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Is the Rider-Waite deck a Tarot?

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 21 Apr 2004, and now archived in the Forum Library.



Dark Inquisitor  21 Apr 2004 
Yes, the Rider Waite is a tarot. It says so right on the box.

In fact, I think any deck that has the major arcana qualifies as a tarot. It may not be a tarot you like or agree with , but that doesn't make it not a tarot.

Even if it has no minors and just the majors as some decks do, I still think it is a tarot. Perhaps one more limited in possibilities or addressing only major themes. Many people will read from time to time with just the majors.

I would go so far as to say that even if a deck had MOST of the majors, but not all -- and perhaps even added cards not found in other decks as does the Ancient Minchiate Etruria , it is still a tarot in my opinion.

If I made symbols for the major arcana and engraved them on stones to read with , that would be tarot also. I think the defining thing about tarot are the archetypes of the major arcana.

Tarotphelia 


Dark Inquisitor  22 Apr 2004 
Doesn't anybody want to get mad at me for saying all you need is most of the major arcana? 


Diana  22 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Tarotphelia
Doesn't anybody want to get mad at me for saying all you need is most of the major arcana?


Tarotphelia: Your post was the one that struck me the most. To tell you the truth, it has been on my mind all day - it was on my mind when I awoke. (I'm not kidding). And I think I agree with you but this needs some thrashing out.

This deserves a thread of its own - it would get hopelessly lost here in this Poll thread on the RWS. (Your post probably deserves a forum of its own - lol - ).

Not sure about the "most" though - but here I start up the discussion already! Can't follow my own advice! 


Dark Inquisitor  23 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Diana

And I think I agree with you but this needs some thrashing out.



Oh good- I was afraid some of you might have been under the weather and not feeling quite as well as usual.

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 !!

You know, if you only use the majors, the Marseilles and the Rider Waite are basically the same deck...

Tarotphelia 


Diana  23 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Tarotphelia
You know, if you only use the majors, the Marseilles and the Rider Waite are basically the same deck...


Okay, Tarotphelia wants to discuss this here. I will not argue with Tarotphelia (could be dangerous for my health :laugh: )

The Majors in most decks are very similar. Some decks really veer off and do the strangest things (like the Sacred Circle) and I do not consider those decks to be Tarot. There is no question about that for me. This does not mean that they are useless decks for Divination, or Shadow Work, or Meditation, or whatever. Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that every deck that is not Tarot is a load of bull. Some are extremely worthy and people have put a lot of thought into them. (But calling some of these decks Tarot is laughable.)

(I've always said that 78 cards do not make a Tarot. I am convinced of this.)

The RW deck to me has one very big and major difference (there are others) from the Marseille (I won't talk Thoth here as I have not studied it deeply enough.) And that is The Magician / The Bateleur. The two are very different people, and have therefore different functions. Some of the functions overlap... one can find similarities. But the differences are too great to say that they are Twins, even non-identical twins. They are possibly distant cousins which gives them some air of resemblance, but that is all.

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.

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.)

Yes, basically, they seem and sometimes are similar. But to say they can be put side to side and used in the same manner is incorrect.

There are many other differences (important ones). I could write on for pages and pages if one wanted to go into details.

The RWS Majors were designed for a specific purpose.
So were the Marseille Majors.

And the two purposes were not the same and therefore the end result is not the same either.

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? 


Dark Inquisitor  23 Apr 2004 
Devils and Magicians may shift their shapes a bit , but the essence remains the same. The Devil of 200 years ago is a beast, but maybe today he is Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick. Tomorrow the man or woman (or child?) next door who goes on a killing spree. Perhaps representations of archetypal forces are not supposed to be fixed and it is our task to see behind the curtain. What if part of their job is to make it harder for people to do that sometimes by changing form? All part of the game ?

(Maybe a moderator could move any posts based on my original post to a new thread so as not to disrupt those who prefer orderly thinking ? I am not really concerned about it , but maybe it would be better for some. )

Tarotphelia 


Diana  23 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Tarotphelia
Devils and Magicians may shift their shapes a bit , but the essence remains the same.


Tarotphelia: The Marseille Bateleur is not a Magician.

The modern Tarots have a Magician because in Ceremonial Magic, in Golden Dawn type societies, they practice magic(k).

I promise you, the Marseille Bateleur does not have the function of a Ceremonial Magician.

It's like saying a Cow is a Goat. They both live on farms, both like to eat grass, both can be milked, but does this make them the same? Can one study them and treat them in the same way? It doesn't make sense.

We could discuss the Devil as well in the same vein.

Calling a Cow a Goat is not satisfactory to me personally. But I know that for some people, it doesn't seem to make any difference. Their choice. To me it's weird.

(One of the reasons we are encouraged to stay on topic in the guidelines is because it is easier for people who will use these forums for study purposes... especially in the future. It's to help the Archiving. For us, it's easy.. we know where to find our posts because we're bang in the middle of them. In six months time, things will be different. ) 


MeeWah  24 Apr 2004 
This thread represents the splitting/spin-off of Rusty Neon's:

"Poll: Is the Rider-Waite deck a Tarot?"

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?threadid=25200

~MeeWah
Co-moderator, Talking Tarot 


Dark Inquisitor  24 Apr 2004 
[quote]Originally posted by Diana
[b]"Tarotphelia: The Marseille Bateleur is not a Magician."


>>>Maybe the Hermit is not the Shaman either, or maybe he is and I have just not looked at it that way yet. What do I know?


***"I promise you, the Marseille Bateleur does not have the function of a Ceremonial Magician.

It's like saying a Cow is a Goat. They both live on farms, both like to eat grass, both can be milked, but does this make them the same? Can one study them and treat them in the same way? It doesn't make sense.

We could discuss the Devil as well in the same vein."


>>>Are the archetypes of the tarot, for lack of a better term , fixed ? Are they pictures on cards? Or are they representations of something not fixed, but dynamic?

***"Calling a Cow a Goat is not satisfactory to me personally. But I know that for some people, it doesn't seem to make any difference. Their choice. To me it's weird."

>>> Sometimes I think as we play with the Tarot, the Tarot also plays with us. But Diana will play only with strict rules and categories. And this is how she likes it. 


firemaiden  24 Apr 2004 
Is it a matter of "strict rules and categories?" or is it a matter of making important distinctions which help us to understand both decks better? I can see some of us are "lumpers" and some of us are "splitters". Solve et coagulare... Both processes are necessary to arrive at fuller understanding.

The difference between the RWS magican and the Marseille bateleur is so interesting, that it is being examined in another thread. .. 


Diana  24 Apr 2004 
Quote:
Originally posted by Tarotphelia
Sometimes I think as we play with the Tarot, the Tarot also plays with us. But Diana will play only with strict rules and categories. And this is how she likes it.


Indeed, I do see the Tarot as something with a fixed structure - one could say almost "mathematical" and "scientific". It's not so much a case of whether I like it that way or not. It's just what I have discovered so far in my studies of the Tarot.

I didn't set out to find this structure. The structure I discovered as I went along. When I first started studying the Tarot... I had thought I would just use it for telling the future and telling fortunes, like my Gypsy Tarot Reader taught me to. But then I realised there was something more behind it. 


The Is the Rider-Waite deck a Tarot? thread was originally posted on 21 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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