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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melanchollic
I have yet to find the perfect TdM.
Vieville? Or is it just too different to qualify (and I know that it's a TdB)... I love the cardstock, the imagery - wonderful deck.
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Originally Posted by Melanchollic
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.
However, I *did find one here on AT which was affordable.. Keep looking, cardlady! IMO the only thing wrong with the Dodal is the very slightly rounded corners. I've gotten used to the Vieville's pointy ones...
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Why Mel, Why? Episode 4 - Which Elements go with Which Suits?


THE ELEMENTS AND THE SUITS



Firstly, why do we want to apply the four classical elements to the Tarot suits at all? Why can't we just let the suit emblems speak for themselves, without some esoteric overlay?

Well, for one thing, any quality you could possibly see in one of the suits is going to be a quality of one of the four Elements, as they are a total and comprehensive index of everything. Let's take a random card from the Aeclectic 'learning section'.

Four of Pentacles

"A man holds tight to his four pentacles in this card. And in this case, the refusal to budge may be damaging. This is the miser card. Remember how the Querent got more work, money, luck, health in the last card, the Three of Pentacles? Well, he's holding on tight to what he's got, not sharing it with anyone, not investing it in the future, just holding onto it, trying to keep it still and unchanging. When this card appears it tells the Querent that they're in a position of status, health, money, even comfort. Solid, and unchanging. But the Querent is too afraid of losing all this."


That could be a textbook description of a poorly dignified Phlegmatic. Whether or not the author intended the Four of Pentacles to be expressive of Elemental Water, I don't know. Never the less, it is.

"Okay! So What?!" you ask. If anything one can say about a card is going to be 'elemental' either way, why should we worry about calling it Fire or Water?

The reason is this -

When we use cards for divination or insight, we are using a finite set of symbols to express what's going on for a querent, and this could be anything! We are using the cards to symbolically represent everything/anything. So what we need is a way to connect the numbers and suit emblems to all the possible situations a querent may be in.

"Should I retire up North in Vermont, or down South in Florida?" Ah! The 2 of Coins. Is that Vermont or Florida? Clearly we need a system that connects the cards to all the possibilities in a clear and understandable way. This is exactly what we have in the classical Elements.

We could just make up a system ourselves I guess, but why? We have a system that has been perfected and fine tuned for most of Western history by some of our greatest thinkers. But if you think you can out-reason people like Aristotle, you are made of greater stuff than I.

The Elements and suits make a particularly good marriage, since all four of the suit emblem's basic meanings fit snugly with an aspect of an Element. While I can't say that the suit emblems were intentionally designed to represent the four Elements, assigning them in a meaningful way is very simple.


So, which suit emblem best fit which Element?


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.)


If we accept the above 'basic meanings' of the suits as being valid, then only one possible combination could work based on the meaning of each element and the meaning of each suit -


Swords - Fire

Cups - Air

Coins - Water

Batons - Earth

Add to this that the suit emblems would have been historically associated with those specific elements. Nicholas Le Rouge's very popular Shepherd's Calendar (Troyes, c1495.) illustrates some of these common period associations of the Four Elements and Tempers.





The associations here are:


FIRE.........Choleric.........Lion...........Sword

AIR..........Sanguine.......Monkey......Leisure (hawking)

WATER.....Phlegmatic....Sheep.........Money (coin purse)

EARTH.....Melancholic.....Pig.............Staff


The Sword is often seen representing Elemental Fire. Fire is not only 'short-tempered' and aggressive, but it is also the element of Fire that has a 'cutting' intellect. Lions, and eagles often are used to illustrate Fire and the Choleric temper.

Air and the Sanguine temper are considered cheerful, witty, entertaining, and sociable, but inconstant. The monkey is shown as being Sanguine. I've also seen horses and peacocks used to illustrate this temperament. The illustration of Sanguine in post #227 shows a goat eating grapes, symbolizing amorousness and his love of drink. The accompanying verse proclaims, "His proneness both to women, and to wine..." The Cup is emblematic of both the pleasures and formal bonds. The most formal is of course the Eucharist. The Sanguine fluid is Blood, the carrier of Air. Here the connection of Air as Blood/Wine and the Communion Cup become quite literal.

The Phlegmatic, being Cold and Wet, was traditionally symbolized by merchants. Merchants profit off other's labors, and are seen as lazy (wet), and were characterized as unfeeling (cold). The astrological tradition gives rulership of money, trade, merchants, exchangers, bankers, etc. to the sphere of Mercury, who William Lilly explicates is ruled by the Element of Water. The associations between money being "liquid", and the central role of the sea and ships in trade reinforce the symbolic importance of the Coin being emblematic of Water. In the illustration above, the Phlegmatic is symbolized by a Sheep. I've also seen references to Asses.

The associations of Elemental Earth with labor are common. In astrology too, the earthy planet Saturn is the ruler of agriculture, shepherds and labors, and can be symbolized by the staff. The associations between old age, Earth, and Saturn (Father Time) also suggest a walking stick. The Melancholic man is shown above with a pig or boar.
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Pigs (Earth): Don't they snuffle for Truffles? An expensive delicacy.

Wonderful postings Mel.

Bee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernice

Wonderful postings Mel.

Bee
Thanks Bee. I know all this has been posted before, but I'm a big fan of one stop shopping. Having all the parts together in one place hopefully will save anyone interested in this approach from having to waste time and energy searching through all those random postings.
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Mnemonic Fun for One and All


Here is a little verse reflecting my element/suit assignments and how they relate to the alchemical symbols for each element.

  • Fire is an upward triangle. This reflects it rising nature. Heat causes things to rise. The Sword is raised when used.

  • Air is also an upward triangle, but with a line through it. Air also rises. The Cup too must be raised to imbibe, or in the social act of "rising the glass".

  • Water is a downward triangle. Having weight, it will move downward. Likewise, we "put our money down", when we purchase something.

  • Earth also is a downward triangle, but with a line through it. Earth also has weight and will fall if not supported. The tools of labor are also thrust down into the earth, or brought down to strike something.


Obviously, I'm not implying these suit emblems were consciously chosen to represent the Elemental 'triangles', merely that, if using these correspondences, there's a way to make a nifty mnemonic device.





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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melanchollic
Thanks Bee. I know all this has been posted before, but I'm a big fan of one stop shopping. Having all the parts together in one place hopefully will save anyone interested in this approach from having to waste time and energy searching through all those random postings.
You know, Mel... you might consider adding links to the Astrological spread and Tirage en Croix threads in the first post. You really went to town with those 2 threads, explaining more of your methods.... and there's a lot of good stuff there!

Great thread. I still think you need to do the lulu.com thing.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernice
What a wonderful find Dahlia, with this link and Mels' posts we'll be well versed the characteristics of the real/historical elements. Thank you.

I like the musical scale associations. But, 'Vana, I'm not familiar with 'Church Modes' as musical terms, can you help out here?

Bee
I just now saw this...

No, I cannot help out with the church modes - except to say that they are musical scales from the Greeks (note the names: Dorian etc), and they are scales in the same way that we use major and minor scales in western music.

Phrygian, FWIW, is often the scale used in Flaminco (Spanish) music. I think. It sounds similar to me, anyway.

HTH!
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Right, I'll ignore the music scales for now, thanks for trying 'Vana

Bee

P.S. I've got a few diagrams, they're nowhere near as graphic as Mels - my printer is an inkoholic!. If interested, I'll post them up at Multiply.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernice
Right, I'll ignore the music scales for now, thanks for trying 'Vana

Bee

P.S. I've got a few diagrams, they're nowhere near as graphic as Mels - my printer is an inkoholic!. If interested, I'll post them up at Multiply.
I'm DEF interested. Plz post the link when you're done!

Yesterday I put together a word file with every last bit of this thread about the courts (had done the pips earlier). Printed the thing, it was 40 pages (mostly because I put the four pip + court pics with the keywords on separate pages, so I could look at them all at the same time...)

You cannot believe how much info I have on the TdM from the forums here, which I've printed out and put in a notebook. Now to find the time to actually STUDY them.

Again, Mel, thanks a hell of a lot! This is amazing (lulu.com beckons!)
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Quote:
'Vana: Printed the thing, it was 40 pages (mostly because I put the four pip + court pics with the keywords on separate pages, so I could look at them all at the same time...)
Now, WHY didn't I do that! ...... (opens Word and starts shuffling things around...)

Will let you know when I've posted my diagrams. (Four pages, one for each suit).

Bee
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