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"Core" tarot?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarotbear View Post
I really hope the 'Happy Squirrel Card' NEVER becomes part of 'core' Tarot!
ROTFLMAO!!!!!

Oh come ON! EVERYone wants a Happy Squirel card!

Core Tarot... I don't know... fascinating concept for sure. I get what the OP was driving at with the notion of energies and galaxies of meaning forming around cards, and I agree to a certain limited extent. The problem is that the notion of a Core Tarot implies, at least the way I interpret it, the assumption that a meaning/some meanings are absolute, objective, i.e. this is the core meaning of this card in this particular tradition, for everyone. And that simply isn't true. At least I don't think it is. All you have to do is look at the current thread on the Lovers as feelings to see how widely divergent - and ultimately personal and subjective - a card's meaning is. Can a "core anything" be applied to a subject such as the Tarot? That would be like trying to define "core art," or "core music." I don't know...

I certainly hope I haven't veered way off on a completely useless and unrelated tangent like I am typically prone to do...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lokasenna View Post
All you have to do is look at the current thread on the Lovers as feelings to see how widely divergent - and ultimately personal and subjective - a card's meaning is.
I think that is one characteristic of the core of Tarot - that the images go very deep with a lot of connections, different ideas and interpretations, and can be read differently depending on the context.

(The Happy Squirrel may be trying to sneak in quietly - he's already made it to the end of the Voyager but is so far keeping a low profile and trying to look innocuous. )
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mallah View Post
New things will be added, and in time, we will come to see them as "orthodox" as well, because they'll be good ideas and they will stick around in the neighborhood, just like Kabablah did, just like Astrology did. They will become "core"
Then I apologize, I didn't understand what you meant by core. I agree with you, it has already happened and there are some tenets that have become more or less consistent. But the reason for that, I believe, is that there aren't really that many new decks being made. I mean, many variations exist but with most, or at least many, being heavily influenced by the RWS, the overall structure stays the same. While one could superimpose any structure one wished on to the Marseilles, the RWS is heavily reliant on it in ways that go beyond the images themselves, even if most readers ignore it.

Not only the exoteric images have become ubiquitous but also their divinatory meanings, with most books mirroring each other to an extent. This can be seen in this forum as well, with most readers identifying with the intuitive approach yet there is mostly a certain consensus about meanings, especially for the pips.


Quote:
Originally Posted by novenovembre View Post
I think you know what I meant.
But I don't want to go to war with you, I have a huge respect for Cabbalah scolars and scholars in general, or culture in general, I just think that sometimes, when you study too much in an area like tarot, you lose a bit in intuition and gut feeling, and openness as well. Sometimes you just have to put what you've learnt aside.
Although we've already "had it out" in that thread, this is actually an example of what I'm talking about. Most readers memorize the meanings, which are in and of themselves meaningless when divorced from context, and then mix them up saying they use intuition. I hotly disagree with this approach as I see it as an attempted shortcut. I do support "pure" intuition with no books or memorizations, though, as one would assume that in doing that one would take the time to meditate on the cards and make them "their own." Sadly, however, this is rarely done.

As I said in that thread, esoterics is merely a fancy word for systematized meditation on abstract concepts related to the human experience. I don't see this as a loss, but rather a gain of spiritual and ideological maturity (maturity as in maturity of ideas, not that I'm saying anyone is childish). The potential for these things is innate but they must be worked on and developed. I've been pondering the Thoth Adjustment (Justice) these past weeks and have developed my own ideas about alpha and omega, action and reaction and equilibrium far more than I would if I had taken at face value "Justice means balance, Karma, you get what you give" and other LWB style simplifications. Study of the Mystery Tradition really isn't about quibbling over terms but rather a set of languages designed to break down complex ideas into parts that are then assimilated through meditation.

So, to sum up, yes, I believe there is a core Tarot, but it's the wrong kind
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Thing is, after 30 years of "veering off" from tarot into Kaballah, Astrology, Hermetix, GD stuff, Ceremonial Magick, Crowleyisms, etc etc, and all in the name of Tarot, I find I have a lot of "knowledge" and no "knowledge"...and experience...as far as being a READER goes. (And I've done a LOT of readings for people, both professional and non--). Sure i can read cards from the head perspective...and can lay out a buncha esoteric cosmic connection stuff...real impressive...and my sitter will look at me (this has happened) and say, "what does all that have to do with ANYTHING?"

Back to square one. I don't know "TAROT", I know kabbalah, Astrology, Hermetix, GD stuff, blabbadie blabbadie blabbadie...

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my esoterics. But all that stuff is "under the hood" stuff... about what makes the number 3 be what it is. Sacred stuff. But my client doesn't care. Maybe he/she shouldn't. Not their evolutionary bag right now.

But there is a ladder of abstraction, called hemenutics... and while the higher stuff may be of use to the sitter, they don't know it is. They want the energy transformed down a few notches to someting that they can apply to their situation. Something that will help them. That's the "traditional meanings." That's the divinatory meanings, the exoteric ones. that's the LWB, the pictures of the RWS.

One could say, "Oh, but such uses are a debasement of Tarot"....i say rubbish. It's moving it from the head to the heart, where Tarot becomes about healing...and helping people move to their own place of understanding and feeling ok while going thru their heavy life stuff. "Under the hood" is great, but we miss the point if we thing that spiritual advancement is in the intellect only.

There's knowledge where you know ABOUT stuff, and there's knowledege where you KNOW stuff because you've been there, experienced it personally and lived to tell about it.

This is (in part) where some of the "divinatory meanings" come in. They are simple pithy words that are meant to jog someone's intution towards going "oh yeahhh"... this is about THAT....and then the understanding will do the rest.

There are so many profound techniques that we as "healers" must learn to be able to coach out of sitters their own innate wisdom. This is an art and a craft in itself; CORE to TAROT, and where the rubber meets the road when it comes to tarot.

Sure I can contemplate the meanings of the Queen color scale and how Crowley and Lady Frieda applied it to their deck, but what does that have to do with anything when it comes to helping Aunt Jo in a spirit of love and compassion to understand the answer to her "why me?" question. As my sitter said, "what does that have to do with anything?".

After 30 years of "mental masturbation" I come back to TAROT as an instrument of transpersonal compassion, pictures of the heart, and proclaim "I don't know Tarot at all".

I have SO MUCH to learn.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mallah View Post
Sure I can contemplate the meanings of the Queen color scale and how Crowley and Lady Frieda applied it to their deck, but what does that have to do with anything when it comes to helping Aunt Jo in a spirit of love and compassion to understand the answer to her "why me?" question. As my sitter said, "what does that have to do with anything?".

After 30 years of "mental masturbation" I come back to TAROT as an instrument of transpersonal compassion, pictures of the heart, and proclaim "I don't know Tarot at all".

I have SO MUCH to learn.
I must disagree, but it really depends on what and how you use Tarot for, and what you believe it is. Esoterics may be abstract, but they certainly aren't divorced from reality. 1+1 is meaningless unless you have two apples with which to give it meaning. The esoteric part is for me, the backstage preparation in which I learn and comment about "theoretical" life in general. When reading for others, I don't bring all that in, but I do know that if someone gets the Seven of Swords, they most likely got to that situation through Death and Fortune and that they should perhaps be warned of an impending Tower, whatever other cards may be in the reading. They are feeling very vulnerable, perhaps, because of Venus. These are just small, hypothetical, rough and inexact examples of how the abstract translates into practice, and it certainly doesn't have to be a sterile process. On the contrary, for me it is highly emotional and exciting.

In addition, the process seems to have the undesired stereotype of being devoid of images, focusing exclusively on attributions. I can't speak for anyone else, but I certainly do not see it that way, and don't know of anyone who does. What it does mean, however, is that the details mean so much more than "her dress is green, grass is green, new growth." It includes my own personal feelings and exoteric impressions, but not only those things. This is also part of why I love the Thoth so much because, whatever else it is, it's friggin' beautiful!!! I certainly don't ignore that. I can't.

Now, it is important not to separate between "Tarot" symbols, and those we are surrounded with, as they are the same. Saying one doesn't study symbols at all is impossible, as anyone who has ever crossed the street knows that green means go and red means stop (incidentally, these mean the same thing on the Tree, to an extent). An arrow means "that way" while "three's a crowd." The symbolic language of Tarot is all around us, never removed from reality, but it is always up to the reader to make it all fit together for the querent. The symptom of parrotting off disjointed meanings is always possible, but that is a failure of the reader, not the method.

Divinatory meanings don't allow you to take in the full scope of the card with its shades, contradictions, connections to other cards (hence connections to other aspects of life) and semantic weddings to other ideas through attributions. They give you a single aspect of the card, one side of the story, simplifications like "renewal" (for the age-old mystery of Death or others) and are devoid of any personal investment on the part of the reader. It is instant, it is McDonald's. Why not ponder the meaning of life and death for years on end? At the end you might be a better reader, but more importantly you'll be a better person.

Ultimately both esoteric, meditative Tarot and basic fortune telling have their places, but both benefit from the other. Although each should progress as they will, progress they still should. What's the use of a mindset like "I don't want to consider the great questions of life, I just want to know if he'll call me?" I just think it's a little lazy, as well as asking for answers but not prepared to give anything in return.
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From an old Wirth thread...


I've been digesting this thread slowly & enjoying it. I'm also pouring through old threads & thoroughly enjoying that! One of the old threads I read reminded me of this one so I'm putting up a couple of paragraphs I think are fitting & a link to the thread too. I'll try to post my own ideas on this later.


"Wirth's trumps do indeed look very much like Marseilles cards. They remind me of the way that early Christian art looked almost identical in style and content with late classical art; the differences between them are in the minds of the artists, and in what they intend their pictures to represent. Pictures of Jesus from the catacombs look awfully much like portraits of Apollo, but those very similar images convey radically different contents. In the same way, Wirth's very gracefully rendered Magician looks nearly like his counterpart in the Marseilles decks, but he is a whole different animal. Trump I in the occult decks is a bona fide magician or magus, while in the older decks he is an artisan such as a cobbler, a pedlar, or the kind of low-level conjurer and trickster you might run across at a county fair."


"Then and there, the idea that vast knowledge was to be found in the Ancients, and that these pointed to the Romans, and even more to the Greeks, and even more to Egypt, and the lands of the Old Testament, certainly indicates that any carefully constructed design would include much which somehow contained reflections of what was both ancient and partly dormant. That De Gebelin made his Egyptian comments for the Tarot is probably both correct and incorrect. It is certainly incorrect if what we are looking for is a deck (irrespective of number of cards included) with a sequence of figures or pictures following the Tarot sequence. On the other hand, and as mentioned a number of times, the past certainly lived as metamorphosised echoes in Europe at that time (as it does, too, now).

Within these, Egyptian motifs can be found - but not as Egyptian. That Wirth included, for example, the crocodile as one of those highly significant symbolic Egyptian icons is, in my opinion, taking away from the purity of the fullness of the image of the Fool. That he included a Hebrew letter (for example, Alef upon I the Magician) again in many ways took away from the 'purity' of the deck - and yet also added an element of traditions which were beginning to emerge."

http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=7385

I'm sure variations on this question have come up many times here over the years. It is one of those fundamental ideas that will never be defined to general satisfaction.
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This is a really interesting and thoughtful discussion and I hesitated jumping in because I am nowhere near as learned as most of you. So I'll toss a few things that occurred to me and look forward to your thoughts...

In terms of applying the Kabbalist Tree, the sephiroth and the paths to Tarot, I decided early on that it is a logical overlay by occult deck designers and it had little to do with earlier decks. I went with this especially after reading the ways its appearance is explained by those occultist authors. Clever idea that adds another level of use to the Tarot.

But to say that Kabbalah in the broader sense is not a good candidate for the 'core' may not exactly be true, IMHO.

After stepping back from occult Qabalah to try and understand the roots of the Jewish mystic Kabbalah and how the Christian mystics also got a hold of it and developed it in their own way, I am inclined to think that the philosophies and the ideas represented by the Tree are most definitely present in the earliest decks - decks developed during and after the time the Christian mystics were having a go at Kabbalah and neo-platonism.

The more I try to find a place to start with Kabbalah, the further back I have to go. And the more I find myself digging through my Bible. If Tarot derives from the mystics, then it seems to me impossible that the Kabbalistic ideas are not embedded in them.

As for the Wirth - I don't have a Wirth Tarot and can't really add to the broader discussion on that - BUT - the crocodile... It isn't just an Egyptian icon. It (controversially, mind you) appears in Job 41 as leviathan, the introduction of chaos. Rather than being impure, per se, perhaps it is just a more direct application of the metaphor. Just as the Chariot may well reflect the Merkabah and Ezekiel's kerubim (sphinx). Just a thought!

I hope this makes sense! I am watching the weather and the latest tornado developments in the area. Can make for a bit of distraction and broken thought!
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I don't see how trying to get a better understanding of the cosmos and one's place in it deserves to be called mental masturbation. Esoteric studies are worthless unless they are undertaken with a view to making one a better, more effective instrument of divine Will. Knowing something like, for example, the concept that the King of Cups rules from 20 Libra through 20 Scorpio doesn't do a damn bit of good unless it can give one a handle on a certain combination of personality traits which may be applicable to a reading or personal meditation. Abstract intellectualizing of esoteric information as an end in itself is total crap and a colossal waste of time. Instead, it were better to learn something potentially useful, like differential calculus or sanitation work.
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As far as calling it mental masturbation, i was referring to my own life. Such studies I valued highly...it served my left brain, in that it showed it there was unity to all things. My right brain already gets it. So when my left brain gets all uppity, I "throw it a bone"...something to chew on, like sacred geometry, Kabbalah, etc. Once it sees that there is pattern and unity to everything, it settles back down. Beyond that, it's pointless. For me. Once again. For me. This after 30 years with it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mallah View Post
As far as calling it mental masturbation, i was referring to my own life. Such studies I valued highly...it served my left brain, in that it showed it there was unity to all things. My right brain already gets it. So when my left brain gets all uppity, I "throw it a bone"...something to chew on, like sacred geometry, Kabbalah, etc. Once it sees that there is pattern and unity to everything, it settles back down. Beyond that, it's pointless. For me. Once again. For me. This after 30 years with it.
That's unfortunate.
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