Why did Eliphas Lévi link Le Mat with Shin?


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Originally Posted by kwaw View Post

I think one could easily mine, if one were inclined, enough of his quotes to argue that shin belongs to the fool for him because shin is the letter of Christ. . . and only fools and madmen create gods in their own image.
e.g.,

"Ce pantacle est composé de deux triangles unis par la base, l'un blanc et l'autre noir; sous la pointe du triangle noir est couché un fou qui redresse péniblement la tête et regarde avec une grimace d'effroi dans l'obscurité du triangle où se reflète sa propre image; sur la pointe du triangle blanc s'appuie un homme dans la force de l'âge, vêtu en chevalier, ayant le regard ferme et l'attitude d'un commandement fort et paisible. Dans le triangle blanc sont tracés les caractères du tétragramme divin.

"On pourrait expliquer ce pantacle par cette légende: «Le sage s'appuie sur la crainte du vrai Dieu, l'insensé est écrasé par la peur d'un faux dieu fait à son image. . ."

"This pantacle is composed of two triangles joined at the base, one white and one black. In the black point of the triangle lies a madman who twists his head and looks painfully with a grimace of terror in the dark triangle which reflects his own image; in the tip of the white triangle there is formed a man in the prime of life, dressed as a knight, with his eyes closedin a peaceful attitude of strong command. In the white triangle the characters of the divine tetragrammaton are drawn.

"One could explain this pantacle by the caption: "The wise man builds on the fear of the true God, the fool is overwhelmed by fear of a false god in his own image."


We could infer that the true God of the wise man here is represented by the tetragram YHVH. But who is the 'false god' the fool makes in his own image?

Well if we insert the 'hieroglyph of the fool' the hebrew letter shin into those of the 'true God', we get YHShVH - which is represented as referring to Jesus among Christian cabbalists - God made flesh in man's own image.

"Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life."

21. Shin. The sensory, flesh. blindness, matter left to itself, eternal life.
Hieroglyph, The Fool.


There is more one could use to argue alone the same lines, but I am not up for such an exercise in sophistry at the moment myself.
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Originally Posted by kwaw View Post
"The wise man depends on the fear of the true God, while the fool is crushed by his terror of the false god made in his own image."[/i]

We could infer that the true God of the wise man here is represented by the tetragram YHVH. But who is the 'false god' the fool makes in his own image?

Well if we insert the 'hieroglyph of the fool' the hebrew letter shin into those of the 'true God', we get YHShVH - which is represented as the name of Jesus among Christian cabbalists - God made flesh in man's own image.
You make a good point here, as Shin is supposed to transform the God of the Old Testament into that of the New. Is there anything else in Lévi's writing that would support his seeing Christ in this way? It doesn't seem to fit with the rest of his discussion on Shin.

Does he talk about the inserting of Shin into the Tetragrammaton anywhere?
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Originally Posted by Teheuti View Post
You make a good point here, as Shin is supposed to transform the God of the Old Testament into that of the New. Is there anything else in Lévi's writing that would support his seeing Christ in this way? It doesn't seem to fit with the rest of his discussion on Shin.

Does he talk about the inserting of Shin into the Tetragrammaton anywhere?
If recollection serves me right he refers to it in reference to Joshua as 'a type of messiah'. I would need to check it up - but for now I am going to bed!

As for not fitting in with his other discussions of shin, Levi can be accused of anything but consistency - his work contradicts itself constantly (sorry for the pun!).

As I say I haven't read Levi closely since I was an adolescent, but I remember smiling to myself at some of his references to Christ and the Church which seemed to me at the time somewhat 'barbed' with sarcasm, as if he were meaning the opposite of what he wrote.
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Originally Posted by kwaw View Post
......As I say I haven't read Levi closely since I was an adolescent, but I remember smiling to myself at some of his references to Christ and the Church which seemed to me at the time somewhat 'barbed' with sarcasm, as if he were meaning the opposite of what he wrote.
I think his sarcasm may have been directed primarily at the Christ concept in conventional Christianity. Once one investigates Gnosticism, as Levi presumably did, it may become very difficult not to look askance at orthodoxy. If he outgrew the literalism of Catholicism, this, of course, may be viewed as apostasy.
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Originally Posted by Teheuti View Post
Check your history. That's how the Egyptians were defeated - because the Hyksos invaded with their chariots and easily overcame the Egyptians who didn't have them. Of course, the Egyptians quickly became adept at the new technology.

Wikipedia:
"The characteristics of ancient Egyptians...
I'm somewhat saddened to see a writer advising someone to check their history, then quoting wikipedia.
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Originally Posted by graspee View Post
I'm somewhat saddened to see a writer advising someone to check their history, then quoting wikipedia.
I like Wikipedia. It's often a convenient reference, which avoids glutting a forum with excess verbiage. Of course, it is advisble to make sure the Wikipedia article is generally reliable.
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Could There Have Been Unicorns?


Res ipsa loquitur: between Judgement and The World lies a Fool ...so long as One fails to recognize that the path to Wisdom begins with knowing that we know "nothing"

Though Eliphas Lévi may not have been explicit on this point, it is worth noting that anyone familiar with Kircher's Oedipus Ægyptiacus, and who attributed a correlation between the Hebrew alephbet & Tarot, would potentially have entered the Tree into play ...at least in theory. Given that we enter the provence of 'hidden secret meanings' whenever discussing such doctrines & rituals of transcendental magic, the historian's criteria for evidence suffers an immediate disadvantage.

Thus, the question of whether the sequence as a sequence has any special symbolic meaning may well be illuminated by inquiries into whether any rationales exist for calling Tarot a "Book of Hermes".
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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.
In Transcendental Magic he ascribes it to the commentary of the Rabinical Abraham (who he also describes elsewhere as an alchemist and not to be confused with the Patriarch Abraham, who is mythically related as the author of the SY itself), a master of Nicolas Flamel:

quote:
"This Hebrew text which we transcribe in proof of the authenticity and reality of our discovery, is derived from the rabbinical Jew Abraham, the master of Nicholas Flamel, and is found in his occult commentary on the Sepher Jetzirah, the sacred book of the Kabbalah. This commentary is extrememly rare, but the sympathetic potencies of our chain led us to the discovery of a copy which has been preserved sing the year 1643 in the protestant church at Rouen. On its first page there is written: Ex Domo, then an illegible name: Dei magni.

". . . The kabbalistic figures of Abraham the Jew, which imparted to Flamel the first desire for knowledge, are no other than the twenty-two keys of the Tarot. . ."
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American university students start research there:so do I.


I do a lot of independent study, but I found it helps in gathered links. Also to start inquiry.

Although I did and do much independently. I found my undergraduate nephews also found it helpful in some subjects challenging to them . They and I sometimes need refreshers.


I found, for instance, the Digital Dante online helped expedite study of the Divine Comedy text, even with bilingual translations...and wikipedia helps remind us of such tools.

Some of us oldies also have to use all the help we can get!


Cerulean


P.S. Used digital tools to find a period copy of Papus Tarot Divantoire, preceding the other French Edition Dangles reprint...will come back as I lack French or Portuguese version of the cards.


Quote:
Originally Posted by graspee View Post
I'm somewhat saddened to see a writer advising someone check their history, then quoting wikipedia.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graspee View Post
I'm somewhat saddened to see a writer advising someone to check their history, then quoting wikipedia.
I laughed at myself when I did that - but I didn't want to take an hour or so to go through all my books or the google references. The point was that sometimes it takes human beings centuries to see the obvious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yygdrasilian View Post
Thus, the question of whether the sequence as a sequence has any special symbolic meaning may well be illuminated by inquiries into whether any rationales exist for calling Tarot a "Book of Hermes".
As this is the Historical Research section, the symbolic meaning of the Fool as Shin and World as Tav is not at issue; the symbolism of the placement is what anyone wishes to make of it. The question is a research one. Did Eliphas Lévi, who was the first person we know of to make these assignments, give his own reason for doing so and, if so, what was his reasoning?
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