Why did Eliphas LÚvi link Le Mat with Shin?


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Abrac  Abrac is offline
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On page 42 of Art and Arcana, Decker says: "As far as we know, Eliphas Levi was the first to connect the sephiroth with the Tarot."

In Dogma et Rituel, Chapter X - The Kabalah, Levi mentions the paths in conjunction with tarot: "The ten SEPHIROTH and the twenty-two Tarots form what the Kabalists term the thirty-two paths of absolute science." I don't think he ever published anything to explain this in detail though. Both Decker and Huson cite the Golden Dawn as first in this regard. They may have taken their cue from Levi, or possiblly from Kenneth Mackenzie's research notes, including the Cypher Manuscript. Mackenzie knew Levi and had visted him in 1861 according to Decker.

Teheuti, I think you're on to something regarding the Mother letters, that was clearly part of it. I also think though, he chose the Fool to fill that role because of other factors which he deduced from Kircher.
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Cerulean  Cerulean is offline
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A brief biographical book/some texts about E. Levi agrees about the Mother Letters


But did not say how Levi arrived at this.

I had wondered what decks Levi would have looked at, what he had? He seemed to be a scholar, does that mean he had more than one deck?

I will write the name of the book and check it again. Perhaps more than the associative words "that is how Levi saw the assignments" is more clearly implied in the book or at least the decks Levi had would be listed.

Hmmm..Am getting copies of a few pamphlet reprints to Teheuti to look at and this may help answer a bit on assignments. More later, don't quite know if it is helpful!

If it is, I'll post the booklet names...there were "Tree of Life" references that had more detail than I could go into, so how helpful they are would require some time for someone to study.

Cerulean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrac View Post
On page 42 of Art and Arcana, Decker says: "As far as we know, Eliphas Levi was the first to connect the sephiroth with the Tarot."

In Dogma et Rituel, Chapter X - The Kabalah, Levi mentions the paths in conjunction with tarot: "The ten SEPHIROTH and the twenty-two Tarots form what the Kabalists term the thirty-two paths of absolute science." I don't think he ever published anything to explain this in detail though. Both Decker and Huson cite the Golden Dawn as first in this regard. They may have taken their cue from Levi, or possiblly from Kenneth Mackenzie's research notes, including the Cypher Manuscript. Mackenzie knew Levi and had visted him in 1861 according to Decker.

Teheuti, I think you're on to something regarding the Mother letters, that was clearly part of it. I also think though, he chose the Fool to fill that role because of other factors which he deduced from Kircher.
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RLG  RLG is offline
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Dwtw

Would Levi's choice have anything to do with the use of the Fool in the game of Tarot? Since he is the 'excuse' and cannot win a trick, he would be THE card to play if someone else had played the World, since you couldn't possibly win the trick and would lose whatever card you played, except if you played the Fool. In this respect, the Fool is higher than any Trump except the World, since the World card is the only one that guarantees you could win any trick.


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Originally Posted by RLG View Post
Would Levi's choice have anything to do with the use of the Fool in the game of Tarot? Since he is the 'excuse' and cannot win a trick, he would be THE card to play if someone else had played the World, since you couldn't possibly win the trick and would lose whatever card you played, except if you played the Fool. In this respect, the Fool is higher than any Trump except the World, since the World card is the only one that guarantees you could win any trick.
Interesting theory. It sounds like you are saying that the Fool is the 2nd most important card in the game. It would make sense then that the last card would be the World. However, I still think that its placement has more to do with Hebrew letter correspondences.

There are seven cards that are worth the highest number of points (usually 5).
The World wins any hand in which it appears. The Fool, Magician and Four Kings can all be beaten by all the other Trumps, but the Fool (with its points) is given back to the person to whom it was first dealt, even though it can't win a hand.

BTW, in some versions of the game, if the Magician wins the last trick then a bunch of extra points are awarded. He's the lowest of the Trumps, but tricky - those bonus points can steal the game.
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Dwtw

I think the choice may have to do with letter correspondences, but you can't make that part of your premise, or you're begging the question. I understood you to ask why he would associate the Fool with Shin. Which is to say, why is the Fool next-to-last in sequence? (the sequence then having the Hebrew letters overlaid on it). if that is the question, then I'm speculating that perhaps it is because of the role the Fool has in the actual game.

If however, you're asking a more basic question, i.e., what does the Fool have to do with Shin, I don't have an answer for that, because I think Levi is fairly incomprehensible and either was deliberately obscure, or else just didn't know what he was talking about.

Anyway, the only reason that I can think of to put the Fool next to last is because of game play. The esotericism doesn't seem to fit, and of course he was making up most of that as he went along. It's enough of a stretch to put Justice in that position (as a proxy for Archangel Michael), but the Fool?

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Will you indulge the meanderings of a Fool, at this point? I'm no tarot scholar, but I've been contemplating the cards, and Kabbalah for 25 years. And maybe this falls into the realm of metaphysical speculation, for I can offer no historical proof. Here goes...feel free to drag me into the street and beat me with the Sepher Yetzirah...

In the numbering of the majors, 22, we have a two digit number, which, back in the day, would have been said "twenty and two". I am no linguist, and can't speak for french or italian, but isn't there a parallel between the three languages? Don't they say in italian and french the equivalent to "Twenty and two?" (Or didn't they then?)

So we have twenty and two. In the game, of which I have only an inkling of understanding, it seems to me that these two cards...the Fool, the the World were exceptional..were they not? Didn't they have "powers and abilities" that stood outside the other twenty? Perhaps one (the World) stood over and above, and the the other (Fool) beneath and without? One had ultimate value and the other none?

So first we had the TWENTY and then we had the TWO that stood outside as exceptional. Zero, the unnumbered trump, and 21, the highest numbered. The first and the last...also an important doctrine at the time of the creation of the cards. The "nothing" and the everything. The "beginning" and the "all".

Further, Fire (shin) was the first element (mother letter) in creation (and in the tetragrammatical formula of creation, only there it's yod) and earth (World) was the last.

So it makes sense to me that they would set these two cards at the end of the alphabet, (i.e. outside and after the twenty with the Ultimate going LAST and the the penultimate going first (of the two). Hope this is clearly expressed.

I know that at the time they were created the cards were unnumbered, but surely (and here, if I'm wrong, feel free to skin me and make a drum or something...) by Levi's day they were numbered? This (and I'm speaking in ignorance...the Fool incarnate) would clearly make the WORLD as 21, no? So we already knew it was outside the 20...which other card, of all of them, would falll outside the 20? Must be the fool. Therefore these two would have to be 21 and 22...but the Fool, being unnumbered, must come between 20 (judgement, the LAST chapter in the biblical story of current human history..) and 21 being the "new world" (depicted, for example in the Visconti, as the "New Jerusalem" coming down out of the heavens.. the first scene in the new story....(in other words outside the 20.)

Hope all this makes sense

I guess I'm basically saying that Levi linked the fool and shin because shin was the second to last letter, and the TWO fell outside the TWENTY, and it had to be the fool, because he, along with the world, fell outside the other twenty in his regard and function. I'm guessing tho. No historical evidence other than what I've mentioned above.
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Mallah - Nice try. I can't speak to what was going on in LÚvi's head, but I've never heard anyone before mention the fact that the cards are the twenty-and-one and the twenty-and-two, which could have some significance.

The point about The World being LAST certainly seems important and is made all the more so when we realize that the letter Tav was sometimes written as a cross - T, +, X.

An X is prominent in The World imagery. You'll find it in crossed ribbons at the top and bottom of the wreath, in the crossed legs of the figure and in the cross marked by the four figures in the corners. Plus, one of the symbols for Earth/Terra/World is a cross inside a circle.
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Mallah  Mallah is offline
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Originally Posted by Teheuti View Post
Mallah - Nice try. I can't speak to what was going on in LÚvi's head, but I've never heard anyone before mention the fact that the cards are the twenty-and-one and the twenty-and-two, which could have some significance.

The point about The World being LAST certainly seems important and is made all the more so when we realize that the letter Tav was sometimes written as a cross - T, +, X.

An X is prominent in The World imagery. You'll find it in crossed ribbons at the top and bottom of the wreath, in the crossed legs of the figure and in the cross marked by the four figures in the corners. Plus, one of the symbols for Earth/Terra/World is a cross inside a circle.
It's been my theory that one proper layout of the majors is as the Lemniscate...with the Fool and the World set in the center of each of it's loops...the crossing point is X and XX...the wheel, and Judgement. The cards then operate as pairs... each totalling 20...1 and 19...2 and 18... so we have Twenty and two...the two is also evident in the two worlds...as above, so below...in one world, all the cards face out, in the other, they all twist in...like the moibius... Further, in the original sequence, with strength at 11, we have the lemniscate at 1 and 11, the first card in each the upper and lower cycles...further, the word "Lemniscate" COMES from "decorated with ribbons... and that's a lemniscate "X" or crossing we see in the World card...2x! Which is the XX.... (!) This sort of falls outside the discussion of Levi and Shin, but it's powerful stuff...and don't get me started about how the minors all overlap this glyph!

All the pairs work...you get the High Priestess, and the moon, for example...and the emperor and the tower (the tower's getting it's crown blown off...). I could go on and on...
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I work with the Lemniscate pattern also, which I learned from the book by Alfred Douglas that came out in 1972. In his version, you start with the Fool, Magician, as the first cards as if emerging of the crossing point and continue outward and then circle back in to make the first loop. The cards cross at the Wheel and the World. If you begin with all the cards facing outwards and continue laying them down with the same orientation, then with the second loop the cards naturally face inwards - creating a solar and a lunar loop.
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Originally Posted by Teheuti View Post
I work with the Lemniscate pattern also, which I learned from the book by Alfred Douglas that came out in 1972. In his version, you start with the Fool, Magician, as the first cards as if emerging of the crossing point and continue outward and then circle back in to make the first loop. The cards cross at the Wheel and the World. If you begin with all the cards facing outwards and continue laying them down with the same orientation, then with the second loop the cards naturally face inwards - creating a solar and a lunar loop.
I played with that version, too. And most of the pairs stay the same. if Wheel and Judgement cross, we get X crossing XX. The wheel can depict a turning from the higher world to the lower, and Judgement a rising from the lower world to the higher. I puzzled for some time over which version i liked better, and ended up with the 20 and 2, (the world shows the circle, and the fool would, if you could see his 0; but of course it's not there, because 0 is nothing...but I also think of the "big goose egg" and it's role in fairy and folk tales, and it's frequently connected with a fool type...like Jack and his golden egg.

The circle of each world is connected to the orobouros, of course, and in the lemnicate form of the snake as well. I like these at the center of their spheres, split off from the arcana because they sum it and encapsulate it...one is the beginning mind, and one is the attained....etc etc. Plus, X crossing X gives you the 8 spoked wheel, which is the equivalent glyph I use for the minor arcana.

I love this stuff!

There are so many hints at this layout in the cards themselves and in other art. The Mandorla, for example, showing the intersection of the two worlds...
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