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Impact of PCS on the RWS deck (split from: I don't think I could go back to Rider Wai

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Thanks for the clarification. It is much clearer now.

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Originally Posted by ravenest View Post
include information on the tarot correspondences via Mackenzie from Levi.
Unless anyone knows differently I don't think we have any notion of whether the GD Tarot alpha-astro-numeric code came from Levi, MacKenzie or elsewhere. We do know that MacKenzie was very interested in Tarot and planned a book based on ideas he ultimately felt were "too dangerous" to publish, and that the essence of the it (the attributions at least) is probably what ended up in the cipher manuscript. Personally, I think it came from MacKenzie rather than LÚvi as MacKenzie had obviously been working on the Tarot material alone for a long time after visiting Levi. But that is only my feeling. Levi would have had to throw out all his magical books that were based on his stated alpha-astro-numeric code of the Tarot on which the French occult Tarot tradition is based if he [LÚvi] had originated the GD system. So I don't think he did.

But, would Pixie have known any of this?
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Would she have had to know herself?

I assumed (which means I could be wrong) , and what I have gleaned so far, (please correct me if I have misunderstood)

Waite probably instructed Pixie on the 'Tarot alpha-astro-numeric code' ( wherever it came from) for the Majors.

( And it goes seem to make good sense that "We do know that MacKenzie was very interested in Tarot and planned a book based on ideas he ultimately felt were "too dangerous" to publish, and that the essence of the it (the attributions at least) is probably what ended up in the cipher manuscript." )

Pixie may have been left more to her own devices (to what extent I dont know) regarding the minors 'design'.

But I dont see any 'Tarot alpha-astro-numeric code' in the Minors. So therefore it doesnt seem to matter IMO if Pixie knew of the transition of the code (as it applies only to Majors ) .

However, I understand that LRichard sees the decen association within the Minors scenic symbolism. If that is valid, it seems to indicate (again IMO) , that Waite also gave Pixie some more detailed instructions for her designs of the minors.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenest View Post
I dont see any 'Tarot alpha-astro-numeric code' in the Minors. So therefore it doesnt seem to matter IMO if Pixie knew of the transition of the code (as it applies only to Majors ) .
Not the Hebrew letters (aleph-bet), but the four Kabbalistic worlds are present in the understanding of the four elements as applied to the suits and the numbers via the ten sephiroth. I feel the astrological decans are represented although not following any of the known pictorial descriptions like from the Picatrix. None of this is slavish but references to this and some Masonic material are clear. I'm pretty sure that Waite gave Pixie some direction for the Minors as no one she knew ever mentioned her reading Tarot for them. She had to have gotten the gist of the GD teachings from somewhere! Waite may also have given her some materials from his writing as Grand Orient. Some details like those on the Ace of Cups are specifically described by Waite elsewhere as central to his "waitised" Secret Tradition. And, how did Pixie know to make the Pentacles suit Pentacles and not Coins?

It would be absurd to think she was left totally to her own devices without any knowledge of the Golden Dawn teachings (to which she could not yet have been introduced in terms of her initiatory grade). She was professionally trained specifically to illustrate other people's stories and was exceeding good at it.

Muriel Hasbrouck gives an excellent explanation of the relationship of the decans psychologically to the RWS Minor Arcana cards in Pursuit of Destiny: With Thirty-Six Tarot Cards (1941). Hasbrouck studied with both Crowley and P.F. Case.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenest View Post
......Waite probably instructed Pixie on the 'Tarot alpha-astro-numeric code' ( wherever it came from) for the Majors.
Ask Christine Payne-Towler, who apparently coined the term and has an even lower opinion of Waite than Crowley did. However, before you start thinking that she therefore must be the best thing since sliced bread, she also believes that Crowley and Mathers are fakes and that the GD is BS and the Rider-Waite is utter trash.

Quote:
However, I understand that LRichard sees the decen association within the Minors scenic symbolism. If that is valid, it seems to indicate (again IMO) , that Waite also gave Pixie some more detailed instructions for her designs of the minors.
Of course there are decan associations with the images. The probability of it being coincidental is practically zero. Waite must have clued her in on the appropriate imagery, or else she had another source of information.
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What I have read here of Christine Payne-Towler doesnt fill me with confidence about her 'insights'. I would rather slice my own bread.

I have never done a side by side analysis of the RW scenic minors with the decanic images. I agree with you that the " probability of it being coincidental is practically zero " .

I have done similar with the Thoth minors meanings and images : decanic images : areas of the Celestial Sphere of those decans : the attributed energy of stars and asterisms in those decans ... and found some close similarities though.

(and I made a post about it .... that I am trying to find for someone here ... but I cant {and the search function went blank on me twice ??? } ... if anyone happens to know where that is ... much appreciated ! )
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenest View Post
What I have read here of Christine Payne-Towler doesnt fill me with confidence about her 'insights'. I would rather slice my own bread. .....
To paraphrase Payne-Towler: A/Aleph/Alpha is ONE (1). Therefore the Magician, not the Fool, is Aleph. Mathers, Waite, and Crowley got it wrong because they were deemed unworthy to be admitted into the higher degrees of "Continental Masonry" (whatever that is, which I suspect is the irregular Memphis-Mizraim Rite) wherein this golden nugget of information was hidden. Therefore they made up their fake correlations, so the Thoth, Golden Dawn, and Rider Waite decks are based on the fiction that Aleph is the Fool.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LRichard View Post
Ask Christine Payne-Towler, who apparently coined the term
I've known Christine for a very long time. She and I came up with the term "alpha-astro-numeric" together when I was trying to get her to be clearer about certain references she was making in what later became her book. It's based on the Sepher Yetzirah's correspondences among letter, astrology and numbers that Christine sees as the "occult code" that is the bedrock of the "Underground Stream," including everything from Paracelsus and Agrippa to Martinism to Masonry and beyond. As she sees it, if you don't have the code right then everything that follows from it is wrong (and the GD system is wrong). Even though I don't agree with her on a lot of things, I respect the work and energy she's put into the non-GD Tarot decks and the European occult tradition with which few of us English-speakers were familiar until more recently. She really opened me to exploring the variety of European occult decks and their sources.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti View Post
I've known Christine for a very long time. She and I came up with the term "alpha-astro-numeric" together when I was trying to get her to be clearer about certain references she was making in what later became her book. It's based on the Sepher Yetzirah's correspondences among letter, astrology and numbers that Christine sees as the "occult code" that is the bedrock of the "Underground Stream," including everything from Paracelsus and Agrippa to Martinism to Masonry and beyond. As she sees it, if you don't have the code right then everything that follows from it is wrong (and the GD system is wrong). Even though I don't agree with her on a lot of things, I respect the work and energy she's put into the non-GD Tarot decks and the European occult tradition with which few of us English-speakers were familiar until more recently. She really opened me to exploring the variety of European occult decks and their sources.
Thanks for clarifying the coining of the "astro-alpha-numeric" term.

The problem for me is that her open-and-shut dismissal of the most influential decks (and creators) of the twentieth century has made me suspicious of anything she writes about earlier Tarot personalities such as Etteilla, Levi, Wirth, and Papus. She undoubtedly knows a great deal more about them and their contributions to Tarot than I, but she has lost credibility with me. It is too time-consuming to filter through the astonishing maze of fact and fanciful speculation with which her writings are riddled.
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I agree that the images don't particularly look like any of the known decanic images, but I feel that the gist of them is there, coupled with the Sephirotic influences. As Teheuti said, Smith's expertise was in translating people's thoughts into images, and looking at the Minors it appears to me that Waite may have told her the cards' general "energy," leaving her to portray that as best he can. Mind you, I'm not intuiting what the cards mean, merely trying to reverse engineer a given image.

A rather easy example, the Four of Cups, the Lord of Blended Pleasure suggests some somnolence perhaps, a certain surfeit or ennui.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liber Θ

Traditional Description: Four cups, the upper two overflowing into the lower two (which
do not overflow). A lotus stem ascends, bearing one flower at the top of the card, from which
water flows into the two upper cups. From the center, two lotus leaves pass right and left, making
a cross between the four cups. Above and below are the symbols  and  for the Decanate.

Chesed of Water: Luxury, leisure, an abundance of pleasure. Pleasure that is ordered , stabilized. Receiving pleasure or kindness from others, but some discomfort therewith. Laziness, dispersion, excess, negligence; loss of impulse from over-satisfaction. Philosophy, contemplation, introspection. Devotion (of all kinds, including spiritual devotion).

Luna/Cancer: Success or pleasure fulfilled. Strong feeling nature. A stationary period in
happiness, which may, or may not, continue. It does not mean love and marriage so much as the Three of Cups. It is too passive a symbol to represent perfectly complete happiness. Swiftness, hunting, pursuing. If ill-dignified: acquisition by contention; injustice; drawbacks or dissatisfaction regarding pleasure is implied.

Jupiter + Luna: Happiness, kindness, generosity, sociability, popularity, pleasure, rich living, noblesse oblige. Indifference, negligence, jadedness, lazy justice, opportunism.
I'm guessing Waite described the general mood of the card in general terms, perhaps even using keywords. Now, granted, I don't think the image is the best way to portray these ideas, but the general feel is, indeed there. The fault here is a feature of the deck, but when you translate the ideas into an image you're freezing the card into one interpretation, far more than abstract pips would do. But there it is, that broken telephone again; Waite described the cards imperfectly to Pam, who then interpreted Waite as best she could and made an image which imperfectly described the card. Any subsequent decks use that truncated meaning and image and there is the inevitable further degradation of the original "signal."

It would be difficult, though, to really separate Waite's and Smith's influences, especially in the Minors. One can always find this or that mitten on a card, or other small details but then you have very vague cards like the one above. Even when Waite "spoon fed" her, I'm guessing he was still stingy on the details (barring a few cards he attributed especial importance to).

In my opinion what the cards do not show is any inherent occult knowledge on Smith's part. Quite the contrary, in fact. It is evident that despite at least some sources of knowledge being available, Smith did not consult them. Anything remotely esoteric has Waite's fingerprints all over it and the rest have the quality of "almost" reaching the bullseye but not quite. This, because whatever "other" influences may have been inserted into the deck, which can be debated forever, we do in fact know what Waite's primary sources were, and they are slathered all over the place. Even if one knows nothing about the man, these sources are quite evident in the deck itself.

ETA: I don't know anything about Payne-Towler (sp?) but I have noticed this unfortunate tendency among many Gra scholars. I wonder if this is due to some superiority at not using the "cheap" Tree everyone uses. However, one thing those same scholars fail to account for is that the GD system is meant to go hand in hand with practical work. I am by no means an expert, but there are things that make little sense until you actually start working with them, and then they seamlessly become part of the greater pattern. For this reason many aspects of GD lore give the feeling of peering over a fence at a party you weren't invited to.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by closrapexa View Post
... However, one thing those same scholars fail to account for is that the GD system is meant to go hand in hand with practical work. I am by no means an expert, but there are things that make little sense until you actually start working with them, and then they seamlessly become part of the greater pattern.
(Not that I mean to go OT but )

T H I S ! IMO - important point !

And also depending on what type of working. (E.g. the ToL attributions work fine for the concepts related to 'manifestation' but not as a model for psychology ... Mars has to be moved 'down' to link with Mercury and Venus and then other adjustments need to be made due to this moving. )
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