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Is the Rider-Waite deck a Tarot?

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 20 Apr 2004, and now archived in the Forum Library.



Rusty Neon  20 Apr 2004 
The Visconti deck is a Tarot. The Tarot de Marseille is a Tarot. Now, how about the Rider-Waite ....

P.S.: I voted that the R-W is a Tarot. 


Marion  20 Apr 2004 
The Rider-Waite is a tarot, and grew out of a careful and thoughtful study.
"We can reach for the stars because we stand on the backs of giants". 


Rusty Neon  20 Apr 2004 
Yes, I think that the Rider-Waite is a Tarot, despite that

- it has Strength and Justice reversed from the Tarot de Marseille,

- it has scenic pip cards,

- its pip cards illustrate meanings derived from the Golden Dawn,

- the iconography of its major arcana differs from that of the major arcana of pre-1901 Tarot decks, and

- its Fool card is numbered O. 


contrascarpe  20 Apr 2004 
Semantics ....... it goes with the whole idea of what is Tarot and what is an Oracle deck. I feel that Tarot is an Oracle - a deck of cards used for divination. What sets Tarot apart is the structure - 78 cards, separated by two Arcanas with the lesser Arcana comprised of four suits further comprised of 14 cards.

A standard deck of playing cards is not a Tarot as it lacks the Minor Arcana (save the Fool = Joker ..... sometimes by two) plus one less Court Card.

That being said, I picked up a copy of the Ancient Minchiate Etruria by Lo Scarabeo (cannot resist those LS decks these days) on a whim today and noticed there are 19 additional Majors in it. I haven't had time to look into the deck yet (also purchased two Tarot books which I have been thumbing through - got my bonus today, hehe) but I am anxious to see this deck in details.

By the way, I voted "Yes" ..... the first yes, not the second ......

Dan 


mysticalowl  20 Apr 2004 
Yes, I think it is. :) 


crystal cove  20 Apr 2004 
My car looks like, runs like, and is built like none of the original cars made in the 1800's. Does that mean its not a car?

I don't personally care for the deck, but yes, I think its Tarot. 


ZardKravell  20 Apr 2004 
Greetings Rusty Neon!

Quote:
Originally posted by Rusty Neon
The Visconti deck is a Tarot. The Tarot de Marseille is a Tarot.
Now, how about the Rider-Waite ....


Yes, I believe it is a Tarot. Whoy would you think it is not? Most of the "changes" applied to it if you compare it with the Marseilles or other decks from the 19th century and before are just an evolution of the symbolism, an evolution that derives from the then-current views of the particular brand of mysticism/esoterism that Waite preferred.
Now, where is the limit in which we would consider something is not a Tarot? I feel that if the basic structure is maintained (majors and four suits of minor arcana, 4 court cards, etc.) and it relates to other decks in some way or other, it is a Tarot deck. I know it is not a perfect definition, but for me it has worked thus far ;)

May the stars shine on you, 


TemperanceAngel  20 Apr 2004 
Very funny, Rusty, of course it is. Just because it has illistrated pips doesn't make it an oracle *yawn*

If the Rider Waite isn't a Tarot Deck, then we would have to say every deck that came after it wouldn't be a Tarot deck either *sigh*

(I am sure Marseilles fans would love that :rolleyes: )

It's just someones interpretation of Tarot, that's all :) And not an interpretation that came about lightly either...

XTAX 


WalesWoman  21 Apr 2004 
What a question! Is there some sort of elitist Hierophanaticism going on? "My deck is more Tarot than yours or something?" As if the people on the Mayflower are more American than those whose ancestors emigrated at a later date? Or Coca-cola is the "Real Thing" as opposed to what? Not trying to argue, but what the heck is this all about? 


Diana  21 Apr 2004 
I voted yes. (Everybody gasps.)

But it remains in my box of Oracle decks, as I believe it works better as an Oracle than a Tarot. But don't mind me... I have beliefs and convictions about the Structure of Tarot and also about its History and Origins and Purpose which are not shared by all students of the Tarot, but which are shared by many others.

The RWS is a Tarot. In fact, I am planning on including it in my Tarot courses in my second module, when I will be giving the students an overview of various different tarot traditions in the world today. (Will be talking for three hours on the RWS! I'd better take a stiff drink beforehand! Or perhaps some young teenager could give me some green weed. :D :D :D )

(*Diana goes off to wait for someone to drag up my old posts where I said the RWS is not a Tarot as well as future posts where I may say the same thing. --Yawn-- *) 


closrapexa  21 Apr 2004 
Diana, do I sense some Tarot-racism here? Segregating Tarot and Oracle decks?:rolleyes: 


firemaiden  21 Apr 2004 
Where is the choice for "unanswerable question Rusty" -- and how are we defining Tarot... 


Diana  21 Apr 2004 
deleted with my apologies to closropexa for having taken her post too seriously. 


Nycelle  21 Apr 2004 
I think it is, although to illustrate this I have to paraphrase Terry Pratchett. . .

Your grandfather gave you his hammer. After a few years, you must replace the head, which has worn down. A few years later, you replace the handle. Now, there are no molecules of the hammer that remain from when your grandfather gave it to you. But you still treasure it as a gift from him, although no componant of the hammer as it is now was given to you by him.

I think my point relates to the transfer of energy and good intentions. Also - sacred texts are printed in the vernacular now, but still the ideas are sacred. Sometimes they are revised to make them accessible to children, but still they are sacred.

I have no idea where I'm going with this, but I am sure it is a Tarot. . .if anyone can see a coherant point in what I just said, feel free to say it better than I can! 


smleite  21 Apr 2004 
I vote yes.

I am a Marseilles lover (and I use this particular word to avoid the “fundamentalist” talk). But in RWS I see the basic structure of Tarot’s particular depiction of the world and of human spirit – although in a more limited manner, in spiritual terms. I think both systems are equally efficient for divinatory purposes!

If I had a “box of Oracle decks”, my RWS would be there too, Diana. 


Lee  21 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by smleite
I am a Marseilles lover (and I use this particular word to avoid the “fundamentalist” talk).
I would just like to state that in my own view, a tarot fundamentalist would be someone who insists that their favorite deck is tarot and all other decks are not, their approach is true and all other approaches are not, etc., etc., etc. ad nauseam.

I would not use the term to describe a Marseille lover just because they were a Marseille lover. I would use the word "fundamentalist" for a rigid, exclusionary viewpoint regardless of the deck or approach involved.

I consider myself a Marseille lover but I like other decks too. I resent the idea some members seem to have, that you're not serious about a deck unless you show contempt for other decks.

-- Lee 


MeeWah  21 Apr 2004 
I voted "yes", simply because the Rider-Waite fits the general understanding of what constitutes a Tarot deck.

Since I come to Tarot via other (divination) methods--specifically numerology & regular playing cards--its imagery & numbers are particularly rich sources for the inspiration aside from the esoteric symbology.

Quote:
Originally posted by Rusty Neon
Yes, I think that the Rider-Waite is a Tarot, despite that

- it has Strength and Justice reversed from the Tarot de Marseille,

- it has scenic pip cards,

- its pip cards illustrate meanings derived from the Golden Dawn,

- the iconography of its major arcana differs from that of the major arcana of pre-1901 Tarot decks, and

- its Fool card is numbered O.


I am interested in the above points as noted by Rusty Neon. Am I right that these are based on comparison with the Marseille tradition? No desire to derail this thread but could someone please direct me to a source regarding those specifics? If need be, I can start another thread for this. 


Diana  21 Apr 2004 
deleted with my apologies to Rusty Neon for not sticking to his topic. 


Osher  21 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by contrascarpe96
Semantics ....... it goes with the whole idea of what is Tarot and what is an Oracle deck. I feel that Tarot is an Oracle - a deck of cards used for divination. What sets Tarot apart is the structure - 78 cards, separated by two Arcanas with the lesser Arcana comprised of four suits further comprised of 14 cards. ......

Dan


Exactly! Tarot is no more, and no less, than an Oracle deck with a certain structure. Does the structure mean anything? Well, I guess, if you feel it does, then it does.

Oh, I know Closrapexa used the wrong term, but when English is not your primary language it is easy to make a subtle error.

Oh I voted option 2, for the simple reason that it follows the guidelines that to most people define what is Tarot. If people wish to have different guidelines from the majority, that is their call. Anyway, it does not matter in the end of the day. What matters is what you get from the cards. 


smleite  21 Apr 2004 
quote] Originally posted by Lee
I resent the idea some members seem to have, that you're not serious about a deck unless you show contempt for other decks. [/quote]

I said, “I am a Marseilles lover” instead of something like “I only use Marseilles decks” (which is true, for the moment) in order to avoid this kind of misinterpretations. It was merely a sort of apologize for being about to speak, and vote, in a matter I know very little about. But lessons come all the time. Trying to avoid this kind of talk just lead me directly into it.

When I used the word “lover”, I also tried to express my very personal way of approaching Tarot. Love rejects exclusion. Still, it demands choosing and focusing (cards teach us that, too). I focus in Marseilles decks; I do not exclude, and certainly show no “contempt” for, any others.

I also try not to resent other people’s ideas. I generally find that when I do so, I am resenting something that is mostly in my mind. By the way, I hope that what Lee meant is that he resents the above-mentioned idea, but not the members that “seem to have” it (and do they, really?).

Plus, I don’t think this “evolution” (or involution?) in the posts is fair to the member who started this thread. I am sorry for the part I involuntarily played in it. 


Lee  21 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Diana
Hey Lee! You didn't tell us whether you think the RWCS is a Tarot deck or not!!! :D

As to those members who you find sort of nauseous and whose views you seem to resent so much, why don't you just ignore their posts? It sounds like they really disturb you. Shame!!
Dear Diana, it is true that in my post I did not say how I voted. I did vote, however. I think you can guess how I voted. I mean, it's no big secret that my tendency is to be inclusionary rather than exclusionary.

Diana, you've written a few different posts in a few different threads lately in which, if a member hasn't participated in a thread since its beginning, or if they're not addressing directly the subject of the thread as indicated by the thread's title, then that member is somehow made to feel less than welcome. I don't quite understand this. I thought that while a thread should stay generally in line with the subject indicated by the title, it's still a conversation, in which a member is allowed to directly address a point made by another member's post.

In my case, I was specifically addressing smleite's post. I'm sure smleite didn't intend to suggest it, but I wanted to forestall any possibility that anyone would think that any members were being called "fundamentalists" simply because they like the Marseille deck. Nothing could be further than the truth.

In light of your comment which I quoted above, Diana, I would like to clarify. I don't resent anyone's views about tarot. What I do resent is how those views are expressed if they're expressed in such a way as to belittle or demean other's views. I believe it's quite appropriate for me to raise this point when confronted with it.

Diana, I will politely decline your invitation to not participate in these discussions. And if I see any situation in which a member is trying to express their views by putting down others' views, then I'm going to speak up about it.

As for "shame," I'm sorry, Diana, but I don't feel any shame at all. I'm shameless! :D In fact I'm quite proud of myself, because I'm standing up for what I believe in, which is that members should not have to have their views mocked on the Aeclectic Forums.

If you have such a strong reaction to my posts, Diana, I suggest you follow your own advice and put me on your Ignore list.

-- Lee 


Lee  21 Apr 2004 
I want to apologize to smleite for the misunderstanding, in the line he or she quoted, I did not mean to imply that it was his or her comments I was referring to. It wasn't.

-- Lee 


firemaiden  21 Apr 2004 
In order to answer the question we need to know what Tarot is. (by the way, regarding "racism" can we PLEASE assume the poster was making a JOKE!)

plagiarizing myself from this thread in Deck Creation:Where do you start?

Problem with trying to define what tarot is.... is.... which aspect shall we define? its function? its form?

For example, define "chair" -- What is a chair?
  • a thing to sit in
  • (function)
  • A thing with four legs, a seat, and a back...
  • (but what about beanbag chairs... are you saying its not a chair?) (form)


With tarot: Okay so: What is tarot?
  • functional answer:
    - It's an Artform . It sits in boxes and collects value.
    - no, no! its an Oracular Device . You shuffle it and use it to tell the future.
    - no no no!! its an Initiatique Journey! You meditate on the pictures and gradually achieve enlightenment in steps.
    - no, no, no! its a game , you ninnies, a game with trumps, and a fool, and suits
    - no, no, no, it's a Historical, Cultural Artefact.
  • structural answer: ... depending on which aspect of the function of tarot cards we choose to focus on, our answer about what form a deck of cards should take if we are to call it "tarot" will vary. Easier to demonstrate if we look at *what it's not*.

    When is it *not* tarot?
    -
  • (Art) It's not tarot if the pictures suck.
    - (initiatic journey) It's not tarot if the steps are in the wrong order, or renamed, or missing.
    - (game) It's not tarot if you can't tell what suit something is.
    - (cultural artefact) It's not tarot if it's differs at all from the historical specimens we've collected...
    - (business) it's not tarot if it can't be sold for like hot-cakes for under 20 euro and neatly stacked in a display case


I would also like to humbly request that that we could all move on from the obsession of looking for the most negative possible intent in eachother's posts. 


Diana  21 Apr 2004 
deleted with my sincere apologies to Rusty Neon for having gone off-topic. 


smleite  21 Apr 2004 
Thank you for your latter post, Lee.

Quote:
Originally posted by firemaiden

It's not tarot if the steps are in the wrong order, or renamed, or missing.


That’s exactly what I think. 


Lee  21 Apr 2004 
Thanks for your clarification on the different usages of the word "shame," Diana, that hadn't occured to me. I'm glad you mentioned it. Misunderstandings are sometimes difficult to avoid because of these slight differences. :)

-- Lee 


Marion  21 Apr 2004 
I agree that the written word is very much open to interpretation, whereas in a live conversation so much extra information is being exchanged. Folks see vocal intonation, watch reactions and explain/modify accordingly.
Aoife did post that we should be able to have these discussions
and express our own views fully without taking things personally. And I think we can.

This is a good thread and explores issues that have come up elsewhere is more indirect ways. There is no reason not to express our opinions. But they are opinions and given the somewhat murky history of tarot, the opinion of whether or not later discoveries add to or take away from the original tend to be somewhat personal based on personal pathways, studies and thought.

I voted yes, because coming from a science background I believe that knowledge accrues, the newer building on the older. That all those ancients did not get it right the first time, that the knowledge needs to be developed and moved forward. But, that's an opinion. Like the rest. 


Moonbow*  21 Apr 2004 
Yes, of course it is..... no doubt in my mind and I think alot of us should be grateful to the RWS deck - even if we don't use it any longer - it certainly opened our eyes to other decks, and in some cases put us on the Tarot road. I'm sure all those deck creators who have based theirs on RWS are certain it's a Tarot deck too! 


WalesWoman  21 Apr 2004 
This thread seems to be a good example of Mecury in Retrograde, so everyone has lots of opinions of what is a Tarot deck and what is not and why. One of the cards that should have been included and isn't, ( which one would it be?) is "Take it all with a grain of salt, somethings may need a whole bagfull"
Consensus is not always a good thing, if we all agreed about everything we'd never have an original thought or idea, there wouldn't even be this poll because there would only be one Tarot. There wouldn't be any type of clones because we would basically be clones of who? EEKS!

While I don't relish dissention, it is necessary and vital to keep the creative intellectual juices flowing to allow growth and creativity. The key is knowing that you can argue a point until you are blue in the face, but realize it can be an excercise of futility. Everyone has the right to have and hold their opinions, all we can do is express our own without any expectations that ours will change or sway anothers. Even if someone else's opinion is in opposition to our own, we both need to remember to respect each other's right to have and hold that opinion without becoming defensive or offensive.
Debate is a wonderful thing, just remember not to identify yourself with the issue being debated. We are not the decks we use, just their tools of expression. 


crystal cove  21 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by WalesWoman
What a question! Is there some sort of elitist Hierophanaticism going on? "My deck is more Tarot than yours or something?" Not trying to argue, but what the heck is this all about?


Yes, of course. ;) It's part of the human condition to need to differentiate in order to feel superior.

What facinates me is the depths that people will go to do it. 


Lady Eclipse  21 Apr 2004 
Hi,

I voted yes and for many of the reasons others have previously mentioned. :-)

Joy to you,
Maralee 


Imagemaker  21 Apr 2004 
I agree with you Moonbow. This constant quibbling over whose is biggest and which is more authentic just keeps humans from evolving. People say they want peace, but they really don't--they want victory. 


Lady Eclipse  21 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Imagemaker
I agree with you Moonbow. This constant quibbling over whose is biggest and which is more authentic just keeps humans from evolving. People say they want peace, but they really don't--they want victory.


Thank you for this Imagemaker! I had only read the first couple of posts when I responded and hadn't realized it had turned into something non-productive and rather negative until after I posted.

Joy to you,
Maralee 


Diana  21 Apr 2004 
Just to point out that I have deleted my posts in this thread which could have contributed to any negativity. I kept the first one though.... because I think it is probably positive enough.

I wish to apologise sincerely and humbly for having responded unnecessarily and with a certain weariness to certain remarks. Personal emotions should not be allowed to spill onto an important thread like this. 


Jewel-ry  21 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by WalesWoman
......what the heck is this all about?

Exactly, good point

Quote:
Originally posted by Diana
I voted yes. (Everybody gasps.)

But it remains in my box of Oracle decks, as I believe it works better as an Oracle than a Tarot. But don't mind me... I have beliefs and convictions about the Structure of Tarot and also about its History and Origins and Purpose which are not shared by all students of the Tarot, but which are shared by many others.

Diana voted 'yes'. If she wants to call it an oracle, then thats up to her.

Quote:
Originally posted by Lee

I resent the idea some members seem to have, that you're not serious about a deck unless you show contempt for other decks.

-- Lee

I don't recall anyone ever giving this impression.

[quote]Originally posted by smleite
Quote:

mmm this is becoming rather debatable.

Quote:
Originally posted by smleite
Plus, I don’t think this “evolution” (or involution?) in the posts is fair to the member who started this thread.

I agree
Quote:
Originally posted by WalesWoman
Even if someone else's opinion is in opposition to our own, we both need to remember to respect each other's right to have and hold that opinion without becoming defensive or offensive.


Exactly! We are all entitled to our opinions. They are OPINIONS.

Some of these threads were becoming increasingly personal and I found it offensive to read! With all respects - Diana is not the only one who should be apologising here!




Jewel-ry  21 Apr 2004 
P.S. I voted that RW is a tarot deck. That is my opinion and Diana has always respected my opinion. In the words of Waleswoman 'What the heck is this all about'. and we should all really be able to read each others posts without taking everything so seriously.

Please look at this thread:

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=22155&perpage=10&highlight=integrity&pagenumber=1

Sagitarian and I had a respectful disagreement and ended up saying nice things about each other. Please learn from this.

J :) 


Osher  21 Apr 2004 
Something confuses me (easily done though!)...

We all agree that the RWS is a Tarot deck. The poll shows that. So, what exactly is there disagreement about?

As a side issue: maybe we need to invent catagories to help us understand and differentiate between different decks. 


Moongold  21 Apr 2004 
I voted yes because the RWS seems to meet what I understand to be the basic structure of tarot.

I have just begun to study the Marseilles and what that process is doing is making me much more aware of the depth of the symbolism in the RWS and other decks. 


Khatruman  21 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Diana
(*Diana goes off to wait for someone to drag up my old posts where I said the RWS is not a Tarot as well as future posts where I may say the same thing. --Yawn-- *)
A very famous poet, whom I greatly admire, wrote the following:
Quote:
Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself!
I am large. I contain multitudes!
You contain multitudes, Diana, enough to encompass all sides, or any turn of the card. 


TemperanceAngel  22 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Diana
The RWS is a Tarot. In fact, I am planning on including it in my Tarot courses in my second module, when I will be giving the students an overview of various different tarot traditions in the world today. (Will be talking for three hours on the RWS! I'd better take a stiff drink beforehand! Or perhaps some young teenager could give me some green weed. :D :D :D )

Diana, that made me laugh out loud :D I think I might have to print it off and keep it in my locker so when ever I need a *giggle* I will just go and look at it. The part I am referring to is the stiff drink and green weed (of course), hilarious :D Wish I was there to hear your lecture I am sure it would be marvelous!!!!

It seems as though a lot has gone here while I was asleep, and I must agree with Jewel-ry, I have never known on here that members are serious about a deck because they have shown contempt for other decks??

People love the deck that they love, for me it's RWS, but I don't hate other decks??

When threads become personal it becomes uncomfortable for everyone on here and mean EVERYONE!!!!! I don't know what Dianas posts said, something very passionate and heart felt, I would presume as Dianas posts are and that's one of the reasons I think she's marvellous!

Now if Diana can have the dignity and integrity to apologise, then surely others can to?

Remember what I said: everyone feels this here and it's not pleasant for us. Please try not to be personal in your posting...

XTAX 


Lee  22 Apr 2004 
I as well apologize to Rusty Neon for highjacking his thread, however, like Diana, I do not apologize for the views I hold nor for the words I used to express them.

And that's my last word.

-- Lee 


HOLMES  22 Apr 2004 
we have forgotten to take geographic into concern,

for north american newbies getting into the tarot , where every books talks mostly of the rider waite , with the toth following in a close second with the rare book talking about the marsielles .

the question could be asked on that approach is the marsielles still a tarot ?

and if i was in marsielles i am sure the question could be asked,
is anything but a marsielles a tarot ?

which gives us more then just a opnion about the two decks,
but also have to take into account,
1. the books we read
2. the geography of the world we live in
3.our tarot eduction based on number one. (some may never get past two or three books, woes the book collector in me who says don't you want to study ?)

i would say the marsielles is no longer a tarot for it hasnt' kept up with the times,
i mean it is ugly (i mean they remade so many movies, and coloured so many versions ,)
it has no beutitful pips,

but ,, i would be wrong for i would then be saying in every divination field, example classic astrology is not valid for it didnt' keep up with the times, that would be wrong.
but then again,,
most people have discounted freud theories have they not ? (at least that lady in cheers said so eheh )

i would say that i do admit that the christmas carol looks better in black and white then colour ,
and so the marsielles has it's place (which is personal to us all eh ?)
as does the waite,

is the toth a tarot ? is a rose by any other name a rose ? nahhh for the idea of a rose would be gone for we would be calling rose oracles, and tulips rose , and that would change everything.

who am i to say what is a tarot or not,, (although there are some guidelines eh ?) 


baba-prague  22 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by HOLMES
i would say the marsielles is no longer a tarot for it hasnt' kept up with the times,
i mean it is ugly (i mean they remade so many movies, and coloured so many versions ,)
it has no beutitful pips,


I am staying very quiet on this thread - though I voted that RWS IS definitely a tarot. But, I don't think the Marseilles is ugly. Okay there have been some ugly and crude versions and reprints. But in essence it's a beautiful thing - to my eyes anyway. 


jmd  22 Apr 2004 
As the thread as veered off the main topic, and as a number of side-comments have recently been made, I will note here that though Diana has edited some of her posts, it comes from her own sense of appropriateness and the goodwill towards the Forums, and contained nothing of a nature which required editing. In some ways, her editing may inappropriately give a false impression.

In terms of threads, and though any member may begin these, they do not thereby afterwards become that member's thread, but rather a thread which was headed and seeded by its beginner - and thankyou Rusty Neon for so many threads begun which continue to clarify various differing views amongst our community. These can only lead, or at least one would hope, to greater understanding in the longer term.

With regards to the thread, I did not vote...

I suppose that I have made my personal views clear enough in many other threads. I could not vote for the third option, simply because the Waite-Colman Smith [wcs] deck is certainly an expression arising from considering and reflecting on the Tarot (as is the Marseille and myriad other decks). It contains, in my view, many very peculiar and quite personal elements - as do, generally, decks in their minutia of details. With the WCS, as with other decks which can clearly be identified as original works of peculiar individuals (whether in co-operation with one another or singly), it remains, to my mind, a personal expression.

In contradistinction, the Marseille (and very few others) have, in their general form (rather than where they individually depart from that form), something which goes beyond the personal caprices of its makers. In each deck which reflects in some ways Tarot, it will retain, again in my personal view, some of its key features and structures - how far it deviates will probably reflect how much the individual artist/designer is willing and able to permit artistic and 'esoteric' license to what may be the undefined essential characteristics of Tarot.

I could not vote for the second option, simply because I do not consider the question in any way or form a 'dumb' question. I thought it was rather quite the opposite: an intelligent and difficult question. Certainly not a difficult one if we just want to answer according to sales figures or packaging imprint, but as a question which brings to reflection what may and may not be characteristic of Tarot - or rather, in this instance, Tarot decks (I consider the two a little different).

The first option would have been the one I would favour: Yes, the deck designed by Waite and Colman Smith, and first published by Rider (but never called at the time a 'Rider-Waite' - that is a later registered copyright name by USGames), reflects the Tarot in that Waite and Colman Smith carefully considered various Tarot decks in the production of their deck. In addition, they also carefully considered related decks such as the Sola-Busca, as well as various attributions suggested by Wescott, Mathers, Wirth and Levi, as well as the Bible, Astrology, and Freemasonry, and incorporated many of these considerations (or parts therefrom) within the deck.

As a consequence, the deck removed itself firmly and clearly from both the more common previously published gaming decks, and also the more assumed usage of the deck as 'only' for divinatory uses. In that and so many other ways, it liberated Tarot from some of the excesses of the times.

Perhaps, however, its very success is also partly its weakness...

Some of its features, as noted by Rusty Neon in his second post, clearly deviate from more traditional Tarot... and hence also my reason for abstaining from actually voting for the first option. 


mercenary30  22 Apr 2004 
Merc the Cook….
Fruit pies
Cream pies
Custard pies

Each is different. In how they are made, how they are cooked, and how they are presented.

They all have a crust, at least on the bottom. They all are round and cooked in the same type of pan, and they all are fattening, at least the way I make them. (heheheh)

They are all pies.


Merc the Gamer….
Roleplaying games - Dungeons and Dragons
Dice Games - Yahtzee
Card games - Poker/Bridge
Board games - Monopoly/Chess
Mind games - Debate/Manipulation
Word games - Scrabble/Boggle.

Many of these games that I just classified share similarities with the other types. Monopoly has cards. Scrabble has a board and pieces. Boggle uses dice. D&D has dice and sometimes a board and pieces as well.

They are all games…….

Merc the movie lover…..
Horror
Science Fiction
Action
Drama
Comedy

Nuff said…..
They are all movies……

Merc the music lover…..
Rock
Pop
Country
Opera
Classical
All music…….(except maybe country…. :) )


Edited to add:
I like all forms of "tarot" and would like to learn the intricacies and use of them all in the fashion expected for each. 


Moonbow*  22 Apr 2004 


You make pies? I'm impressed!


Quote:
Edited to add:
I like all forms of "tarot" and would like to learn the intricacies and use of them all in the fashion expected for each.


Me too, the way I see it, if you dismiss one type you've done yourself out of knowledge. OK you may have a preference, but why not learn about it all? 


firemaiden  23 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Tarotphelia
As for you Mr. Holmes , saying the Marseilles is ugly and not kept up with the times-- that is rather like saying the Statue of Liberty should have a facelift so she can look more like Britney Spears !!


BWAHAHAHAH! Tarotphelia, you sure have a way with words. This I'd like to see! 


Rusty Neon  23 Apr 2004 
Yeppers ... I'd like to see Britney as the Papess(e) in Major Tom's Tarot of Marseilles. :) Or as the lady in the Strength (Lust) card in the Thoth deck. 


Nycelle  23 Apr 2004 
Must express opinion about the Marseille being ugly - I like it, I feel it has a traditional beauty. I can best compare this to an old Irish dictionary my father owns. It has weathered browning pages, an archaic ancient lettering system and the cover is wood wrapped in canvas. It has a dignity and a beauty beyond that of the highly glossed, dust jacketed modern versions.

Both have their beauty, they are just different types of beauty.

The Marseille deck, having said that, is unusual to my eye and I haven't studied it, so I find it difficult. On a purely aesthetic level, though, I feel it is as pleasing as any deck. 


firemaiden  23 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Diana
The RW deck to me has one very big and major difference [...] from the Marseille [...] And that is The Magician / The Bateleur. [...]


Yes, we've observed that the french bateleur is not a magic magician, but one of those bedraggled but hilarious guys who pull up to crowded tourist areas and swallow swords and juggle with fire, then pass the hat.... do we have a thread on the difference? The RWS magician looks "pretty," sweet and serious.

Quote:
The Devil/Diable do not have quite the same signification either. The Marseille Devil/Diable does not instill fear as the RWS Devil seems to, from what I have seen on the boards, and also studied when I studied the RWS Devil. The Marseille Diable/Devil can, in some situations, be extremely comical and of good humour.


It also underlines, like the first card a difference between bawdy gauloiserisie of the Gauls and the sobriety of Anglo-saxons. The Marseille Devil is hilarious, the RWS Devil serious and scary.

Quote:
The Maison-Dieu/Tower also has different connotations. There is less Destruction in the Marseille XVI/16, more Deconstruction and Reconstruction (I think it is George Colleuil, a French tarologist, who used these terms which I found excellent.)


I was told in a literature course, that on the eve of their beheadings, the french royals would hold balls, and wear a red ribbon around their neck to signify that they were next. A sort of dancing on their own graves. I don't know if this is true, but it goes with the elegance of the French Maison Dieu - rather than death and destruction, we see unfurling hat-feathers, and falling cakes. (the falling blobs look like petits fours to me)

Quote:
I would really love to discuss more fully whether the 22 Major Arcana only can be Tarot. I wonder if Holmes would let us discuss this in his thread called Minors and Archetypes (can't recall the exact title) as I think it would fit in there. Holmes, what say thee?


Probably would be better to start a thread called Majors and Archetypes... 


closrapexa  23 Apr 2004 
[quote]Originally posted by firemaiden
[b]Yes, we've observed that the french bateleur is not a magic magician, but one of those bedraggled but hilarious guys who pull up to crowded tourist areas and swallow swords and juggle with fire, then pass the hat.... do we have a thread on the difference? The RWS magician looks "pretty," sweet and serious.




Yeah he's kind of a hunk... 


smleite  23 Apr 2004 
Quote:

Originally posted by HOLMES

i would say the marsielles is no longer a tarot for it hasnt' kept up with the times,
i mean it is ugly.



I think the Marseilles in itself (not sticking to any particular version) is a BEAUTIFUL deck. Everybody knows Plato’s ideas about Beauty, Truth and Goodness. Please, allow me to derive from the RWS subject just to quote a famous scholar’s words about the platonic writings:

“For Plato, the ultimate reality is not only ethical and rational in nature, but also aesthetic. The Good, the True, and the Beautiful are effectively united in the supreme creative principle, at once commanding moral affirmation, intellectual allegiance and aesthetic surrender. As the most accessible of the Forms, visible in part even to the physical eye, Beauty opens up human awareness to the existence of the other Forms, drawing the philosopher toward the beatific vision and knowledge of the True and the Good.” (In Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind).

I find a Marseilles deck to be a wonderful illustration of these same ideas.

Good it hasn’t kept up with times. That is probably the reason why jmd can write such inspired words:

Quote:

Originally posted by jmd

In contradistinction, the Marseille (and very few others) have, in their general form (rather than where they individually depart from that form), something which goes beyond the personal caprices of its makers. In each deck which reflects in some ways Tarot, it will retain, again in my personal view, some of its key features and structures - how far it deviates will probably reflect how much the individual artist/designer is willing and able to permit artistic and 'esoteric' license to what may be the undefined essential characteristics of Tarot.


About the Holmes’s whole text: do you consider this to be an entirely relative issue, then? No “absolute” answer? I tend to find the idea that almost everything is “relative” as an alienation of modern times. 


Moongold  23 Apr 2004 
It is very interesting to compare the Marseilles and RWS majors but there is a question about reading with either deck.

Whilst there are some obvious boundaries insofar as the pips are concerned, less so with the majors.

One could read intuitively with either deck (majors only) equally effectively if there were no constraints to use particular historic frameworks.

The question comes up frequently - why feel tied to either Marseilles or Golden Dawn parameters?

Should this question be in another thread, or has it already been discussed else where. 


Diana  23 Apr 2004 
Moongold: People who read intuitively would not be interested in this kind of discussion, would they?

There are members who are are quite happy to mix up RWS, Thoth and Marseille "meanings" (whatever that means), and for all I know, even Sacred Circle meanings. In fact, people who read intuititively don't actually rely on any meanings as well, do they? They just read what they feel and intuit.

When I go to a ballet, and see Swan Lake, to see it performed in the same way as it was 100 years ago.... (or whenever it was created), moves me to tears. To hear the orchestra respecting every single note as the creator wanted it to be played... is absolutely awesome and takes my breath away.

I am not so keen on the modern versions of it. I have seen two or three and they leave me always a little empty.

The question is always, and Umbrae is right here: "Why do you read?" 


Kissa  23 Apr 2004 
I voted yes, it's a dumb question (nothing personal, Rusty...)

If it wasn't for Arthur and Pixie, there wouldn't be any tarot community like ours because :
1) Marseilles pictures are disliked by many ppl
2) the Marseilles tradition is not known worldwide
3) may ppl don't use tarot for fortune telling and Marseilles type decks are for fortune telling
4) thanks to the scenic pips, you can "feel" the cards whereas unscenic pips can only be interpreted after studying numerology, symbolism etc. which makes the whole thing not interesting or reachable for many. Marseilles system is somehow hermetic to many (count me in).

You can call tarot whatever deck you want (and it's what happens).

And if there were only French ppl and their holy Marseilles, well, they would certainly be no internet tarot forum ... the frogs would just be typing madly in french of course on their minitels and that's it ... ;)

Kissa 


Diana  23 Apr 2004 
Right... are we going to have a poll now on "Is the Thoth a Tarot deck"?

The results of this survey were obvious from the start. It was a curious way to get a discussion going. There are a number of people who are a bit puzzled by the Poll actually - especially as it is on an Anglo-Saxon forum, but there have been some very interesting points raised which will surely lead to many more fruitful discussions. I am really glad Rusty Neon started this poll.

I find it interesting that the RWS is only discussed as in opposition to the Marseille, and not the Thoth, or other well-known and therefore important decks.

Just goes to show how in just two years, the Tarot of Marseille has grown in stature and importance on the Aeclectic Tarot Forums. When I joined two and a half years ago, there were many people who didn't know that this deck actually was still used... and some people (I swear... I could dig up the threads if I had the time) thought that Arthur Waite's deck was the first to have existed.

We have come a long way in just a couple of years. It is wonderful to see how these forums are truly a place of discovery, learning and sharing. 


smleite  23 Apr 2004 
Quote:

Originally posted by Kissa

(…) Marseilles type decks are for fortune telling



?????? Can’t really formulate a question or a remark about this statement. But I would love to understand it better.

There are Internet tarot forums in French. In fact, I had to look for an English one because my written French is not that good. Maybe that turned out to be a blessing, since I found Aeclectic! But still… 


crystal cove  23 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Lee
I as well apologize to Rusty Neon for highjacking his thread, however, like Diana, I do not apologize for the views I hold nor for the words I used to express them.

And that's my last word.

-- Lee


I'm glad to hear that because I enjoy your posts and consider them valuable. 


The Is the Rider-Waite deck a Tarot? thread was originally posted on 20 Apr 2004 in the Talking Tarot board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Talking Tarot, or read more archived threads.

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