truth that all things in Nature are regenerated through the decad, or 10, is subtly preserved in Freemasonry through these grips being effected by the uniting of 10 fingers, five on the hand of each person.

The 3 (spirit, mind, and soul) descend into the 4 (the world), the sum being the 7, or the mystic nature of man, consisting of a threefold spiritual body and a fourfold material form. These are symbolized by the cube, which has six surfaces and a mysterious seventh point within. The six surfaces are the directions: north, east, south, west, up, and down; or, front, back, right, left, above, and below; or again, earth, fire, air, water, spirit, and matter. In the midst of these stands the 1, which is the upright figure of man, from whose center in the cube radiate six pyramids. From this comes the great occult axiom: "The center is the father of the directions, the dimensions, and the distances."

The heptad is the number of the law, because it is the number of the Makers of Cosmic law, the Seven Spirits before the Throne.


M.P. Hall:

The ogdoad--8--was sacred because it was the number of the first cube, which form had eight corners, and was the only evenly-even number under 10 (1-2-4-8-4-2-1). Thus, the 8 is divided into two 4's, each 4 is divided into two 2's, and each 2 is divided into two 1's, thereby reestablishing the monad. Among the keywords of the ogdoad are love, counsel, prudence, law, and convenience. Among the divinities partaking of its nature were Panarmonia, Rhea, Cibele, Cadmæa, Dindymene, Orcia, Neptune, Themis, and Euterpe (a Muse).

The ogdoad was a mysterious number associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece and the Cabiri. It was called the little holy number. It derived its form partly from the twisted snakes on the Caduceus of Hermes and partly from the serpentine motion of the celestial bodies; possibly also from the moon's nodes.

M.P. Hall's summary:

The ennead--9--was the first square of an odd number (3x3). It was associated with failure and shortcoming because it fell short of the perfect number 10 by one. It was called the called the number of man, because of the nine months of his embryonic life. Among its keywords are ocean and horizon, because to the ancients these were boundless. The ennead is the limitless number because there is nothing beyond it but the infinite 10. It was called boundary and limitation, because it gathered all numbers within itself. It was called the sphere of the air, because it surrounded the numbers as air surrounds the earth, Among the gods and goddesses who partook in greater or less degree of its nature were Prometheus, Vulcan, Juno, the sister and wife of Jupiter, Pæan, and Aglaia, Tritogenia, Curetes, Proserpine, Hyperion, and Terpsichore (a Muse).

The 9 was looked upon as evil, because it was an inverted 6. According to the Eleusinian Mysteries, it was the number of the spheres through which the consciousness passed on its way to birth. Because of its close resemblance to the spermatozoon, the 9 has been associated with germinal life.

From M.P. Hall:

The decad--10--according to the Pythagoreans, is the greatest of numbers, not only because it is the tetractys (the 10 dots) but because it comprehends all arithmetic and harmonic proportions. Pythagoras said that 10 is the nature of number, because all nations reckon to it and when they arrive at it they return to the monad. The decad was called both heaven and the world, because the former includes the latter. Being a perfect number, the decad was applied by the Pythagoreans to those things relating to age, power, faith, necessity, and the power of memory. It was also called unwearied, because, like God, it was tireless. The Pythagoreans divided the heavenly bodies into ten orders. They also stated that the decad perfected all numbers and comprehended within itself the nature of odd and even, moved and unmoved, good and ill. They associated its power with the following deities: Atlas (for it carried the numbers on its shoulders), Urania, Mnemosyne, the Sun, Phanes, and the One God.

Hall concludes his summary with the comment, "The decimal system can probably be traced back to the time when it was customary to reckon on the fingers, these being among the most primitive of calculating devices and still in use among many aboriginal peoples." This hints at one of the diverse ways the Tarot reflects directly the primordial symbolism of human anatomy and how it relates from Microcosm to Macrocosm in the Traditional Hermetic sense.

The foundational symbolism of the four elements combined with the traditional meanings of the numbers 1-10 are just two factors in the potential interpretation of the 40 minor suit cards of the Tarot. There are also Cabalistic and Astrological attributions worth considering insofar as they coherently align with the underlying numerical structure of the Tarot, which will probably be the subject of future blog entries. There is also a substantial body of material derived from the Bible bearing on the interpretation of the numbers 1-10, enough to warrant a separate essay.

None of this is fluidly self-evident at first encounter, only through prolonged consideration and personal elaboration does any of this become meaningful or coherent. In any event, this traditional method of correlating the various manifestations of these symbolic structures is rewarding in itself to anyone inclined to the study of symbols even at the superficial level of humanistic "psychology", and building from the ground up, by way of working from the ancient and traditional sources is much deeper and substantial than the pre-masticated over-cooked "what does it mean" quick-fix offered in the pulp paper mill of mainstream "occult" and "spiritual" books on the Tarot. Just this quick blog post drawing on publicly available material online offers something more substantial than the contents of most books on the subject, at least for anyone of intelligence willing to work through the arcane and archaic original source materials on their own.

More in the future.


Recommended reading:
Agrippa, H.C. Three Books of Occult Philosophy. (Cthonios Books).
Anon. Meditations on the Tarot.
Cirlot, E.J. Dictionary of Symbols.
Decker, R. and Dummett, M. A Wicked Pack of Cards, A History of the Occult Tarot.
Evola, Julius. The Hermetic Tradition, Revolt Against the Modern World, Mysteries of the Grail.
Guenon, Rene. Crisis of the Modern World, Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, Symbols of Sacred Science, The Esotericism of Dante.
Hall, M.P. The Secret Teachings of All Ages. (Dover Books).
Huson, Paul. The Mystical Origins of the Tarot.
Jodorowsky, Alejandro. The Tarot.
Kaplan, S. Encyclopedia of the Tarot (4 vols).
Place, Robert. The Tarot.


Randall van der Sterren said...

Pseudo-intellectual silliness. The tarot deck was invented as a card game. It has no mystical powers. You are simply imposing your romantic fantasies on ink and paper.

JDS said...

The Tarot was created as a card game, the trumps incorporate the same type of symbolic and allegorical images as lot books, and other art and artifacts from the period. The minor cards do not, this post does nothing more than outline how the numerical structure of the lesser cards might have met with a symbolic or esoteric interpretation at the time, before the 19th century.

Yes, it is deliberately reading symbolism into it, but not "mystical powers" you are either mistaking me for someone else or for your own fetish straw-man. If that is the case, you are invited to read elsewhere and won't be missed.

Most of the books in the suggested reading list debunk the bogus 19th century theories of "mystical origins" - even the book entitled "The Mystical Origins of the Tarot." So whatever shit you step in here is your own.

pestilence said...
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