Aeclectic Tarot
Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Tarot Forum

Hebrew letter Tarot correlations

  > Aeclectic Tarot Forum > Beyond Tarot > Kabbalah & Alphabets


 
kwaw's Avatar
kwaw  kwaw is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 29 Dec 2003
Location: Nr. Ephesus, Turkey
Posts: 5,400
kwaw 

Quote:
JMD wrote: There are numerous quotes in addition to the ones given for considering how the states of 'divine ignorance', being as a fool, and the ruptuousness of the mystic state obliterates normal senses.

These add to considerations of the Fool, if one wants to make these comparisons, being un-numbered... and being the highest stage attainable in the journey (not the beginning of the journey).
The concept is indeed well attested in both Christian and Judaic mysticism. In texts of Judaic mysticism the divine nought is called Ain and in the very same texts Ain is specifically associated with the letter Aleph (initial letter of AVYL - 'Fool', AVVLTh - 'Folly', ABD - 'Wandering' - ADYVNH - 'Poor man, beggar', AVB - Familiar Spirit (the dog/cat?)*see note at end)].

As for being the 'highest' it is more usually determined as both a descent and an ascent, "one must descend before one can ascend". It is described as becoming the lowest [as nothing] to attain the highest [the divine influx]. The 'I' [Ani – Malkuth] becomes nothing [Ain – Kether]. Again Aleph is taken as symbol for both lowest [1] and highest [1000], it is the first and the last. Pictured as a circle of letters on the body of a serpent with its tail in its mouth Aleph is placed over the head/tail.

Quote:
the context of their respective texts and general considerations outside of Tarot presumed correlations, I would personally consider that here are examples of the height and end of the mystical or merkabah journey of ascent.
Somewhat confusingly merkabah mystics describe it as a 'descent' to the merkabah, not ascent. Remember also that the kabbalistic 'tree' is upside down, the root is at the top

kwaw

*For what it is worth [IMHO - not a lot] -

As well as 'fool', 'folly', 'poor man, beggar', 'wander-ing/er', other words in hebrew which may relate to the iconography of the 'Fool' and beginning with the letter Aleph that can be found in any standard hebrew lexicon include meanings of: backside [rear, behind, hinquarter]; wild animal [hyena, jackal, wolf]; gripped [caught, trapped, taken hold of]; thing of nought; dumb,mute; trees; meadow, field.
Top   #51
kwaw's Avatar
kwaw  kwaw is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 29 Dec 2003
Location: Nr. Ephesus, Turkey
Posts: 5,400
kwaw 
More on Beit - magician


Magicians among the Jews were called Baal Shem [lit. 'Master of the Name]. While some were considered holy and attracted followers, such as the Besht [acronym of Baal Shem Tov, 'the good Baal Shem], founder of Hasidism, most engendered mistrust and suspicion and were considered scoundrels, charlatans and treacherous dealers. Indeed even the Besht, outside his followers in Hasidism, was considered a charlaton among orthodox Jews. While people travelled far and wide to consult with the Besht, his was an exceptional case and the majority of Baal Shem who did not command the same respect as the Besht had to travel themselves to promote and peddle their skills and wares.

Baal Shem dealt with Gentiles as well as Jews and Gershom Scholem has suggested that it was the activities of the Baal Shem that led to the widespread medieval belief among Christians that Jews were sorcerers and magicians. The mainstay of their business was talismans and remedies. Talismans for protection during childbirth were very popular, such was the demand that the Besht had to employ several scribes to help him prepare them. They also divined the future and were said to be able to evoke spirits and the forms [TARO] of the departed. As mediums and seers they were said to possess familiar spirits, most often depicted in the form of a bird [by the addition of the letter H to the end of the word for bird BAYL is derived BAYLH which means 'hath a familiar spirit', 'medium'.] Another major source of income was dealing with curses people believed they were under [often put on them by another Baal Shem]. Their technique was not to lift the curse but to turn it into a blessing, like God turned the magician Balaam's curses into blessings.

They were called Baal Shem [Master of the Name] because it was through the power of language, in particular the permutation of the letters of divine names, that it was believed they drew down the magical influx of the divine, sefirotic or astral forces. Interesting in this respect is the three dice on the table the magician in some tarot decks whose face numbers add up to 21. The sum of the numbers 1-21 equals 231, which is the number of the 231 gates described in the magical text the Sefer Yetzira [which according to tradition contains the secret of making a golem]. 231 is the number of ways in which the 22 letters are paired in the SY. If you place the 22 trumps and fool around a circle, and draw a line pairing each card with every other card, you end up with 231 lines [in SY of course this is done with the Hebrew letters, not the cards!]. These 231 gates are the keys to drawing down the divine influx of the sefirotic forces.

Some Hebrew words beginning with the letter Beit:

Baal Shem – Magician [biblical examples Balaam the evil magician sent by its enemies to curse Israel but whose curses turned to blessings, Belteshezar chief of the magicians of Chaldea otherwise known as Daniel, Bezalel who was chosen to build the tabernacle because he knew the secret of letter combinations and permutations]
BRA – to curse/to bless
BRVQM – rich apparel, many colours
BRVSH – a tree [mulberry, balsam]
BQAY – a coin [worth half a shekel]
BChVR – youth, young man
BD – liar, boaster, charlatan, oracle priest
BDIM - liar, false oracle, conjuror
BGD – deceitful, treacherous dealer
BLY'L – scoundrel


edited to add BDIM
Top   #52
jmd's Avatar
jmd  jmd is offline
fourhares
 
Join Date: 05 Aug 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 8,502
jmd 

The three coins adding to 21 in some decks is indeed fascinating, as is, of course, that the twenty-two majors have precisely twenty-one of them numbered, making even more explicit the triangular number 231, or, indeed, the two-hundred and thirty-one gates which may be formed from any two letter/gate-posts.

If there is an intrinsinc letter/Kabalistic element to the Atouts of the Tarot, that these are twenty-two in number with only twenty-one numbered adds to its allusion, for the contents of the Sefer Yetzirah would have been undoubtedly known.

The list of words you bring which begin with Beit reminds me of a few of lists I similarly made when first faced with Filipas's Alphabetic Masquerade, attempting to see not so much if any letter would as easily match, but rather taking the far more commonly known Golden Dawn attributions, and seeing what these generated. Admittedly, I was restricted to quite a small Hebrew-English dictionary (which I did supplement on a couple of occasions by a visit to a University library, but for which I only checked few letters).

What I found rather remarkable was that whereas the list provided within Mark's text was unequivocally related to the card in question, it wasn't as clear -cut, or was more unlikely, with my own lists.

Similarly with your Beit list. For example, the tree, the coin, the youth and the BGD (important, that one!) all fit rather well... but I doubt the others.

And what of the other letters, may one again find such correlations? certainly, but seemingly not as central to the images presented - unless one adopts the more 'natural' Alef is one is (Roman) 'I' is first; Beit is two is (Roman) 'II' is second; etc.

Importantly, why do especially the Bateleur and the Hanged Man 'mimic' the shape of specific letters. I would expect that if Beit was to be associated with the Bateleur rather than Alef, the engraver would at least have altered the imagery to something other. There are sufficient images of otherwise similar 'Magicians' who do not reflect the Alef shape.

I mention and comment on this simply to add to the discussion which you have so importantly contributed to. In each case, however, I do not see an overall reason within the argument which satisfies me that the GD attributions are really warranted.

I suppose that there is part of me which also would like to see that Wescott did have solid grounds for the changes introduced... but have not yet found these.
Top   #53
Ross G Caldwell's Avatar
Ross G Caldwell  Ross G Caldwell is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 07 Jul 2003
Location: Béziers, France
Posts: 2,649
Ross G Caldwell 
Re: More on Beit - magician


Hi Kwaw,

Quote:
Originally posted by kwaw
Magicians among the Jews were called Baal Shem [lit. 'Master of the Name].

Some Hebrew words beginning with the letter Beit:

BD – liar, boaster, charlatan, oracle priest
BGD – deceitful, treacherous dealer
BLY'L – scoundrel
it would be very interesting if one of the vocalizations of BGD is "Bagad" or "Begad". Does your dictionary say anything about the etymology of this word, whether it entered Hebrew in a known era or place, whether it is Biblical, Aramaic, Mishnaic or Medieval, or other Semitic cognates (if they exist)?

I ask because one of the possible etymologies of "Bagatella" is medieval Latin "Bagadella", which means "someone from Bagdad", and was essentially used for itinerant performers, magicians and jugglers (and perhaps merchants?). The modern Bolognese term for their Bagatella card is "Bégato", which they say means "Bagdadi" as well, since these performers, con artists in reputation, supposedly had their origin there.

BD could be another form of this word. BLY'L I presume is the same as "Belial", devil, a derogatory term used since Biblical times for the Devil.

Ross
Top   #54
Ross G Caldwell's Avatar
Ross G Caldwell  Ross G Caldwell is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 07 Jul 2003
Location: Béziers, France
Posts: 2,649
Ross G Caldwell 

For BGD from Jastrow's Dictionary of the Talmud etc.
http://www.cwru.edu/UL/preserve/Etan...v1.121.140.pdf

For the consonantal root BGD, on page 137, I get the Talmudic "Bagad" 'to act violently, to rebel, be faithless' (I suppose this last is the relation to "deceitful"); he goes on to say that the primitive meaning of BGD is "to tear", and "to despise".

After this is the Biblical Hebrew "Beged", meaning a "web" or a "garment."

It would thus seem to be a good semitic root, and has no apparent relation to Baghdad, Begato or Bagad.

Ross
Top   #55
kwaw's Avatar
kwaw  kwaw is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 29 Dec 2003
Location: Nr. Ephesus, Turkey
Posts: 5,400
kwaw 

Quote:
Originally posted by Ross G Caldwell
For BGD from Jastrow's Dictionary of the Talmud etc.
http://www.cwru.edu/UL/preserve/Etan...v1.121.140.pdf

Ross
thanks for that link Ross have been looking for the Jastrow.

the driver-brown on line lexicon can be found here:

http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/heb/

Kwaw
Top   #56
kwaw's Avatar
kwaw  kwaw is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 29 Dec 2003
Location: Nr. Ephesus, Turkey
Posts: 5,400
kwaw 

Quote:
Originally posted by jmd
What I found rather remarkable was that whereas the list provided within Mark's text was unequivocally related to the card in question, it wasn't as clear -cut, or was more unlikely, with my own lists.
I find that surprising, personally I consider there are many words in Marks Marseille list that are far from unequivocable.

Quote:
[Similarly with your Beit list. For example, the tree, the coin, the youth and the BGD (important, that one!) all fit rather well... but I doubt the others.
I imagine you reject Baal Shem [magician] on the grounds that the Marseille Bagado is merely a conjuror whereas a Baal Shem is a 'real' magician. But why not BD, liar, boaster, charlaton, oracle priest? Especially as closely related to the word BD is BDIN, false oracle, conjuror which if related to BD liar I presume it is possibly because a conjuror is skilled in the art of deception. And why not the rich apparel of many colours? This seems to me to be connected to the dress of the conjuror. I believe if memory serves me correct Mark uses a similar word to refer either to the dress of the magician or fool, if my memory is correct what makes the one word unequivocable and the other not? My own purpose in making such a list is not to prove a connection, as obviously if such a list proves possible then all it will do is highlight there is a flaw in the whole theory, but in order that I may make some evaluation of Mark's statistical claims about his Marseille/Hebrew lexicon.

Quote:
Importantly, why do especially the Bateleur and the Hanged Man 'mimic' the shape of specific letters. I would expect that if Beit was to be associated with the Bateleur rather than Alef, the engraver would at least have altered the imagery to something other. There are sufficient images of otherwise similar 'Magicians' who do not reflect the Alef shape.
The problem with seeing the pattern of a letter in the image is that it is just too subjective. People tend to see what they expect or want to see. Some claim there is a suggestion of the Aleph in the posture of the fool. A letter shin from a hebrew font enlarged and placed over the three figures rising from the grave in Judgment fits very neatly. But such an exception proves nothing, it does not apply to the series as a whole. Some claim to see the letter forms within the whole series, but it is far from apparent to everyone else.


Kwaw
Top   #57
kwaw's Avatar
kwaw  kwaw is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 29 Dec 2003
Location: Nr. Ephesus, Turkey
Posts: 5,400
kwaw 

Quote:
Originally posted by jmd
What I found rather remarkable was that whereas the list provided within Mark's text was unequivocally related to the card in question, it wasn't as clear -cut, or was more unlikely, with my own lists.

Similarly with your Beit list. For example, the tree, the coin, the youth and the BGD (important, that one!) all fit rather well... but I doubt the others.

What about the Aleph list? Here is a sleightly fuller version:

ABVZ - BUTTOCKS also AChVR
ABYVN - POOR MAN, BEGGAR
ABD - WANDERING
ABRQYN - UNDERCLOTHES, UNMENTIONABLES, BREECHES
AGD - A STAFF/POLE USED AS A YOKE TO CARRY BURDENS ON THE SHOULDER
AGVDCh - BUNDLE
AGVR - HILL
AGYA - RIDGED OR ROUNDED HILLS
ADQ - CAUGHT HOLD OFF, FASTENED TO
AChZ - SEIZE
ADR - LEATHER BAG
AVDNA - LEATHER BOTTLE
AVVR - TRAVELLORS
AKSA - MAD
AY - WILD BEAST, HYENA, JACKAL, WOLF
AYN - NOTHING, NOT
AYN - NOUGHT, SOMETHING ROUND, BUTTOCK SHAPED
AYLA/N - TREE
AYLM - DUMB, MUTE
ALM - DUMB, IGNORANT
AVVLTh - FOLLY, FOOLISHNESS
AVYL - FOOL, FOOLISH MAN (DROP THE Y AND YOU GET AVL = CIRCLE, BEGINNING; ALVL = THING OF NOUGHT)
AVYRTA - KNAPSACK

Sorry about all caps for that lot it was just easier to type the list that way. Source=Jastrow, Driver-Brown-Briggs-Gesenius.

Kwaw
Top   #58
filipas's Avatar
filipas  filipas is offline
Resident
 
Join Date: 04 Jan 2004
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 75
filipas 

Quote:
kwaw wrote:
I did not say in the post from which you are quoting that these are literal meanings of the names of the letters.
Then I think we are on the same page. It just seemed as if you were presenting the chart in Kaplan as a rebuttal to my original point about the meanings of the letter names.

Thank you for an engaging discussion, kwaw!

- Mark
Top   #59
jmd's Avatar
jmd  jmd is offline
fourhares
 
Join Date: 05 Aug 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 8,502
jmd 

Wonderful list, kwaw...

I could again select certain words above others, and dismiss yet others - as too to some extent with Mark's own list, by the way... though with more difficulty (perhaps out of having 'tested' these and not having found them generally wanting). This would not lead, however, to what I personally value in kwaw's contributions. Rather, I am seeking to enter the contributory list as though, possibly, correct (or of 'best fit'), and see where it leads.

There are also, in the back of my mind, a number of questions or deliberations which have to be made with the lists:

The first is whether, not for a single letter (and with the list kwaw provides, a number of words could as easily apply to the Fool as to the Bateleur), but FOR THE WHOLE SEQUENCE OF LETTERS, comparative lists which 'name' the imagery can be found (in the various four allocations made and outlined in the opening post). Then one could also importantly ask, for example, how does, specifically, Lamed reflect the two (main) possible attributions (Hanged Man or Justice), and what about Tzaddi - how does it reflect the three (main) attributions (Moon, Star and Emperor)... and with the Fool, how does Tav compare with Alef or Shin (we have the first two of these, but how about Shin)?

The second is whether, if there are indeed more than one such list - which kwaw is certainly beginning to present - whether there are other grounds for accepting one above any of the others. For example, does the ordinal value of the earlier letters also indicate their order, even though this has to be dropped once ten is reached - ie, is it fair to ask whether Dalet, as 4, perhaps suits the Emperor also simply due to the latter's numbering (one may respond that by this method, Kaph would have to be allocated to Judgement, to which a simple sequential requirement would seem to preclude this).

The third is whether any such list or alphabetic sequence had any 'overarching' impact on the organisation of the sequence of the Major Arcana. Ie, if we begin with the Marseilles sequence as given, and irrespective of the questionable (for now) positioning of the Fool, is the sequence, as sequence, somewhat explained or (partly) justified by the Alef-Beit... here is where Mark's work is certainly important, and would be as significant if it could be argued that the same could be 'better' reflected by placing the Fool with Alef (though I personally doubt that the latter is the case, it is a question and investigation worth undertaking).

The fourth is whether any such correlative list is just plain nice, but either coincidental or without significance over and above adding to one's already made personal attributions. If this is the case, then, at most, it would show that both the Tarot and the Hebrew language are sufficiently mobile and image- and concept-rich as to be able to accomodate various preferences based on other needs. Again, I doubt this is really the case, but have not personally investigated the same to a level which would prove adequate from a more serious research perspective (my small 'checking' was no more than just that).

Finally (for now), the fifth question is whether, even having possibly found a 'significant' correlation, it is useful for further work with Tarot, or whether it is of 'mere' historical or symbolic interest...
Top   #60




 


 


Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Tarot Forum
Aeclectic Tarot Forum Links
· Tarot
· Tarot Special Interest
· Beyond Tarot
· Forum Library

Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Angel Decks
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Cat Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· List All Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· Tarot Books
· What's New

Copyright © 1996 - 2019 Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Contact us.