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Hebrew letter Tarot correlations

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Quote:
Originally Posted by numbers
Give the qabalist a Visconti tarot with no numbers or names and see how they would label/arrange the major arcana according to which one best illustrates the hidden meaning of which letter. Even the response of just one qabalist would be interesting, and here I should think that there's no such thing as a failed experiment.
'Twould be very interesting. But I would opt for giving him or her a Tarot of Marseilles--a 'Robert' version, with no names or numbers; for I'm more interested in the reaction to the truly archetypal, not the merely provincial. I would rather know where one might place Force as a woman restraining a lion rather than where one would place it as a Hercules with a club for killing it (even though I'm not that fond of lions).

VB
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List of Hebrew alphabet / Tarot trump constellations


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Originally Posted by jmd View Post
If one is going to make Hebrew letter correlations to the Major Arcana, I suppose that, at the least, a number of disparate views need to be entertained, thought through, discussed, temporarily accepted and rejected to see what emerges, and eventually - perhaps, though perhaps not - come to some agreement.

There are possibly four main views (there are others), and list these with 'titles' for convenience:
  • Levi - where the letters follow, sequentially, the order of the Major Arcana, except that the un-numbered Fool is placed as penultimate card;
  • GD - where the letters follow again the order of the Major Arcana, save that the Fool has been numbered zero (thereby placed at the beginning), and Justice and Strength interchanged in their position and numbering;
  • Crowley - in terms of Hebrew letter allocations, same as the GD, save that the Emperor and Star cards inverse their GD letter allocations (it is also worth noting that, despite GD letter attributions, the numbering reverts, apart from the addition of a zero on the Fool, to the earlier tradition);
  • Filipas - (I had to give it a name, and given Mark's important contribution for this ordering, he deserves it) the letters follow the order of the cards, with the Fool, un-numbered, placed at the end of the sequence (as twenty-second card).
Basically, each of these makes differing claims for letter attributions, with ramifications for those who will reflect on the cards following Kabalistic considerations (whether through the works of others, or by direct independent Kabalistic work).

In fact, no single card will has a letter attribution which each of of these four views agrees with! Hence many of my earlier comments that it were better that Kabalah be studied independently of Tarot - at least initially, for then it permits for more at one's disposal as one investigates the merits of each. But let us nonetheless discuss some of the varying attributions... and their respective merits.

For example, taking one card with quite varied allocations, the card numbered four (traditionally and in all decks influenced by each of these lists) is the Emperor.

Some will see it co-relating to Dalet, some to Heh, and some to Tzaddi.

I am not sure where this thread will take us, but given comments made in other threads, thought it was important to (re-)visit...

Correlating the Hebrew letters to the Tarot Major Arcana trumps is the point of this discussion.

Four main sets of correlations between the Hebrew alphabet and the Tarot trumps are under consideration: Levi, GD, Crowley, and Filipas. Others may be considered.

The Hebrew alphabet letter list is ancient. Tarot trump correlations should be made to the Hebrew alphabet letter meanings using the card "titles".

The order of the Tarot trumps is compared to the order of the Hebrew alphabet and different orderings of the trumps are examined to determine the correct ordering.

Some early alphabets had a different ordering than now accepted ordering. Various lost, forgotten, unused, discarded, and specialty letters complicate the Hebrew-Tarot connection.

The number Zero may be examined in relation to the Tarot trump order. Is the use of Zero a device that does not belong in the discussion of the connection between the Hebrew alphabet and the Tarot cards, which were originally not numbered?

Why did certain decks get cards changed in order, such as the Waite-Smith deck that switches Strength and Justice? Do certain groups have secret information about the Tarot and have influenced the design of the Tarot? Is there or was there a reason for concealing the true order of the Tarot trumps?

Is the correlation between the Hebrew alphabet and the Tarot trumps so weak that it should be discarded? Is it possible that by correctly pairing the Hebrew alphabet letters with the Tarot trumps we can realize what the Tarot really is? Were the Tarot trumps unnumbered because they originally had no connection to the alphabet and were an unnumbered set of things (Trumps)?

What proof has any author offered besides word similarity connections between these sets (Hebrew alphabet and Tarot trumps)? How are these connections or correlations judged? Is one correlation stronger than another? How does one judge whether a correlation is correct in regard to the criteria for judging the exhibit, such as the comparison between the Hebrew letter Dalet and the Emperor card? What are the rules?

Some have suggested that the shapes in the cards portray Hebrew letters, but these are not motifs found on the original Tarot trumps, were they?

Is the SY a valid tool for exploring the connection between the Hebrew alphabet and the Tarot? Can we retroactively make up connections between ancient artifacts (Hebrew alphabet inscriptions) and inventions such as the Tarot cards?

What types of proof are acceptable to prove one thesis over another? A very early Tarot card deck with Hebrew letters on the trumps would be good. Even a very early deck with numbers would be great, because the problem with the zero could be resolved.

What is the connection between the Hebrew alphabet and the Tarot trumps? Could it be that the Tarot trumps are a set of pictures that depict something that the Hebrew alphabet also pictures or depicts? Could the pictures on the Tarot trumps actually be pictures of the Hebrew alphabet or an even earlier alphabet, which the Hebrew alphabet was based on?

Since discoveries in Wadi el-Hol in Egypt have confirmed that the earliest alphabets began in Egypt, what connection does Egypt have to the alphabet and the Tarot? If one can see a connection between a Hebrew alphabet letter and a Tarot trump, is it possible to see the same connection between an associated Egyptian symbol and a Tarot trump?

Why would the Hebrew letter "Dalet" mean "door" and be associated with the Emperor?
Early forms of the Hebrew letter "Dalet" look like a door, to some extent. The Hebrew letter "Dalet" can be drawn over the constellation Cepheus. (If the Emperor card was a depiction of the constellation Cepheus, then there would be a connection because I think both the Hebrew letter and the Tarot trump are both based on the same constellation.)

The correlations between the lists (Hebrew alphabet +Tarot trumps) must include the entire sequence of letters and 22 Tarot trumps. It is desirable to find a correlation that does not require the order of the Tarot trumps to be greatly modified to fit a particular theory. A straight across correlation would be fine, for instance, connecting the Hebrew letter Aleph with the Magician card of the Tarot.

My "proofs" depend on extensive graphics of ancient alphabet characters using epigraphic analysis. Will these types of overlays of star patterns over the alphabet letters and Tarot cards be acceptable? Where is the line between conjecture and evidence in this regard? If a scholar only depends on written evidence can pictorial evidence be of any value?

Does the particular theory of correlation between the Hebrew alphabet and the Tarot trumps have collaborating exhibits of other derivative systems such as the Mayan and Chinese symbol systems?

Does the correlation system explain the icons and imagery in the Tarot trumps with accuracy? How can images and icons be judged to be associated with a particular card, such as a sickle in the Death card? What makes icons important in correlating the Hebrew alphabet and the Tarot trumps?

And why does the Fool have to wander from one end of the deck to the other, often as a zero?

My thesis is that the ancient Hebrew alphabet was based on constellations used by the Egyptians and others in that area and that the Tarot is based on those same set of constellations, and the Mayan calendar and Chinese calendar are also based on those same set of constellations. My theory gives valid reasons for the order of the Tarot trumps. I have identified the constellations used for the alphabet and those are the same constellations used in the Tarot trumps, with one exception, the Pope / Hierophant, which does not follow the sequence, possibly due to the misreading of a medieval list of constellations.

This leads me to my list and the implication that an actual list exists that resembles this one and has been used by various secret societies for various purposes, either to lead or mislead. My List of Hebrew alphabet / Tarot trump constellations:

Lyra = Aleph = MAGICIAN
Ursa Minor = Beth = POPESS
Cassiopeia = Gimel = EMPRESS
Cepheus = Daleth = EMPEROR
Ursa Major = He
Perseus, Andromeda = Vaw = LOVERS
Auriga = Zayin = CHARIOT
Hercules = Heth = STRENGTH
Ophiuchus = Teth = HERMIT
Polar Constellations = Yod = WHEEL
Libra = Kaf = JUSTICE
Cygnus = Lamed = HANGED MAN
Sagittarius = Mem = DEATH
Draco = Nun = TEMPERANCE
Capricorn = Samech = DEVIL
Corona Borealis = Ayin = TOWER
Canis Major = Peh = STAR
Leo = Tzade = SUN
Cancer = Kof = MOON
Delphinus = Resh = LAST JUDGEMENT
Virgo = Shin = WORLD
Bootes = Tav = FOOL

- Cartomancer (Lance Carter)
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My approach to Tarot is entirely pragmatic. I don't have the slightest interest in justifying a correlation with the Hebrew alphabet. If a certain correlation makes sense with respect to my understanding of Tarot, that's what I use.

Apparently very few people are familiar with P. F. Case's Book of Tokens. That's where the rubber meets the road, not in some sandbox, pseudo history of Tarot origins.
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Ishtar, Hera, Mary, and the Tarot's Popess in the stars of Ursa Minor


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Originally Posted by Cartomancer View Post
Correlating the Hebrew letters to the Tarot Major Arcana trumps is the point of this discussion.
...

This leads me to my list and the implication that an actual list exists that resembles this one and has been used by various secret societies for various purposes, either to lead or mislead. My List of Hebrew alphabet / Tarot trump constellations:

Lyra = Aleph = MAGICIAN
Ursa Minor = Beth = POPESS
Cassiopeia = Gimel = EMPRESS
Cepheus = Daleth = EMPEROR
Ursa Major = He
Perseus, Andromeda = Vaw = LOVERS
Auriga = Zayin = CHARIOT
Hercules = Heth = STRENGTH
Ophiuchus = Teth = HERMIT
Polar Constellations = Yod = WHEEL
Libra = Kaf = JUSTICE
Cygnus = Lamed = HANGED MAN
Sagittarius = Mem = DEATH
Draco = Nun = TEMPERANC
Capricorn = Samech = DEVIL
Corona Borealis = Ayin = TOWER
Canis Major = Peh = STAR
Leo = Tzade = SUN
Cancer = Kof = MOON
Delphinus = Resh = LAST JUDGEMENT
Virgo = Shin = WORLD
Bootes = Tav = FOOL

- Cartomancer (Lance Carter)
What is the connection between a constellation and a Tarot trump? For example, the Popess or High Priestess card is mysterious, but it is simply a picture of the constellation Ursa Minor.

I have created an animation that shows Ishtar in the stars of Ursa Minor. I also include images of Hera in the stars of Ursa Minor, although she ruled over Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. I also include a picture of Stella Maris as the Virgin Mary, the Star of the Sea, over the stars of Ursa Minor.

Ishtar, Hathor's O10 falcon hieroglyph, Hera, Mary, and the Tarot's Popess in the stars of Ursa Minor
http://youtu.be/LKApFRJM4ho

Ishtar, Hathor's falcon in box with corner, Hera, Mary, and the Tarot's Popess are shown in the stars of Ursa Minor. The stone carving is from a cylinder seal showing the goddess Ishtar being worshiped under a canopy. She is usually shown with wings and archer's weapons, with one foot on the back of a lion. Neo-Assyrian 8th-7th century B.C. northern Iraq, located in the Metropolitan Museum: http://www.metmuseum.org/

"Five stars of the constellation Ursa Minor are visible in the rock carving. When superimposed over the starry background from 2000 BC the iconography becomes apparent. Ishtar here presents the original picture of the Popess in Tarot decks thousands of years later. Hera, Queen of the Heavens, also resided in the stars of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. Polaris was called "Stella Maris" by Saint Jerome and has a connection with Mother Mary. Early "educational" constellation cards with pictures may have been the origin of the Tarot trumps, but having Mother Mary on cards that became used for playing games may have been too much for the Church, which probably prompted the creation of other similar images such as Popess Joan, etc. (Jesus may have been on the Northern Cross of Cygnus on the Hanged Man card but got removed because of complaints that a card game should not have Jesus on a card)."

- Cartomancer (Lance Carter)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musclegirl View Post
Hi jmd,

I was wondering why it is important to theorize on Hebrew letter correlations to Tarot cards. I don't think that the Hebrew people invented the Tarot.

For me, personally, only the Hebrew Alphabet has helped me to understand the Code of Tarot and meaning of cards. Because the Hebrew alphabet describes the tree of life and tree of knowledge (as in the Bible).

And the Fool (0) corresponds to the last letter TAV (400) which is 22. The fool is old and weary person (not young and unaware) because he has got "knowledge" and heading to the "Kingdom" at last. So, Magician is the first and the Fool is the last. Other people may have their own opinion. The card "Justice" is 8, not 11, because it falls exactly to letter Chet (fence) and Chet falls to the constellation Virgo which was called "Justica" by Ancient Greeks.
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Originally Posted by roxana View Post
......And the Fool (0) corresponds to the last letter TAV (400) which is 22. The fool is old and weary person (not young and unaware) because he has got "knowledge" and heading to the "Kingdom" at last.......
Are you familiar with the story of Parsifal? He begins life as the young soul in search of experience. He is destined to become the Grail King, but he fails the first test because of his immaturity. Only after he attains knowledge and understanding is he capable of fulfilling his destiny. He is the Alpha and Omega and everything in between. Wagner's opera, which is based on Wolfram's Parzival, depicts him at both the beginning and end of his quest.

He is usually represented in tarot as the young Fool at the beginning of life's journey, thus the letter Aleph. P. F. Case's meditation on Aleph in The Book of Tokens gives further justification of this attribution, as does Waite's description in The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. To actually limit the Fool to being either a young or old man is to deny his universality, but such are the limitations of logic and language, which are linear and therefore one dimensional.
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I also find the story of a "young" fool more satisfying than that of an old one. The story of the young hero is practically universal, and the Fool at zero makes sense when connecting it to almost any mythology. Joseph, Moses, Samson, David... they're all Jesus-figures and begin as young Fools.
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The first or the last?


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Originally Posted by LRichard View Post
Are you familiar with the story of Parsifal? He begins life as the young soul in search of experience. He is destined to become the Grail King, but he fails the first test because of his immaturity. Only after he attains knowledge and understanding is he capable of fulfilling his destiny. He is the Alpha and Omega and everything in between. Wagner's opera, which is based on Wolfram's Parzival, depicts him at both the beginning and end of his quest.

He is usually represented in tarot as the young Fool at the beginning of life's journey, thus the letter Aleph. P. F. Case's meditation on Aleph in The Book of Tokens gives further justification of this attribution, as does Waite's description in The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. To actually limit the Fool to being either a young or old man is to deny his universality, but such are the limitations of logic and language, which are linear and therefore one dimensional.
The card's name is "The Fool" and this name has come to mean "fool" (as in some books where the card "Lovers" means "sex"). But its derivation is very far from this. "Le mat" or "il mato" - (french and Italian) is exactly the same word that appears in the Spanish "Matador", in the word "checkmate" in chess. It comes from a very old Persian word meaning "to kill", or "to put an end to". So, this card can not be "Aleph". Waite insisted he knew some secret doctrine, but it had been stolen from the Golden Dawn. If someones want to put the card "The Fool" as the first this is their choice.
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Originally Posted by LRichard View Post
To actually limit the Fool to being either a young or old man is to deny his universality, but such are the limitations of logic and language, which are linear and therefore one dimensional.
The Hebrew alphabet represents two circles - one spiritual , and one physical. Two trees - a tree of life and tree of knowledge. To understand the sequence of events in the Hebrew alphabet it not right to 'logically" move from the first letter to the last. Such logic does not work here. The Fool represents the second circle - the tree of knowledge. And, of course, it is in the beginning of the circle but not in the beginning of the Alphabet.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roxana View Post
The card's name is "The Fool" and this name has come to mean "fool" (as in some books where the card "Lovers" means "sex"). But its derivation is very far from this. "Le mat" or "il mato" - (french and Italian) is exactly the same word that appears in the Spanish "Matador", in the word "checkmate" in chess. It comes from a very old Persian word meaning "to kill", or "to put an end to".
In chess the king cannot be killed or captured. In a checkmate, the king is under threat of capture in such a way that the threat cannot be removed. He is never actually removed by force from the kingship, although he may resign if the situation is hopeless.

Quote:
So, this card can not be "Aleph".
So Le Mat cannot be Aleph because of the Persian etymology of Le Mat, not because of the standard usage of the term or the image on Tarot cards. Interesting.

Quote:
Waite insisted he knew some secret doctrine, but it had been stolen from the Golden Dawn.
Stolen? How so?
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