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Correspondances kabalah - tarot, for or against

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Correspondances kabalah - tarot, for or against


I read this in THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF ALL AGES, by Manly P. Hall (1928) this morning: "Most writers on the Tarot (Mr. Waite a notable exception) have proceeded upon the hypothesis that the 22 major trumps represent the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This supposition is based upon nothing more substantial than the coincidence that both consist of 22 parts."

I do not know much about kabbalah, unfortunately (it is on my to-do-list to study it...) but would like to hear your opinions about the basis for establishing these correspondances between kabbalah and the major arcana. What do you think? (Yes, I know of some of the arguments for it already... I have studied Golden Dawn texts and Crowley as well as some other sources... But now I wonder what YOU think!)

I am also a little puzzled about why Waite did not present a correspondance between the hebrew letters and the Tarot? Do anyone know.

/Torbjörn
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In Hall I also found this: "The diverse opinions of eminent authorities on the Tarot symbolism are quite irreconcilable. The conclusions of the scholarly Court de Gébelin and the bizarre Grand Etteila--the first authorities on the subject--not only are at radical variance but both are equally discredited by Levi, whose arrangement of the Tarot trumps was rejected in turn by Arthur Edward Waite and Paul Case as being an effort to mislead students. The followers of Levi--especially Papus, Christian, Westcott, and Schuré-are regarded by the "reformed Tarotists" as honest but benighted individuals who wandered in darkness for lack of Pamela Coleman Smith's new deck of Tarot cards with revisions by Mr. Waite.

Most writers on the Tarot (Mr. Waite a notable exception) have proceeded upon the hypothesis that the 22 major trumps represent the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This supposition is based upon nothing more substantial than the coincidence that both consist of 22 parts. That Postel, St. Martin, and Levi all wrote books divided into sections corresponding to the major Tarots is an interesting sidelight on the subject. The major trump cards portray incidents from the Book of Revelation; and the Apocalypse of St. John is also divided into 22 chapters. Assuming the Qabbalah to hold the solution to the Tarot riddle, seekers have often ignored other possible lines of research. The task, however, of discovering the proper relationship sustained by the Tarot trumps to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the Paths of Wisdom thus far has not met with any great measure of success. The major trumps of the Tarot and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet cannot be synchronized without first fixing the correct place of the unnumbered, or zero, card--Le Mat, the Fool. Levi places this card between the 20th and 21st Tarots, assigning to it the Hebrew letter Shin (ש). The same order is followed by Papus, Christian, and Waite, the last, however, declaring this arrangement to be incorrect. Westcott makes the zero card the 22nd of the Tarot major trumps. On the other hand, both Court de Gébelin and Paul Case place the unnumbered card before the first numbered card of the major trumps, for if the natural order of the numbers (according to either the Pythagorean or Qabbalistic system) be adhered to, the zero card must naturally precede the number 1.

This does not dispose of the problem, however, for efforts to assign a Hebrew letter to each Tarot trump in sequence produce an effect far from convincing. Mr. Waite, who reedited the Tarot, expresses himself thus: "I am not to be included among those who are satisfied that there is a valid correspondence between Hebrew letters and Tarot Trump symbols." (See introduction to The Book of Formation by Knut Stenring.) The real explanation may be that the major Tarots no longer are in the same sequence as when they formed the leaves of Hermes' sacred book, for the Egyptians--or even their Arabian successors--could have purposely confused the cards so that their secrets might be better preserved. Mr. Case has developed a system which, while superior to most, depends largely upon two debatable points, namely, the accuracy of Mr. Waite's revised Tarot and the justification for assigning the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet to the unnumbered, or zero, card. Since Aleph (the first Hebrew letter) has the numerical value of 1, its assignment to the zero card is equivalent to the statement that zero is equal to the letter Aleph and therefore synonymous with the number 1."

ETC...

http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta31.htm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ligator
I am also a little puzzled about why Waite did not present a correspondance between the hebrew letters and the Tarot? Do anyone know.

/Torbjörn
I doubt anyone really knows, those who claim they do might be very wrong as well
I've been studyng Kabbalistic texts for quite some time now - no mentioning of Tarot , at least i haven't found them yet.
I do see the obvious similarities and correspondences between the two systems, there are many theories stating Tarot derives from Kabbalah - but apparently no evident proof for it.
I am studyng both simultaneosly without battering my head against the wall to make attributions, nevertheless - in my experience, both studies complement and deepen each other.
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Thanks... More views?
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One of the reasons that I am puzzled is that Waite indeed based some parts of his version of the tarot on the hebrew language and kabbalah, so why did he not go all the way.

Here is one example: the renaming of the court cards (the old king became the new prince).

"Mathers' logic for this renaming is based on the mystery surrounding the four-lettered name of God, Jehovah or Yahweh, written in Hebrew as IHVH. This mystery name contains the four elements and the fourfold family as Father, Mother, Son, and Daughter. In Mathers' renaming of the Court cards, the King is fire and the father, the Queen is water and the mother, the Prince is air and the son, while the Princess is earth and the daughter. Crowley immediately saw the difficulty in these revised titles so in his own Book of Thoth, published in 1944, he brought back the old title of Knight, so that in his own scheme the four court personages were transformed into Knight, Queen, Prince, and Princess. This was done to guard against confusing the old King with the new King.""

http://www.llewellynjournal.com/article/387
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Also note the three nails in the top of the Hierophant's tiara. Vav = nail or tent peg. Waite may have SAID he didn't use Hebrew letter correspondences, but . . .
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelcat
Also note the three nails in the top of the Hierophant's tiara. Vav = nail or tent peg. Waite may have SAID he didn't use Hebrew letter correspondences, but . . .
Exactly.

There appears to be ample evidence pointing to a systematic set of correspondences between paths, letters and trumps in the RWS and PKT, despite his own denials.

Waite learnt Tarot in the Golden Dawn and his letter and path attributions are the same.

Berb
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Interesting. But why?

/Torbjörn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ligator
I read this in THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF ALL AGES, by Manly P. Hall (1928) this morning: "Most writers on the Tarot (Mr. Waite a notable exception) have proceeded upon the hypothesis that the 22 major trumps represent the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This supposition is based upon nothing more substantial than the coincidence that both consist of 22 parts."

I do not know much about kabbalah, unfortunately (it is on my to-do-list to study it...) but would like to hear your opinions about the basis for establishing these correspondances between kabbalah and the major arcana. What do you think? /Torbjörn
[ Just answering this bit as I think it can get on to what letters and what cards .... ]

Some of us (our perception fields) need an image or a relationship or a correspondence with something else to better understand it. We do tend to catorgorise things in boxes and make maps of the territtory. These maps can have any number of levels; 1 - unity, 2 - duality, 4 or 5 - elemental, 7 -planetary, 12 - astrological, 64 - I Ching ...perhaps even 10 and 22 - Qabbalah.

If something presents itself to us in a 12 model it is only natural that some of us go .... Ha! Astrology. But as to HOW and WHICH ones will relate to which sign .... that's a big debate. So I think it's only natural that the 22 cards would eventually relate to the 22 letters, IMO there is no link or historical precident needed. It all depends on YOUR understanding of both systems.

And I am sure this relationship was noted before someone first put it in a book, but that first 'public' 'relevation' of the 'mystery' will be seen as the starting point, and most probably that the author had access to secret books or teachings
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ligator
Interesting. But why?

/Torbjörn
Apparently Waite took his vows of secrecy seriously.


Berb
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