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Bernice 
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YES! thanks...thanks...thanks...

A special Coffee Cake for you. Made with a 'sandwich' of softened nuts, and eaten warm. It just melts......

Bee
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Old 24-05-2009 Limited time only: Chat live with a Tarot reader now and get 50% off!     Top   #221
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Why Mel, Why? Episode 1 - What do the Suit Emblems mean?


Now that I've gone and nicknamed all the pips and court cards with little explanation of "where I was coming from", I thought I'd go back and fill in the "whys". It has all been posted before, so this will mostly be a "copy and paste" job, but it may be nice to have all the pieces here in one place.




THE BASIC MEANING OF THE FOUR SUIT EMBLEMS



Paul posted a great diagram a while back illustrating the basic meanings of the suit emblems -

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul

The Estates of the Realm started out as Three Estates—neat and tidy, with that nice Trinity flavor—but then a fourth was added, as I understand it, the mercantile class. Personally, I relate them to the modern world, as below. Perhaps I have not considered every genre of life, but I imagine it could be classified somehow, below.


And along similar lines -


Quote:
Originally Posted by Melanchollic

Swords = The instrument of war. Emblematic of man's aggressions and the right of rule.

Batons = The instrument of agriculture and husbandry. Emblematic of labour and productivity.

Coins = The medium of trade, security, material comforts.

Cups = The instrument of giving and receiving drink. Emblematic of sociability, pleasure, and the forming of bonds and alliances (holy union, marriage, etc.)


The implication of these emblematic meanings supports the old cartomantic standard of "good suits/bad suits" - Swords being unfortunate in their destructive nature, Batons being laborious, Coins being beneficial for security and comfort, and Cups being enjoyable. While some readers don't like the traditional approach, I find it gives a more realistic and well-rounded model to work with. Suffering, misfortune, hardships, illness, and dying are all real and common experiences in human life. We can't just leave them out.

Tradition (and this model) see the suits this way:

Swords = Bad

Batons = Moderately Bad

Cups = Good

Coins = Moderately Good
This gives us a full range of possible human experiences.

In my next post we'll see that in the rules of the game of Tarot, the ranking of the Sword & Baton pips is actually opposite of the Cup & Coin pips, which seems to support the traditional good/bad divisions.



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The problem with modern Western civilization is that we've traded in all our "Whys" for only "Hows".

Last edited by Melanchollic; 25-05-2009 at 16:55.
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Old 24-05-2009 Limited time only: Chat live with a Tarot reader now and get 50% off!     Top   #222
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Mel, I'm swooning! It's like a sugar rush for the intellect!
complete with fabulous eye-candy
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Old 24-05-2009 Limited time only: Chat live with a Tarot reader now and get 50% off!     Top   #223
Melanchollic 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernice
YES! thanks...thanks...thanks...

A special Coffee Cake for you. Made with a 'sandwich' of softened nuts, and eaten warm. It just melts......

Bee

Me and my coffee thank you!

Scrummy!



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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardlady22
Mel, I'm swooning! It's like a sugar rush for the intellect!
complete with fabulous eye-candy
Hi cardlady22,

How'd you slip in there so quick?



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Old 24-05-2009 Limited time only: Chat live with a Tarot reader now and get 50% off!     Top   #225
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Why Mel, Why? Episode 2 - What are Ascending and Descending Suits?


THE ASCENDING AND DESCENDING SUITS



"The top four cards of each suit are invariably King, Queen, Cavalier, and Jack (or Maid), in that order. When the numeral cards rank, in Swords and Batons, from 10 (high), 9 and so on down to Ace (low), but in Cups and Coins, from Ace (high), 2 and so on down to 10 (low)..."

Michael Dummett, The Game of Tarot (pp.199)





JMD ponders the implications -

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmd

The value of the pips in certain forms of the game has, as mentioned by ihcoyc, variations, usually according to suit. Hence, the Ace to ten may be seen either as an order of increase of value, or of decrease of value, depending on its 'colour' (suit).

The 'correct' ordering, however, in terms of its symbolic or historic non-gaming aspect, seems to suggest the more common-sensical first pips, then Page through to King. Whether these are depicted in their descending (King → Page → 10 → Ace) or ascending (Ace → 10 → Page → King) does not alter their relative symbolic value.

In terms of various reflections which may be made from these, and the 'moral to be derived from the contemplation' of the ordering of the game versions (historically used), it seems quite suggestive if one reflects on the suits themselves as to whether the ordering is one of ascent or descent.

For the purposes of those who do not have access to the suit value (for the game version), the suits are thus structured (in order of least to highest value):
  • Bastons: Ace → ten
  • Coupes: ten → Ace
  • Deniers: ten → Ace
  • Espees: Ace → ten
What is here interesting, in terms of reflections, is that both Bastons and Swords do increase in value by being multiplied (the more swords one has at one's disposal, the greater the army; the more batons, the greater the crop or fields), but that the value of Cups and Coins stems from the ultimate single source: the One Holy Vessel in the case of the Cup, and the ultimate imprintature of the gold in the case of the coin (this last may be more difficult to sense into, but reflection on the value of one large gold coin as opposed to ten small ones may indicate what I mean).

With the Courts, and though they are arranged in suits, there is a sense that they refer to the servants of the implements... or at least their wielders. They are thus both superior to, but also subservient to, the pips.
http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.p...45&postcount=6




Ross speculates along similar lines -


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross G Caldwell

This is how I kind of see the suits in the traditional order as well, jmd. When I try to moralize on them, that is.

The suits with ace-high ten-low (Cups and Coins) are *divisions* of power, while the ten-high ace-low suits (Batons and Swords) are multiplications of power.

So the aces of Cups and Coins are perfect in themselves, and contain the rest of the pips, while the aces of Batons and Swords are merely seeds which need to be expanded to achieve their perfection.

A moralization of the Coins might be like the one you gave, or that a concentration of wealth all put in one direction, is better than dividing it up into ten different directions, or doing it in installments. This might seem like unsound advice if taken completely literally, but it might make more sense to consider an ace as "no expense spared" rather than as putting "all one's eggs in the same basket". It's not a matter of having only one investment, but of putting enough money into something to complete it as quickly as possible.

A moralization on the Swords might be that attacking a problem from ten different directions is more likely to solve it than going at it in only one direction all the time. Or that many weapons are better than one.
http://www.tarotforum.net/showpost.p...88&postcount=2




I find the implications of the differing suit ranking orders one of the most interesting to speculate, and one that has been almost totally ignored by popular tarot writers.

Swords and Batons are straight forward (literally). The more arms you have, the more power and authority you wield. The more tools (skills) you possess, the better your labors.

Ross calls the Cups and Coins "divisions of power". One way to view them is as fractions.
Cups/Coins

1 = 1/1
2 = 1/2
3 = 1/3
4 = 1/4
5 = 1/5
6 = 1/6
7 = 1/7
8 = 1/8
9 = 1/9
10 = 1/10
We might view both the Coins and Cups as being about consumption. The Coins are material consumption, and the Cups are emotional or social consumption. If we viewed the Ace of Coins as a Pecan Pie, the more it is divided, the smaller our slice will be. If we view the Ace of Cups as a tub of wine, the more it is divided, the less we have to drink.

We could also view the Cups as pleasures, and by extension those that give us pleasure - our lovers. The more lovers we juggle, the worst our situation. Similar parallels could be drawn between the Cups and our hobbies, or our spiritual devotion.

Specifically for this model of the pips/courts, I've applied the direction of movement as representing the "goodness" or "dignity" of the suit. Cups and Coins are "moving from plurality to unity", hence 'good'. Swords and Batons are "moving from unity to plurality", hence 'bad'. This seems to support the implications of the emblems themselves.

Secondly, within each specific suit, I apply this idea of rank as 'dignity'. The better ranked a card is in its given suit, the better behaved it is. So the 10 of Swords is better than the Ace of Swords, but the Ace of Coins is better than the 10 of Coins, and so on.

This ascending/descending quality also helps define the overall 'evolution' of each suit and the role of the courts as 'wielders' of their given implements when placed either in ascending order or descending order on the Tetractys as illustrated back in post #156 of this thread.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Melanchollic

In the case of the ascending suits, Batons and Swords, the relationship is thus:


.....10..............King
.....8...9............Queen
...5...6...7..........Knight
1...2...3...4........Valet










In the case of the descending suits, Cups and Coins:


......1..............King
.....2...3............Queen
...4...5...6.........Knight
7...8...9..10......Valet






Keep in mind, I'm applying this aspect in a very general way, and when the other layers are added (number symbolism, elemental considerations) peaks and valleys appear in our symbolic landscape.



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The problem with modern Western civilization is that we've traded in all our "Whys" for only "Hows".

Last edited by Melanchollic; 25-05-2009 at 16:41.
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Old 25-05-2009 Limited time only: Chat live with a Tarot reader now and get 50% off!     Top   #226
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Why Mel, Why? Episode 3 - What Do The Four Elements Mean?


THE FOUR ELEMENTS AND TEMPERAMENTS







The classical Four Elements are a great tool for seeing how energies work. Unfortunately there is a lot of misunderstanding about what they are, and how they work. If we wish to apply this brilliant and ancient system to the four Tarot suits, we first need to understand what the elements actually are.

The classical Four Elements are called Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. The names of the classical elements however, are not literally describing actual fire, air, water. earth, but certain metaphysical qualities, which from the time of the ancient Greeks have described specific tendencies in the way energies operate in the cosmos, and how these energies manifest in the mundane world. So, when an astrologer or alchemists or Medieval physician spoke of the Moon as 'Watery", or someone having a 'Watery" Phlegmatic constitution, they weren't thinking of actual physical water at all. They were talking about a specific range of qualities or behaviors. The universality of the classical Elemental system comes from how basic qualities have been connected, say heat/speed/expansion/separation for example, and applied to a broad spectrum of things. As qualities, the elements are best approached as adjectives or adverbs, and not nouns.

Each of the four Elements is a combination of two of four even more basic qualities which are called "Powers". The Powers, like the Elements are not talking about actual substances, but are 'code words' for a collection of related qualities that share certain behaviors, and should be thought of as adjectives and adverbs too.

John Opsopaus explains the Powers,

"The four qualities are the key to understanding the rotation of the elements and many other applications of the symbology of the four elements. Since the elements are such rich symbols, one expects there must be more to the qualities than mundane heat, cold, moistness and dryness, and in fact Aristotle explains them quite abstractly.

The Hot, he says, is the power of separation, for it causes each substance to cling to its own kind, as occurs in distillation; that is, it dissociates a compound by associating things of the same kind. Conversely, the Cold associates things of different kinds, and allows substances to mix together. As a consequence, the Hot makes things subtle, light, rising and centrifugal, since substances must move away from the center to separate from each other. Conversely, the Cold makes things gross, heavy, falling and centripetal, since substances mix when forced to the center.

Aristotle explains that Moistness is the quality of fluidity or flexibility, which allows a thing to adapt to its external conditions, whereas Dryness is the quality of rigidity, which allows a thing to define its own shape and bounds. As a consequence Moist things tend to be volatile and expansive, since they can fill spaces in their surroundings, whereas Dry things are fixed and structured, since they define their own form.

The abstract character of the qualities also determines the relative subtlety of the elements. Since Dryness is self-determining, Fire and Earth have an absolute impulse to go in their own direction (centrifugal or up for Fire, centripetal or down for Earth). This is especially the case for Earth, which is predominantly Dry and self-determining, and so defines a basis for the other elements. The Hot quality dominates Fire, which explains why Fire and Heat have practically the same effect, for Heat expresses itself fully in Fire.

Since Moistness is sensitive to external conditions, Air and Water are not unswerving in their motion; their upward and downward tendencies are moderated by the expansive, spreading character of Moistness. Thus, while Fire and Earth are absolutely Light and Heavy, respectively, Air and Water are only relatively Light and Heavy. Centripetal Coldness dominates Water, which therefore tends to relax or sink into its surroundings. Moistness, which is expansive, dominates Air, which therefore tends to spread actively.

Therefore, in addition to their oppositional structure, the elements fall in a series of increasing subtlety: Earth, Water, Air, Fire. Systematic application of the elements should take account of both structures, oppositional and graded, or circular and linear.

Of course, any pair of opposed qualities can be associated with Hot/Cold and Moist/Dry, just as any series of four can be identified with the elements, but the result may have little similarity to earth, water, air and fire. If, however, the qualities are assigned in accord with Aristotle's abstract definitions, then the elements will be earthy, watery, airy and fiery, and their character and behavior will correspond to our intuitions."

(from Rotation of the Elements http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/RE.html )


  • Fire - Elemental Fire is a combination of Heat and Dryness. It divisive and rigid, quick reacting and long of duration. It rules Summer, Noon time, South, and the ages between 14 - 28. In Astrology it is associated with the Sun, and Mars.

  • Water - Elemental Water, being Cold and Moist is uniting and flexible, slow reacting and short of duration. It rules Winter, Midnight, North, and the ages between 56 - Death. In Astrology it is associated with the Moon, some aspects of Venus, and some aspects of Mercury.

  • Air - Elemental Air is Hot and Moist, flexible, fluid, but separating and expansive, quick reaction, but of short duration. It rules Spring, Dawn, East, and the ages between 0 - 14. In Astrology it is associated with Jupiter, and some aspects of Venus.

  • Earth - Elemental Earth is Cold and Dry. Relating, purposeful, slow reacting and long of duration. It rules Autumn, Dusk, West, and the ages between 28 - 56. In Astrology it is associated with Saturn.


The idea of the Four Temperaments grew out of the Four Elements and their association to four bodily fluids, called the Humors. Basically the Four Temperaments are how the Elements manifest in the human conditions.




FIRE = CHOLERIC
In the fiery character of the Choleric, the fast reaction time is manifested as impulsiveness, decisiveness, quickness to anger, and mental quickness at grasping ideas. The long duration manifests as vindictiveness, ability to see those quick decision through, a sense of pride and honor, and a need to control. This makes Cholerics the aggressive, controlling people they are, and they are the people who rise up to be leaders.










AIR = SANGUINE
In the airy character of the Sanguine, the fast reaction time is manifested also as impulsiveness, quickness at grasping ideas, enthusiasm and wit. The short duration means that the Sanguine won’t hold grudges however. It also gives the Sanguine the tendency to get bored easily, and be fickle and restless.










WATER = PHLEGMATIC
In the watery character of the Phlegmatic, the slow reaction time manifests as calmness, frugality, and indecisiveness. The short duration makes the Phlegmatic lazy, timid, hesitant and conservative.










EARTH = MELANCHOLIC
In the earthy character of the Melancholic, the slow reaction time manifests as cautiousness, indecision, irresolution and being withdrawn. The long duration makes the melancholic introspective, deep, penetrating, unforgiving, and a tendency to dwell in the past.




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The problem with modern Western civilization is that we've traded in all our "Whys" for only "Hows".

Last edited by Melanchollic; 25-05-2009 at 19:38.
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Old 25-05-2009 Limited time only: Chat live with a Tarot reader now and get 50% off!     Top   #227
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your recommendations on specific TdM decks?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Melanchollic
Hi cardlady22,

How'd you slip in there so quick?
Speaking of slipping things in, is there a thread somewhere that lists the versions of TdM you prefer? I stumbled across a thread that said you don't like a certain one? (that I have!)
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Old 26-05-2009 Limited time only: Chat live with a Tarot reader now and get 50% off!     Top   #228
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HA!

I wouldn't put much stock in what I say about decks... LOL. I'm not a collector. I rarely buy decks, and give away most of what I do buy. I have about a dozen at any given time.

I have yet to find the perfect TdM. All of them have some flaw. The Dusserre Dodal is probable the overall best - Historically significant, good card stock, though the images are slightly grainy, and its OOP and costly second-hand. The Piatnik is in print and has the best quality imaging and card stock of ANY tarot deck I've ever touched. Unfortunately it is a reproduction of a later 18th century TdM, from Germany I believe. I like Flornoy's Noblet, good quality, important deck, though I find it feels odd to shuffle, and rarely use it. I probably use my Grimaud the most. It is not very pretty, but I like the feel, and I'm not afraid to whip it out at a pub, cause it never goes out of print.

My 'dream' TdM would be the Conver deck that Heron prints, but done by Piatnik.

I'd also love to see some 'informed' recreations of some of the early Italian woodcut decks, like the Cary sheet deck, or the Dick sheet deck.



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Old 26-05-2009 Limited time only: Chat live with a Tarot reader now and get 50% off!     Top   #229
Bernice 
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Quote:
Mel: I have yet to find the perfect TdM. All of them have some flaw.
Snap. I'd like authentic images that have been tastefully 'rectified', i.e. NO colour bleeding, and properly proportioned people - finer outlines for features etc. PLUS, a smaller card-size and good handling cardstock.

I have the Noblet, nice clear images, but the people are 'wonky'....

Bee
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Old 26-05-2009 Limited time only: Chat live with a Tarot reader now and get 50% off!     Top   #230
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