Why did Eliphas Lévi link Le Mat with Shin?


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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.
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Originally Posted by Teheuti View Post
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.
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Originally Posted by RLG View Post
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.
(Refreshing to see that someone besides me remembers the original expression ‘begs the question’ and what it means!)
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Originally Posted by RLG View Post
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.
Of course he was! ALL modern occult systems are mere improvisations where trumps are concerned, though GD did seemingly preserve the correct Sefirah-planet correlations and (one of two?) correct letter-path correlations. No direct tradition of trump-letter correlations was preserved, secret or otherwise! else I'd not have had to spend several years trying to figure it out myself (which I succeeded in doing, however uninterested most at this website have always managed to be thereconcerning).
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Originally Posted by Mallah View Post
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.
. . .
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.
As an ‘outside observer’ (since I have no use for ANY modern ordering of letter-trumps), I think RLG and Mallah are right on the money here: argument from card content is weak (largely, IMO, because none of the orderings of letters to trumps used by modern occultists is the one that was in the minds of the tarot’s creators, that is, the sages who designed the Tarot of Marseilles, the obvious original), but the “twenty and two” argument and the special significance of Fool and World in play make a strong argument, one I myself might accept if I didn’t know better (lol). [I have the objectiveness of an outside observer in that I use medieval Irish bardic numbering of letters to correlate them to trumps, because once you do that it becomes obvious the creators of tarot did that as well.]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti View Post
I'm still looking for the first person who placed the Trumps on specific Paths on the Tree of Life.
Hebrew letters were correlated to paths on the Tree (several different ways) by the Kabbalists themselves, in the centuries following its springing-up in the 12th century (from the soil of Merkavah when watered by British bardic tradition as it rode to the Continent on the back of ‘The matter of Britain’). So correlation of trumps with Hebrew letters (which is obvious to anyone familiar with Kabbalah, whether Levi was the first to say so publicly or not) AUTOMATICALLY assigns them to paths, albeit one must of course pick which extant correlation of letters to paths one will use.
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Originally Posted by venicebard View Post
Hebrew letters were correlated to paths on the Tree (several different ways) by the Kabbalists themselves, in the centuries following its springing-up in the 12th century (from the soil of Merkavah when watered by British bardic tradition as it rode to the Continent on the back of ‘The matter of Britain’). So correlation of trumps with Hebrew letters (which is obvious to anyone familiar with Kabbalah, whether Levi was the first to say so publicly or not) AUTOMATICALLY assigns them to paths, albeit one must of course pick which extant correlation of letters to paths one will use.
Of course, anyone who knew both the Kabbalah Tree and Tarot might have made this connection, so it seems obvious that they would have from the moment they saw the Trumps as 22 instead of 21 + 1. However, it also seems obvious that people who made toys with wheeled carts would have made wheeled carts for work and military purposes yet the ancient Egyptians never made that leap. Sometimes the obvious is overlooked. Furthermore, a couple of writers seemed far more interested with linking the Trumps to the Sephiroth.

So, the question remains - who first associated the Trumps with the paths on the Tree of Life (and which version of the Tree?)?

Eliphas Lévi links the pips with the Sephiroth but no mention of the Trumps on the Paths, except that he notes that the 10 plus the 22 = the 32 paths. We don't know if he took this idea any further, but the Tree he uses for the Sephiroth is in a form I've never seen before.
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I need to correct myself, because Lévi does refer to the cards-letters-paths. I found where Lévi supposedly is justifying his assignment of the Fool to Shin. I say 'supposedly' because it doesn't yet make much sense to me.

The Key of the Mysteries, p. 156ff.

"Let us now come to the secret of the Great Work . . ."

He then quotes Rabbi Abraham from the Sepher Yetzirah (Amsterdam, 1642). The English translation of the Hebrew (by Crowley, via Levi's French?) is
Quote:
"The thirty-first path is called the perpetual intelligence; and it grants the sun and the moon, and the other stars and figures, each in its respective orb. And it distributes what is needful to all created things, according to their disposition to signs and figures."
Lévi comments (my emphasis):
Quote:
"The thirty-first [path] refers to [Shin], which represents the magic lamp, or the light between the horns of Bahomet. It is the qabalistic sign of the OD, or astral light, with its two poles, and its balanced centre. . . . The secret fire of the masters of alchemy was, then, electricity. . . . The universal light, when it magnetized the worlds, is called astral light; when it forms the metals, one calls it azoth, or philosophical mercury; when it gives life to animals, it should be called animal magnetism.

"The brute is subject to the fatalities of this light; man is able to direct it.

"It is intelligence which, by adapting the sign to the thought, creates forms and images.

"The universal light is like the divine imagination, and this world which changes ceaselessly, yet ever remaining the same with regard to the laws of its configuration, is the vast dream of God.

"Man formulates the light by his imagination; he attracts to himself the light in sufficient quantities to give suitable forms to his thoughts and even to his dreams; if this light overcomes him, if he drowns his understanding in the forms which he evokes, he is mad. For the fluidic atmosphere of madmen is often a poison for tottering reason and for exalted imaginations."
Lévi labels "The Letter Shin" in his Clefs Majeures et Clavicules:
"Fatality. Blindness. The fool. Matter abandoned to itself."

It seems to me he is associating Shin with what happens when the astral light is subject to the brutish man. Compare it with Tav, the World, #21, which he labels as "Three times seven. The Absolute. The summary of the whole universal science." The 'summary' implies the completion or end - Tav.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti View Post

He then quotes Rabbi Abraham from the Sepher Yetzirah (Amsterdam, 1642).
The quote re: perpetual intelligence is from 'The 32 paths of Wisdom' not the SY - but 'The 32 Paths of Wisdom' is often included in complilations with the SY or as an appendix* to such, as sometimes is 'The Fifty Gates of Understanding'.

Levi writes:
La trente et unieme se rapporte au shin, qui represente la lampe magique ou la lumiere entre les cornes de Baphomet. C'est le signe kabbalistique de l'od ou le la lumiere astrale avec ses deux poles et son centre equilibre. On sait que dans le langage des alchimistes le soleil signifie l'or, la lune l'argent, et que les autres etoiles ou planetes se rapportent aux autres metaux. On doit comprendre maintenant la pensee du juis Abraham.

The thirty-first relates to shin, which represents the magic lamp or the light between the horns of Baphomet. This is the sign of the Kabbalistic Od* or the astral light with two poles and center balance. We know that in the language of the alchemists gold means the sun, the moon silver, and the other stars or planets refer to other metals. Now one must understand the mind of Abraham the Jew.

*Od - spelt in hebrew Vau (6) and Daleth (4), represent Love and Power and the active astral light.


Kwaw

*Westcott includes it as such for example, and if memory serves me right so did Papus.
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Originally Posted by kwaw View Post
The quote is from 'The 32 paths of Wisdom' not the SY - but 'The 32 Paths of Wisdom' is often included in complilations with the SY or as an appendix to such, as sometimes is 'The Fifty Gates of Understanding'.

Kwaw

(Westcott includes it as such for example, and if memory serves me right so did Papus).
I gave the source as given by Lévi - or at least by Crowley's translation of Lévi. But, it's nice to know the actual source. Could it be that Lévi was not all that familiar with the specifics of the SY and therefore didn't know the difference? At least he identifies a particular edition of the work. A copy is available for 6,500 Euros.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti View Post
I gave the source as given by Lévi - or at least by Crowley's translation of Lévi. But, it's nice to know the actual source. Could it be that Lévi was not all that familiar with the specifics of the SY and therefore didn't know the difference? At least he identifies a particular edition of the work. A copy is available for 6,500 Euros.
Levi writes:

Venons maintenant au secret du grand oevre que nous avons donne seulement en hebrue non ponctue dans le Rituel de la haute magie. En voice le texte tout entier en latin, tel qu'on le trouve a la page 144 du Sepher Jezira, commente par l'alchimiste Abraham (Amsterdam, 1642):

We come now to the secrets of the great work that has only been given in hebrew, without (vowel) points, in the the Ritual of high magic. Here is the entire text in Latin, as found on page 144 of the Sepher Jazeera, commented by the alchemist Abraham (Amsterdam, 1642):


Semit XXX1.
Vocatur intelligentia perpetua; et quare vocatur ita? Eo quod ducit motum solis et lunae juxta constitutionem eorum; utrumque in orbe sibi conveniente.
Rabbi Abraham F:.D:. dicit:
Semita trigesima prima vocatur intelligentia perpetua: et illa ducit solem et lunam et reliquas stellas et figuras, unum quodque in orbe suo, et impertit omnibus creatis juxta dispositionem ad signa et figuras.

XXXI
It is called perpetual intelligence, and why is it so called? Because it rules the movements of the sun and moon according to their constitution; each in an orbit becoming to it.
Rabbi Abraham F:. D:. says:
The thirty-first path is called the perpetual intelligence: and it keeps the sun and the moon and the rest of the stars and figures each separate in their orbit, and imparts their disposition to all created things according to their signs and figures.


Voici la traduction en francais du texte hebreu que nous avons transcrit dans notre rituel:

La trente et unieme voie s'appelle l'intelligence perpetuel et celle-la regit le soleil et la lune et les autres etoiles et figures, chacun dans son orbre respectif. Et elle distribue ce qui convient a toute les chose crees suivant leur disposition aux signes et aux figures.

Here is the french translation of the Hebrew text that we have transcribed in our ritual:

The thirty-first path is called the perpetual intelligence and it governs the sun and moon and stars and other figures, each in its respective orbit. And it distributes what is suitable for all created things after the disposition of the signs and figures.
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Thanks, Kwaw. The part that I ascribe to the Fool follows after that in Lévi's text. He speaks about Shin as the magical light - leading to animal magnetism in animals and then speaks of the brutish man who is subject to the fatalities of this light, eventually becoming a madman.
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Originally Posted by kwaw View Post

Levi writes:
La trente et unieme se rapporte au shin, qui represente la lampe magique ou la lumiere entre les cornes de Baphomet. C'est le signe kabbalistique de l'od ou le la lumiere astrale avec ses deux poles et son centre equilibre. On sait que dans le langage des alchimistes le soleil signifie l'or, la lune l'argent, et que les autres etoiles ou planetes se rapportent aux autres metaux. On doit comprendre maintenant la pensee du juis Abraham.

The thirty-first relates to shin, which represents the magic lamp or the light between the horns of Baphomet. This is the sign of the Kabbalistic Od or the astral light with two poles and center balance. We know that in the language of the alchemists gold means the sun, the moon silver, and the other stars or planets refer to other metals. Now one must understand the mind of Abraham the Jew.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti View Post
Thanks, Kwaw. The part that I ascribe to the Fool follows after that in Lévi's text. He speaks about Shin as the magical light - leading to animal magnetism in animals and then speaks of the brutish man who is subject to the fatalities of this light, eventually becoming a madman.
Levi continues:

Le feu secret des maitres en alchimie était donc l'électricité, et c'est la toute une moitie de leur grand arcane; mais ils savaient en équilibrer las force par une influence magnetique qu'ils concentraient dans leur athanor. C'est ce qui résulte des dogmes obscurs de Basile Valentin, de Bernard Trévisan et de Henri Khunrath, qui, tous, prétendent avoir opéré la transmutation comme Raymond Lulle, comme Arnaud de Villeneive et comme Nicolas Flamel.

La lumière universelle, lorsqu'elle aimanté les mondes, s'appelle lumiére astrale; lorsqu'elle forme les métaux, on la nomme azoth, on mercure des sages; lorsqu'elle donne la vie aux animaux, elle doit s'appeller magnétisme animal.

La brute subitles fatalites de cette lumière; l'homme peut la diriger.

C'est l'intelligence qui, en adaptant le signe à la pensée, crée les formes et les images.

La lumière universelle est comme l'imagination divine, et ce monde qui change sans cesse, en demeurant toujours le mème quant à ses lois de configuration, est le reve immese de Dieu.

L'hommme formule la lumière par son imagination; il àttire à lui la lumière suffisante pour donner les formes convenables à ses pensées et meme à ses reves; si cette lumière l'envahit, s'il noie son entendement dans les formes qu'il èvoque, il est fou. Mais l'atmosphère fluidique des fous est souvent un poison pour les raisons chancelantes et pour les imaginatons exaltèes.

The secret fire of the master alchemists was therefore electricity, and that's a half of their great secret, but they knew how to balance its force by a magnetic influence that was focused in their athanor. This is the result of obscure dogmas of Basil Valentine, of Bernard Trevisan and of Henry Khunrath, who all claim to have made ​​the transmutation like Raymond Lully, Arnaud de Villeneive and Nicolas Flamel.

The universal light, when worlds are magnetized, is called astral light; when it forms metals, it is called Azoth, or philosophical Mercury, when it gives life to animals, it should be called animal magnetism .

To the brute that light is fatal, man can direct it.

It is intelligence that, by adapting the sign to thought, creates forms and images.

The universal light is like the divine imagination, and this world which is always changing, always remaining the same with regard to its laws of configuration, is the immense dream of God.

Man formulates light by his imagination, he draws enough light to himself to give proper forms to his thoughts and even his dreams; if this light overcomes and his understanding drown in these forms, he is mad. But the fluidic atmosphere of the mad is often poison for tottering reason and exalted imaginatons.
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Kwaw - so what do you make of it regarding the Fool and Shin?
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"But the fluidic atmosphere of the mad is often poison for tottering reason and exalted imaginatons. "

I don't know if this was how he hung Shin on the Fool, but I love the reasoning here...so true!
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