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Join Date: 21 May 2010
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Question about discrepancies among the books


This deck, which is already in my Top 10 of decks, was my choice for this year's One Deck Wonder. I don't know how long I'll keep it up, but I foresee at least a few months of exclusive use of this deck.

I have not yet launched into the seasonal course and don't know if I plan to do the whole thing as written, anyway.

My question concerns inconsistencies among and even within the books that I have.

I have both versions of the deck (original black-border and reprint/white-border) and the following books:

-- Hallowquest: Tarot Magic and the Arthurian Mysteries (1990 Aquarian; grey/mauve and purple with The Lady of the Lake on the cover)

-- The Arthurian Tarot Course: a Quest for All Seasons (yellow with Sovereignty on the cover)

-- the Little Purple Booklet, 80-pages, (LPB) that came with the white-bordered/reprint deck

So far, I am only working with the first book and the LPB, and these have revealed several internal inconsistencies both between them and within the Tarot Magic book itself, with the LPB identifying certain cards as X character, and the Tarot Magic book identifying them as Y.

For instance, Tarot Magic identifies The Wounded King (XII) as Pelles, the Fisher King, who happens to be Perceval's uncle; the LPB does not name him, which is unfortunate but expected for a much smaller book that can't include all info. Tarot Magic's ambiguous description of the Spear King (King of Wands) seems to suggest that the king is Perceval (the nephew), whereas the LPB identifies this king as Pelles/the Fisher King. That's an actual discrepancy--is it the nephew or the uncle?

Another one: the LPB identifies the Sword King (King of Swords) as Ambrosius, while p. 85 of Tarot Magic is ambiguously worded to suggest this is Arthur (even though he bears no resemblance to the Arthur on the Arthur Trump card) and p. 152 identifies him as Uther. Then within Tarot Magic again, just a few pages later in the book after identifying him as Uther, one of the Court card/suit guided meditations identifies the Sword King as Arthur again.

Which is he: Ambrosius, Arthur, or Uther?

I understand that all three can be linked satisfactorily to the Sword King, but this can be frustrating when trying to mentally correlate each card to memorable story. I just found a sentence in Tarot Magic that supports my observations and points out that even with the same book, there are multiple potential characters assigned to each court card:

Quote:
The Arthurian correlations are as various as the variants of these family trees, but the following suggested correspondences may be seen as the medieval octaves of the earlier archetypes depicted here. Readers will notice considerable departures between these correspondences and the suggested stories which underlie each of the Court cards on the pages between 76 and 116
-- p. 152

Well, at least I know I'm not imagining it.

And given that the Matthewses point them out themselves, this suggests these are not inconsistencies per se but intended variations--most unusual in a tarot deck or system.

I wonder if this has something to do with the fact that the Arthurian cycle is many centuries old, with each era in time and country/culture adding various elements into the mix, resulting in redundancies, inconsistencies, and overlaps.

Yet, the Matthewses are the ones who made up the Court cards and chose all the stories and correspondences for each card in the deck, so I'm not quite sure why they have intentionally made certain cards variable in their correspondence... Yes, the Arthurian canon is huge, multi-century, multi-culture, and unwieldy, but the authors had the power to choose which stories they matched up to which card, and keep their own system consistent.

Any thoughts?
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