Kris Hadar, the author


Not only did Kris Hadar edit/restore a deck of the Marseille tarot that our own DMJ liked so much, but seems Mr. Hadar is also busy writing about the cards, too. I found these two books listed on Amazon France. Anything good here? (PS - we already have a post about Mr. Hadar's belief that the church 'invented' the Grail legends, in a post in another Topic...)

La numérologie à 22 nombres
de Kris Hadar
Notre prix : EUR 29,95
Broché (1 janvier 1990)
Mortagne; (Parapsychologie) ; ISBN : 2890743829

Le grand livre du tarot
de Kris Hadar
Notre prix : EUR 39,95
Relié - 558 pages (1 janvier 1990)
Mortagne; (Parapsychologie) ; ISBN : 2890744361


Ophiel: Mr. Hadar has written numerous books. His knowledge of Tarot is vast. His "Tirage en Croix" is very famous in the French speaking world, and his books sell like hot cakes. He's a very very smart gentleman and is a tremendous asset to the Tarot world.

His books are not translated, as far as I know. Of course, he writes only about Marseilles decks, so that is probably the reason.


I don't doubt that Kris Hadar is a very intelligent guy. So were Eliphas Levi, Paul Christian, and Aleister Crowley. Their intelligence didn't prevent them from imagining history as they wished it had happened, then writing and spreading the products of their imaginations as historical truth. Such an exercise might be philosophically satisfying, but it ain't history.

I would like to think that Hadar was misquoted, but if he really said that the Catholic Church invented the grail myth for some nefarious purpose of repression, he's simply wrong. If he actually said that the Church used the legend, or capitalized on it, for their own purposes, that would be supportable. The great antiquity of the grail legend, its pagan origin among the Celts of Britain, and its later adaptation to the literary requirements of Christian Europe, are all extremely well documented in "The Grail: The Celtic Origins of the Sacred Icon," by Jean Markale, a reputable scholar from Brittany, and in innumerable other sources.
To claim that the grail stories were "invented" out of whole cloth by anyone would reduce those remarkable legends to a banal one-dimensionality that flies in the face of their depth and richness.

Having visited Hadar's web site, and having attempted to negotiate it with both my limited French and the broken English offered by the automatic translator, it seems to me that he actually is saying that tarot originated in the twelfth century. Here again, I hope I'm reading it wrong. I would hope that he's actually saying that some of the images and concepts which were later incorporated into the tarot trumps -- wheel of fortune, devil, the virtues, etc. -- originated in the twelfth century. There's a big difference between the two. A tarot deck, after all, is twenty-one trumps, four queens, and a fool added to an Arab playing-card deck, and we know for certain that the playing card deck didn't reach Europe until the last half of the fourteenth century.

The reason I get stubborn about these kinds of things is because during the first 20 years I studied tarot, I got led down more dead-end paths than I can remember. Trying to figure out where the cards came from, what their purpose was, what they meant, I kept looking for substance and coming up with hot air. Fortunately, the canons of real history are rigid, and its requirements are unforgiving. That's because what's at issue is a little item called truth.


Historical "Truth"

I think Truth in history is much like Truth in Science, and is relative to the moment. Truth can only stand at a given moment as true. New discoveries will overturn established Truth quite rapidly, rearranging the whole scheme of things. While we like to 'think' we finally got it right, so did earlier cultures. We live in a era of the conscious, scientific mind but it is important to remember that Absolute Truth changes. I'm speaking here of absolute truth in a human sense, which I think is quite different than spiritual truth, something that perhaps the human mind is not equipped to understand without extensive development.

Perhaps I maintain my right to suspend judgment about any matter in history because I do not think that history is a 100% reliable source of what did occur. There has to be a multitude of significant events that 'slipped through the cracks' and wasn't witnessed by the right people, in order to make it into books.

I feel that way about the origins of the Tarot, and agree completely with Dave B about the frustrations of chasing phantoms down dark halls... There seems to be a new wave of Tarot thinking that all the spiritual/mystical origins of the cards are bunk and one is instructed to follow them only through the history of the playing cards. My temperament precludes such a state for myself. However, it is a bit unsettling (and exciting) to think that everything that I know as fact about the physical world is only a working theory that seems to fit for the moment.

In another thread about the Grail and the Tarot, Hadar mentioned that Chretien De Troyes was a representative of the Church, and that in itself says nothing. I would imagine that many spiritually minded souls whose personal spirituality went out of the lines ascribed by the Church, would exist in the structure of the Church because it gave him/her more freedom, and access to certain materials that would be unavailable otherwise. I think in movies, and recall one of my favorite films, "The Name of the Rose," and how it showed that the Church was a focal point for the intellectuals of the day.

I do not read French and regret that books on the Marseille deck have not been translated into English. There seems to be a scholarly interest in the Marseille deck even away from those whose origins are from the areas where this deck was developing (France, Belgium, Germany, etc.)

I hope I have not wandered too far from the topic of discussion. That Hand of Fate that keeps moving my posts (or new threads, at least) has not found the way to the Recycle Bin for my posts, but I live with that fear in my heart! :0