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Symbolism in the RWS 6 of Cups

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Dear LRichard, closrapexa, Ravenest, satanfurby, ma-jong, and Aoife: Ravenest asked a very important question: are we looking for symbols ON the card, or IN the card ? I am sure the opening post by Aiofe was a question addressed to both.

Ten years ago when this thread was created, many of us (not all!) were interested in brainstorming the potential meanings of the cards, and were happy put aside, or go beyond, the prescribed esoteric systems. Such an approach might seem like a high-jack of a sacred tradition by tarot hooligans. If so, I readily confess to being a tarot hooligan, in that sense, enjoying most particularly the anarchy of tarot, the possibility to shuffle, and receive random mutations of thought, and inspiration of creativity.

It occurred to me, however, in the several years of participating in the "purple realm", that the very notion of describing the meanings of one card in the absolute, outside of the context of a reading, assumes, probably erroneously, that such a card exploration is NOT a reading.

Probably we should consider these one-card explorations to be self-readings. In later years I abandoned one-card-meaning threads to exclusively experiment with readings for other people, and it now seems strange to me to pronounce such statements as "this card is about ____" because it can only offer a potential to be about that or something else, depending on the the surrounding cards, the question, the querant, and the random mutations of thought shuffling ...

However, on another very spirited thread from ancient history (about the 4 of swords), Thirteen wrote something very important : the fixed meanings we study are like a recipe. At first we learn the basic ingredients, then we can combine and create in new ways, after acquiring the basics.

I realise that not everyone studies the cards for the purpose of a reading, in fact to some, I think to Crowley, actually reading with the cards was debasing them. They are meant for meditation and psychic voyages with the aid of psychedelic substances. Yet, even if the cards are only meant to be meditated upon, the random mutations of thought would make their way in. After all what is magic if not creativity ?

Actually meditating on each card one at a time (without herbal intervention) can make come "alive", as I'm sure you've discovered !

So what is the 6 of cups about ? are we looking at the the symbols in or on? It seems to me, if the artist created something to stimulate thought and meditation, and even inspire spiritual growth, the question is not "what is this about ?" in the absolute, but "what do we discover by delving into the card?".
Top   #51
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Gentlemen, thank you for the timely reminders that the Rider Waite Smith is indeed a Golden Dawn deck, and so of course the Tree of Life is a vital component. But the deck is so much more than that, and essentially defies the imposition of a purely linear analysis. Within a framework of meaning it becomes possible to explore the multifacets and nuances of understanding that present in any particular moment, in relation to any particular issue. It would be most unfortunate to think that creative exploration should be closed down by the imposition of meaning, however esoteric.

Waite simply says that the depiction is of “Children in an old garden, their cups filled with flowers” clearly making this card one of those where Pixie took some artistic licence. Furthermore...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mary Greer_Women of the Golden Dawn_
... it becomes apparent to anyone who uses (Pixie Smith’s designs) that there are special qualities to Smith’s deck that cannot be mimicked. One of these is the wonderful (and undoubtedly deliberate) ambiguity of expression on the faces of the figures. This allows the reader and consultee to interpret each card according to what they project onto it at the moment. In readings emphasising psychological states, evoked memories, and personal associations, this is a tremendous strength...
Top   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aoife View Post
Gentlemen, thank you for the timely reminders that the Rider Waite Smith is indeed a Golden Dawn deck, and so of course the Tree of Life is a vital component. But the deck is so much more than that, and essentially defies the imposition of a purely linear analysis.
The Tree of Life is anything but one-dimensional (linear), but that's an off-topic issue, as is the issue of whether gender is in any manner relevant to the discussion.

Quote:
Within a framework of meaning it becomes possible to explore the multifacets and nuances of understanding that present in any particular moment, in relation to any particular issue.
While an intuitive interpretation of card images may be an important element in card reading, does it really enrich our understanding of the "history and iconography" of this deck? I suppose the answer to this hinges on one's definition of "iconography."

Quote:
It would be most unfortunate to think that creative exploration should be closed down by the imposition of meaning.......
That is certainly true, but my understanding is that the impetus generally should be to attempt to discover what the symbolic elements may have meant to the decks creators, not merely what they might mean subjectively "in any particular moment, in relation to any particular issue."

Waite certainly had access to S. L. Macgregor Mathers' analysis of the Tarot in Book T. It would be as unrealistic to ignore the influence of this on the structure of the Rider minor arcana as it would be to dismiss the impact of Waite's research into the Grail literature, Kabbalah, or his interest in the legend of Hiram Abiff in (of all things) Freemasonry.
Top   #53
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Point taken Richard. That is a question one could ask : "does it really enrich our understanding of the "history and iconography" of this deck?"

On the other hand why not ? We can study history, and we can study alchemical iconography, the tree of life, the Kabbalah, the emerald tablet, babylonian star gazing, those things, however, are not the tarot, even if they are part of it. And the grail literature is a part of it. The grail literature is much more than tarot, and much much more than the grail, if I might add. Just as a human being is more than the sum of his parts, so the tarot is more than the assemblage of its various influences, no ?
Top   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firemaiden View Post
Just as a human being is more than the sum of his parts, so the tarot is more than the assemblage of its various influences, no ?
Of course, and when I look at a card, it all combines into what I think of it and how I feel of it. Even when rattling off Kabbalistic attributions, to me they are the poetry of symbols, rich with feeling and not sterile at all. Much of the forum feels that it is a situation that is either/or; either occult symbolism or intuitive thought. For me, though, they blend seemlessly and are not binding at all. Merely the mention of the words "Sun in Scorpio" bring up a host of different connections, thoughts, musings and past meditations, all the product of passion and feeling.

In addition, once one gets into all those things, one realizes that the creators of any deck, Golden Dawn decks in particular, had a plan and a structure in mind for their decks, one that is difficult, if not dangerous, to ignore. There is a card for a pedophile dwarf, as there is a card for everything in the universe, but since every card connects with all others simultaneously, there are far better cards for that than this one. Ignoring that fact could lead to card duplicates, missing important opportunities for personal growth and self-study.

I see it as simply the difference between driving automatic and stick-shift. If you can drive stick, you can drive anything. If you only learned how to drive automatic, you can only drive automatic.
Top   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenest View Post
Who says we are not allowed to know ... I know.
Might want to watch your back! That information is confidential! Did you have to break into somewhere to get it?

oh... you must be in on the conspiracy then
Top   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firemaiden View Post
Dear LRichard, closrapexa, Ravenest, satanfurby, ma-jong, and Aoife: Ravenest asked a very important question: are we looking for symbols ON the card, or IN the card ? I am sure the opening post by Aiofe was a question addressed to both.

Ten years ago when this thread was created, many of us (not all!) were interested in brainstorming the potential meanings of the cards, and were happy put aside, or go beyond, the prescribed esoteric systems. Such an approach might seem like a high-jack of a sacred tradition by tarot hooligans. If so, I readily confess to being a tarot hooligan, in that sense, enjoying most particularly the anarchy of tarot, the possibility to shuffle, and receive random mutations of thought, and inspiration of creativity.

It occurred to me, however, in the several years of participating in the "purple realm", that the very notion of describing the meanings of one card in the absolute, outside of the context of a reading, assumes, probably erroneously, that such a card exploration is NOT a reading.

Probably we should consider these one-card explorations to be self-readings. In later years I abandoned one-card-meaning threads to exclusively experiment with readings for other people, and it now seems strange to me to pronounce such statements as "this card is about ____" because it can only offer a potential to be about that or something else, depending on the the surrounding cards, the question, the querant, and the random mutations of thought shuffling ...

However, on another very spirited thread from ancient history (about the 4 of swords), Thirteen wrote something very important : the fixed meanings we study are like a recipe. At first we learn the basic ingredients, then we can combine and create in new ways, after acquiring the basics.

I realise that not everyone studies the cards for the purpose of a reading, in fact to some, I think to Crowley, actually reading with the cards was debasing them. They are meant for meditation and psychic voyages with the aid of psychedelic substances. Yet, even if the cards are only meant to be meditated upon, the random mutations of thought would make their way in. After all what is magic if not creativity ?

Actually meditating on each card one at a time (without herbal intervention) can make come "alive", as I'm sure you've discovered !

So what is the 6 of cups about ? are we looking at the the symbols in or on? It seems to me, if the artist created something to stimulate thought and meditation, and even inspire spiritual growth, the question is not "what is this about ?" in the absolute, but "what do we discover by delving into the card?".
I think using creativity to interpret every ounce and detail in your own way is the most noble way to honor the greatness of the tarot
Top   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firemaiden View Post
Point taken Richard. That is a question one could ask : "does it really enrich our understanding of the "history and iconography" of this deck?"

On the other hand why not ? We can study history, and we can study alchemical iconography, the tree of life, the Kabbalah, the emerald tablet, babylonian star gazing, those things, however, are not the tarot, even if they are part of it. And the grail literature is a part of it. The grail literature is much more than tarot, and much much more than the grail, if I might add. Just as a human being is more than the sum of his parts, so the tarot is more than the assemblage of its various influences, no ?
Of course that is true, but should such admittedly interesting and important philosophical generalities be the focus of the discussion of the Six of Cups in this particular Forum? Perhaps there is room for specific hard facts as well as generalities. Because I may wish to examine certain aspects of this card in which I have a particular interest does not mean that I am blind to its broader significance.

I'm almost beginning to feel that if I make the comment that "the Six of Cups is of central significance in the Cups suit because it refers to Tiphareth in Briah," I must immediately append the disclaimer "but that does not mean that it doesn't mean a lot more than that" (although it's very difficult for me to think of Briah as in any way whatsoever limiting as regards the Cups).
Top   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LRichard View Post
I'm almost beginning to feel that if I make the comment that "the Six of Cups is of central significance in the Cups suit because it refers to Tiphareth in Briah," I must immediately append the disclaimer "but that does not mean that it doesn't mean a lot more than that" (although it's very difficult for me to think of Briah as in any way whatsoever limiting as regards the Cups).
I agree. In Using Tarot Cards, esoteric symbolism is frowned upon (or at least, judging by the things I tend to post, largely ignored). It is in this forum where all manner of different influences can be discussed and dissected. Although this is not the History Forum, threads where someone posts something "by the book" and is then, frankly, dismissed as telling only one side of the story simply do not contribute much. This is as much a symptom of the RWS as Tarot as a whole. The Thoth Forum is much less prone to this type of, well, lack of discourse.

This is the forum I come to in order to learn about the RWS, not divination. I go to Using for that. Not to draw lines in the sand here, but it seems like the "esoteric types" must constantly adapt to fit the "intuitive types," but the same thing does not happen in reverse.
Top   #59
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My understanding is that this forum is for the -
"Study of the symbolism and detail of the original Rider-Waite Tarot"
and that matters pertaining to The Golden Dawn Tradition have their own sub-forum within the Thoth Tarot forum.

Clearly, all manner of personal issues have been inadvertantly triggered by aspects of this thread. For my part in this, I apologise.
Top   #60




 


 


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