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new to unillustrated pip decks

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 07 Jan 2004, and now archived in the Forum Library.



~X~  07 Jan 2004 
I've been working with unillustrated pip decks lately, and I have to confess....I'm a little confused. I know that I'm supposed to combine numerology with the four suits but I can't always come up with a meaning. In addition, I've been studying numerology a bit and there seems to be a difference of opinion on what numbers 5, 6, and 7 mean. I'd really like to master this. Any suggestions? 


Aerten  07 Jan 2004 
Hmmm. Sorry I can't help you too much with this one, ~X~; I'm with you! There are so many definitions to each card and to each number that sometimes the connections between them are really a stretch. I recently got the Crystal Tarot, and I love the art on it, but whenever I pull a pip I just think of it in terms of how it's illustrated on my RWS deck, which really defeats the purpose of moving to a new deck in the first place. If anyone thinks they have any insights then please don't hesitate to speak! 


Jewel-ry  07 Jan 2004 
Aerten,

You should look on the General Study forum. A couple of us did try to start a study group for the Crystal Tarot and it certainly helped a little. We didn't get very far but I for one have not given up on it yet. We could do with some fresh ideas.

J :) 


~X~  07 Jan 2004 
Thanks Diana, I look forward to your post.

Aerten: Looks like we have the same dilemma. The Crystal is one of the decks I have that I'd like to get to know more. I also have the Hadar Marseille and Tarot Classic to master as well. If you don't mind me asking, how do you interpret 5s? Some say its a number of unrest and I also have seen it defined as the "number of the senses". Whatever THAT means. I realize that we have 5 senses, but how does that translate?

I'm willing to give the study group a chance.

At any rate, I'm glad I'm not alone. 


Aerten  07 Jan 2004 
I try and think of the fives as a difficulty with a bright side.

For example, when I was upset by the death of a classmate earlier this year, I drew the five of cups (there's a thread I started about that, but I'm not sure where that's gotten to...). I was using the RW deck, and the figure in it was obviously grieving, so in that, I saw myself and everyone affected by her death. Yet the three standing cups proved that not all was lost and that she was not completely gone; that we still had our memories of her and perhaps she is somewhere nice now...

On a more trivial note, recently I was having trouble in school, so I drew a card to see how I could improve my academic standings. I drew the five of wands, and realized that it was my fixation on little hinderances and details (I can be a bit of a perfectionist sometimes) that was getting in my way!

Hope that is a wee bit helpful. I'll try and locate that Crystal Tarot study group now... 


firemaiden  08 Jan 2004 
Wonderful thread. I'm a rank and file total beginner to non-scenic pips. I must say, I find most of the pips on the Crystal tarot very evocative however, and when I have attempted to read with them, I have made up meanings not based on numerology, exactly, but on the interraction of suit elements with eachother and with their background. Each illustration, though "non-scenic" it may be, has plenty of illustrative elements to chew on, and run with... or, is that cheating too? 


Le_Corsair  08 Jan 2004 
I've noticed that people who regularly use pip minor decks tend to do a lot of majors-only readings! :D

Bob :THERM 


firestorm  08 Jan 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Diana

5 is the 5th element - the Ether without which all the other elements would not be able to function.


Forgive my ignorance, but I don't know what this means. 


~X~  08 Jan 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by firestorm
Forgive my ignorance, but I don't know what this means.


Me neither. Maybe I'll stick to the decks I know. 


Macavity  08 Jan 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Le_Corsair
I've noticed that people who regularly use pip minor decks tend to do a lot of majors-only readings! :D

Bob :THERM


Shush! :laugh: But I have been using (remebered) Thoth keywords - with a few added highlights from my ersatz-numerology, for reading pip decks. But in fact, if you analyse a lot of pip readings they DO seem to quite closely resemble these. But I happen to think there is a (justifiable) reason for that! Namely that the first deck illustrators based their images on "traditional" meanings of pip decks. ISTR that e.g. Pappus' meanings (which underpin some later occult decks?) were derived from an Italian Marseille variant. Fwiw, I think it is these static meanings that do indeed form the underlying meaning of Tarot... if there is one...

I sense there are other "meaning" variants, perhaps based on traditional French cartomancy - The "big lady's oracle" etc. But these seem more difficult to pin down... Lo Scarabeo seem to be quite fond of one of these in their pipless LWBs ;)

But that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :P

Macavity 


firemaiden  08 Jan 2004 
My goodness! don't give up so soon!!
I don't know exactly what it means either, but I'll venture a guess, until Diana can rescue us from the dark...

In tarot there are four "elements" - earth, air, fire, water. (Right, of course if you look at the periodic table, none of those are elements, and if we had a suit for each true element, the deck wouldn't fit in the box, but ANYWAY....) if you go along with the ancient notion that the world is made of up four "elements", when you say the "fifth" element is the "ether" you mean, the element which transcends and rises above all the other elements, or, the element which is "out of this world" is the "ether". The ether is another old word for the "heavens"or "spirit" the stuff the Gods breathe, the stuff heavenly bodies are made of...

Aether

- it is also the "fifth essence" of the alchemists - the "quintessence", here is an entirely incomprehensible website on the matter: The Alchemist's Ether - Quintessence of the Elements 


Diana  08 Jan 2004 
I hope that no-one will give up.... and also I want to point out that the Crystal Tarot has, in my opinion, minors pips that are almost scenic. To me they are a bridge between the two different kinds of decks.

firemaiden has explained more or less what ether is. But as I had already drafted a post while I was cooking lunch, I'm not going to waste it.

Ether is, in occidental esoterism, the fifth element - the other four are Earth, Water, Fire and Air, which we find in Tarot.

Ether is the element that transcends all the others. And at the same it is is the ORIGIN of all the other elements. It also contains them all.

Someone once said that Ether is the common denominator - but I wouldn't know about that.

The Hindus call Ether "Akasha", which is where the word "Akashic Records" come from. So it is not only Western esoterists who believe in Ether..... only it is us who call it the fifth element because we have defined our world around the four previously mentioned and which are used in Tarot. (The Chinese for instance, have more than four.) Akasha, by the way, means "center".

It is Ether that allows the Great Magicians to transport themselves instantly from one place to another.... or to be in two places at once.

I have also seen Ether called the "space" where everything happens.

The Alchemists, who had an influence - direct or indirect is a matter of discussion for the Historical forum - were very interested in Ether.... and the four elements and Ether were the basis of their beliefs (I think.....).

Although Ether was for a long time more of the domain of esoterists, physical scientists have become interested in it too. Not only interested, but they realise that if they do not understand it, they will never pierce the mystery of antimatter, the origin of mass, superconductivity.

Now is anyone still interested in unillustrated pips, or are we just going to make a nice little pot-pourri of RWS meanings, Eteilla meanings and the memories of what we have glimpsed on our other scenic-minor decks?

There was a thread started by Lee, I think, recently, (or else he put his post in another thread.... I can't recall now) where he explains a system he developed to to read unillustrated pips.... I will see if I can find it. Because it was thought out with very great care, and may be useful for those people who want to use RWS meanings as well to read unillustrated pips. 


null  08 Jan 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Diana
Now is anyone still interested in unillustrated pips, or are we just going to make a nice little pot-pourri of RWS meanings, Eteilla meanings and the memories of what we have glimpsed on our other scenic-minor decks?


I thank you so much Diana, for always going out of your way to try to explain "unillustrated" pips. I think the biggest problem is that there just aren't enough (any?) books targeted to English speakers/readers who actually WANT to learn to read Marseilles or other pre-Waite or non-scenic pip decks, without just applying Waite meanings to the cards. (I mean, why not just use a RWS deck or clone if you want those meanings?)

For example, I anxiously awaited Jane Lyle's "The Tarot Set" which included a Conver Marseilles deck, and a book. I almost tossed the book across the room when I saw not only RWS meanings tacked onto every card, but also images and descriptions of Waite cards! (IE: "On the magician's table there is a cup, pentacle, sword and wand" -- ARGH!) The "minor arcana" section shows nothing but RWS cards. Hello? This is a 174-page book that's part of a set which includes a Marseilles deck! :mad:

For now, it's only this site's History & Iconography forum which keeps my sanity intact. :D I very highly recommend it to anyone trying to read non-scenic pips. (Check the forum table of contents. Go now.) 


~X~  08 Jan 2004 
Ok, I can follow all that. I'm anticipating the exciting and creative parts now. ;)

Actually, I didn't want to apply RW meanings. I'm with null, I'll just use scenic pip decks if I want that.

Quote:
Originally posted by Diana
Welcome to Aeclectic ~X~ :)

Then when you link those energies to the elements; and when you link the energy of the numbers themselves to the elements; and then when you...... (I'll be back here tomorrow to explain one of the most exciting and creative parts, well, for me anyway.)
 


Macavity  08 Jan 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Diana
Now is anyone still interested in unillustrated pips, or are we just going to make a nice little pot-pourri of RWS meanings, Eteilla meanings and the memories of what we have glimpsed on our other scenic-minor decks?
Uhm... Yes (to the first)? But (my) post was an observation that the latter does indeed happen and is not necessarily a recommendation. ;) But I do think a notion of there being a great commonality between pip and... pip-free (seedless?) decks is valid. How could any system based on roughly the same underlying (number/suite) structure not be so? That e.g. "occultists" got their hands on this (more uniform?) structure and imposed astrological or kaballistic overrides on it also seems to be the case. Witness their gymnastics explain the "sorrow" content of the three of swords? I'm still not quite convinced. Yet I view such things as being more intriguing than any wilfull heresy... })

I must admit to having not really understood "spirit" either. Such things did seem somewhat clearer on reading some magickal books? The notion is of spirit both binding AND seperating the elements. Without the latter, things might revert to a... uniform "goo"? :D This also to ties up with spirit is being invoked PRIOR to the elements in magickal ceremonies - It literally energises the other elements? As indeed it features in fundamental "five-ness" of the pentagram. I think one is struck by the closeness of these idea to the known properties of atoms - The long range attractive and short range repulsive force. The notion too of symmetry breaking in the early universe. But I sense one can also stretch such ideas a bit too far? ;)

Macavity 


Moonbow*  08 Jan 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Diana
Now, we have to go about this with some kind of method.... and eventually, perhaps, we will have enough interesting threads going to start up a proper Study Group in the Study Group forum. What would be the best way to go about it?


Diana,

I am so glad you said this, it takes me back to this thread:

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?threadid=19199


Now, I know not everyone is interested in Marseilles decks necessarily, but I think this is what I was trying to say.

~X~ , what I have been doing is systematically working through the cards threads. Go to History & Icon, then the Forum Table of contents. There are all the threads there relating to non-scenic pips - I found this really useful

Diana, I'm with you - lets start a study group........

[/i][/b]

Moonbow* :) 


Jewel-ry  08 Jan 2004 
So Diana,
Your going to be the shepherdess are you??
Whilst roaming with your sheep you may come across the resident AT shepherd !! :D

To everyone, dont give up on unillustrated pips whether Marseilles or Crystal, there is a lot more to these decks than meets the eye, as I'm just beginning to realise. Going off subject very briefly, check out the Empress's hands on the Crystal. She is holding hands with at least one other person. Only found this last night and then it was pointed out to me by my 14 year old! I've only been intensely studying this card since Monday and he just walked by and threw it into the conversation!

I too see the Crystal as being somewhere between the two different types of deck. On a serious note. I would love to see threads on this. I think there is so much to learn and no English literature to help with it. If you want to take it on Diana, I'll be glad to chip in as much as possible. You can take any number you like but since so many of us have the Crystal or a Marseille deck can we use those as examples, say!

J :) 


~X~  08 Jan 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by null
For now, it's only this site's History & Iconography forum which keeps my sanity intact. :D I very highly recommend it to anyone trying to read non-scenic pips. (Check the forum table of contents. Go now.)


I've been to that forum several times, null, and I don't seem to be able to find what I'm looking for. Most of the information there is way over my head and as far as history goes, all I'm interested in is, "How does it impact the meaning of the card?" Sorry if this sounds too simplistic but all I want to know is how to interpret the numbers with the suits. I've checked the forum's table of contents. There is a plethora of info on the trumps and the court cards but little in the way of minors. I looked in the thread called, "Deriving Divinatory Meanings of the Pip Cards of TdM" and its pretty much people talking about needing books on TdM in English (I agree) and the books that are out that use Waite meanings with TdM decks (I agree here too). I don't see anything in the way of connecting numerology with the suits. Any help is welcomed. 


Aoife  08 Jan 2004 
Aoife jumps up and down madly.....trying to attract Diana's attention!!

Me too!!!! Me too!!!!

((((((((((Diana)))))))))) thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!! 


~X~  08 Jan 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Diana
I am not an expert in unillustrated pips. I am a learner myself. But it's true that I have access to information and insights and teachers that Anglo-Saxons don't. So I will do my best to transmit the knowledge of the Wise Ones. And then perhaps someone will try and understand what I'm always going on about when I talk about the "Essence of Tarot". Because one cannot explain an Essence... only the heart can know. The Essence of Tarot belongs to the Papess - the guardian of Wisdom and of the Tarot itself.

Now, we have to go about this with some kind of method.... and eventually, perhaps, we will have enough interesting threads going to start up a proper Study Group in the Study Group forum. What would be the best way to go about it?

Do we start with ~X~'s question: what about the fives? All those who agree, say "aye". If someone has a better idea, let them speak up now (well, within the next 12 hours, let's say) or forever hold their peace. If we did the 5's, I would take the opportunity to explain that "creative" way, which is not my invention.... but Alain BrÍthes invention, a French tarologue and teacher, who helped me make the link between Numbers and the Elements. His books are not translated into English, so I hope he will not mind that I may paraphrase him rather extensively.

Also, I don't use Italian decks, only French decks, but I reckon that this will not matter - because they will be used as examples and not as a rule.


You don't have to be an expert, Diana. Any guidance is appreciated.

Starting with 5s is fine by me. I do think ultimately we should do all of the numerals and suits. I believe there would be more people interested in non scenic pips if there were some guidelines or ideas on all of them posted.  


null  08 Jan 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by ~X~
I've been to that forum several times, null, and I don't seem to be able to find what I'm looking for. Most of the information there is way over my head and as far as history goes, all I'm interested in is, "How does it impact the meaning of the card?" Sorry if this sounds too simplistic but all I want to know is how to interpret the numbers with the suits.


Ah, okay, I do see what you mean. I checked the ToC again, and see that there aren't so many threads linked there regarding pips. I have just reread the link which Moonbow* posted, and there's some good detail there on 6s in particular ... but I suppose I've just been recalling various posts I've seen in the forum which mention meanings of the pips in passing and such, and they are not indexed. (Whew, nice run-on sentence there!) So, I guess this brings me to:

Quote:
Originally posted by Diana
Now, we have to go about this with some kind of method.... and eventually, perhaps, we will have enough interesting threads going to start up a proper Study Group in the Study Group forum. What would be the best way to go about it? Do we start with ~X~'s question: what about the fives? All those who agree, say "aye".


Aye, if you're up for it! :) Sounds wonderful. 


Le_Corsair  08 Jan 2004 
I wouldn't mind seeing the study organized along the lines of Wolfy James' and Umbrae's study of the Vargo Gothic and the Gothic Tarot of Vampires, either a discussion of each single card, or if Diana isn't willing to do that, start with the Aces, then the two's, the three's, etc. That cuts down the number of threads to ten, unless you include the court cards, which I think you should.

Bob :THERM

p.s. I'd like to be included, too. 


~X~  08 Jan 2004 
I found the thread that Diana was talking about that has Lee's interpretation of numbers and suits. Please forgive me, but I don't know how to post links. The thread is titled "Interpreting Minors in Marseille Decks". It's in the H&I forum.

I'm not sure anyone came to a consensus in the thread though ;) 


Moonbow*  08 Jan 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by ~X~
I found the thread that Diana was talking about that has Lee's interpretation of numbers and suits. Please forgive me, but I don't know how to post links.


Here it is ~X~

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1614

Moonbow* 


Aerten  08 Jan 2004 
Oops, sorry, ~X~! I thought you were referring to 5's in any sense, not just in the unillustrated sense, and since the RW is a bit easier to explain than a 'non-scenic' one I thought it would clarify! :| That not being the case, I await others' ideas as well! Sorry about the misunderstanding, heh. :) 


Ironwing  08 Jan 2004 
Jana Riley's TAROT DICTIONARY AND COMPENDIUM has an interesting chart that compares the general number meanings used for several decks and authors. This way you can see the meanings change through several progressions from Ace to Ten - not just from the perspective of one deck or book. They are more similar than you might think. The differences are a matter of emphasis or word choice.

As the creator of a deck with "non-illustrated" pips, the best suggestion I can give you is to compare the decks you feel comfortable reading with (or want to read with) and make your own list. Then test it out and refine it as you do readings, to reveal inconsistencies and shed light on difficult cards (or numbers). This will give you a feel for the number cards very quickly, and will add depth to your readings even with "illustrated" decks.
In my deck, the objects themselves carry the meaning of the card by their number, use, shape, and associated drawings. This approach is natural for the deck's theme. I made my list of number card meanings before I started the drawings, and refined it as I created the cards and began to use them in comparative readings.


Lorena
Ironwing Tarot
http://www.mineralarts.com/artwork/artwork.html 


jmd  08 Jan 2004 
Slowly catching up on various threads...

just a quick note on the table of contents in the History and Iconography section and the study of pips. These are threads which have at various times been started, and still need to be added to and completed, so it is wonderful that others also want to participate.

Please do add to the various threads already in existence.

With regards to whether we will reach a concensus, I am not sure that is necessarily desirable - except in the sense that we may agree to continue to have various views and various insights which may add to and complement others' views.

I personally consider that a combined and integrated understanding of both the relationship of various numbers, in both their numerical and geometric patterns, combined with both elemental attributions and the ways the tools themselves may be used, all aid, in the background, the divinatory act. In the moment, however, a new insight specific to the situation may present itself.

Glad to see such interest :P 


Rusty Neon  09 Jan 2004 
The following threads, although about the Tarot de Marseille, have enough transferability to be potentially useful for signalling different approaches to non-scenic pip cards in general:

(1) http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=13467

(2) The thread below starts out talking about books but as you scroll later on into the thread there is discussion about approaches and about different systems of numerology:
http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1614 


Strange2  09 Jan 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Diana
We're not studying a particular card - it is far more general.

Like if we had decided to only study the Tarot of Marseilles.... then that may work (although I am not sure) but we are going to study a number of things here - numbers, elements, possibly even alchemy, sacred geometry (if there are any wise-guys who are able to enlighten us on the latter two). I have a feeling this group needs to be more supple.


After collecting and using a variety of decks, I am most definitely drawn to those with non-illlustrated or symbolic minors, such as the TdM, Balbi, Masonic, Eclectic, Esoterico, etc. This has also enticed me to start researching numeric / geometric topics in such fields as alchemy and sacred geometry.

So count me in for participating in non-illustrated pip deck threads or a study group! I am not a "wise guy" yet on these topics, but I'm looking forward to the reflections and research these types of discussion will engender. 


The new to unillustrated pip decks thread was originally posted on 07 Jan 2004 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the active threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

 
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