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Why Kris Hadar put the date 1181 on his Two of Deniers (Coins)

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Why Kris Hadar put the date 1181 on his Two of Deniers (Coins)


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thanks for posting this, interesting read.
now i for sure want this deck

kaz
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Diana is too kind - the 'wee bit of fine tuning' transformed my quick translation into a legible reply!

... and thanks for both contacting Kris Hadar, and making available his response.
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--What a lovely & captivating letter (& what a gentleman Kris Hadar appears to be). I know this thread is very old, but I'm pulling it up because it's so intriguing, & to inquire whether anyone around here has pursued any of these ideas, in the intervening years since Diana first posted it? --I've ordered the Romance of the Rose (in translation) by way of fumbling my way toward a pursuit of my own, but wonder if I'm way off-base. (?)
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Punchinella,

I had never read this thread before. The quantity and quality of the information given by Kris Hadar are, for those interested in the Tarot of Marseilles, a real treasure. It brings about issues that are tremendously important, not only to deepen our historical knowledge of the deck, but most of all - to decipher the inner spiritual path displayed in Tarot. And, since this forum is dedicated to “Marseilles & Other Early Decks”, I think I can simply say Tarot, when I am always referring to the Tarot of Marseilles.

So, thank you Kris Hadar, but in the first place thank you Diana - to ask the question is already half of the knowledge. And thank you Punchinella for pulling the thread. I also wonder if anyone here has pursued these ideas, but most of all, I believe it may be time for me to pursue them. In order to facilitate this, I’ve made a list of subjects present in Hadar’s letter that I think are very important:

- Tarot is an Occitanal creation. This is more than just saying Tarot comes from La Provence - of course, that is where the city of Marseilles is. But the “provençal”, or “Occitan”, and also “la langue d'Oc” is the language that the Church banned in 1245, on allegation that it was “essentially heretical”; from it derives what is still know as “the language of the birds”, (La Langue des Oiseaux), a sacred language that at one time hides and communicates several levels of esoteric knowledge. For those speaking French, a simple introductory text about it can be read in http://racines.traditions2.free.fr/t.../langoiso.pdf.

- The kind of spiritual knowledge Tarot presents would be related to “this Troubadour knowledge” of the Fin-Amore, something like courtly love. I found a short introduction to it in English, but you must take into account that it discusses courtly love from a somewhat exterior viewpoint, when the Art of Love and the venerated lady are indeed very deep and complex metaphors: http://www2.hanover.edu/battles/arthur/courtlylove.htm

- The mention that Tarot is above all the story of the Rose. What can we say about such a sentence?

If someone is interested about going deep into this “Marseilles quest”, count me in.

Silvia
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Thank you smleite, for clarifying/summarizing the main points here, this is quite helpful. Also, thank you for the links . . . not speaking French, I am unfortunately unable to investigate the first one (the link doesn't appear to be working for me right now anyway) but the second was quite interesting. Of particular note was the idea of courtly love representing an Islamic (Moorish) influence, carried up from Spain by troubadors . . . this caught my eye because of the suggested Mamluk origin of the minor arcana (although I don't at the moment have any real notion of dates on that, & a Mamluk influence would have come to the Oc region from the other direction anyway--???)

Robertmealing provided this link for me to view the Mamluk cards several days ago in another thread:

http://www.wopc.co.uk/mamluk/index.html

They do indeed look very like the minor arcana of tarot. Of course, I suppose it's possible that the trump system could have developed independently & been added to this Mamluk deck at a later date, in another place . . . but if courtly love is indeed the point . . . how can we leave court cards out of the equation?

And the Ace of Cups. I'm not sure why, but it weighs so heavily on my mind (& heart). Possibly as a personal symbol--of 'the quest'? --No, I think more than that.

Kris Hadar's suggestion that the concept of the Grail equals a church 'plant' (via Chretien de Troyes) fills me with both mirth & delight. And yet--if a convenient construct of the church is all this Grail is--part of an attempt to wipe out Occitan culture--what is it doing in tarot, which, according to Kris Hadar's own argument, exists to safeguard that very culture/spiritual heritage? The Ace of Cups, as Grail (for surely it is a Grail, whatever we may take such designation to mean or entail) feels so central to me, so much at the very heart of tarot as a whole, that I cannot imagine it being an afterthought, or representing subversive infiltration on the part of an antagonistic 'other' . . .

Again smleite, thanks for taking this perspective up--it's a bit obscure, it would seem, & not exactly popular (but therefore all the more fun to pursue, imo )
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Punchinella,

I think your remarks about the minor arcane are very important. I don’t know much about their possible Mamluk origin, but since it looks so plausible, maybe we could focus on the way they could have been adopted by European symbology, and what lays underneath that symbology. Like most people, I’ve read that the four suits could correspond to the classes of feudal society - the clergy (cups), the royalty (coins), the nobles, here presented as knights (spades), and the peasants (wands). This same social structure is found in the court cards, of course. Well, this sounds true, but remains a very limited and superficial analysis. I would prefer to say that the four-classed medieval society (latter shattered by the emergence of the “fifth” class of the merchants) represents a symbolic ideal, the vision of a perfect “squared” and stable society, a material image of the Heavenly City, and a creation destined to provide steady ground for the spiritual influences represented by the Church. It was the ideal of a perfect, squared society that was represented in the cards, because they (the minor arcana) were also supposed to stand for this very ideal, providing a ground for spirit. That is, I don’t think the cards represent society; I think they represent an ideal. I also think lots of monarchs tried to mold their societies into this ideal, not only for social and material reasons, but also for spiritual ones – they were trying, with various degrees of consciousness, to perfect the world according to an ideal that was supposed to invoke, in its perfection, its heavenly archetypes.

But I would like to deepen this analysis. For me, batons (wands) provide a great example: maybe they were polo sticks, but in European iconography they are essentially depicted as rough clubs taken from a tree, like in the Ace or in the court cards, that I believe represent the Western appropriation of the symbol much better than the rest of the stylized minors. I would say that the European model, and the symbolic reference, of this wands is to be found in the Wildman, or the Green Man, and incredibly obscure and complex figure that refers to ancient rites of male initiation, to popular and pre-Christian religion, to the primal nature of man. The Wild Man is linked to the image of the Green Knight, thus becoming a sort of knight who uses a “green spade” (a club) instead of a metal blade… This figure is therefore balancing between its savage nature, and the ideal of redemption to which refers the color green, the relation to chivalry, etc.

The “club” appears all over in Western art, usually as a pruned branch or a dead tree, these being the most significant images. The pruned branch is mostly used in heraldry, referring to a lineage that has been kept pure and strong, and to the idea that “in spring” the most vigorous buds will blossom from it. The dead tree is obviously the tree of the cross, a symbol of Christ Himself, only apparently dead, but about to become green when the proper time arrives.

This is the kind of Western symbols I believe to be at the base of the Tarot appropriation of possible Islamic images. Maybe we could also explore the cups symbology, so important to you?

Silvia
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Quote:
Originally posted by smleite
Like most people, I’ve read that the four suits could correspond to the classes of feudal society - the clergy (cups), the royalty (coins), the nobles, here presented as knights (spades), and the peasants (wands). This same social structure is found in the court cards, of course. Well, this sounds true, but remains a very limited and superficial analysis.
Indeed smleite, surfing around just now I found this introductory site:

http://www.languedoc-france.info/1904_troubadors.htm

in which a "contempt for class distinction" on the part of the troubadours themselves is suggested. If tarot does reflect a troubadour heritage, then such contempt (corroborated by further research) would naturally lead one who would understand tarot to search for a deeper meaning, as you appear to have done.

Near-total ignorance of the history of the region in question plagues me though at this point. For instance, just how Christian was this area, in the 12th century? How Christian (or, not?) were these troubadours themselves?
Quote:
originally posted by smleite
I would prefer to say that the four-classed medieval society (latter shattered by the emergence of the “fifth” class of the merchants) represents a symbolic ideal, the vision of a perfect “squared” and stable society, a material image of the Heavenly City, and a creation destined to provide steady ground for the spiritual influences represented by the Church.
If one accepts Kris Hadar's assertion, even hypothetically, that tarot expresses troubadour "knowledge and spirituality", then the solidity of such a reading of its structure hangs on the balance of my question (re: troubadour Christianity).

Or, perhaps I am attempting to analyze & isolate what might more wisely be taken holistically . . . Perhaps it's not really a question of Christian or non-Christian, of Church or non-Church, but rather of various & diverse influences coming together in a certain place & at a certain time, & being taken up as a whole, & expressed as one . . .

I'm realizing now how very crucial it is to lay my hands on the poems themselves. For surely, if anywhere, therein must lie some answers?

Thank you for connecting the suit of Batons with the Green Man/Knight, it's such an obvious connection isn't it, apparent I'm sure to many people, & yet I hadn't yet seen it

Regarding the suit of Cups/Grail: I've lately been reading Jean Markale (on Cathars) and--while considering any postulated connection between Cathars themselves & the Grail to have been thoroughly debunked--am interested to find reference to a Celtic Grail, an "inexhaustible cauldron of abundance and inspiration" (Montsegur and the Mystery of the Cathars, 1986) . . . The concept of such a Grail may have lingered deeply within the Occitanal psyche even as late as the 12th century . . . I wish I had a bibliography of the Celtic texts themselves in which this Grail appears.

Markale characterizes the Roman de Jauffre (Occitain text, 1180) as "the first text to bring up the Grail Quest, though without actually naming the marvelous object" so, clearly, this too is something to pursue. I also want to read Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival & "Titurel", & reread Chretien de Troyes' version.

Add to this poems of the troubadours, & I appear to have quite a lot on my plate
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Quote:
Originally posted by Punchinella

If one accepts Kris Hadar's assertion, even hypothetically, that tarot expresses troubadour "knowledge and spirituality", then the solidity of such a reading of its structure hangs on the balance of my question (re: troubadour Christianity).
Punchinella,

I was referring to a “socio-politic” (is this correct in English?) and historical point of view, when I said that the “four-classed medieval society represents a symbolic ideal (…), a creation destined to provide steady ground for the spiritual influences represented by the Church”. As to the cards, what I meant was that they represented this ideal due to the intrinsic symbolic perfection of it, as reflecting the heavenly archetypes of material reality. I didn’t mean to say that the cards were supposed to reflect this Church appropriation of spiritual influences. I find it hard to explain, because I am not writing in my native language, and plus, I which I knew, but I really don’t know the answer to the beautiful proposition made by Kris Hadar!

Oh, we would go far exploring the reasons why the model of a four-classes society would be so appropriate as a symbol of “this world”, and why would it be a perfect vehicle for the materialization of Spirit. I believe that in Tarot the importance of number four is widely explored – that is why I tried to start a thread on it: http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread...threadid=25714

Here is another way of acceding the text on La Langue des Oiseaux: http://racines.traditions2.free.fr/t.../langoiso.pdf. You would also like to see the site where I took it from, http://racines.traditions.free.fr/index.html, a great site, loaded with information. A very good text is under the title « Gioia », and is about the troubadours, also giving information on this “bird’s language”.

As to the Grail, every time I thing I understood a bit more about it, I find I was never so far.

And punchinella, you’ve got quite a lot on your plate, eh eh! But surely not more than you can handle.
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I find this a very interesting discussion.

Despite the fact that I personally subscribe to the opinion that the Major Arcana of the Marseilles is patterned to correspond with the Hebrew alphabet, it makes sense to me that Troubadour culture would influence the development of the Marseilles deck as well.

I approached this another way, after reading that great link on Courtly Love. The suits could be correlated to the aspects of courtly love that the troubadours sang about and was so much a part of the culture of the 12th century. I'm certainly no expert but here goes:

1] Humility, elevation of the Lady, suit of wands/clubs, the fire of reverence.

2] Courtesy, court etiquette towards the Lady, suit of cups, social graces.

3] Adultery, finding true love, suit of coins, arranged marriages are primarily an economic bargain.

4] Religion, a Knight's service to religion and love, suit of swords, devotion to perfection in honour of love and religion.

My suit assignments are subject to debate but if the Marseilles came about in this millieau then it likely had such concepts tied up with it. ???
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