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Originally posted by jmd
The snake of Teth also fits quite well when we consider the rod or staff as depicted on the Hermit card turned to Snake at the Pharaoh's court...
Indeed, one of the association of Teth is staff/rod, and this is connected to the snake through the staff of moses that turns into a snake and by the letterform. The one to one correspondence depends on the placement of the fool. As an exercise I have examined correlations placing fool as both first and last and have found a good degree of correspondence between both. The degree of correspondence is better for some cards between one version and the other but overall I have a tendency to prefer Aleph-Fool, so glad for the balance of having someone else to show the correllations from Aleph-Magician.

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Yod and Mem


The 10th hebrew letter YVD 'Y' as a consonant or 'I' as a vowel [although Hebrew is a consonantal script several consonants were used as vowels in pre-massoretic text, hence YHV can also be read IAO, which is how it was transliterated in Greek gnostic texts]. It means 'hand' and has a numerical value of '10'. It is said to represent a hand in the gesture of pointing, a symbol of choosing, directing the attention or showing the way. It is also the name of the reading stick with a head of a pointing hand used when reading the Torah scroll, directing one's attention along the path of the letters in the sentences you are reading. As a prefix it means 'he will', as a suffix 'my'. In the SY it is attributed to Virgo, the Virgin

It symbolises the contraction of the light to a point of zero dimensions and as such the power of self-nullification and the via negativa of the mystical ascetic. It is called 'holy' and 'belonging to God':
'It is written (exodus25:2), "and they shall take for Me (Li) a lifted offering" [Li, for me, can also be read 'for the Yud']. They shall take the Yud, which is the tenth, as a lifted offering to make it holy. How do we know the tenth is holy? It is written (Leviticus 27:32) 'The tenth shall be holy to God'. What is Holy? (Ezekiel 44:30) 'The beginning of all the first fruits…and every lifted offering of every thing.' [Sefer HaBahir 102, Kaplan translation]. By lifted offering is meant, everything dedicated or consecrated to God.

As the first letter of the Holy name YHVH it is attributed to Chokmah - 'Wisdom', the beginning [also called Holy, re:above], as the tenth it encompasses all ten Sephira, symbolised by the menorah [seven headed candlestick], whose flames represent the radiation or emination in existence of the contracted light. This may also be symbolised by a lamp with six panes, or cubic shaped or radiating light in a hexagram pattern [the cube having six sides, the hexagram six wings, each opposite side/wing being thought of as numbered like a dice so they add up to 7, all together 21, which is YHV/IAO, used in the SY to seal space, the contracted light radiating and manifesting three dimesional space].

Holy-Wisdom-Ascetic-Celibate-Dedicated to God (lifted offering means dedicated to God)-Pointing out the path or showing the way-Lamp. In the English Hermetic Tradition it is attributed to the tarot card 'The Hermit', in the continental to 'The Wheel of Fortune'.

The Hebrew letter Mem means 'water' and is attributed to water in the SY, its numerical value is forty. It has two forms, the medial, open form said to be 'male and female' and the final form said to be 'male'. The waters of Chaos at creation were divided into upper and lower waters and water is a symbol of creation or birth. Mem is attributed to the belly [male and female], but more specifically the open mem is attributed to the womb of the Great Mother, Binah. The number 40 corresponds to the forty days the foetus initially takes to develop in the womb and to the 10 sefiroth in the four tefillim worn on the head whose straps descend below the body. The wearing of the Tefillim symbolises and is said to draw down God towards us, the straps descending from the head to below the body representing the lowering or descent of the Godhead. 'Just as the woman has an opening to give birth, so does the open mem give birth' [Sefer HaBahir 85]. From the open mem is born the righteous one, the son Zeir Anpin . Tzedek - righteous, is a name of both Chesed (by AiqBkr 40 becomes 4, Chesed) and Yesod. The Face of Zeir Anpin, the righteous Son incorporates the six sephiroth Chesed-Yesod, between the upper [binah] and lower [malkuth] waters. He is the 'anointed' one [anointed = messiah - the birth whom is said to be symolised by the closed mem] through whom descends or is incarnated the supernal powers. Like any child he descends or is born 'head first', as the anointed one he takes on the sins of the world through his suffering. It is a symbol not only of birth, but rebirth through the baptismal ritual of lowering the head beneath running water. In the English Hermetic tradition it is attributed to the tarot card 'The Hanged Man', in the continental system to 'Death'.

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Quote:
kwaw wrote:
Indeed, one of the meanings of Teth is staff/rod.
This is actually a misconception; teth has no literal meaning in the Hebrew language (it is the one letter whose name has no meaning).

Several of the meanings we Tarotists associate with the 22 letter names are completely erroneous, such as he meaning "window" (which it does not), chet meaning "field" (which it does not), teth meaning "rod" or "snake" (which it does not), lamed meaning "ox-goad" (which it does not), and tzaddi meaning "fish-hook" (which it does not). These errors appear to have originated in the works of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century linguists (Court de Gebelin is included in this lot!) and were then taken up and promulgated by early occult Tarotists. The same errors are repeated in Tarot books being published today.

This oft-repeated list of meanings is also significantly incomplete, as many of the Hebrew letter names had more than one literal meaning at the time in which the Tarot appeared. A full list of these corrections and meanings can be found here:

http://www.spiritone.com/~filipas/Ma...s/epsilon.html

It is time that we be collectively insistent on these facts, especially since it turns out that the letter meanings actually do correspond to many of the trump designs and may therefore bear a relevance to Tarot's origin.

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kwaw wrote:
The one to one correspondence depends on the placement of the fool.
Attempts to determine the unnumbered card's "placement" within the series is a moot issue since there either are a body of demonstrable letter correspondences or there are not.

Frankly, occultists have placed far too much attention on this single card, all in an effort to justify sets of alphabetic correspondences having little arguable basis to begin with. It must be born in mind, though, that one reason no one--including Levi, Papus, Mathers, Crowley, even Dummett and modern researchers--has been able to argue demonstrable correspondences is because we have all assumed the often-published letter meanings to be accurate. Not only are they inaccurate but they have mislead even card historians from investigating the evidence seriously.

Within the context of historical research, it is now evident that there does exist a demonstrable correspondence between the trumps and Hebrew letters. That correspondence is all the more suggestive because it rests upon three legs: the parallel between trumps and letter meanings, the parallel between trumps and letterforms, and the parallel between trumps and the Hebrew lexicon. Each of these parallels is striking in and of itself because their correspondences present themselves only when the trumps and letters are arranged in ordinal sequence (i.e, when the first trump is paired with the first letter, the second trump with the second letter, and so on through the series, with the unnumbered card being left to the final position.)

Whether or not these parallels are there by design or by coincidence is an open question but it is a question which finally warrants real investigation.

Thanks,

- Mark
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Mark: Your post is the first one I read on waking. Sufficient nourishment for the day, I do believe. Thank you for insisting and pointing out all the misconceptions which are, as you say, reproduced by people who have too much faith in what they read in books, and who copy like parrots what they have read.

The nonsense that goes on in the esoteric field is amazing. I myself fall frequently into the trap.

It's people like you who sort out the wheat from the chaff.

Thank you kindly.
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Quote:
Originally posted by filipas
This is actually a misconception; teth has no literal meaning in the Hebrew language (it is the one letter whose name has no meaning).

Several of the meanings we Tarotists associate with the 22 letter names are completely erroneous, such as teth meaning "rod" or "snake" (which it does not. These errors appear to have originated in the works of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century linguists (Court de Gebelin is included in this lot!) and were then taken up and promulgated by early occult Tarotists. The same errors are repeated in Tarot books being published today.

- Mark
I agree one has to be careful of one's sources about the meaning of the Hebrew letters. The only problem with the above is that some of these meanings are to be found in books on Judaic Kabbalah written by Jewish Hebrew speakers, are they in error too? For example teth as staff/serpent can be found in 'The Mystical Significance of the Hebrew Letters' by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg, a shortened version is available on-line here (link to the letter teth where you can see teth named as staff, serpent, inclination and bed):

http://www.inner.org/hebleter/tet.htm

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Quote:
kwaw wrote:
I agree one has to be careful of one's sources about the meaning of the Hebrew letters. The only problem with the above is that some of these meanings are to be found in books on Judaic Kabbalah written by Jewish Hebrew speakers, are they in error too? For example teth as staff/serpent can be found in 'The Mystical Significance of the Hebrew Letters' by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg, a shortened version is available on-line here (link to the letter teth where you can see teth named as staff, serpent, inclination and bed):
Hi kwaw,

One of my favorite books on Jewish letter mysticism is Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg's "The Alef-Beit", which discusses these associations of the ninth letter tet; here is what he writes:

"The tet (TYTh) is the basic consonant letter in the words MTH ("staff"), HTYH ("inclination"), MTH ("below"), and MTH ("bed"). The symbol of the staff is related to that of the snake, as in the story of the Divine sign which Moses performed before Pharoah of the staff becoming a snake. According to kabbalah, the tet resembles a snake coiled head into tail."

Ginsburg doesn't claim that tet means 'staff' or 'serpent'. In fact, he makes clear that the associations of staff and snake have to do with the Hebrew letterform rather than with the letter's name. I doubt you would find any Jewish author saying that tet literally means 'staff' or 'snake', since it simply isn't true! This can be easily verified by simply looking up the word TYTh in a good Hebrew dictionary.

Thanks,

- Mark
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Lamed and teth - ox-goad and serpent


Thanks for the correction Mark, I have edited my posts accordingly.

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Quote:
Originally posted by filipas

Attempts to determine the unnumbered card's "placement" within the series is a moot issue since there either are a body of demonstrable letter correspondences or there are not.

- Mark
If it was a case of the are not then it would be simple - no issue. But there are demonstrable correspondence, but this is not in itelf sufficient to prove a connection. And the problem with the placement of the 'Fool' is not there are not any correspondences, as there are. The problem is there are too many, people have demonstrated correspondences with Aleph, Shin and Tau in support of their preferred attibutions.

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Quote:
Originally posted by filipas

Several of the meanings we Tarotists associate with the 22 letter names are completely erroneous, such as lamed meaning "ox-goad" (which it does not), and tzaddi meaning "fish-hook" (which it does not).
- Mark
Aryeh Kaplan in the table on p8 of his translation and commentary on the Sefer Yetzira under the column head 'signification of the names [of the letters] gives Ox-goad for Lamed. Rabbi Ray commenting on the enlarged lamed in the phrase 'vayashlichem' [Deut 29:27 ‘and he cast them into another land’] in "Masechet Sofrim" says that : "lamed in Egyptian hieroglyphics is the symbol for an ox-goad. Thus this is a very relevant image when God is driving Israel out and perhaps the form reverts to its original usage in ancient Egyptian." LMD is the root for "Ox goad" in Hebrew [MLMD which also has the meaning of "Teacher"] according to the Hebrew Lexicon at www.onlinebible.com [ref: 03925; TWOT 1116b]. It is also the root of LIMD - disciple. So lamed refers to both learning and teaching, as does the letter Aleph which is also related to the Ox. The idea of teacher/student in Aleph [Ox] is that a young untrained Ox would be yoked to an older experienced Ox in order to train it. In [M]Lamed Ox Goad it is of the teacher who spurs on and directs the student [who submits to his authority and discipline].

Aryeh Kaplan also gives 'fish-hook' for TzDI [Tzadi] and 'snake' for Teth. The form of the letter Tzadi itself is said to represent a hook and TzDI is the root for 'hunters of fish' TzYDVN from root TzD [hunt] with Nun [fish] suffixed. It is also connected to fish/Nun in that the form of the letter is said to be composed of a letter Nun/fish and letter Yud/hand [for example see Sefer Bahir 61;Zohar 1:2b]. The table in Kaplan also gives He/Window, and He is connected with 'window' in the parable of the window in the Bahir.

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Quote:
kwaw wrote:
there are demonstrable correspondence, but this is not in itelf sufficient to prove a connection.
No connection has been proved. The point is: the correlations being brought to light are sufficient to warrant a more serious investigation of the alphabetic evidence contemporaneous with the early Tarot.

Quote:
kwaw wrote:
And the problem with the placement of the 'Fool' is not there are not any correspondences, as there are. The problem is there are too many
Well, this may be true within a metaphysical context, a context in which one is able to draw some correlation between virtually any two things. But it certainly isn't true within a scholarly context, a context in which correlations must be specific, conspicuous and singular. The correlations of the occultists are wonderful but are of a different type than those of the historical researcher.

Thanks,
- Mark
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