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Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
Elder Jabberwock
Join Date: 10 Jun 2011
Location: Where the wild things are
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Following Through . . .

Regarding the "method of learning" aspect, I started working with Reading the Marseille Tarot last night, and the first thing I latched onto was laying out the cards in novel combinations to look for interesting connecttions between them. I had the "Trumps as Pips" (or is it the other way around?) model in the back of my mind, so I started from there by laying out all the Trumps in two lines (Magician through Wheel of Fortune above and Hanged Man through World below), with Fortitude centered between the two lines as a kind of "fulcrum" for the cards above and a "suspension hook" for those below.

This really brings Trump XI into high focus. It sits at the divide between the Pope and the Lover above, and the Tower and the Star below. I noticed that 5+6=11, while 16-11=5 and 17-11=6; this creates a numerological relationship between these five cards. Furthermore, the balanced pairs on either side add to 11: Emperor + Chariot; Empress + Justice; High Priestess + Hermit and Magician + Wheel of Fortune. Then I saw that subtracting 11 from all of the Trumps below (Hanged Man through World) yields the number of the Trump immediately above in the upper row (12-11=1, 13-11=2, 14-11=3, 15-11 =4, etc).

Then I lined up all the pip cards (Ace through 10) with the two rows of Trumps, with the active, positive, "hard" suits above and the passive, negative, "soft" suits below. The upper pips (Batons and Swords) line up directly with the "Trumps as Pips" model, and the lower pips (Cups and Coins) are relatable to the same model by subtracting 11 from the second-line Trumps directly above them. All of this gave me a new appreciation for the significance of Trump XI (or at least the number 11).

Finally, I put the more active court cards, Valets and Cavaliers, to the left at the low-numbered end of the pip sequences, using the idea that the Aces are the most energetically potent expression of each suit's elemental force, and the Queens and Kings at the other end, with the understanding that the Tens represent the most established manifestation of that same force. (I realize this is mixing paradigms, but I like it as a working model).

Finally, I placed the Fool off to the left and centered between the "above" and "below," envisioning it as a kind of precursor or "mentor" for Trump XI. It's a little imaginative, but it's giving me good food for thought. I've attached a photo of the layout. Fun stuff!

ETA: I'm thinking I might swap Batons and Swords so the series would go "head, hands, heart . . . umm, hoof?" top to bottom.
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Barleywine's Avatar
Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
Elder Jabberwock
Join Date: 10 Jun 2011
Location: Where the wild things are
Posts: 9,055
Elder Jabberwock

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I also followed up on JMD's idea of seeing which of the cards are facing one another. I noticed that, when arranged in ascending order from left to right, the only court cards that are seeing "eye-to-eye" are the Cavalier of Coins and the Queen of Coins, but the way I have them laid out, there is a wide gulf of custom and tradition discouraging their obvious mutual attraction. All of the other courts seem distracted or disinterested in one another. Reversal would obviously change this, as long as both members of a pair aren't reversed. This is where I found Lisa Boswell's Etteilla system especially helpful.

When arranged in descending order from left to right, all of the Kings and Queens other than Batons are regarding one another, but the Kings' body language seems to be saying something different: they're leaning away from the contact, and their left elbow looks like it's fending off the Queens' advance (the King of Coins in my Hadar deck even looks a bit dismayed). Makes me think their union is one of convenience rather than affection. The Cavalier and Valet of Coins are also facing one another, suggesting that this Knight and his Squire will work together more effectively than in the other suits.
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