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Quote:
Originally Posted by _R_ View Post
The thing is, unlike GD or Thoth, there is *no* definitive French *tradition* as such
I completely agree with you.
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Originally Posted by _R_ View Post

The real gold is to be found in obscure books and old journal articles, and it is a great pity that no one seems to be really interested in this stuff, not even in France.
Well I AM interested in it and open to your welcome suggestions.

I find Papus boring and uninspired, his tarot ugly, Wirth convoluted, I prefer Maxwell unoriginal in his approach to esotericism but a very good eye-opener to the real details of the cards as Barleywine justly remarked.
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Are there any differences in translation between the various English editions of this? Looking to get it used on Amazon, and I see an older hardcover from maybe the 70s, and a more recent trade paperback.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philippe View Post
Well I AM interested in it and open to your welcome suggestions.

I find Papus boring and uninspired, his tarot ugly, Wirth convoluted, I prefer Maxwell unoriginal in his approach to esotericism but a very good eye-opener to the real details of the cards as Barleywine justly remarked.
I would agree with you there and say that Maxwell's enduring legacy is precisely in bringing the visual aspect to the fore, an aspect further codified by Marteau, in passing.

Marie-Thérèse des Longchamps wrote a book which provided an interpretation of the 78 cards of the Tarot with meanings almost entirely derived from visual cues and basic numerology; a stripped-down version of the two 'classic' authors mentioned above, but still worth a look if you find this kind of approach useful.

I would recommend Tchalaï's booklet for the Marteau-Grimaud Ancien Tarot de Marseille as a good starting point (though it is not an easy read), followed by her "Les empreintes de l'invisible" (later republished as"Le Tarot - Jeu du Gouvernement du Monde") for a rather original, stimulating (and often infuriating!) approach to reading the Tarot, through exercises in objective observation and classification (whence Camoin's laws of 2,3 and what not), which would precede and enable the intuitive faculty.

Unfortunately her work is not at all known outside of France, except for her having been at one time associated with A. Jodorowsky, perhaps even his teacher, the rumour goes. Still, please find the Grimaud booklet below in French and Spanish.

Tchalaï: Le Tarot, pourquoi, comment, jusqu'où

Tchalaï: El Tarot, La Respuesta del Futuro
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I will add that, works on the divinatory tarot and historically dubious theories on the origins of the Tarot aside (which rids us of 90+% of all works on the Tarot, I suspect), there is also a strong but little-known quasi-philosophical/literary tradition in French Tarot.

Or at least, Tarot has been commented on by a good many fine minds, and not in connection with fortune-telling, or mere explanations of its symbolism. Jean Paulhan's preface to Marteau's book, or that of Roger Caillois to Wirth's are cases in point.

Or the works of J.M. Lhôte or J.-M. Mathonière, which deal so thoughtfully with questions of iconography, symbolism, structure and semiotics, for example.

We could also mention the esoteric-leaning philosophers Jean Carteret and Raymond Abellio while we are at it.

There is nothing at all comparable in English, and more's the pity. Then again, apart from the 2 aforementioned thinkers, there is practically nothing on the Tarot - in any language - to compare with the commentaries, both traditional and modern, that we have on the I Ching, for example.
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Damn. Wish I had paid more attention in junior high French class.


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_R_ I sent you my reply in PM.

Coming back to Maxwell here are the 2 pages of the original french text concerning the 7 of cups chosen by Barleywine :

Maxw1 by PhilBeDaN, sur Flickr
Maxw2 by PhilBeDaN, sur Flickr

The colours described are those of the Octopus or the Grimaud but are not relevant if you consider Chosson or Conver for instance. The big Octopus is very convenient (+ a magnifying glass) as he counts the hatchings in the cups :

7Coupes by PhilBeDaN, sur Flickr

In the case of the 7cups Maxwell agrees with the "common meaning" of the card (pensée sympathique, projets) which is in fact Etteilla's meaning, not that different from the reversed Waite's meaning or the Lenormand and other parlour decks :

7coe by PhilBeDaN, sur Flickr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
I'd like to add another one (The Tarot by Joseph Maxwell) that I always thought of as primarily an analysis of esoteric number theory and its relevance to the tarot, but recently discovered that the interpretive text at the back - especially for the minor cards - is built almost entirely upon the TdM as understood by Maxwell.
I used to have this book and I miss it, miss it, miss it! Definitely a recommend
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philippe View Post
I have the french original text before me and I must say it's pretty different than your quotation, as if the translator felt the need to paraphrase and summarize this original (2 pages for the 7 of cups). Did Maxwell translate his own work or was it someone else ?

When reading attentively the considerations about colours you understand that he uses the ThunderBay or Octopus edition (ie a deck existing in the late XIXth century similar in colours to the Camoin bicentennial). He finds it rough but prefers it to the tarot d'Arnoult. Curiously he is unaware of the Bibliothèque Nationale's Conver(s).
Phillipe, this happens to be one of my Marseille decks, so this just gives me another reason to read Maxwell again! Thank you.

Barleywine, thank you for starting this thread. Maxwell has been languishing on my Tarot bookshelf for too long!

Barb
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Thanks for the enlightenment! I will definitely have to brush up on my French. Even watered-down (mistranslated into English?) and truncated, I find Maxwell's observations remarkably to-the-point regarding the visual cues, much in the manner of Yoav ben Dov in The Open Reading, but with an esoteric sensibility (as well as a numerical underpinning) that I find remarkably more useful than many other attempts. Opening up the "French canon" should be a revelation.
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