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Le Tarot Tournant (Bill's Tarot) completed!!

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Debra  Debra is offline
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Part II


The first important thing I learned from Bill’s perspective on tarot is the simplest. The cards are for a game that replicates life in microcosm. You start with what you’re dealt; there are rules for how to proceed; luck enters in as well as skill; what happens to others affects you and vice-versa. Tarot’s complex images, especially significant to the period when it was created, cry out for story-telling. It mimics life, it creates infinite possibilities for “what comes next” and for explanations of why.

A tarot deck is a sit-down-with-friends version of your whole life as it might have been or might yet be.

This connects the card game: “what happens next, and what can I do about it?”
and fortune-telling: “what happens next, and what can I do about it?”

So that’s the first lesson. The time spent playing a game parallels the time of our lives.

The second lesson Bill also describes in his blog, and this I have a bit more trouble accepting. This is the non-linear nature of ... the deck, the story, the life we lead. I’m a linear thinker. When I see something “symbolic,” I want a story, in language, of what the symbolism is—where it comes from, what it means, please begin at the beginning and go through to the end in an organized fashion. I need tediously explicit explanations of everything, sorry, that’s the kind of thinker I am.

Bill suggests that for some communication we are immersed in a sea of symbols; this gives a sense of what’s going on without the linear narrative. I *feel* this to be true of some art forms (dance, and abstract expressionist painting). But for Bill’s cards, and the Marseille tradition that underlies it, I have a harder time.

For example, I know what a Marseille deck looks like, I have some. But....

Why does the Fool have a dog?
Why is there a bird on the Star card?

And while we’re at it:

Why are there 52 cards in a regular playing card deck...and 52 weeks in a year? Why 78 in tarot?

Here’s where the conceptual background of Bill’s deck comes in, and where I feel I’m treading on thin ice. Next post.


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Part III


So how many words does one need to understand images? Is a narrative necessary? How much can someone learn from swimming around in a sea of images?

Not to get all pontifical about it, but ... Bill has insisted over the years that his deck isn’t like a puzzle to be solved. For example, he writes,

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePotato View Post
“The image serves the idea. Rather than simply producing a re-rendering of TdM symbols in a new artistic style, I've concentrated much of my efforts in working out a symbol system, and "telling" it in an organized visual language. I spent a bit more than a year developing an overall Master Plan for the pips, then quite a bit more time fitting each suit or "thing" to that plan and designing individual cards to it. Over time, this project has developed into an investigation into the differences between being an illustration of something, and actually "being" the something. It's not intended as a new picture of old tarot cards.

As I said before, over in my creation thread, you should note that none of this is meant as a trick or a "riddle" to be "solved" by the viewer. I believe there's a certain beauty in underlying Order, in and of itself, that does not need to be fully comprehended to be felt. The thing I've focused on here is creating the experience of that order, rather than the impression of the appearance of an object. (None of this to imply that it shouldn't look nice, as well.)”
I nonetheless experience it as a puzzle, one which I understand better thanks to some clues he provided early on in describing his project.

In an early discussion of Bill’s original trumps, MeeWah wrote, “The deck has the feel of an ancient wisdom. & for some reason, strikes as of an 'illuminated manuscript' ... ” and “The imagery very haunting. Evocative of an ancient knowledge, such as predates the Christian-Judaic--& 'passed down' via the esoteric means--though could be wrong. It does, however, prompt certain associations for me & includes with an ancient race of people.”

Bill always refers to Arthur Corwin’s course on “Math in Art” at The Cooper Union in New York. From what I can gather, Corwin is a genial intellectual giant, an inspirational teacher of the highest caliber. Here’s a picture:
https://homecookednotes.wordpress.co...-cooper-union/

Stuart Kaplan writes about Corwin’s theory of the tarot at the start of the Encyclopedia of Tarot Volume I, in a section on “prehistoric man and oral cultures.” Corwin, Kaplan writes,
“view[s] the allegorical symbolism of tarot cards as pictorial metaphors that express the preoccupation of early man with the task of timekeeping.” If you have this volume, it’s worthwhile to read the whole section at the start of Chapter II, beginning on page 12.

A reinforcing “clue” to the conceptual puzzle of Bill’s tarot is the name. Rosanne picked up on this at the beginning of this AT deck creation thread: http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=90715
and Bill agreed,
Quote:
“Yes, everything turns. And this deck is a little model universe. ... Wouldn't it be interesting if an astronomical calendar could be used to predict the future? ”
And

Quote:
If you look up at the night sky, you'll get an overall impression. If you look closer, you'll begin to see features and patterns emerge. If you stay with it, and look deeper and deeper, over time you'll see more and more and more, and find more and more order, even if you never reach the point of finding "everything" there is to find. That is one idea that I set out to capture in this project.
I don’t know how to find “everything” in Bill’s cards, but I do know that the cards are full of star lore, and counting reflects the numbering of days.

And of course the poem, which also has Numbers.

Sept
jours pour
cinquante deux semaines en treize mois avec
quatre couleurs
Avec un fou dans le fosses
bissextile chaque quatrieme as
mais une exception pour
chaque cent vingt huit,
un tour de la roues
demande vingt
six mille six
centquarante
quatre
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Part IV


What I get from the conceptual underpinning of Bill’s deck comes from his illustrations and notes to the artist’s edition. I have a prototype. Bill is not decided how to produce it. It takes many days to print and assemble. The outer box alone is a marvel. We’ve talked about the artist’s edition as a card-version of what are called “artist’s books”—fine art in book form, like those available from Vamp&Tramp: http://www.vampandtramp.com/finepress/index.html

You can maybe see why I’ve been of two minds about posting here. I can’t have just “reactions” to the deck because, well, I know the project too well, and Bill is my best friend.

So anyway: the essentials of the big world are represented in a little world
individual cards allow people to play with time and possibilities
it’s a metaphor for living your life in society
it’s also a map of the earth over the long run--the really really long run.
old stories have meanings stored within, coiled up as visual images
fragments and elements of images have migrated over long periods
remnants of ancient history are scattered throughout
not every element on a card has significance
you can't tell what's significant without research
it’s all older than we imagine, and mostly astronomical
Thus, ancient astronomers and star lore




About artists' books: http://www.angelalorenzartistsbooks.com/whatis.htm
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Part V


In short: It is a beautiful thing, it's a puzzle, and since the cards can be manipulated in structured ways, it’s also a kind of time-machine.

How it looks: What I love about this deck is the authenticity, discipline, order, and craziness. Bill compresses a whole long year universe onto small pieces of paper. (Also, I like the colors. As an aside, Bill is partly color-blind.)

What it does: There’s a line in John Crowley’s novel Little, Big—“The further in you go, the bigger it gets.” That's Le Tarot Tournant.
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What a beautiful deck! I hadn't come across this before - the background to the system looks really interesting. I will follow further developments.

Patrick
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Debra, what an astonishing series of posts.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Debra View Post
In short: It is a beautiful thing, it's a puzzle, and since the cards can be manipulated in structured ways, it’s also a kind of time-machine.

How it looks: What I love about this deck is the authenticity, discipline, order, and craziness. Bill compresses a whole long year universe onto small pieces of paper. (Also, I like the colors. As an aside, Bill is partly color-blind.)

What it does: There’s a line in John Crowley’s novel Little, Big—“The further in you go, the bigger it gets.” That's Le Tarot Tournant.
Your making me SOOOOOO jealous !!!! *pouts a little*
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahclem View Post
Debra, what an astonishing series of posts.
I agree with Ahclem.
Quite enlightening.
Thanks, Debra.

Quote:
Originally Posted by baconwaffles View Post
Where can one purchase this wonderful deck? Is it not available yet?
Hullo baconwaffles, Magpie9, MissChiff, & Patrick Booker.
Thanks for your comments!

I've posted an initial Upgrade Offer for owners of Bill's Tarot 22 over in the Advertisements forum:
http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=257195
Anyone who's interested can also read more about the thinking behind this offer on my blog:
https://nopotatopress.wordpress.com/...e-bills-tarot/

I hope to make some form of Le Tarot Tournant more generally available at some point in the future.
Sorry, but I don't yet know how or when that may be.

You can always see more & read any news on the website, here:
https://nopotatopress.wordpress.com/

I also have a FaceBook page where you can see timely news & updates, if you Like:
https://www.facebook.com/nopotatopress/
Please share the link.
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I thought I would post this picture as I think Bill left us a hint about the deck as a calendar on his wordpress site ...perhaps extrapolating will get me the quarter day cards ....

xox
nicky
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Hi Nicky.

This, and more, is covered in the "book" version of Le Tarot Tournant.
I went to great lengths to create a book that is unlike any other book that I am aware of.
It is around 230 pages of text, illustrations, & diagrams in eleven small volumes.
I wrote the text to be very compact, so quite a lot of information is included.
My intention was not to simply supply answers and explanations.
I set out to find a different way of saying something.
I've referred to it as a "non-linear" book. You don't read it start-to-finish, or in any particular order.
Debra has characterized it as "immersed in a sea of symbols", but that is an oversimplification, and sort of denies the point somewhat.
Conclusions are reached by accumulation, rather than progression.
At the very least, it is a programmed sea of very, very carefully contrived water. And it's water that makes statements about water.
In other words, the book is an example of itself: It conveys information about the method of its own conveyance.
Anyway, I think the experience of the book is more important than any punchlines or revelations, though there are plenty of those in there too, for people who like that sort of thing.

I've met with a printer to discuss the possibility of producing a revised version of the book & deck that would be more affordable than the current handmade version.
But the production issues are complicated, and it involves coordinating three separate printers and a binder, so the estimates will take some time.
I don't yet know if it will be feasible. But at least I'm trying. And, it may lead to still other possibilities.

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