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I read RWS, should I ignore Thoth meanings

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnemoneRosie View Post
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."
While the RWS seem more explicit (and sometimes deceivingly so), no Tarot cards are unambigious in their statements. Not only can each card mean a bunch of things, different readers also have a different understanding of a card as Zephyros' comment shows.

Therefore, I can get something useful out of most Tarot books, and that includes Arrien's book and the ones that followed in its wake (Tarantino, Ziegler, Wanless etc), even though many traditionalists turn up their nose at.

Likewise for the RWS, I don't limit myself to Waite's Pictorial Key (and I don't know anybody who would do this), but also take into account what Pollack, Banzhaf, Katz & Goodwin etc have written.

What it boils down to is that the true card meanings often defy the written word, as they have to do with feeling tones and psycho-spiritual states, and only experience will teach you what a card really means for you.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Sternbach View Post
What it boils down to is that the true card meanings often defy the written word, as they have to do with feeling tones and psycho-spiritual states, and only experience will teach you what a card really means for you.
Excellent point! Between myself and the cards, the communication is non-verbal: at its best, it's more imaginative, inspirational and intuitive, more about emotional epiphanies than rational constructs. It's only when we want to convey these impressions to others that we're reduced to words and pictures, which we all know are imperfect media for communicating at that level of subtlety (although visual art does have its transcendent moments, as the Thoth illustrates so well). It's why I often resort to metaphor in those situations; because it requires translation into tarot-specific concepts, it leaves a little "wiggle room" for the listener to make something more (or different) of a card than what the "keyword bank" is capable of delivering. (It also makes the story-telling a lot more vivid and interesting.)
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To all that have responded here,

I really am enjoying reading the conversation going on here. Although, I must admit I feel slightly lost because I only understand/know about half of what you are all talking about.
I am still really very new...I have only been learning for a couple of years.

What I am getting out of this is that I should definitely read BOT, and other books and I should NOT ignore them. That instead of Thoth possibly confusing me, it will only deepen my understanding of the possibly the true intent of the cards. It also seems, that I should at the very least learn astrology - that I can do.

*****

Zephyros, thank you for pointing out that there more similarities as well. I did 'get' your Lovers comparison.

****

The Six of Swords, I agree with Michael S. For me it is more about the escape/what you many need to get away from and then the destination. I think this is why they look so disheartened.

But I guess those are the differences I see in both decks. However...I can also see how they can be related. This is exactly why I started this thread.

*****

Barleywine, thank you for letting me know that Waite wrote under a pseudonym. I knew about Mathers but not Waite, and thanks for the link. And for the numerology advice.

****

Request:
Can anyone recommend older texts/writings (19th/20th cent.) about the history of Tarot and the GD. I don't really know anything about all these guys and their contributions and the two talented artists... and I would love to read about it/them.

Thank you for opening my eyes to the positives in Thoth.
Freyja

Edit: P.S. I have the Tarot Dictionary and Compendum (Riley) and love being able to see so many different points of view on the same card.
And...just curious...do you see/call yourself a Taroist or Tarotists?
Is one correct/one wrong or both are acceptable?
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On the Golden Dawn, there is Israel Regardie's What You Should Know About the Golden Dawn. There is also Ellic Howe's Magicians of the Golden Dawn, but if I recall it's kind of dismissive if not downright antagonistic. Then there is The Golden Dawn: Twilight of the Magicians by R.A. Gilbert, but I haven't read that one. I see another "generalist" book on Amazon but I'm not familiar with it: The Essential Golden Dawn by Chic Cicero. Amazon has 100 items listed but most of them aren't general overviews. Mary K. Greer's Women of the Golden Dawn seems like more of a "niche" entry. I wouldn't be surprised if Lon Milo DuQuette or Nick Farrell wrote something broader on the Order, but I didn't see anything specific.
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Beyond the excellent theoretical works Barleywine suggested I would also recommend some practical books, even if you don't actually practice. Many Tarot-related symbolism in the Golden Dawn can be traced back to specific rituals in some cases or to more general ideas in others. "The Complete Golden Dawn" would give you all of it, but Kraig's "Modern Magic" is also useful. But all in small bites, of course. And don't be afraid of Kabbalah, you'll never really "get" the Thoth without it, and it isn't as complicated as people think.

I do recommend buying the Book of Thoth even though you can find it online at Hermetic Texts. However, try not to gloss over anything. Sometimes he adds a note that more information can be found in such and such of his own books, other times he points you to some ritual or the other, or some vision he had. Even if you don't understand what he's talking about, make a go of it because it's important, these notes sometimes contain the real gist of what a card is all about.

For example there's this whole thing with Cain and Abel on the Lovers and the reason why and their interpretation is in The Vision and the Voice.
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Hey again,
I added that I have Jana Riley's Tarot Dictionary and I thought I should mention this and ask your thoughts.

I brought up my concerns about numerology to Barleywine and in this book, there is a chart with all the authors own numerological meanings and some/most of them are quite different from one another. Not all, but look at this example:

For number 7:
Arrien's: Movement & change
Cowrie: Stationary. Reconciliation.
Crowley: Degeneration & weakness
Greer: Gifts & tests of proving yourself. Challenges.
Sharman-Burke:Wisdom. Completion of cycle.
Stewart: Triump & victory

That's not all of them, but do you see my point?
This is very confusing for a newbie like me? Or least it is for me.

I know that maybe some (like Crowley) maybe Sephiroth based vs Pythagorean and maybe that could explain some of the differences. But...

I really don't know how numerology works with the cards other than analyzing stages of development which I do use.

In fact, I can't remember where I read this (and I read this in a couple of places) that 2-10 is broken up into 3x3's. Three sets of Beginning, middle, end.

This seems like it could work although I have not yet applied it to a reading. Instead, I follow: 2,3,4 = beginning. 5,6,7= middle, 8,9,10 = end.

Barleywine, when you said that "Crowley saw all of the Sixes as a temporary point of balance...", I can see that applying to the RWS 6's except the Swords. But then I read your explanation and it make sense.
The only problem for me, is that 'temporary state' does change in the other suits when they arrive at the 7's. But the Seven of Swords doesn't seem to fit the natural progression.

The Swords suit is where the natural progression of the characters in the suit as well as numerological meanings doesn't seem to work together. Some do and some don't. Maybe this is really where my problem really lies?

What do all of you think of this?
Thanks,
Freyja
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephyros View Post
Beyond the excellent theoretical works Barleywine suggested I would also recommend some practical books, even if you don't actually practice. Many Tarot-related symbolism in the Golden Dawn can be traced back to specific rituals in some cases or to more general ideas in others. "The Complete Golden Dawn" would give you all of it, but Kraig's "Modern Magic" is also useful. But all in small bites, of course. And don't be afraid of Kabbalah, you'll never really "get" the Thoth without it, and it isn't as complicated as people think.

I do recommend buying the Book of Thoth even though you can find it online at Hermetic Texts. However, try not to gloss over anything. Sometimes he adds a note that more information can be found in such and such of his own books, other times he points you to some ritual or the other, or some vision he had. Even if you don't understand what he's talking about, make a go of it because it's important, these notes sometimes contain the real gist of what a card is all about.

For example there's this whole thing with Cain and Abel on the Lovers and the reason why and their interpretation is in The Vision and the Voice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
On the Golden Dawn, there is Israel Regardie's What You Should Know About the Golden Dawn. There is also Ellic Howe's Magicians of the Golden Dawn, but if I recall it's kind of dismissive if not downright antagonistic. Then there is The Golden Dawn: Twilight of the Magicians by R.A. Gilbert, but I haven't read that one. I see another "generalist" book on Amazon but I'm not familiar with it: The Essential Golden Dawn by Chic Cicero. Amazon has 100 items listed but most of them aren't general overviews. Mary K. Greer's Women of the Golden Dawn seems like more of a "niche" entry. I wouldn't be surprised if Lon Milo DuQuette or Nick Farrell wrote something broader on the Order, but I didn't see anything specific.
Thanks!
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Very funny. I was going to mention Riley's Tarot Dictionary too, but you beat me to it. It's one of my favourite Tarot books, actually. I enjoy looking up all the different takes on a card by various authors, see how they interconnect - and sometimes diverge. Yes, that can be greatly confusing for a newbie, to be sure.

I'm taking a practical approach: I pay attention to what resonates, and write it down in my journal, along with my own thoughts and material from other sources. Sometimes links occur to me between the different meanings that I didn't see before.

Also links between various equivalent cards in different decks become more obvious, so I terntatively started extending my journals into decks other than the Thoth.

This is what I mean by grasping the archetypes that are underlying all the cards of different decks. It's easier to see when looking at the Majors, but it works for the Pips and Courts as well.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Sternbach View Post
Very funny. I was going to mention Riley's Tarot Dictionary too, but you beat me to it. It's one of my favourite Tarot books, actually. I enjoy looking up all the different takes on a card by various authors, see how they interconnect - and sometimes diverge. Yes, that can be greatly confusing for a newbie, to be sure.

I'm taking a practical approach: I pay attention to what resonates, and write it down in my journal, along with my own thoughts and material from other sources. Sometimes links occur to me between the different meanings that I didn't see before.

Also links between various equivalent cards in different decks become more obvious, so I terntatively started extending my journals into decks other than the Thoth.

This is what I mean by grasping the archetypes that are underlying all the cards of different decks. It's easier to see when looking at the Majors, but it works for the Pips and Courts as well.
I have Bill Butler's Dictionary of the Tarot which takes a similar approach. But the best example of multiple-deck comparison, at least for the purpose here, is Robert Wang's Qabalistic Tarot. It compares the TdM, the RWS, the Thoth and the Regardie/Wang collaborative Golden Dawn deck. It's advantage is summed up in the title, especially if the intent is to pursue the more esoteric side of things. I highly recommend it.
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I don't know how good a general Tarot dictionary would be for the Thoth since it's all contextual. A symbol found in the RWS could mean something similar in the Thoth, but its application and context could be entirely different. Per the example I gave before, Crowley's take on Cain and Abel is completely different from anything I've ever read. That may say a lot about my own ignorance, but Crowley uses symbols the way Humpty Dumpty uses words, he makes them mean anything he wants them to, albeit with reason and intelligence. He can, at the very least, explain his process.

Everything from the snake on the Tower to the sparrow on the Empress has a specific place in the greater whole. This doesn't mean that there is no room to maneuver, but you're navigating a certain world that has its own rules.

Incidentally, I disagree with Crowley on Cain and Abel, and can't see eye to eye with him on that topic at all. But, not to put on airs, there's a way to disagree in an informed manner, rather than just saying the two babies symbolize childbirth or whatever comes to mind from the image. Far from blaming anyone for thinking that, it makes sense that they would because the two are in fact pictured as babies. A typical Golden Dawn deck uses symbols in a far more conventional manner and is thus easier to unravel. That, I think, is where Arrien falls, because the symbols don't mean what common sense or intuition would dictate.
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