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Why Kris Hadar put the date 1181 on his Two of Deniers (Coins)

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Now that's a fun idea augursWell, thank you! The suit assignments are certainly something to play with

Regarding the Hebrew alphabet--if you mean the idea put forth on Mark Filipas' website, it's persuasive, isn't it? --A tough thing to ignore I think. And yet, I don't see why either suggestion need be exclusive.
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I don't think either suggestion need to be exclusive, also. Lots of things to think about!
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Quote:
Originally posted by punchinella
Regarding the Hebrew alphabet--if you mean the idea put forth on Mark Filipas' website, it's persuasive, isn't it? --A tough thing to ignore I think. And yet, I don't see why either suggestion need be exclusive.
I got first aquainted with the idea from Mark Filipas' ebook on the subject but I have since found other things that make sense to me about the idea of the Hebrew alphabet.

Does anyone know of any scholarly history about this area of France in the 12th Century?

I find it difficult to correlate the year 1181 with the Tarot since, correct me if I'm wrong, there are no surviving decks which go back to that time period.

Here's another hypothesis; were there Hebrew sects in the south of France that were influencers of troubadour culture in any small part?

Also, what is this "language of the birds" that is referred to? Is this simply the idea of troubadours as singers, like birds?
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This webpage has some information on the possible origins of the Cathars:
http://www.languedoc-france.info/1204_origins.htm and it certainly suggests some sort of jewish/christian background for the Cathars.

As to the Celtic references to a "Grail", there are four holy objects refered to in Irish legends, one of which is a cauldron of regeneration. This is said to have been combined with the idea of the cup of Christ to create the concept of the Holy Grail when Christianity was assimilating pagan religious ideas. Unfortunately I can't find the references for where I picked up this information. There is a well illustrated book on the Grail mythos called "The Holy Grail" by Malcolm Godwin, that may have been my source. I don't know how authoritative it is but it has lots of information in this area.
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AugursWell, I just happened to be at the library yesterday & wound up checking out Malcolm Godwin's book! I haven't spent any time with it yet though.

My library unfortunately has absolutely nothing on medieval Occitania, so I searched Amazon & came up with two options:

The World of the Troubadours: Medieval Occitan Society, c. 1100-1300 by Linda M. Peterson; &

A Handbook of the Troubadours by F. R. P. Akehurst

The latter was designed by faculty at UCLA, as a socio/historical complement to selections from the literature itself. Obviously, I can't vouch for either book . . . just thought I'd share my current list with you

At the library yesterday, I also picked up a not-quite scholarly but very interesting book by Graham Phillips (The Search for the Holy Grail). In it I find reference to two early Welsh stories, The Spoils of Annwn (c. 900, preserved in the Book of Taliesin c. 1300) & Culwch and Olwen (date not mentioned, preserved in The Red Book of Hergest c. 1400). Both of these tales apparently involve the search for a magic cauldron . . . or Celtic Grail?

I was, however, astonished on first picking up this book to find that it naturally opened to a plate reproduction of 18 trumps from what appears to be a Marseilles-style tarot deck. This Graham Phillips devotes a couple of chapters to tarot, claiming that the trump-cards correspond (sequentially) to characters encountered on the Grail Quest as presented in La Folie Perceval (c. 1330), itself a prose translation of "the Peveril sections in Fulke le Fitz Waryn" (Anglo-Norman French, c. 1260, Peveril being an earlier Welsh text).

I haven't read the book through yet, but at first glance his conclusions seem a bit extreme. Still, it's certainly something (more) to examine. The reading list is growing long indeed, pretty soon I'm going to have to start combing it with patchouli oil.
Quote:
originally posted by augursWell
I find it difficult to correlate the year 1181 with the Tarot since, correct me if I'm wrong, there are no surviving decks which go back to that time period.
But isn't it likely that some early decks/images might, like other works of the human pen, not have survived the roughly thousand-year interval between the date of their creation & the present day? Is it really sound to assume that the earliest decks we have now are the earliest decks that ever existed?

Regarding this Jewish/Christian background of Catharism . . . if you mean to postulate Cathars as potential specialists in Hebrew lexicography, that just doesn't feel right to me at all. As I understand them, the Cathars were . . . well, disinterested? Simple? Elaborate ceremony & symbolism were (in so much as I understand the situation--?) basically antithetical to Cathar practice. And tarot is pretty much all symbol . . . I have a hard time imagining Cathars behind it!

Admittedly, I did start reading up on Cathars a little while ago as part of a personal quest to understand tarot (silly me)
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AugursWell, you might want to read this: http://letarot.com/pages/64-the-lang...the-birds.html

This is a wonderful site, but the text in itself is certainly not enough to understand the subject. Anyway, it is not easy to find a link in English. I’ll post everything I find.
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Quote:
Originally posted by punchinella
I was, however, astonished on first picking up this book to find that it naturally opened to a plate reproduction of 18 trumps from what appears to be a Marseilles-style tarot deck. This Graham Phillips devotes a couple of chapters to tarot, claiming that the trump-cards correspond (sequentially) to characters encountered on the Grail Quest as presented in La Folie Perceval (c. 1330), itself a prose translation of "the Peveril sections in Fulke le Fitz Waryn" (Anglo-Norman French, c. 1260, Peveril being an earlier Welsh text).
Well, this to me is the heart of why Tarot still exists and is so important to me, but this is also the danger when discussing theories of its origins -- it can represent almost anything!! I think it is true that the cards correspond to the characters of the Grail quest but that is not proof that that was the *original* intention. I mean, look at all of the variations of Tarot decks today, Ferguson's Arthurian Tarot correlates characters from the Arthurian stories with cards in the deck but she did not create Tarot itself. If her deck were the only one in existance could we conclude that Tarot originated with her?

Quote:
But isn't it likely that some early decks/images might, like other works of the human pen, not have survived the roughly thousand-year interval between the date of their creation & the present day? Is it really sound to assume that the earliest decks we have now are the earliest decks that ever existed?
No, you are right. Given the amount of time that has passed, and the rarity of printed cards in that time period, it is likely there were other decks that we have simply not seen. As the original letter from Kris Hadar says, we are left with relying on iconography to make the connection -- the style of the Death image being one that was common in the 12th century. I'm simply saying there is no historical documentation that I know of that equates the year 1181 with Tarot. From what I know Kris Hadar put the date of 1181 on the deck and not the original craftsman who carved the plates that printed the original deck.

Quote:
Regarding this Jewish/Christian background of Catharism . . . if you mean to postulate Cathars as potential specialists in Hebrew lexicography, that just doesn't feel right to me at all. As I understand them, the Cathars were . . . well, disinterested? Simple? Elaborate ceremony & symbolism were (in so much as I understand the situation--?) basically antithetical to Cathar practice. And tarot is pretty much all symbol . . . I have a hard time imagining Cathars behind it!
From what I've gleaned so far, Occitan was a from of Latin. If we try to prove a Hebrew alphabetic influence in the Major Arcana then there needs to be some reason why that language was used. Remember that this was not just "Hebrew", these letters were orginally Aramaic and before that something else. Were the Troubadours Cathars also? I'm just trying to get a sense of the social milieu at the time that would explain why any of these groups of people in this area would have created a set of cards with four suits and a set of trumps.
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Quote:
Originally posted by smleite
AugursWell, you might want to read this: http://letarot.com/pages/64-the-lang...the-birds.html

This is a wonderful site, but the text in itself is certainly not enough to understand the subject. Anyway, it is not easy to find a link in English. I’ll post everything I find.
Thanks smleite. This was certainly enough for me to get the basic concept. I am one who loves puns, word plays, etc. so I find this concept of the language of the birds a very interesting one.
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Quote:
Originally posted by smleite
Oh, we would go far exploring the reasons why the model of a four-classes society would be so appropriate as a symbol of “this world”, and why would it be a perfect vehicle for the materialization of Spirit. I believe that in Tarot the importance of number four is widely explored – that is why I tried to start a thread on it: http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread...threadid=25714
I think the concept of "four" is something somehow integral to human thinking. For example, look at the caste system in India which had four main groups and then the "untouchables". There is a brief introduction on it that I found here: http://adaniel.tripod.com/religious.htm

Since Mamluk cards came from Arab culture and Arab cultures extend as far as India, couldn't the four suits of the Tarot have originated with the four castes of India via the Mamluk cards? I don't know how much of a theory this is but my main point is that humans of all cultures seem to gravitate to grouping things in fours, especially when aiming for "stability"
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Quote:
originally posted by augursWell

(…) my main point is that humans of all cultures seem to gravitate to grouping things in fours, especially when aiming for "stability".
Yes, yes, I think we are talking about something that is universal, something that belongs to man’s psychic (?) structure, and not of an accidental or cultural tendency! And the concept of “stability” in itself is very deep and, I believe so, spiritually powerful.
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