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reconsidering a cathar connection

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foolish  foolish is offline
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to answer your question; do you think the Church wanted the populace to read?
i doubt it, since at the time, it was still illegal for anyone other than a priest to carry a bible.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foolish
they also banned depictions of the pope on playing cards. but it appears that didn't stop the card makers from including his image in their decks.
When did that happen?? Do you have any information on this ban? The decks that removed the Papal cards tend to be from Protestant regions and were probably more about denying the power of the Pope as well as making the cards more secular.
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one source comes from a sermon from 1500:
"There is nothing so hateful to God as the game of Trumps [the tarot] … for Trumps are said, so it is believed, to have been given their names by the Devil…. In it not only are God, the angels, the planets, and the cardinal virtues represented and named, but also the world’s luminaries, I mean the
Pope and the Emperor, are forced, a thing which is degrading and
ridiculous to Christians, to enter into the game".
cynthia giles, the tarot: history, mystery and lore, p.7
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Sorry - I meant the ban on depicting the Pope in particular as you stated, rather than this well-known sermon against the Trumps in general, which is, of course, famous and beloved among tarotists for containing the first list of titles of the cards.
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I don't mean to sound so negative here, and for this, I must apologize. Time is short and so I haven't wanted to get into long posts and lots of detail right now. I'll be interested to see the book.

Here's my version from about ten years ago of a cosmological diagram that people in the Renaissance might have recognized and that could have formed the basis of an educational game (giuoco). It draws largely from the names, order and comments of the Sermones de Ludo Cum Aliis (“Discourses on a Game (played) with Others”), the earliest written description of the Trionfos. I’ve also based the story-line on suggestions made by Andrea Vitali and Gertrude Moakley. I published it in the revised edition of Tarot for Your Self.

"First comes the Bagatella (Juggler) who is “lowest of all.” [This person of “trifling importance” became the prototype for the comedia de l’arte figure known as Bagatino, a mountebank spouting idiotic patter. Moakley proposed this card as the “Carnival King” who would eventually be overthrown by the figure of Lent (the Fool).]

"Next we encounter the worldly guides of Imperatrix (Empress) and Imperator (Emperor), followed by spiritual guidance which warns us against denying our Christian faith, La Papessa (The Popess), and remaining strong in sanctity, El Papa (The Pope).

"We are taught to moderate our lives, La Temperantia (Temperance), to make us fit for “Love,” L’amore (Love). And, we must have victory over the mundane world, Lo caro triumphale (The Triumphal Cart), requiring resolution and strength, La forteza (Force).

"But, when we reach the height of our reign, fate turns the wheel, La rotta (The Wheel), and we descend the other side. Time and age bend us, El gobbo (The Hunchback), and as traitors, Lo impichato (The Hanged Man), we are powerless against death, La morte (Death).

"We proceed either to hell, El diavolo (The Devil), or through lightning and celestial fires, La sagitta (The Arrow), to the Heavenly Bodies above where we meet our fate: La stella (The Star), La luna (The Moon), El sole (The Sun). “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations.” Luke 21: 25.

"We will then be called before the Angel of the Last Judgment, Lo angelo (The Angel), where Divine Justice triumphs over all, La iusticia (Justice), and we enter into the presence of God, El mondo, cioe Dio Padre (The World, namely God the Father).

"Whether we fail to recognize God or do recognize him, we release all worldly attachments and become mad in the sight of the world. El matto (The Madman) is without any value (unless the players wish)."
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foolish  foolish is offline
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i know that there is no hard evidence of an "official" ban on the cards. what i am basing my opinion on is the fact that sermons like the one above should indicate that there was a general sentiment among people at the local level, at which the priest responded to.

thanks for your interpretation of the cards. what this shows me is that there really isn't one theory of the tarot that passes everyone's approval. in the same light, i am not out to "prove" the theory of the cathar connection. no one has been able to accomplish an open and shut case to date. what i hope to do is to add to the discussion of the possibility of that theory by introducing, not only the historical facts of the time, but my interpretation of the images in the cards within that context - something i don't believe has been done. to this end i hope i will have succeded and i hope that others will find it a "good read".

if you are interested, i have just published my website http://www.thesecretofthetarot.com , and you can preview the first part of the book through the introduction on one of the pages. i hope i'm not be too self serving, but i thought you might get a better idea of what its about this way.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foolish
what i am basing my opinion on is the fact that sermons like the one above should indicate that there was a general sentiment among people at the local level, at which the priest responded to.
That's where the problem lies. Are you assuming that the priest is just quoting the opinions of the general public, or is he a relatively lone voice preaching against a game that is generally accepted by the public? He appears to have been more of a lone voice protesting something that others enjoyed (to his dismay).

For the most part, Tarot was not banned and playing cards, in general, went in and out of banned periods depending on where the 'powers that be' wanted to direct people's attention. Often card games were allowed during holidays (like Christmas) because then they didn't interfere with work—so it wasn't always a religious ban.

Quote:
thanks for your interpretation of the cards. what this shows me is that there really isn't one theory of the tarot that passes everyone's approval.
The summary I gave is a very rough outline of something that I think you'll find is close to what's proposed by a great many people who are familiar with the history of the period. Sure there are differences depending on which regional Trump order you are considering and whether there were originally only 14 Trumps, and whether you are speaking for those who scorn the Trumps or those who enjoyed them, but the sentiments are generally quite similar.

However, within the first hundred years or so, one of the games played with the cards was for poets to make up verses to tell a variety of tales especially about the people they might represent. It was called tarocchi appropriati. The card's originial purpose may have been such a playful one, in which the cards, like letters in scrabble, were supposed to be arranged in a variety of creative ways.

There's this poem from Teofilio Folengo’s 1527 work Caos del Triperiuno (written under the pseudonym Merlini Cocai), which considers the Trumps in terms of a dialog between Love and Death. [Note: Death is the feminine voice: La Morte.]

Love, under whose Empire many deeds (6, 4)
go without Time and without Fortune, (9, 10)
saw Death, ugly and dark, on a Chariot, (13, 7)
going among the people it took away from the World. (21)
She asked: “No Pope nor Papesse was ever won (5, 2)
by you. Do you call this Justice?” (8 )
He answered: “He who made the Sun and the Moon (19, 18 )
defended them from my Strength. (11)
“What a Fool I am,” said Love, “my Fire, (0, 16)
that can appear as an Angel or as a Devil (20, 15)
can be Tempered by some others who live under my Star. (14, 17)
You are the Empress[Ruler] of bodies. But you cannot kill hearts, (3)
you only Suspend them. You have a name of high Fame, (12)
but you are nothing but a Trickster.” (1)
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foolish  foolish is offline
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what i assume from sermons such as that quoted is that it represents a reaction to a certain atmosphere or sentiment among the common people and not just some random rantings of a solitary priest alone in the midst of an ocean of opposing ideas. usually, i would imagine, a priest will speak about issues which are pertinent to the behavior of his congregation. so the quoted reference should indicate a position of the catholic point of view, regardless of whether the pope issued an official declaration to that effect. it indicates the sentiment of the clurgy, unless you dismiss it to the rantings of a lone renegade priest. and even if we consider that this priest's opinion was in the minority among the overshadowing concensus of the greater church, we should not dismiss it as invalid. most companies understand, for example, that one complaint from a customer usually represents dozens more people with the same opinions who didn't bother to write in. due to the fact that we have a limited amount of information as to how people thought 500 years ago, we should take this type of reference into account. at least that's how i feel.

regarding your feelings about the meaning of the cards, even if we were to agree that there was a majority of experts who had a particular view, the fact that there are others who disagree tells me that this is not a closed issue. we can not adhere validity simply to numbers.
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foolish, I looked at your introduction on line. It's nicely written and I'm interested.

So. If almost all Cathars are wiped out by the mid-1300's, and the Cary sheet shows up around 1500--let's say there's a gap of at last 100 years, five generations, more if the symbolism isn't inserted onto the cards until the Noblet or later.

For the few hidden Cathar descendents, what would be the point? If their method of passing on secrets worked for five generations, why encode those secrets onto playing cards?
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the first part of your question involves the actual time between the demise of the cathars and the intorduction of the first tarot cards. although the cary sheet may be around 1500, there are tarot decks from the early to mid 1400's with very similar images. going back, we know that although the last cathars were officially persecuted by the inquisition in the early to mid 1300's, there is ample evidence of fugitives escaping to towns in northern italy, where they were protected by more tollerant groups, including perhaps some cathar communities which existed there. in addition, some of the cathars could have blended in with other "heretical" sects like the humiliati, spiritual francisicans, beguins etc. who remained in existence up through the time the tarot was being introduced. so the time factor is not that much of a stretch to me.

the other part of your question as to why bother is a good one. we can only guess as to whether there was a motive strong enough to persuade someone or some group of people to hide their existing oral tradition in the form of the trumps. i think the significance and impact of the events surrounding the albigensian crusade and its aftermath support the level of importance for some to continue the story. the translation to the cards from an oral tradition might be a result of those people at the time who could imagine the story dying out if left only to its oral continuation. it may also have to do with a change in the way information was being disseminated at the time. the invention of the printing press in the 1400's could have changed the media in the same way that the internet has shifted many to write on line instead of in books - letters become emails, companies market their products on the web rather than on bilboards or magazines. we can see the effect this is happening as many newpaper companies are going broke.

i'm very happy and encouraged that you are interested in the book after going through the introduction. i look forward to talking about the issue with others after they have done the same. perhaps you can leave some feedback in that thread. that might be a better place for this part of our discussion. (is that too self-endulgent)?
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