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I read RWS, should I ignore Thoth meanings

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I look at this topic this way: The Tarot cards (Majors and Minors alike) illustrate the archetypes. An archetype, as Jung emphasized has no particular form, rather like the outline for a quartz crystal, based on which an unlimited number of crystals grow, not two of them being exactly the same. In a sense, the archetype is the sum total of all its potential expressions.

If we consider set theory, we could say that equivalent cards in different decks are different subsets of the set of traits that represents the totality of the archetype. Obviously, these subsets widely overlap, albeit not completely. In other words, different variations of a card provide slightly diverging angles from which we see the archetype, emphasizing one aspect or another.

I think by consulting the Tarot cards, we tap into archetypal energies which exist as patterns in psychoid space. A card will resonate with its underlying pattern simply due to its attribution with a certain number, element etc. I drew this conclusion when I saw the equivalent cards showing up repeatedly regarding a certain topic, no matter which deck I used.

So I suggest that you study different decks, trying to understand their common underlying archetypes. This is not so much recommended for the beginner though, which may find this confusing.

Since I'm on a train and it's arriving now, I will talk about this more later.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freyja of V View Post
I completely agree about relying on the pictures.
Speaking of the images, I do not know how anyone can read TdM pips. How do you do it?

Other than the Majors, I feel like there isn't enough imagery, to read them. Especially if you started with them. It seems like it would be very difficult and they are intimidating. Kudos to you.

Thanks for the input.
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I did that same exercise - at first. Turns out that I hated it, and am not really one for symbols. I think that this has to do with my personal history. Because I was raised a-religious and from multi-faith families I just don't see a value in many symbols. I'd rather deconstruct them.

There are a whole lot of ways to read unscenic pips. I use basic numerology and suit elements (not elemental dignities - that's different, although that could also work I imagine) and intuition. It means that I can also read playing cards.

I had wanted to start with them, but a well-meaning person bought my teenage self the RWS and that put me off Tarot for a while.
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The significant departure for me is that I've moved well away from trying to use tarot for psychological profiling (although I never really got there in the first place since I began having misgivings about the Jungian correlations with tarot probably three decades ago). I find astrology to be a much deeper and more comprehensive tool for that anyway. I'm mainly looking for practical insights into the outward manifestation of the subconscious energies expressed by the cards. The one exception is the court cards, but even there I look not so much for "who they are" but rather "what they mean" in a situation. For that, I find the Thoth literature much more informative since it is more conceptually expansive. (Translation: easier to turn into practical insights.)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnemoneRosie View Post
I did that same exercise - at first. Turns out that I hated it, and am not really one for symbols. I think that this has to do with my personal history. Because I was raised a-religious and from multi-faith families I just don't see a value in many symbols. I'd rather deconstruct them.

There are a whole lot of ways to read unscenic pips. I use basic numerology and suit elements (not elemental dignities - that's different, although that could also work I imagine) and intuition. It means that I can also read playing cards.

I had wanted to start with them, but a well-meaning person bought my teenage self the RWS and that put me off Tarot for a while.
Me too, numerical and elemental correspondences, and maybe just a touch of "energy flow" principles derived from the progression of the suits from the Ace to the Ten: from the most theoretical to the most concrete. I haven't got as anal as deducing whether one branch has three upward-pointing leaves while another has two downward-pointing ones, but I understand the rationale for that. If we don't intend to go that far, what we're left with is a kind of "mish-mash" of ideas from other systems, from which we have to cull our "chosen few." It works, but only as an approximation, in my opinion.
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Alright, since I'm sitting in a bar now waiting for the train back, with a cocktail in front of me, we can continue from where we left off.

Let's look at the Six of Swords as an example. In the RWS, this card shows people on a boat journey; what I gather from various books, they are getting out of a troublesome situation, heading to a safe haven. The Thoth card, as always as far as the pimps, shows us a pretty abstract geometrical pattern, and carries the title "Science." It speaks to out-of-the-box thinking and finding new solutions. What is the common denominator? Well, briefly we could summarize it as "new horizons."

I have seen the RWS Six of Swords being literally about a voyage to a safer place. Would the Thoth card have shown up in this context? Probably not, but I wouldn't exclude the possibility.

I, for one, don't think of the cards as simple flash cards for their underlying themes. Tarot is a pictorial language after all, so I do consider the particular symbols on the cards in relation to the reading - with rather interesting conclusions sometimes!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Sternbach View Post
Alright, since I'm sitting in a bar now waiting for the train back, with a cocktail in front of me, we can continue from where we left off.

Let's look at the Six of Swords as an example. In the RWS, this card shows people on a boat journey; what I gather from various books, they are getting out of a troublesome situation, heading to a safe haven. The Thoth card, as always as far as the pimps, shows us a pretty abstract geometrical pattern, and carries the title "Science." It speaks to out-of-the-box thinking and finding new solutions. What is the common denominator? Well, briefly we could summarize it as "new horizons."

I have seen the RWS Six of Swords being literally about a voyage to a safer place. Would the Thoth card have shown up in this context? Probably not, but I wouldn't exclude the possibility.

I, for one, don't think of the cards as simple flash cards for their underlying themes. Tarot is a pictorial language after all, so I do consider the particular symbols on the cards in relation to the reading - with rather interesting conclusions sometimes!
You actually hit upon one of my favorite examples of where the two systems seem to be farthest apart. "New horizons" is a good thought. The closest I could come is that Crowley saw all of the Sixes as a temporary point of balance, a momentary resting place along the path, soon to be vacated. Satisfying up to a point but not destined to last. Perhaps the people in the RWS boat are already continuing the journey, having just left the "dock." I know some see it as being more about the envisioned "destination" than the "journey" itself, but the latter seems like a better correlation.

My main "hard spot" with this card is that, if this is a "voyage of anticipation," why do the passengers look so dejected and disheartened? Do they have misgivings about what lies ahead? Ambivalence doesn't seem to be what the Sixes - as "solar" cards - should be expressing. Perhaps the people are simply disappointed at having to leave their "safe haven" so soon. Also, although the boatman seems unconcerned, small-boat travel by water is often fraught with uncertainty. My personal impression has always been that the scene on this card missed the mark just a little by sending a mixed message.
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I don't know if i agree that it is the Six of Swords that necessarily shows the differences. I would actually say it highlights the similarities more than almost any other card. It is attributed to Mercury in Aquarius, literally "moving on water," hence the boat. A journey, whether to or from somewhere, implies a certain perspective that comes from being the "Lord of Earned Success," the Golden Dawn title for the card. But success doesn't have to be good, and Crowley hit the mark with "Science," which implies empirical data learned from experience. An experiment can fail and still successfully be used to gain knowledge on a certain subject. If you're testing a drug on people and it does not treat the disease you're trying to cure, the success is in the knowledge that it doesn't. There's no failure.

In a way this card mirrors the Three of Swords, but the Sorrow there is implacable, the pain of separation from the source (Keter). But by the time we get to the Six, the experience gained over time gives perspective over that pain and, in a way, Sorrow is looking back at Sorrow and learning from it. The two cards are connected by the path of the Lovers, effectively "doubling" the Three of Swords. Waite's (or Smith's) take on it is certainly dismal, but that doesn't mean the essential bullet point of the card is considerably different. Plus, despite the melancholy atmosphere of the image, the text is surprisingly upbeat (relatively speaking):

Quote:
A ferryman carrying passengers in his punt to the further shore. The course is smooth, and seeing that the freight is light, it may be noted that the work is not beyond his strength.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephyros View Post
Waite's (or Smith's) take on it is certainly dismal, but that doesn't mean the essential bullet point of the card is considerably different. Plus, despite the melancholy atmosphere of the image, the text is surprisingly upbeat (relatively speaking):
Exactly my point. For those who look deeply into the imagery, the scene doesn't do a good job of conveying the meaning. There are a number of examples among the small cards in the deck where this is more-or-less the case. It's why I tend to rely on the Thoth meanings as more reliably relevant. This seems to be the danger with scenic, narrative pips; the Thoth pips are more suggestive than explicit - while still being highly evocative - and don't compete with the text.
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Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
This seems to be the danger with scenic, narrative pips; the Thoth pips are more suggestive than explicit - while still being highly evocative - and don't compete with the text.
This is something that I struggle with in the RWS as well, and is why I lean towards TdM (because OP was asking about reading non-scenic pips earlier). I enjoy that the Thoth pips are more suggestive than anything else. It's as though the cards are saying "you can go in this direction... if you want to."
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Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
Exactly my point. For those who look deeply into the imagery, the scene doesn't do a good job of conveying the meaning. There are a number of examples among the small cards in the deck where this is more-or-less the case. It's why I tend to rely on the Thoth meanings as more reliably relevant. This seems to be the danger with scenic, narrative pips; the Thoth pips are more suggestive than explicit - while still being highly evocative - and don't compete with the text.
So agree. I really started to "feel" small cards after working with Thoth. RWS ones, not only standard deck but even "clones", seemed to be mechanical. I'm not sure if I put it in the right way but when I wanted to dig deeper, I felt I hit the wall - like I was working with a vending machine. When I use Thoth's small cards, I get right away emotional response in my body, my brain starts to work harder while interpreting. And of course, I like to check meanings with text, BOT is always by my side when I read cards.
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